Wednesday, July 18, 2012


Arrival at Kikago Airport
Dear CCR Family,

It is still hard to belief.   We wake up in the morning and it feels like a dream to be in Kikago (Chicago).   Yet this is real.   God called us to leave Rwanda to begin a missionary journey in Kikago.    Thank you for the blessing of our Send Off.   We have gone as your missionaries to serve Africa’s Great Lakes Diaspora in North America.   We are back to the early missionary days of learning to live, establishing a home, making friends, and praying for God’s guidance.    Out of this process came all that was good about journey in Rwanda.  We trust God will bless the same process in Kikago.

We have been fortunate to live in a 4-bedroom furnished apartment at a very low cost in the lovely Kikago suburb of Wheaton.   We are only 2 blocks away from Wheaton College.   Our oldest daughter, Sophia is home with us through her vacation.   In August she’ll begin Wheaton’s “In Chicago” program and actually be over an hour away from us on 2 different train rides.   We are savoring this season of us all being together again. 

Our air shipment has arrived with memories from our Great Lakes.    Our house is feeling more like home.   We hope some of you can visit us in the future.   We’re a bit tight, but can always find a little space for all of you.

Celebrating Sophia's 20th Birthday in Kikago with no power, but a fire
We’ve twice been without power since moving to Kikago.   Both times electrical lines were broken due to storms.   We enjoyed posting our power loss on Facebook and giggled at expatriates in Kigali who share every detail that makes Rwanda look a bit less than ideal.    Our neighbors and we did umuganda.   Our family joined another neighbor with a fire at night to have some light and conversations.   In a way we felt at home in the community, resiliency, and laughter of a 17 hour power outage.   (Some of our Kikago neighbors were without power for 4 days with no generator or inverter.)

Our kids are adjusting.  Ethan has been playing football (American soccer).  Also, today we registered him to begin the 10th grade at Wheaton North High School.   We were proud of him that he chose more difficult academic subjects.  

Caleb is registering to attend the College of DuPage in August.  He plans to take dual credit courses that can be transferred back to KICS for graduation while also earning university credit.   We are proud of his resilient adaptation.

Ruth is taking a ballet class once per week and also frequently at Wheaton’s public library.  She has a way of bringing graceful beauty to our adaptation.

Timothy has done 2 football (American soccer) and 1 track (Athletics) camps.   He seems to be one of the fastest boys his age.

With all of us there are some struggles to adjust to America.   Home is not here.   Home is heaven.    Everything else is temporary.   Thank you for your care in our temporary situations and your prayers and concern for our family. 

We are in the process of finding a local church to place roots.   Thankfully, we have many good churches from which to choose.   In some ways, we seem to have too many choices.    We do not know exactly what God intends for us to do in Kikago, but we believe we first must find a church home so that we have others near us who can guide our discovery.   

As we go on this journey God has been surprising us with African friends.   We’ve met African missionaries a bit older than us who have settled in Kikago.  We need our bzee and they are nearby.

Also, on our first Sunday as we walked through a church parking lot we made eye contact with a familiar looking Rwandese family.   They asked, “Are you the pastor in Gaculiro?”   We visited and found they had moved from Kigali to Kikago a little before our journey and that they had in the past visited at CCR.  We’ve since been visiting each other and enjoying our shared journey.   Without a Sovereign God how could this happen?

Another time, Dave was driving through our neighborhood and thought he saw an angel.   A woman from our Great Lakes was walking with a hoe on her shoulder, baby on her back, and a bucket of dodo in her hand.    After convincing himself she was human, Dave greeted her.    Later we visited her family and found they were Barundi refugees by way of Congo and Tanzania.

This past weekend we had our first house guests, Yves Ntare Musiine and Nicole Kamana.   Dave will be performing their wedding in a few weeks in Indianapolis.   We enjoyed some extra time with them to plan for their future marriage.

We have yet to visit all of your family and friends in Kikago, but trust we will at the appropriate time.   We continue to discover that God has prepared the field in Kikago before we arrived.   There are Great Lakes Diaspora here from students to refugees to professionals.    One of the umudugudus near our own has their English signs translated to Kiswahili.  We sense we are just where God needs us to be for His glory.

You are frequently in our thoughts and prayers.   Thank you for the privilege of pastoring you.   Now thank you for the privilege of representing you as a missionary.   We miss worship at CCR and hunger for a day in eternity in which all nations and generations will worship together.

Imana ikurinde,

Dave and Jana

P.S.  We plan to see Gabriel Mugisha Jacobs in a few weeks and will pass on your greetings and post photos to Facebook.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


As our family faces missionary adjustment in Kikago, USA we cling to the Farewell Blessing CCR gave us on our last Sunday.   Thank you for your love and care through our years in Rwanda.   Words cannot convey our appreciation.   Following is the Farewell Blessing spoken by CCR Senior Pastor, Brett Shreck.

Dave and Jana

Ecclesiastes 3:

For everything there is a season,a time for every activity under heaven.
A time to be born and a time to die.A time to plant and a time to harvest.
A time to kill and a time to heal.A time to tear down and a time to build up.
A time to cry and a time to laugh.A time to grieve and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.A time to embrace and a time to depart…

Our Senior Pastor, Dave Jenkins, his wife Jana and their children Caleb, Ethan, Ruth and Timothy are leaving us to follow another call in their life. Today is a time to mark the ending of their ministry here at Christ’s Church Rwanda and the beginning of their ministry in the Chicago area; it is a time to look back, and a time to look forward; a time for joy, and a time for sadness. It is a time to give thanks and praise to God for what the Jenkins have given us in our lives together.

Caleb, Ethan, Ruth, Timothy and Sophia who has gone on to university have all played an important role at CCR. We thank you for your willingness to share your home, your meals and your parents with us. We thank you for your faith and for the godly men and women we see you becoming. We thank you for your service and ministry to the church and to others. We appreciate that it can be difficult and a challenge at times to be the pastor’s children, and we want to let you know that you have handled that role with humility, dignity and strength of character. You have been a vital part of this church family and you will be missed. 

Dave and Jana, we thank you for your service to God, to CCR and to each one of us. Over these last seven years you have been our fellow workers in Christ. You have provided counseling, teaching and friendship. You were called by God to pastor us, to proclaim his Word, to baptize new believers and to announce the love and forgiveness Christ offers.

You have joined us in celebrating marriages, new births and adoptions. You have comforted us in times of sickness, sorrow and at the death of our loved ones.

You have provided leadership and guidance. At times you have challenged us. You have helped us mark our direction and have encouraged us along the way. 

Together we have served the Lord and shared in each other’s joys and sorrows. You have been important to us in our life together in Christ’s Church. You will be missed.

Offer the blessing:

That God will protect you and keep you. That he will go before you and prepare your path that you might live in joy and peace. That you will take comfort in the knowledge that his plan is one to prosper you and not to harm you. That his plan gives you a hope and a future. That you will find rest in the presence of the Lord who is with you always, even to the end of the age. And that your family will be blessed with righteousness by faith from generation to generation forever more. Amen.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

1st Month in the USA

We have been in the U.S for a little over a month and are slowly getting settled. We flew directly into Chicago and Sophia and my Dad and a college friend of Dave's were at the airport to pick us up.

We stayed in a furnish apartment for the first 4 days while we waited to enter our furnished duplex that is slowly becoming home. My parents were with us for our first week and were a big help as we moved in to our Missionary Furlough home here in Wheaton,IL. It is a 4 bedroom duplex with finished basement which has a 2nd living room which is such a blessing. The place is fully furnished down to the linens and kitchen stuff! Our small air shipment has arrived and we have turned our downstairs den into our African hideaway! ( I still have several picture to hang and hope to have that done soon) I love our new place we are calling home and the only downside is we have one full bathroom( that is 1 shower for the 7 of us) but thankfully we do have a 2nd toilet!

We are really enjoying Wheaton! I had only visited this area for a day and a half so was not sure how much I was going to like it. I maybe still in the " I love everything" stage of culture shock but I am really enjoying it here. Wheaton has all the charm of small town America ( with her cute shops , restaurants and coffee houses) and then a short 45 minute train ride you are in downtown Chicago which is a really fun large urban place. I have already been 3 times to the city. We went once as a family and Sophia showed us around and we did a bunch of tourist stuff. The 2nd time was on Father's Day and we went to a Ugandan communities picnic! So much fun being with Ugandan's and of course the women put on a spread for the Fathers. We all commented it was like being with 40 Teopistas! Then the 3rd time it was just Dave , Sophia and I that went to see a play for Sophia's birthday.

The kids seem to be doing well so far. Timothy is in his 2nd soccer camp,  Ruth is enjoying the library and taking ballet classes,Ethan is doing summer soccer,Caleb is busy looking for a job, and all of the kids plus Dave are enjoying biking on all the fun bike trails around. We also became members of a community gym and I am enjoying going to strength training classes and Zumba!

We also have been busy just trying to set up for life here--visiting Churches( looking for our new church home), Drs appointments for school physicals and insurance, getting kids all registered for school and learning to shop -- with all the choices!

We have met several Rwandan and Burundian families that live close to us in an apartment complex. The funny thing is that there is both Swahili and English on the signs at the apartment. Who new we would live so close to an African community in the U.S.

We are having our first guests this weekend -- a couple that Dave is going to perform their Wedding in Aug from Rwanda but living in Indiana.

We miss our porch, pleasant weather, friends and worship at CCR!