Happy New Year’s

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Not sure where the time has gone! I am writing this from Chapel Hill, NC, on New Year’s Eve. Our family of 7 has been together for over two weeks-a rare treat, and the last few days we were joined by Sara’s fiancé. Caleb Jr has just left for the airport; he starts the slow but steady departure of our family onto divergent paths-Kenya, Rwanda, and Wheaton, with Sara being the last one to leave, after a medical school interview. This year, we give thanks for:

  • Our having spent 14 years in Rwanda
  • The time I had for teaching Rwanda medical students and residents, and now for a few months of sabbatical
  • For the progress Caleb has made in his hydropower projects
  • For good schooling for our children in Rwanda, Kenya and at Wheaton
  • For Sara’s engagement and her acceptance into a medical school
  • For a peaceful election in Rwanda in August
  • For the children we have helped in Rwanda, and for their continued growth spiritually and physically
  • For being part of the lives of so many Rwandans, even when it pulls us in many directions-being godparents, mentors, Bible study leaders, and parents
  • For all the generous donations which have enabled us to serve in Rwanda.

We read in church today from Ecclesiastes 3: 11a: He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart. We pray that in 2018 you will see that God makes everything beautiful in its time, and that you will feel the Eternity that He has set in your heart.

For those wanting to make a donation before the year’s end, you can donate online at bridge2rwanda,  and scroll down to King Family or King Education ministry or send a check to Bridge2Rwanda, PMB#322, 1818 N. Taylor St, Little Rock, Arkansas 72207.

 

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Unexpected Valleys

It was a beautiful sunny day. I had already driven Moses and 5 other missionary kids to school in the morning, and I was on a walk with a friend. We decided to take the “country” path, down a dirt road, that was nonetheless highly populated. I was looking forward to our time together, and was about to ask her advice about one of our children when I felt a hand in my pocket, and I turned in time to see a young man running off with my phone, descending down a twisty path. As Caleb reminded me later, “it’s only a phone” (and a pretty old one at that), but my adrenaline kicked in. I ran down the path after him, shouting “robber” in Kinyarwanda, but was unable to catch up. I spoke with people in the neighborhood and they were sympathetic, but the situation seemed pretty hopeless. My friend and I walked back to her house, and with the FindmyiPhone website managed to do exactly that: find my iPhone. Caleb came, and with some help from some eager security guards, we tracked down the phone, first in a small house, and then it seemed it was turned off. The signal came back again and the phone was found buried in a hole, presumably to be retrieved later. In the meantime, we had asked many people to pray for us; we also remembered two important guidelines for getting something done in Rwanda-never lose your cool, but don’t leave the situation. Once we found the phone, we had a moment of prayer and thanksgiving with the many bystanders and everyone was relieved, including the local community leader. The thief was never identified; hopefully they found the incident discouraging, at least. One day perhaps he will be found. We always try to remember that Rwandans are victims of theft far more often than are foreigners, and they have fewer resources with which to recover.

The suddenness of this incident reminded me of a sermon I once read by Rick Warren, entitled “God’s Antidote to the Valleys”. He lists five characteristics of Dark Valleys-Inevitable, Temporary, Purposeful, Impartial, and…Unpredictable. It was the unpredictability of the theft that took me by surprise. One moment I was having an important conversation with a friend, the next I felt violated, afraid, and angry. We have had a couple of unfortunate incidents in the missionary community recently: a teacher who was hit by a car and had multiple facial fractures, requiring evacuation and surgery in the UK; another teacher, pregnant, who developed pre-eclampsia, and made it back to the US, but her baby, born prematurely, died shortly after birth. These were all sudden incidents, that leave one asking Why? This subject has been tackled by many books, and also is dealt with well by Rick Warren in the aforementioned sermon. Rick Warren’s  point I most appreciated was that there is no Shadow without Light. The challenge is to focus on the Light of the World, instead of the Shadow.

On a lighter note, these 2 cuties found me in Musanze recently, walking home from school. They are both orphans, whom we send to one of the better schools in Musanze. Thanks to all who make it possible for us to sponsor them.

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September Update

Things are a bit quieter in the house now: the kids have gone back to school-Sara and Hannah at Wheaton College; Caleb Jr and Lydia at RVA in Kenya; and Moses at KICS in Kigali. We had a great time together as a family, and we were able to celebrate Moses’ 13th birthday together.

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We also helped 75 students start their 3rd term, students, such as Albertine seen below, with her mother. It’s hard to know what Albertine’s future holds-she comes from a poor family, and  it’s unclear what work she will do after school. Our hope and prayer is that she will have a better life with a high school education-and not only her, but her children too, as studies have shown that a child’s likelihood of surviving to the age of 5 increases with the mother’s education level.IMG_4446

We miss Benjamin (see previous post), who had been helping with students, but we are thankful that he has the opportunity to study at the Florida Institute of Technology. Unfortunately, Benjamin recently had to evacuate in the face of Hurricane Irma! Do pray for him! Emmanuel is helping us now; we have known him for years, and he is doing a good job. He is pictured below (R), with another Emmanuel (L), who is deaf and whom we send to a special program for deaf children.

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I have been helping Caleb with his work, in whatever way I can. Over the last years, I have been working hard at the hospital, and he had really picked up the loose ends at home. I am happy that now I can support him in his work. Tomorrow, I will meet with someone about helping at a Christian clinic affiliated with our church, and also attend a new (to me)women’s Bible study. It’s a waiting time for me, but I am appreciating the extra time. It reminds me of one of my favorite Bible verses:                                                                    But those who wait on the Lord
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40: 31

I send out special prayers to those affected by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma; and to our friends and family preparing for Irma! May you run and not be weary; walk and not be faint.

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Group Hug for Hannah, as she leaves for college

 

 

 

Father’s Day

I am happy to post this photo of my 2 favorite fathers! IMG_3935

It would take a book to write everything about my father: He grew up in India, the son of missionaries, and made his career teaching surgery, and caring for the underserved. He raised us 4 children, not easy under any circumstances, and even harder with a sick wife (my mother), who passed away when we were teenagers. Smart, funny, kind, patient, humble, with a strong Christian faith: I think I can speak for my brothers as well when I say that we think he “hung the moon.” I am happy to report that he is recovering well from his heart surgery.

Caleb could be his only rival, for “best father.” When our oldest was just a baby, the Pastor of our large Boston church used Caleb as an example of the way that God adores us, just like Caleb clearly adored Sara! His sacrificial love for all of our children is amazing. I saw this video and I immediately thought of Caleb: Fatherless to Fatherfull. He reaches out to the fatherless in real and meaningful ways, pointing them to the real Father. IMG_3767

I can’t leave out the other very important father in our life: Caleb’s father, Kimball. His graciousness and loving support mean the world to us. I can’t count the number of times he has welcomed all 7 of us in our jet-lagged state with great hospitality, and then at the end of our trips have helped us pack up, weigh and load  suitcases when we head off back to Rwanda, usually not knowing when we will be back. We love him and miss him! We are glad that Sara can be with him for Father’s Day.

Here’s one last photo: Praying for this next generation of Fathers! Happy Father’s Day to all!

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Caleb and Moses

To Act in Love

“To Act in Love,” is the title of a poem recently written by our friend Tami Iralu, from her blogsite:

To act in love requires

absorbing the pain.

Let the lightning strike.

Let the storm rage.

See how the tree stands tall.

The wind, surely, is felt deep

into the roots, yet the roots

withstand the storm.

Let the lightning bolt.

The nest cradles the egg

and outlasts the storm.

Being a missionary is all about acting in love. Without love, we are nothing, is basically what I Corinthians 13 says. Or as it says in Galatians 5, The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love. And there is nowhere where that is more true than the mission field, where there are abundant opportunities for misunderstanding, mistrust and miscommunication.

But, as the poem says, to act in love requires absorbing pain: the pain of sacrificing for others, helping others but receiving no gratitude in return, the pain of protecting others, forgiving others. It is only with deep roots, close to the source of the Living Water that we can absorb those pains. Thanks for all of you who give us the means to Act, and those who pray for us for the Holy Spirit to pour out God’s love to our friends, students and many others in Rwanda.

On a more news’y level: We have been praying lots for my father, Bill Rambo, who had heart surgery last Monday at Duke Hospital. It ended up being a longer surgery than anticipated, so probably the recovery will be a bit longer. It’s hard to be away at a time like this. Pray for all the family who are there taking care of him.

Some of our children are finishing up their school year. We are thankful for those who are taking care of those who are stateside. The RVA kids still have another 6 weeks. My Rwandan residents and medical students will soon be taking their final exams. Please pray for their preparation and performance!

Here are some recent photos:

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We had a good visit with some visiting physicians from our hometown. We all appreciated their good teaching!

 

 

 

April Showers

April is the rainy season in Rwanda-a time of blessing, but also mourning, as the country remember’s the 1994 Genocide. In fact, it’s raining today, as it may well have been 23 years ago, when a systematic and brutal killing was enacted in Rwanda. Lydia and I have been watching “Shooting Dogs”, which takes place at a Technical School about 1 mile from where we stay in Kigali. In the compound where we are staying, former missionaries hid Tutsi boys, we heard recently.

I will post some more photos soon, to show some of our recent activities, but here are just two:

IMG_3784This is a seemingly inconsequential foot bridge, but it’s new, and it’s on one of my favorite walks that I like to take with one of my friends. Before, we used to walk down into a little gully, hoping there was not too much water. The local community built this. It’s symbolic of progress in Rwanda-sometimes small, best when originating with local, grassroots efforts. It’s my prayer that there will be a bridge of reconciliation between the 2 different people groups here. We give thanks for Jesus, who is Himself the Bridge for all of us, leading from Death to Life.

Here is another hopeful photo, of our friend Sam, being installed as Bishop. I love the symbolism: The cross in front, then the archbishop, then Sam, then his lovely wife. You are indeed blessed if you have the cross in front, and a good wife behind you!

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