Posted by: thekingfamilyinRwanda | June 27, 2016

Forced Rest

I had a little enforced rest this weekend:

First, for the first time in several years, I was laid up with a stomach illness, likely a virus, that left me wiped out. I was supposed to preach on Sunday at a local high school, but that was out of the question. Ironically, the topic I had chosen was “Come to me all you who are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28. Caleb, fortunately, preached in my stead. I lay in bed and slept, and read a little, and slept more. I am usually not a late sleeper, but I managed to sleep about 14 hours. I gained a certain amount of empathy for my patients!

Secondly, my phone broke, at least partially. The screen seems to function somewhat autonomously, calling numbers, deleting emails, etc. at random. I noticed today that a nice tune was playing in the maternity ward; then I discovered it was from my phone in my pocket! Anyway, I discovered the best way to deal with it is to use it as little as possible, which has been difficult at times, but has freed me up to do other things.

At the end of the weekend, though, I felt rested and reassured-happy to know that the world keeps turning, even when I rest!

On the other hand, Sara and Moses were doing anything but resting. They, along with 4 others, took a long, hilly bike ride, over 2 days along the coast of Lake Kivu. Fortunately no one was hurt and Caleb had the foresight to arrange for a car to follow them along the way, with an extra bike, which they needed.

We don’t have a bike rack, so Moses stacked up the 7 bikes, pancake-style, which happened to be what I fixed them for breakfast before they left!

Bike tripThe kids are back safely, and I am back at work, hoping to keep that sense of rest and peace that passes all understanding in my heart and mind.

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Posted by: thekingfamilyinRwanda | May 15, 2016

Good-Byes

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Lydia, Hannah and Caleb Jr at the Kigali Airport

 

I thought since I had a post entitled “Hello” , I might as well have one entitled “ Good-Bye.” As anyone in the mission field can tell you, there are far too many “Good-byes” in your life. The hardest ones are your own children. I wish I could say that it gets easier, but it doesn’t. Hannah, Caleb Jr and Lydia just left after a month here. All too soon, Hannah will leave for college (Wheaton College, by the way, for those of you who know she was trying to decide.)

We celebrated Easter together; went to Kumbya, an old mission retreat center; walked on The Canopy Walk in Nyungwe Forest; did puzzles; watched movies and read books. The house seems rather empty now, though we are thankful for Moses who keeps things lively.

What does it say in the Bible about Good-Byes? Abraham must have had some when he left his family in Ur; Ruth refused to let Naomi say Good-Bye and moved with her. In Ecclesiastes, it says that there is a time for everything; children leaving is definitely a season in life, as all parents know, but it’s painful nonetheless. Jesus told his disciple John to take care of his mother, anticipating his departure; He also said, And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life. We do appreciate the friends we have made here, who have become like family, but we look forward reunions, on this side of heaven or the other, with all those to whom we have said Good-Bye.

Here are some photos from our vacation with the kids:

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We took a Sunday boat trip, for a fresh-out-of-the lake fish lunch

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Canopy Walk in Nyungwe Forest

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Hannah, Lydia and I went to the wedding celebration of their former choir teacher.

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April is a somber time in Rwanda, as it is the time of commemorating the 1994 genocide. Lydia and I went to a rainy memorial at a gravesite near our home. 

 

Posted by: thekingfamilyinRwanda | March 27, 2016

Hope Deferred, Good News, and Easter!

I had this blog post in mind a while ago, but I had not gotten around to writing it, and now it strikes me as the perfect Easter post:

Last month, I helped take care of a young woman, Clementine, who had a serious heart problem, a leaky valve that could only be helped by surgery. Fortunately for her, Team Heart, the Boston based cardiac surgery team screened her and accepted her for surgery in Kigali, though she was last on the list. Several days before she was supposed to receive her surgery, someone called her and said that in fact she wouldn’t be operated on. She came to see me the next day, hoping against hope that it wasn’t true. I called someone, who called someone else, and they confirmed that she was not on the operating list. When I told her, she couldn’t hold back her tears. Hope deferred makes the heart sick,  as it says in Proverbs 13:12. Her hopes for a new life were dashed. I almost couldn’t hold back my own tears, especially as I know only too well the fate of these young patients with severe heart disease who don’t receive surgery. I did pray together with her, for God’s protection and that next year when the team came, she would get her needed operation.

Inexplicably, a few days later, I got an email that she actually was on the list-she had the green light. I was delighted to call her and give her the good news. This time, she couldn’t hold back her smiles. We agreed that “Imana ni nziza.” God is good. Her mourning was turned into joy.

I suppose that’s the Easter message-the darkness of disappointment, sickness, betrayal, and even death is not the final word. The mourning of Jesus’ followers on Good Friday was turned to joy on Easter Sunday. May you find also that Easter joy, through Christ who gave us the victory on the cross.

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Clementine, after hearing that she was going to get her operation after all

Posted by: thekingfamilyinRwanda | February 21, 2016

Hello

I have to confess-I am an Adele fan; she has a great voice. So I am delighted to use the title of one of her recent songs for this blog. Last night, I received a call out of the blue from one of my former patients, Alice. I met Alice when she was 20 years old in 2011, when she came in with a chronic cough, which was provoked by eating. A longish work up ensued which revealed that she had a fistula between her esophagus and her trachea-in plain language: she had a connection between her esophagus and her airway, meaning that every time she ate, the food went into her lungs. So, she was starving to death, among other things, because she couldn’t eat. She eventually was referred to the Central Hospital of Kigali, which then referred her to King Faycal Hospital, where she was operated on twice, with excellent results in the end. It really was a team effort, as I helped pay for some of her medical costs; my Rwandan family medicine resident at the time, Vedaste, also gave some of this own money; a Rwandan Ruhengeri hospital volunteer (the only time I have ever seen one) accompanied her to Kigali; and apparently a worker at King Faycal also befriended her. Alice called to thank me and give me the news that she is doing well, is now married, and living in Kigali. We praised God together, for her healing. I was grateful that she thought to call me, and for that joyous moment we had together on the phone, remembering how close she had been to dying.

In other news from the King Family:We had a nice visit in Nairobi for RVA midterm. Here are some photos:

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We enjoyed the idyllic setting at Amani Gardens, but we missed Sara!

 

We were happy to have Team Heart come again to Ruhengeri Hospital to screen patients for cardiac surgery. I was thankful that the right patients seemed to find their way to the hospital; we had called the ones we knew, and were happy that even others also came. The visiting cardiologists, sonographers, and nurses were very patient and kind. Please pray for Team Heart as they make difficult decisions, in deciding which 16 patients, from the whole country, will get operated on.

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Patients line up to be screened by Team Heart

 

I preached today in church, on Abraham and his faith. As usual, I learned a lot as I prepared for the sermon, and appreciated the reminder of how we are saved not by works, but by grace, through faith.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—  not by works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2: 8-9

Posted by: thekingfamilyinRwanda | January 3, 2016

Scenes from Christmas

We were fortunate enough to be able to make a quick trip to the US over Christmas, to celebrate not only Christmas but also the 60th  wedding anniversary of Caleb’s parents. The four younger children and I are now back in Rwanda/Kenya, while Caleb stayed behind a bit to be with Sara and his parents. I have some photos, but I first want to share some good news:

  1. Moses has received his US citizenship. We’d been waiting for some acknowledgement from the US Immigration Service of his application, but we still had no response , and time was running short. Caleb scheduled an informational appointment and he “happened” to see the officer whom we saw in 2013 (he was supervising a new employee). He immediately remembered Caleb and Moses; volunteered to look for the application, which was untouched, and processed it right away. Caleb is supposed to pick up the certificate tomorrow; with that we can apply for a passport from Rwanda.
  2. We traveled safely. Despite some passport mishaps, all went well.
  3. I passed my Internal Medicine Recertification Boards (which I have to take every 10 years).

I also wanted to share my favorite Christmas poem this year, by our friend Tammy Iralu, http://terimuso.com:

Before Frost

Before the birth, it was all angels and light,

but when it came time for the birth,

the wings and accompanying brightness

vanished like butterflies before frost.

I could have used a midwife

or a woman to wash the baby

or at least cook me a bowl of soup.

So when I heard the knock, I rallied.

 

When Joseph answered the knock,

he saw them standing there,

not all meek and mild

but roughhousing among themselves,

shoving each other for the best view

between the cracks in the wood frame.

 

They were snotty-nosed, unkempt little beggar boys,

sent away from home to watch sheep

until they grew up and were fit to be trained

in one trade or another.

Joseph could have turned them out.

Just one “Scat” would have sent those boys

scurrying back to their sheepfold.

 

But even though we had little ourselves,

we knew those boys had less.

If they wanted to share this evening with us,

we would share with them.

Our bread stretched a bit further,

the broth thinned until there was enough for all.

 

We took a risk letting them in the stable.

They could have stolen our few belongings,

or made a mockery of our poverty,

so little removed from theirs.

And when their unwashed hands cradled our son,

he could have caught cold, or worse.

And yet, something told us that—while there was risk

in letting the shepherd-boys into the stable

(and into our lives) that night—there was even more

risk in shutting them out.

I really choked up when I read this, as we have so many “unkempt boys” who knock at our door, and we know the risks in letting them into our lives, and the risks in shutting them out.

Finally, here are some photos of the trip:

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We were happy to have Sara with us again!

 

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Seeing Uncle Steve and his trains!

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Visiting Uncle Birch, former longterm missionary in Zaire, now DRC

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Caleb’s parents, and their adoring family!

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A toast to our newest American citizen (don’t worry-it’s just apple juice!)

Many wishes for a blessed 2016!

Posted by: thekingfamilyinRwanda | December 13, 2015

Christmas Newsletter

Here is a link to our Christmas newsletter!

King Family Christmas Newsletter

 

Posted by: thekingfamilyinRwanda | October 25, 2015

Feedback

I was happy to get some feedback today from a young boy whom we had helped. He came back to visit, proudly wearing his new school uniform, and showing me his recently obtained health insurance (community based health insurance, which costs $5/person/year) card. He is about 15, and is in 2nd grade. We assume his poverty kept him from going to school. He and his mother live in the area where Caleb’s hydropower project is, which is a poor area. We have found from past experience that keeping teen age boys in the early grades of primary school is not easy, but we are hoping that he will at least be able to learn to read and write; and eventually to read and know the Bible.

Proudly displaying his new health insurance card!

Proudly displaying his new health insurance card!

Well, since he gave us feedback, I thought I’d give some feedback to all of you, who make it possible for us to help people like this young man. Thank you!

Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deed. Proverbs 19:17

Posted by: thekingfamilyinRwanda | October 15, 2015

Where Thieves Break In and Steal

Several weeks ago, after I had given an update on our summer, I was going to give a nice sunny update on our work in Rwanda, and our family. How the hydropower project had been down, but now was working; the three middle children are at RVA, studying hard; Moses is being homeschooled by a super young lady from SC, taking a gap year, and is also really enjoying Boy Scouts; I am still working at Ruhengeri Hospital, teaching young doctors, taking care of patients, and am now affiliated with the Global Health program at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. All these things are still true, and I’m grateful and thankful for them.

And then we got broken into. One Friday night, someone broke the back door window, and reached in and opened the door. They took 2 computers, a projector, a DVD drive, and small speakers. We are 99% sure who did it-someone whom we’ve helped quite a bit, but we have to admit never trusted, due to his alcohol and drug problem. He has stolen computers in the past, even cars. He has a sad life story and we are praying that he will one day make the decision to let the Holy Spirit change him. In the meantime, he’s a serious menace to our community. The police caught him, but due to lack of evidence, have released him (no finger printing seems to be done in Rwanda).

The following Sunday, Caleb preached on Matthew 6:19-20. “ Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal.” Even in Jesus’ time, thieves were breaking in and stealing. Jesus doesn’t tell his disciples to get extra guards, buy guard dogs, or build a strong wall. Instead he says not to store up our treasures here on earth-inevitably they will fade, or be stolen from us, as we unfortunately experienced. We should store up our treasures in heaven. What does that mean? It doesn’t say fully, but one can believe that it means to invest your wealth in helping people, building up the church, and serving others.

We’re thankful that we haven’t felt too frightened by the incident; it helps to know who did it, I think. But do pray for our protection and security.

Moses and Anne Tyler, hard at work!

Moses and Anne Tyler, hard at work!

Posted by: thekingfamilyinRwanda | September 6, 2015

Coming Home

We have recently returned from a relatively quick trip to the US. In a short space of time, we saw family, friends, visited churches, swam many times in Black Creek and went to the beach. We are thankful that most of our family live in the Carolinas, and several of those who don’t were still able to make it to see us. Hannah had a successful week at the CDC at Disease Detective Camp, after having flown by herself from Rwanda; I was thankful that my parents could meet her in Atlanta and tuck her in. Caleb Jr was able to practice tennis and get a driving permit, Lydia did some cooking, and Moses took his first ride in a riding lawn mower-in fact, he mowed for 4 hours, to the delight of our friends, who needed their pasture cut! Sara joined us a week into our trip, from Spain, and then I stayed a bit longer with her, and accompanied her for her driving permit, and ear piercing. So, all in all, it was a successful trip home, and we especially enjoyed re-connecting with our friends, families, and supporting churches.

Hannah with new friends at the CDC

Hannah with new friends at the CDC

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The children in front of Black Creek

Nevertheless, it is a bit difficult living in 2 worlds. After having lived in Rwanda for 12 years, where do we belong exactly? Rwanda-where we feel called to serve, and have grown to love so many people, and where we work? Or the US-our birthplace, where our families are, and where we speak the language! We are grateful that God has given us a heart for both places, and thankful that ultimately our citizenship is in heaven (Philippians 3:20). As our children grow up and leave the African continent, pray that our hearts will find peace in our current situation.

More to come soon on our current activities…

Posted by: thekingfamilyinRwanda | June 14, 2015

A Special Trip

Our oldest daughter, Sara, is on an outreach trip to Spain this summer with a ministry called Youth Hostel Mission, through Wheaton. We hadn’t seen her since Christmas, so Caleb thought he’d check out the flights to Spain. He couldn’t believe the price-less than a round trip to Nairobi, so we prayed about it and then he booked it. Then I started thinking about it, and said, “I’d like to go.” Then Moses said he would like to go, and then a few weeks later, we decided to take Lydia too! And the price only went down!

The tricky part was getting the visa for Moses, as he does not yet have his American citizenship. The UK visa went off without a hitch, though it took a while. The visa for Spain was more complicated, and to make a long story short: we didn’t have his visa yet on the morning of our departure. But, God is faithful, and many people were praying, and he got his visa hours before our departure!

We first went to the UK, and we stayed with a lovely couple, whom we had met in Musanze, near Oxford, and then we went to London, where we met up with a nice friend whom we knew from her visits to Rwanda.  Here are some photos:

Tom Tower, Christ Church, Oxford (where Caleb studied many years ago)

Tom Tower, Christ Church, Oxford (where Caleb studied many years ago)

Lydia thought the angel in the Christ Church cathedral was interesting

Lydia thought the angel in the Christ Church cathedral was interesting

Moses found the BIG Bible very interesting

Moses found the BIG Bible very interesting

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With our friend Ann, on the South Bank of the Thames

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Those fancy cars were fascinating! (Don’t touch, Moses!)

From the UK, we took Easy Jet to Spain, where we had a delightful 4 days with Sara-we went swimming, biking, ate paella and tapas. Lydia even almost got pickpocketed, from her backpack, but I saw the thief, screamed (Caleb says it was more like a battle cry) and the woman slunk away, without taking anything. We were thankful that was the only bad incident.

We were all happy to see Sara in Spain

We were all happy to see Sara in Spain

From Spain, we met up with Hannah and Caleb Jr, who were on midterm from RVA and we had a delightful long weekend in Nairobi with the 4 of them.

Another happy reunion, in Nairobi

Another happy reunion, in Nairobi

So, although we found that traveling can be a little tiring…

Traveling can be tiring!

It is also good for us as a family to have these special times and memories together!

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