Summer in Rwanda. // 2019

Our Life // In the city and throughout villages across Rwanda.

Ladies Tea & Fellowship // A weekly gathering of women and teenage girls in our community for creative projects, fellowship, prayer, and Bible study. With these creative projects, we are equipping them with the ability to create small businesses.

Your duty is to teach the children of God to embrace a lifestyle that is consistent with sound doctrine.  Lead the male elders into disciplined lives full of dignity and self-control. Urge them to have a solid faith, generous love, and patient endurance.

Likewise with the female elders, lead them into lives free from gossip and drunkenness and to be teachers of beautiful things. This will enable them to teach the younger women to love their husbands, to love their children,  and to be self-controlled and pure, taking care of their household and being devoted to their husbands. By doing these things the word of God will not be discredited. – Titus 2

It’s a Process! // Building Kigali Children Center

Through this process of pioneering and renovating, we are learning a lot! How to work together, how to ask for help, how to trust, how to work with integrity and honesty and generosity, and also to let the process be what it will be. It isn’t perfect, but this house will be God’s house. Much like our hearts. All the things we go through allow for a process and what He desires most is that our hearts be connected to him and get cleaned up through it all! What a wonderful lesson in learning to love, and trusting our perfect Father to accomplish His beautiful handiwork. ♡

To learn how you can help us to finish  well visit Kigali Children Center

‘You who mourn will be comforted.

You who hunger will hunger no more

You who weep now will laugh again, all you lonely be lonely no more!

Yes, the last will be first, of this I am sure!

I don’t know why the little ones thirst, but I know the last shall be first.

But I know the last shall be first.’

  1. — Lyrics by Brooke Fraser

To learn more about the vision behind Kigali Children Center visit A Vision for Our Children.

There’s So Much Grace! // Kigali, Rwanda

So lately I’ve been thinking about grace. Some of us think we can use it like a blanket to cover the worst parts about us, so then we can do or act however we need and at the end of the day God’s love still has our back.

Well, yes. He does. But recently I’ve been thinking about His outrageous grace as the person of Jesus and somehow this grace makes me want to expose my shortcomings even more! The more grace I drink, the more He gets to the very core of who I am and lights me up as if I drank some kind of x-ray liquid. 

Here in Rwanda, one of the hardest thing for me, (and maybe for Alexis) has been to meet or fail expectations of the culture that surrounds us. Religious culture is a difficult thing to come up against and say let’s do this with grace! Without grace we are living full of defenses. Because we are afraid that we just might not have what it takes, or we just might not be worthy of love. The fear of not being enough for people, having the wrong answer, being last, being left behind, being abandoned, leaves us as God’s children fighting for survival.

But what did Jesus say? He said, ‘Do not be afraid, little flock, for it is my Father’s pleasure to give you the kingdom.’ – Luke 12:32

With His smile, He has destroyed my religion!

In this place of victorious grace I want to be vulnerable all the more…and say, ‘Heyyy here I am with all of my fears and shortcomings, and I’m so loved! WOW. Make me better! Make me more like you Jesus! Help us help others find this freedom in who you have created us to be!’

A Vision for our Children

Reynaud_MyMountainThe recent history of Rwanda since the genocide 25 years ago, simultaneously represents the worst and best of humanity.

This nation not only humbles me, but challenges and inspires me.

I don’t pretend to understand the full complexity of the history or her current journey, but when you want to really experience Rwanda and her story, I feel there is something very necessary about connecting with a living, breathing, healing, survivor’s story.FTAD4088IMG_8431Even as the genocide of 1994 may have now been pushed into the history books as the world experiences further tragedies and time heals, I believe there are timeless and important lessons in Rwanda’s story for all of us, if we listen. Reconciliation may not be fully complete, underlying fear and hurt may remain and the effects of the genocide are still very much being felt today. Despite this, I am sure of one thing; darkness never triumphs over light.IMG_8429Testimony

Below, you will read a glimpse of my husband, Alexis’ story. He is the visionary behind our ministry here in Rwanda. Sold out for Jesus, he is my fearless leader, coach, and the pioneer that makes our dreams come true.

For Alexis life has not come easy, yet his story with all of its set-backs, has built in him a resolve and a commitment to see change in East Africa, and a tenacity to prove that there is always hope for a bright future.IMG_8434In 1994 there was genocide against the Tutsi tribe in Rwanda. During this time Alexis lost most of his family members, leaving him orphaned at the age of 13. He himself survived at the mercy of one woman who kept him hidden in her home. The aftermath of these events was obviously devastating and was a turning point in his life. At the time, the loss, trauma and grief, affected Alexis to the point of drugging himself in order to sleep. Only under the influence of drugs could he sleep, but once sober again the difficult memories would always return. By the grace of God, he was found by a ‘Good Samaritan’, who took him from the street and returned him to school. His life and future was changed by the kindness of God through one person who stopped to take time for him. Since then, Alexis has given his life to the ministry of Jesus and wishes to see many nations being changed by the healing power of God through love, true Biblical teaching, strategic prayer and disciple-making of all ages.

When our children can understand the tangible love of Jesus, this revelation will lead them from a life of oppression, to a life filled with hope and change.– Pastor Alexis HakizimanaIMG_4172A Vision for Our Children

Our dream is for orphaned children who have experienced similar hardships and trauma to come into the healing reality of family. We also believe this reflects God’s heart for those who were once far off, to be healed through receiving a Spirit of adoption found in the person of Jesus. For these orphaned children, Jesus looks like someone who will stop, see, and offer open arms of safety.

‘When you create an atmosphere of vulnerability and trust, it’s powerful. Children can share, forgive, and feel safe enough to grow for the first time.’ – Kaysha Dawn

We believe in healing for the mind, body, soul and spirit. Our mission is to give our children individualized spiritual care as well as meeting their physical needs that will provide a self-sustaining future when they would otherwise be facing many challenges. This kind of healing will impact not only one life, but also future generations to come.

The stories of Rwandan survivors can become a testimony around the world for issues of peace and reconciliation. Because the people have gone through terrible things– they can teach nations.’ – Josephine MunyeliNTAWE8614Making a House a Home

When Alexis and I met we toured a home for boys outside of Kigali. We walked the premises in quiet expectation knowing that our hearts were saying the same thing. ‘One day we will build a home like this.’IMG_4148IMG_4175Fast forward to January 2019 on one of our casual evening walks, we found an abandoned residence on a beautiful property overlooking the valley. We both lit up and our spirits danced with the thought of our dream coming alive, ‘Maybe this house is it?!’IMG_8425IMG_8405A phone call was made. We found the owner was, herself, a survivor of genocide living in Belgium. She had inherited the house at a young age upon her father’s death after the war. The house was left unfinished and uninhabited since that time.IMG_8433IMG_8973This war-torn house is five minutes walking distance from our apartment and we have agreed with the landlord for renovation to use it as the Kigali Children Center! It has a solid structure and foundation and we are excited to make something beautiful out of the brokenness of the past.

Here, we plan to create a nurturing environment for vulnerable children to:

1.    Receive love and physical care
2.    Receive support and trauma specific counseling
3.    Learn empathy for others
4.    Learn responsibility
5.    Receive formal education and vocational trainingIMG_6093IMG_4261IMG_8405Would you join us in supporting this life giving home in Rwanda?

To help create this center for children, please click here to visit our support raising website or contact us directly if you are more comfortable to find out more about our tax deductible giving option. We love sharing the passion of our hearts and would enjoy the chance to talk with you more.

To see more about what we are doing in Rwanda, visit Into Faith We Go.

With love,

Alexis & Kaysha

Oh the possibilities, when God gives you a promise

…and a dream.

 What if this house was a home?

 …a safe place for children and broken families to find refuge?

What if we could love them back to life?

– whispers Jesus

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Into Faith We Go

A lot has happened for me and Alexis since I last wrote, sharing the news of our engagement! First off—we were married two months ago, January 19th, 2019 in South Africa, with many of our closest friends and family.

          This day was remarkable in many ways, and we give God all the glory! 

Since our wedding day, I have packed up my life in South Africa with all the memories tucked into my heart. Alexis and I flew to Kigali, Rwanda January 23rd, and moved into the two bedroom home he had picked out for us. Our home is something like a ‘back-house’ to our landlord, and we are so grateful for a quiet location. Our place did not have running water when we first moved in, there was still quite a lot to be done! Neither of us were equipped with a stock of household furnishings, so we have been resourcefully using the monetary gifts from our wedding to buy a new cook stove, dishes, and some living room furniture, as well as installing running water in the house. A big thank you for every one of you who helped us to get started!! 

Other than moving into a new home, we have been adjusting to married life, and working as a team to make decisions for living and building our life together in Rwanda.Alexis has been teaching me how to shop for groceries the African way… NOT quite how I am used to, with using a bit of bargaining and picking through chickens for the best one. There have been many lifestyle changes for me, and learning to adapt to the food, language, clothing, transportation, and water issues have been a few of the biggest!

          Yet, we are in it together, and somehow drawing back to the Father at the end of every day, and pressing in again in the morning. 

We hit the ground running with ministry as well. If you weren’t aware from my last letter, Alexis has pioneered a discipleship school for local pastors, which started just last year, and will continue now with the second year! One of the funny but true mottos of our school is ‘Anointing without training equals confusion!’ Alexis is working very hard to give his students the Biblical and foundational teaching material they need that will equip them in truth to lead healthy churches across Rwanda and even extending to bordering African nations.

This year, Certificate Level students are gathering in the following locations: Rubavu, Muhanga, and Kayonza as well as our newest school starting up in DR of Congo. The main branch here in Kigali is home to our second year Diploma Level students. (See locations on the map attached.)

*For reference, the cost of one student tuition is equivalent to about $10 and is very difficult for most to come up with. The tuition basically covers costs for printing books and weekly transport fees for teachers. The school classroom and chair rental is currently provided for through our monthly financial support.

OUR AREAS OF MINISTRY INCLUDE \\ 
1.    Discipleship Training School for 100+ local pastors from Rwanda as well as surrounding nations. (Burundi, DRC, Uganda, South Sudan)

2.    Local Church service available to our students and open to the community.

3.    Healing Outreach: visiting local hospitals, as well as offering home visits for healing prayer counseling, and door to door evangelism.

4.    Kids Club: sharing the word of God at soccer clubs with children of all ages in our community.

5.    Envisioning our Children’s Center: will be described in more detail below.

I couldn’t be more proud of my husband. I am completely amazed by the way he serves people and His heavenly Father in carrying out his calling as a leader of leaders. I can see his heart and passion in everything he does. It is obvious he was born to do this kingdom work, and I am privileged to walk alongside him, learning a lot about how to be a pastor’s wife, and leading next to him in my own way. As I was so kindly given wisdom from a Pastor’s wife I look up to:
‘To give our lives to walk in ministry in this way is a selfless calling. You need to learn to share your husband with the multitudes because pastors are connected to a lot of people and you must trust God with him as there can be a lot of challenges in ministry. You need to have a big heart to love everyone, even those that don’t love you and learn to share as you are led to your life and blessings with others.‘
Although a wonderful mystery!…my marriage isn’t the answer to my hearts desire. It is more of Jesus and all that he wants to tell me in this new season, climbing higher mountains with him! (And with Alexis 😉 Somehow it works like that!

One of the newest mountains the Father has brought to the forefront is to actually start the dream of opening a children’s center near our home here in Kigali.This home will provide a safe place for the street children who are orphaned to have their basic needs of food and shelter met as well as receiving counseling, education and vocational training.  With the current laws in Rwanda it is actually illegal to live on the street or stay in a typical ‘orphanage’. Therefore most of these children or single mothers who are hiding from the public eye are overlooked by the community for fear of imprisonment. Our goal is to see those who have been abandoned and broken brought into familyand lift them to maturity in a safe place where they will grow to be empowered, self-sustaining adults, able to impact others for Jesus and transform generations to come. 

OUR INITIAL PLAN \\

·     Our children’s center is in currently in process as we have a property in mind within walking distance from our house! It will need much architectural renovation, but we can see so much potential. We are working on a project plan with the local government to make this dream become a reality and I hope to be able to share more goals and needs with you in our next newsletter!

·     Our more immediate focus is on the Discipleship Training Schools and gathering community around us. Alexis is extremely stretched with the five school locations and it is important to build a team around us that we can trust to go to these locations for teaching when we are not available and can continue to build the ministry vision.  We will also have a few teams visiting from Europe and South Africa this year that will bring much needed teaching to our local pastors.  Our goal is to have regular teams visiting to impart teaching as well as providing cross-cultural learning experiences for both African and western students. 

·     Our healing ministry is just a given, wherever we go, whatever we do, we offer a listening ear and prayer for healing. 

·     We will also be visiting previous church plants in Uganda and Burundi to make sure they are healthy and fruitful and continually preaching truth and advancing the kingdom of God. 

If you have any questions for us regarding the ministry I have described above, please feel free to write or send us a whatsapp. We are always happy to connect with family and friends from abroad.🙂 

If you feel led to give financially towards our ministry, we would welcome the support and can make that really simple and tax deductible as we are still with Iris Global ministries and are now considered to be ‘Pioneering a Base’ in Rwanda. Please let me know if you would like more information about how this works!

I want to especially thank those of you who have been faithful in your support since the beginning of this faith journey in Africa and, sincerely, the impact that your investment has had is beyond words. 

“Now teach these truths to other trustworthy people who will be able to pass them on to others.”
– II Timothy 2:1-2

ALL OUR LOVE IN HIM,

Kaysha & Alexis

Spring in Rwanda. // 2019

Our Home. // Kigali, Rwanda.

Visiting Alexis’ family in Northern Rwanda. // Prefegitura ya ByumbaIMG_8146

Rwandan Civil Marriage. // 2.28.19

Honeymoon. // Lake Kivu, Karongi, Rwanda

Rwanda MapDiscipleship School Locations / Students / Outreach / Certificate Level Graduates 2018.

It is impossible to be devoted to Jesus and not share Him.

We cannot see Him now, but God has ordained that we love Him by loving each other, whom we can see.

Love the Lord your God with all your heart soul and mind, and love your neighbor as yourself. – Mark 12:30

Making disciples means training others to become passionate followers of Jesus. It means leading people into the presence and love of Jesus, which is heaven on earth.

Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. – Matt. 28:20

Extreme hunger for teaching among our local pastors has led us to start leading our discipleship school. Pastors are in many ways the point men and women of a church. Whatever they set their hearts on, those following will follow in their footsteps. So it is vital that pastors value seeking after and finding the presence of God. If they are hungry for Him, others will be too.

Our vision is Jesus.

 

Gather. // Netherlands, U.K. Sweden

The idea was to gather the Father’s House school alumni in England, to encourage, connect, and equip our previous students in their homes and communities where God is using them to be a bright lights for His purposes.

Oh how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings! – Jesus

The end of my trip allowed me time in the Netherlands as well as Scotland and Sweden to see friends and be refreshed by the beauty of creation. Here are some of my favorite photos from time well spent gathering.

“In the shadow of your wings I sing for joy.” – Psalm 63:7

Celebrate Rwanda // Kigali

Traveling to Rwanda today. A dream fulfilled that’s been stored away in my heart 5+ years– where my passion for Africa began for this nation and its story of redemption!IMG_4031IMG_4046When I was invited to Kigali, Rwanda in January, it came as a complete surprise. I didn’t exactly know why I was going this time. I mean I knew the ‘mission’ but I wasn’t sure what my place was or how I would fit– except that I should go, and that God would show me as I went.

If you knew me five years ago, this concept of following his plan would have been completely foreign to me. I would have known exactly why I was going. 🙂 But Jesus has been teaching me that mission with Him looks different than the world’s way. He wrecks my plans so He can use me in His.IMG_4072IMG_4054As I arrived at the airport in Kigali, I was welcomed by Pastor Alexis and a few of his team members as well as Thomas and Erin, who I know from South Africa.

Pastor Alexis is the visionary for this ministry in Kigali, and we are the support team behind his vision to start a discipleship training school for current pastors as well as young evangelists. The school will help them to grow in identity in Christ, and the experience of walking with Him in faith, hearing His voice, knowing His grace, and the confidence to share the truth with others!IMG_4165 (1)

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Thomas and Erin enjoying our favorite lunch of rice and beans, side of green veg and portion of meat.

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The second morning after I arrived, I found this amazing jack fruit in the market! So sweet and juicy! Who knew fruit could grow so big? hmm.

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We walked everywhere we went. From the place where we stayed, to the building we used for a classroom, we crossed this intersection almost every day.

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Erin carrying everything with us, including this faithful black sound speaker.

The first class went very well! I am very proud of Thomas and Erin as they work with Alexis who is doing an amazing job of pioneering a new concept of how to build a unified church in his home country, and send out equipped messengers. They have a solid team to begin the school with energy as well as intention. I learned so much by watching them.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. – Matt. 5:6

The students of all ages poured into the classroom, eager and ready to learn. They could care less what the classroom looks like, we have no fancy projector screen presentation or printed books. We have no band, one proper light fixture…(and after much deliberation)..no coffee and tea. But we have a hunger and thirst for Jesus that cannot be quenched. This fire is fueled by love for the King.IMG_4067IMG_4068SJWP5345

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Sharing testimony of who Jesus is in my life. Everyone has personal story of who He is and a life message that no one else can tell but you. This is the simple gospel.

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My friend Antoinette from class. We had an immediate connection.

I was completely moved by the kindness of Rwandan people. Their genuine hearts reflect true redemption from a history of pain and injustices. This kind of forgiveness I cannot begin to understand with my human heart. This kind of redemption and love can only come down from the pure heart of a gracious Father in heaven.

Blessed are the pure in heart- for they will see God. – Matthew 5:8

Because of the sacrifice of the Messiah, his blood poured out on the altar of the Cross, we’re a free people—free of penalties and punishments chalked up by all our misdeeds. And not just barely free, either. Abundantly free! IMG_4113

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Buying sugar in the wholesale market for the school. Do you think 25kg is enough? Funny story. Erin and me carrying all these things through a torrential downpour of rain while trying to catch a bus. :/ Thank you God for the rain. haha.

Our Heavenly Father thought of everything, provided for everything we could possibly need, letting us in on the plans he took such delight in making. He set it all out before us in Christ, a long-range plan in which everything would be brought together and summed up in him, everything in deepest heaven, everything on planet earth.

It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. – Ephesians. 1

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Me with my moto taxi driver…who got lost…And of course only speaks French.

IMG_4199One day I took a motor taxi to another village to visit a ministry called Hope for Life, a place called home for local street boys.

Hope for Life’s mission is to serve impoverished ​youth through home care, providing stability in their lives and empowering them with resources and education needed to obtain a flourishing future for themselves and their community.

Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. – Matthew 5:7

This precious one took my hand and gave me a tour through his home. IMG_4168IMG_4175Most adults living in Rwanda carry the memories of the genocide time, while the youth are still living with the impact, many growing up with one parent—some without two.

A conversation I had with one young adult, while showing him a photo my dad had sent me, he said, ‘You have a dad?’…’AND a mom?’

This guy is the most gentle soul. Instead of being angry at God growing up without a father and mother, he rejoices in God that he is alive and has work, a young wife and son. God is good. It is a privilege to know this young man’s story.

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. – Matthew 5:4IMG_4166IMG_4179IMG_4172“How many beans do you think are there?” “1000.”

“Do you know how much God loves you?…   ….Much much more than ALL of these beans! Too much for you to count!”

How precious is your steadfast love, O God!
    The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings. – Ps. 36:7IMG_4185IMG_4187IMG_4189I celebrate this day. I celebrate that these boys have a home and that their future is changed for the better. I celebrate Rwanda and the beauty of redemption for this nation. For when the world has seen the Light, they will dance with joy like I’m dancing now!

You are the Light of the world! For at one time you were darkness, but now you have the very light of Jesus shining through you because of your union with him. Your mission is to live as children flooded with his revelation-light!

For we are children of Light, we carry hope wherever we go!IMG_4081

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At a local milk shop, you can fill any container to take home with you! One of our favorite evening treats. 🙂

Frame-19-02-2018-01-35-02Later in the evening we stopped by a boys soccer game to meet the boys and connect with them. After soccer practice we were able to join in for music and dancing. The coach has a real heart to empower the youth and grow them up with a solid foundation and bright future. IMG_4212He who created you, He who formed everything in the world, He created you on purpose and with purpose. There are no accidents with Him!

Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you, before you were born I set you apart! – Jeremiah 1:5

For He chose you to be his very own, even before the creation of the world! He had you in mind as the focus of his love, to be made whole through Jesus so that you would be seen as holy in his eyes with an unstained innocence. img_4219.jpgFrame-19-02-2018-01-40-12Frame-19-02-2018-01-37-20Frame-19-02-2018-01-36-56IMG_4202On my last night in Kigali, as we walked through a nearby village, I reflected on the week I had spent here and the beauty of having so many special experiences with people through His eyes, I was torn to leave. But there is still more for me back in South Africa!

I will seek first, your kingdom and your righteousness. Everything I need, you will provide for me! My heart is to seek first, your kingdom! 

Wherever you are, wherever you find yourself, build His Kingdom of love. Everything else is fading away, only love. Only love remains.

Love can build a bridge of forgiveness and reconciliation that is powerful. This is love to celebrate!IMG_4245IMG_4249IMG_4253IMG_4254IMG_4265

i carry your heart with me, i carry it in

my heart. i am never without it.

anywhere i go, you go, my dear;

and whatever is done by only me is your doing,

my darling.

for I carry your heart with me. I carry it in my heart.

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You Make Me Come Alive! // Kids Club

Wednesday is Kids Club!…spending time with these guys make me come alive! Kids Club is a time to gather all the farm children in the kloof from primary school to teenage youth. It’s time to invest in their hearts that they will come to know what it really means to be a child of God…Adopted. Chosen! Redeemed! That this Papa God is not distant or passive, but active and breathing, singing and rejoicing over each one! Not only that but this Papa has a special plan for each one of our lives!IMG_8919 Here at Kids Club, we play soccer, games, work with our hands on creative art projects, and other fun activities that engage everyone together. Then, towards the end of the evening, we gather in a circle to read a Bible story and pray together. A few of the teenage youth read the story in Afrikaans for the little ones. IMG_2132 The children REALLY look forward to this time every week, as any moment of attention has a huge and lasting impact on their lives. Moments to call them higher, that their dreams are not far off, but that God really sees them and that they are never alone.

Time with them is a gift.IMG_2717My heart bursts for each one, and my prayer and dream is to see real change in this generation, that they will see Gods beauty and love in creation and in each other. That they will be filled with hope for a bright future in South Africa.

In the eyes of a child you will see the world the way it should be.