A selection of photos with some of the friends and family we were able to connect with during our time in South Dakota, California, Nebraska, Texas, and Michigan. We hope to visit more of you in our future travels!
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!’
The 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.Even 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.Testimony
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.In 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 HakizimanaA 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 MunyeliMaking 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.’Fast 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?!’A 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.This 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 trainingWould 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.
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
Our Home. // Kigali, Rwanda.
Visiting Alexis’ family in Northern Rwanda. // Prefegitura ya Byumba
Rwandan Civil Marriage. // 2.28.19
Honeymoon. // Lake Kivu, Karongi, Rwanda
Discipleship 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.
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
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!When 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.As 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!
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.
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!
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
One 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. Most 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 5:4“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. 36:7I 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!
Later 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. He 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. On 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!
my heart. i am never without it.
and whatever is done by only me is your doing,
for I carry your heart with me. I carry it in my heart.
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! 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. 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.My 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.
Jesus said, ‘Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children.’
You see, God is like a new daddy — He can’t keep the good news to himself. He is always waiting for THIS moment, this time. This place. This Wednesday night. And now, here, He can tell them. I LOVE YOU!!!!!!!
Bible says, Don’t neglect the day of small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin! Zechariah 4:10
Once a month on a Saturday, we gather. This gathering is a small group of women who live and work hard on neighboring farms nearby. We come together to connect with each other for quality friendship, conversation and faith. During this time we transform the Kids Club space into Mama’s tea and coffee time! You see, with us, God had no fancy agenda, no formal presentation when He gave us Jesus. God sent his Son to a little hillside, outside a little town, in the middle of the night, born to a young couple in a barn. Then, He sent all of heavens angels to sing to a simple group of shepherds watching their sheep outside of Bethlehem.
For God, He must have thought shepherds were very important indeed, that they were the ones he chose to tell the good news about Jesus to FIRST.
He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; He will gently lead the mother sheep with their young. Isaiah 40:11
And He is Immanuel, God with us! In our work, in our sleep, in our play, in our gathering. If we will tune our hearts to his beat, and simply make space for Him, magical things can happen.
In Him is life, and this life is Light for ALL. John 1:4
Recently, I was having a conversation with someone about culture. Making the statement that we should allow for and differentiate a person’s spiritual life based on the culture they are a part of. This statement has been challenging me multiple times over many weeks, and I’m finally putting my thoughts out in writing.
Everything is spiritual. Every breath we breathe is a gift by His spirit. The way we act, the choices we make, the priorities we have, the focus we choose everyday – these choices should be a result of the Spirit. If we live by His Spirit, we keep in step with the Spirit. If ANY culture calls themselves Jesus followers they ought to begin by recognizing their existence and very lives as being spiritual! Therefore we are now new creations! Our culture is gone! Because we belong to a spiritual culture. An upside down kingdom! This is not how the world lives. This is how Jesus lives. This is a Jesus culture! And it doesn’t make sense. It’s not popular. It’s not a culture of becoming like the world to relate to the world. NO. The call to advance the Kingdom is being against the grain. To go against the odds. To sail against the wind, and all the while, resting, in the consistent nature of our outrageously good God!
My vision is not to change a culture, to make African culture be more like American or to make American be more African or European or liberal or conservative or more self-confident or more educated or more politically free, more aware of color or less aware of color. My vision is to be like Jesus. To love His righteousness more than my own. To hate my own ‘self-righteousness’ so that I can receive His.
I want to be transformed by His presence and motivated by His heart. An ambassador for Christ as though God were pleading through me, Come closer to Him! Come to him and find his righteous heart of love. He made himself who is completely pure to be sin on my behalf! That I might become like Him in his perfection.
‘He sees you as perfect for Him. And He wants to make you perfect in His nature. Stamping the image of Jesus on you. And he will not rest himself until you have this revelation of what He is really, really like for yourself.’
I’ve had many friends comment, ‘Kaysha, when you are around, there is so much peace, it’s like I am a better version of myself.’ I am not sharing this to make myself sound amazing…Do you know? This isn’t me! This is Christ in me – the HOPE of glory. I don’t love myself. I love HIM. He is the ONLY perfect one. Looking for His integrity. That is my joy. Looking for His consistency. Looking for His sincerity. When He proves himself to you, which He will, you can’t help but follow after Him into craziness. And live in Him and move in Him. And represent Him. And count everything else as loss for the sake of knowing Him and growing more deeply and thoroughly acquainted with Him- a joy unequaled.
Not that I have already obtained it [this goal of being Christ-like] or have already been made perfect, but I actively press on so that I may take hold of that [perfection] for which Christ Jesus took hold of me and made me His own. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider that I have made it my own yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the [heavenly] prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. All of us who are mature [pursuing spiritual perfection] should have this attitude. And if in any respect you have a different attitude, that too God will make clear to you. Only let us stay true to what we have already attained.
Brothers and sisters, together follow my example and observe those who live by the pattern we gave you. For there are many, of whom I have often told you, and now tell you even with tears, who live as enemies of the cross of Christ [rejecting and opposing His way of salvation], whose fate is destruction, whose god is their belly [their worldly appetite, their sensuality, their vanity], and whose glory is in their shame—who focus their mind on earthly and temporal things. – Phil. 3:12-19
But we are different, because our citizenship is in heaven.
Dare to be of a different culture. Dare to not only be a Christ follower, dare to bend. To be humbled. To become less you, in order to become Christ-like in nature, for then, and only then, will we see Heaven on earth.
Love, is a winding road. Older than old.
Love, is a mystery. It’s got a hold on me and I just can’t shake it.Through these 7 weeks I see 12 Love letters from Christ delivered to the world. That the world will know Him. Not written with ink, but with the Spirit of the Living God. Not on tablets of stone, but on tablets of the human heart.The transition into a ‘school co-leading role’ included many firsts for me that were not always easy. Yet here, in my weakness, He is the strongest, and the most magnified and the most glorified! The testimonies that were shared in this school were unbelievable. Our Father God’s redemptive work in the lives of His children never ceases to amaze me.
Such is our reliance on Him- not a confidence that comes from ourselves, but all power and ability and SUFFICIENCY are from God. It is HE who qualifies us- making us fit and worthy and sufficient as ministers and dispensers of this Love message of salvation through Jesus! – II Cor. 3:2-6I am without words to describe the joy..as well as the growth in what we experience these days, therefore I’ll let the photos speak for themselves and highlight a few unique moments during our discipleship school, Father’s House 7.During the second week of the school we experienced a forest fire that was quite close to home. The fire started on the neighboring farm because of the drought and after a week of fighting it, the fire was finally extinguished. It wasn’t an easy week for the community, but together we saw the power of unity in prayer and God’s loving protection through it all.
I will not fear for You are with me! // He will command his angels concerning you to guard you in ALL your ways. You will not fear sudden disaster, for it won’t come near your tent. – Ps. 91 During week four, we traveled on three-day outreach to a township outside of Cape Town called Mannenburg. Over the years this specific area has become overcrowded with high incidences of crime and gang activity emerging. While working with several local ministries, our students joined to offer prayer and encouragement for local kids and families desperately seeking the hope and the love of Jesus in a dark place. God’s presence was tangibly felt with healing and salvation happening all around.The last week of FH7 before graduation, our fearless leaders, Johan and Marie had the wild idea of taking our students on a 14hr train trip to a massive prayer gathering in Bloemfontain, located centrally in the Free State province of South Africa. You may have heard about this national gathering for prayer on the news, as 1.7 million South Africans gathered before God to pray for the nation politically, economically, spiritually and relationally in unity as a people. It was a huge privilege to be a part of something so radical and I believe as so many gather with one focus, we will see change and God’s love emerging at the center of a once broken nation.The gift of being a part of these 12 stories for 7 weeks is a privilege I cannot put into words. To see each student fall in love with Him, to blossom and flourish in family, to be willing to be broken and willing to be healed. To forgive, to cheer each other on, to fight for love- this is the vision. This is why we do what we do. That the world will KNOW Him.
All of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Jesus. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him. For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And He gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. So we are His ambassadors; God is making His appeal through us. We speak for Jesus when we cry, ‘Come back to God!’ For God made Jesus, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Him. – II Cor. 5:18-20
Love is a dangerous word to those who fear losing control.
Love is a wild wind and no one knows which way it goes.
Love, it’s a dangerous word.
Following these seven weeks we continue with a two week extended outreach to three locations in the Western Cape. If you are interested in photos from our outreach work, I’ve shared them here: That the World will Know Him.
If you would like to learn more about our discipleship school please visit our website. Applications are now open for October.