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Thursday, July 19, 2012

CHIC Post #3

CHIC cow checking in:

     The last couple of days have been very mooooving (I'm a's how I do things). The last two speakers helped us all take steps of courageous authenticity. 
Mike keeps saying that without courageous authenticity there will be little growth.
The speakers, Francis Chan and Judy Peterson, have rocked our worlds. Here are some words the students are using to describe what's happening 
real, surrender, forgiven, renewed, one, freedom, unashamed worship, confession, crazy TOV 
If you haven't checked out the CHIC website you should because there are live feeds and videos and pictures (some might be of us because we've been front two rows two times)
This is our last full day and we're ready to take full advantage of it!
Mooooving on

CHIC cow checking out
PS - try and find me in the picture!

Monday, July 16, 2012

CHIC 2012 - Post #2

Hey it's the CHIC cow checking in from Knoxville!

        Yesterday was our first full day...we played hard, sweated hard and worshipped big. The day began with a huge welcome party in the center of the university of Tennessee campus complete with live music, free food and lots of "inflatable bouncy goodness". But the real highlight was worship! I got a great seat (see my picture)'s what the students had to say about last night:

"it was a stadium filled with 6000 people yet it felt like one voice worshipping one God with the power to unite us all" - Anna 

"it was 6000 people but you still felt alone with God" - Lizzie 

"i liked the solo time that came after worship because it gave me the opportunity to stop talking to God and start listening to God" - Daniel 

"I've never laughed so much during a sermon" - Christopher

CHIC cow signing out

CHIC Pics!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

CHIC 2012 - Post #1

From the "CHIC Cow":

      I met the harbor covenant team at a chick-fil-A in Atlanta. Their flight across the continent was smooth and their drive to Knoxville was filled with singing, dancing and some "silent prayer and meditation" (they did leave their church parking lot at 3:30am)
They decided to have a southern dinner of ribs and pulled pork. Next stop is a grocery store for breakfast goodies and sunscreen
      Tomorrow the conference begins...each of the students chose a single word to describe what they're looking forward to:

Anna - worship
Jacob - CHIC
Christopher - risk
Daniel - worship
Caleb - restoration
Janna - renewal
Rachel - togetherness
Madison - friendships
Amy - willingness
Diana - oneness
Lizzie - fellowship
Lauren - hanging
Leigh - out

God is about to do some amazing things in the lives of this team...glad I get to hang out with them!

CHIC cow

Monday, July 2, 2012

3 Words

After spending over two weeks in Rwanda, we asked each person to describe their experience and sum it up with just three words.  Here are the responses…

Keegan: Honesty, Forgiveness, Belonging

Jordan: Foreign, Beautiful, Painful

Joel: Conversations, Reconciliation, Transportation

Katlyn : Pain, Love, Restoration

Madi: Joy, Heartache, Awe

Raleigh: Fustration, Beauty, Growth

Hadyn: Passion, Big, New

Kayla: Joyful, Passionate, Direction

Carin : Plan, Pretty, Powerful

Kyra: Beautiful-Pain, Prayer, Family

Jasper: washed, heart-heavy, one

Fran: Painful, Joyful, Powerful

Isaac: Amazing, Mind-Opening, Beautiful

Alec: Impressed, Accomplished, Looking-For-More

Kristen: Humility, Beauty, Joy

Scott: Motivated, Frustration, Urukundo (Love)

Mike: Joy, Belonging, Prayer

Reflections of Rwanda (Part 1)

Rwanda is one of the most beautiful, friendliest, and strongest countries I have ever visited. From the people who wave, hug, and smile with abandon to the rolling green hills filled with banana trees and brick houses, Rwanda is so much more than the history it is known for. Looking back on this trip my favorite moment and the moment that illustrated the heart of Rwanda the most is definitely the experience at the APRECOM women’s conference.  These women live in the depths of poverty, and many are widows or infected with HIV. These women’s stories broke my heart again and again. But at this conference these women came in with hearts and songs of joy. They sang and danced for Jesus with a heavenly beautiful. The moments in which we danced with them and tried to sing with them brought about a glimpse of heaven. Even with all they have suffered and did not have they ended praying prayers for us that brought tears to all our eyes and illustrated what we as a church are continually supposed to be doing. At that conference my eyes were opened to the power and beauty of God through women who have known every pain  in life. And this story,  is only an example of how Rwanda and the people of Rwanda have touched my life.  God is working in this country.
-          - Carin Cochrane

As I reflect on my time here in Rwanda, I can see how it has made me into a better person. The passion, strength, and boldness I have witnessed in the people of Rwanda has truly inspired me. They challenged me to stop simply being a spectator, and watching while others stepped out in faith . I have had many experiences that took me out of my comfort zone. Whether it was sharing my testimony (for the first time) in front of a church, or talking and praying with widows in their homes, I have been constantly challenged. I have a newly found confidence and courage that makes me excited to minister to my peers as I go off to college. God has shown me that I can be a leader, and that if I break out of my shell and trust Him, I am capable of much more than I thought. God has truly given me peace and assurance as I move on to the next phase, has given me glimpses of the greater mission He has for my life. It is crazy to think about how He has worked. He used this trip in order to help me own my faith, step up as a leader, and give me an excitement and passion to be His light on the UW campus next fall.
-Katlyn Lundquist
We went to worship one night and sang many songs, but one chunk of a song stuck out to me. It goes: “Put me anywhere, just put your glory in me. I’ll serve anywhere, just let me see your beauty.” This sums up my experience here in Kigali. God has shown me how to truly be passionate. Whether it be talking with the widows or organizing books, God was in my heart, giving me the courage and endurance to go wherever He called me. I experienced many moments of pain and heartache as I had to say goodbye to street kids that were malnourished and yet still so happy to be with me. I asked many hard questions that may never be answered and I will never fully understand why these amazing people have endured through so much pain. But many of my own questions about my faith were answered on this trip. God has opened my eyes and showed me how to fully love him, I learned this as I watched widows, who have every reason to doubt God, jumping and singing and praising our great Lord together. He taught me and challenged me every day. I can honestly say I am heartbroken to leave, but I know God has many plans for me back in America. Like Timothy 4:12 says, God showed me I wasn’t to young our too small to serve through and with him. I am blessed.
-Madison Dale LaRose

So yeah, I just spent two weeks in Rwanda and what can I say, it was pretty incredible. There were two ministry/job things that really had the most impact on me and they were the soccer ministry with street kids and believe it or not organizing a library. Playing soccer with the street kids was an incredibly and powerful time for me. The kids had nothing yet everyday they come to a dirt field and have a blast. To see kids who don’t even have homes have such giant smiles on their face was just mind blowing. So even though I got schooled by a bunch of 11-12 year olds it was still one of the most powerful moments for me. The other job was organizing the Arise and Shine Library, a job that to many seems absolutely mind numbing and a waste of time, you went to Africa and spent time in a library… wow you’re so cool. But even though I spent time in a library I know I had a lasting impact on the people here. Seeing the appreciation on the teachers’ and librarian’s face were enough to realize this. So even though I spent around 12 hours sitting in a library I got to see how God works in small ways to accomplish big things.
-Alexander Cluff

It’s difficult to describe exactly how I feel about my time here in Rwanda. It’s been amazing and inspiring, to be sure, but more than that, it’s given me an experience that will inform the rest of my life. The passion for service and the devotion to God amidst incredible heartache that I’ve witnessed here—both in the people of this beautiful nation and my team—have given me a better sense of reality. Not just the way things are sort of reality, but the way God desires them to be, and that’s the reality that I hope I’ll be living into as I return home and go off to college. The ministries here I’ll never forget, not the people I’ve met, but most importantly, I will never forget the lessons learned, taught by God through the work and words of His people. God is the one who causes change, and I can only open myself to His quiet voice and discern where He is leading me next.
- Keegan Amrine

It was awe-inspiring to be on a trip with this group of people, because throughout our time, the focus was never on having a good story to tell when we got back, but rather on listening and serving the way God wanted us to. And I think that sums up our trip pretty well. We didn’t build a house, start a church, or dig a well, but through us, I think God was simply able to love. We washed the feet of outcasts and widows, gave encouragement to those who were weak, and knelt before the worthless to tell them they were worthy. I can think of no other explanation for the heartbreak and joy we experienced than that the hand of God was on this trip and working through us. Personally, my highlights came in the times where things weren’t scripted, where God had the chance to speak in His still small voice. Crazy as it sounds, I loved the times where I had to just yell prayers to people that didn’t understand them, break out Wet Wipes to wash the feet of a widow, or jump on the back of a motorbike carrying three people. I leave changed and loved, having been washed and having watched others be washed as well. It amazes me that God chooses to use us. It amazes me that He wants me.
-Jasper Vaughn

The lifestyle here in Rwanda is so completely different than in America. For starters there is no rush. People take the time to walk and take public transportation. That is the way to get around here in Rwanda. People take time to get where they need to go, they depend on others for their transport. That is so contrary to life in America. So much better if you ask me. But even more important than that EVERY person here whether complete stranger or best friend says hello. There is nothing like this in America. Everyone back home has their little bubble that no one can interrupt. That is what I long for the most – human interaction while in public, between strangers. The atmosphere here is so utterly joyous and open. I have enjoyed many aspects of this trip, but for me the happiness and interactive spirit that permeates the entire Rwandan culture is what has impacted me the most.\
- Joel Rurik
Looking back over the last two weeks the first thing I think of is how fast time has flown and how much I wish we could stay here another week. I had no expectations coming on this trip so every new experience was exciting and eye opening to the world around me. Rwanda has to be one of the most friendly places I have ever been. Though we are white and stand out, the majority of the people greet us with a hello and a smile that makes all of us feel welcome. The county itself is also one of the most beautiful places I have seen. With its rolling hills and tall lush plants, the beauty of Rwanda is evident through not only its land but its people as well. The people of Rwanda don’t want the country to be known for its genocide any longer, but that the country has forgiven and is growing into a peaceful and loving country. God has bless the country with reconciliation and it is evident through the actions of the people. I think that this trip has given all of us a better foundation in our faith that will help us in our next chapter of our lives. As we all go off to college and are no longer bound to our families or friends decisions we will be forced to make our own decisions. Rwanda will always be in our hearts.
-Raleigh Winchester

The last two weeks in Rwanda have been two of the most powerful weeks in my life. I have never experienced so much joy,  pain, heart ache, happiness, and hope all at the same time. I had the opportunity to teach English at the school during the trip. Seeing the expressions of gratitude on the faces of the students that I touched brought me an abundance of joy. Seeing students run into the classroom to hug me yelling “Teacher Flan, Teacher Flan” brought me happiness. Seeing the excitement that the students possessed for learning brought me so much hope. Seeing the lack of resources that the students and teachers had brought me pain, and imagining the life that the students I grew to love dearly lived and all the pain that they have to go through every day brought me extreme heart ache. It was amazing going through these emotions and sharing these life- changing experiences with a group of people who were truly committed to seeking God and glorifying Him in everything that was done in Rwanda. These people challenged me to examine my plans for the future and helped me to think of ways that I could use what I learned here in my career. Teaching in the school not only opened my eyes to the need of reform in schools around the world, but it gave me a passion to do something. Whether or not I decide to go and teach in an inner city school in the United States or I decide to come back and teach in a place like Rwanda, I have decided to dedicate my life and my career in the future to changing the world of education and I am excited to do so. Rwanda has given me confidence to chase this dream.
-Francesca Bisciglia 

Prayer Bus

Today I was a part of the prayer bus! What is the prayer bus you ask? Well, the prayer bus consisted of about ten to twelve  harbor covenant students and leaders plus Robert, Anna, and Method. We left the base around 8:30 and started our three hour drive to Mary and Method’s (Robert’s sister and brother in law) lot where they are starting to build another YWAM base! On our long drive, we prayed. We prayed in multiple ways including our Psalm prayers, praying all at once, and single word prayers. We also used the time to get to know each other more. We laughed, we joked, and we talked. It was a nice time to just sit and enjoy each other’s company. 

Once we arrived at the base, we started praying again. We prayed for the future schools that would be there. We prayed for the teachers and students that would be populating the building. We prayed for the students that would be becoming disciples and being sent out in the world. We prayed for the water that would be blessing the people of the village as well the people on the base. And we prayed for so much more. After one of our single word prayers we decided that to sum it up, we prayed for Growth, belonging, and Protection.

We then continued to travel down through the village and were able to see the families that we living close to the base. About a mile from the base was the well for the water supply. They have yet to get it running because the generator needs fuel to pump the water up to the base. We calculated that it would cost them $50 of fuel a week to pump the water to the base. But the village can’t afford $200 dollars a month and neither can the base so they are still trying to figure out what to do there.

Over all, we did a lot of praying. Prayer for the base and its future and also for the families and individuals at our current base. I am very excited for the plans that Mary and Method have for the base and look forward to seeing the progress of the base. I know God will provide them with the materials and resources they need and bless the base and its future staff and students. It was a good day.

-Raleigh Winchester