This is my blog where I hope to update everyone on my adventures with YWAM. :)

"He has shown you, O man, what is good.
And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy and
to walk humbly with your God." Micah 6:8

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The Land of A Thousand Hills

What happens when you impulsively buy a chicken and then get attached to it? In this case, you end up having to kill the chicken and eat it for dinner. Yes, poor Logan is dead. He was a very good chicken and he made me laugh many times. Sadly though, after having him for a couple weeks I was informed by my leaders that they didn't think our landlord would want a chicken living here and told me I needed to kill it. I know that it was my original plan when I bought the chicken but I'm an animal lover and since I didn't do the deed right away and waited, I grew fond of him. Killing him was really hard, after I did it I definitely cried. But if I'm going to be a meat eater, I think it's good to experience first-hand the process that occurs in order for me to actually be able to eat meat. I had to keep reminding myself that God gave us animals to eat. I don't think this will be something I will ever repeat in my life unless I have to, but I suppose it is good to know that I am able to if necessary.

I haven't blogged for a few weeks so I'll try and catch you up on what we've been doing. One of the weeks we worked in an orphanage in the morning and then in the afternoons we went to the community. At the orphanage we split into two groups and each took turns playing with the kids and washing clothes. Almost all of the children at the orphanage were mentally handicapped or disabled. There were a number of children who couldn't stand by themselves and were confined to laying down and waiting for someone to pick them up. These children especially constantly had flies on them, in their mouth, on their eyes. Some would have mini "fits", randomly kicking and jerking their legs and arms. One little child, he must have been around 1 1/2 years old, would behave completely fine and normal, but every now and then he too would have a mini "fit" and start crying and saying "Mama! Mama!". It broke my heart.

At the community one of our team members Courtney taught the women how to crochet hats. (I've learned as well) The women picked it up so quickly! One woman in the course of two weeks has made seven hats already! While they were being taught that, our guys joined with the few men in the community and started helping them build new toilets. (basically latrines) We also built them an improvised "faucets" which they could use to wash their hands. I and several of the other girls taught the women and children proper hygiene and hand-washing. We had all the children practice thouroghly cleaning their hands and getting rid of the dirt under their nails. When we came again later in the day and all the children ran up they were so clean! While we were gone the women had given their children baths and made sure that their hands were clean. Before this we had never seen the children clean, they were always so dirty. It was so awesome seeing the immediate results of our teaching! Since then while they are still sometimes dirty, they are generally so much cleaner!

The kids showing off their clean hands!

This school we've been teaching at for the past two weeks is called Excella School, it's a private Christian school from nursery to grade 6. The first day we were there we split up in groups of 2 or 3 and each had a class that we were going to work with. We expected to just observe the classes and help out the teachers but when we showed up to the classes the teachers just handed it over to us and left! We were at a loss about what to teach them but we improvised to the best of our ability. The students all called us "Teacher" so I was "Teacher Bethany". I worked mostly with the older classes, grades 5 and 6 which I loved. While I enjoy younger kids, their classes were almost too much for me to handle. It's hard to deal with 30 hyper five year olds who only speak English as a second language! The first week was very uncoordinated for us, but the second week went so much better. Although it's a Christian school we found through talking with many of the kids that their view of salvation was very works based. We've grown confident in teaching them and were able to share about the gospel, teaching them things like the fruits of the spirit, forgiveness of sins, and faith and works. We've had such a great response from the students and even were able to lead many of them to Christ. After one class Ben and I had 19 students get down on their knees and accept Jesus! I'll be honest, I teared up a little bit. I'm praying for them that this declaration will be the foundation of a life-long relationship with the Lord. We've come across some situations where it seems that we aren't really doing anything of value but each time God has totally shown up and blessed our work.

Teaching the girls some ballet
One day several grade 6 girls came up to me and asked me if I would teach them ballet later that day when I would be teaching their class. I told them I wasn't sure what we'd be doing but it was a possibility (I didn't actually think that it was going to happen). But when we showed up to where their class was having PE outside all the girls were waiting for me and hopped up off the ground excited to learn ballet! Mind you, I haven't done ballet in YEARS but since they were so excited I couldn't say no. I explained to them that they had to give me a minute to "remember", luckily I was able to recall a few ballet moves and was able to teach them. It ended up being a lot of fun. It's been such a joy working with these kids and getting to know them. It will be so hard saying goodbye to them.

A beautiful Rwandan sunrise
Two Sundays ago we went to a small (but very packed) church service in town that lasted 6 hours! The pastor is very prophetic and filled with the holy spirit. He had come to our house before and ministered to us, prophesying over each of our team members and it was astonishing how spot on he was. During the church service he had people who were visiting for the first time stand up and then he would call out things about their lives. He told one woman that God revealed to him that she was seeing two men, neither of whom were her husband (he even specified one of the mens names) and told her that she needed to turn back to God or things would not go well for her. He did this for around 6 different people and each time you could tell what he was saying was true. Around three hours of the service was spent with worship and dancing... a lot of dancing! Their choirs would get up and sing and dance a traditional African dance. I don't know how to explain what this dancing looked like but it was so energetic and amazing to watch! Part of the way through the pastor called up us Muzungu's (White People) to dance on stage. We weren't prepared at all but we went up anyways and attempted to dance their African dance with them. We got videos of that which I will hopefully be able to share when I get back. Also while we were there the pastor got a word from God that Ben was supposed to preach. Luckily God had prepared Ben in advance because he had a sermon ready! He did so well and you could see that he has the gift of preaching!

Last Sunday was a long, long day. The night before our leader told us that we would be going to a village church and that we needed to be prepared to do worship and have someone give their testimony and preach. Guess who was called to preach? Me! When I thought of what I would preach on the thing that came to mind was the mission call. I didn't really know what I would say besides a few Bible verses and some notes I had but I trusted that God would give me the words to speak. So Sunday morning we left the house at 6:30 a.m. and for an hour took two different bus rides to get out of the city. The last bus dropped us off on the side of the road where we hired biciclyists (not motorcycles!) to take us several miles down a dirt road that winded throughout the hills. They dropped us off at the bottom of a hill (more like a mountain to me!) where we were to begin our ascent. Yep, we had a lot of hiking yet to do! One of my team members estimated that we hiked up 15,000 feet, either way it took us almost two hours of hiking to make it to the church. I'm not a physically fit person in general, but on top of that I was also sick with a bad cough/cold. It was definitely a struggle for me hiking up that dirt path in the hot sun. Much of that time was spent in prayer, half praying that I would just make it up the mountain and the other half that I would be able to effectively preach and that God would give me the words to say once I got there! Somehow, God gave me the strength to make it up the hill. When we got to the church I was still wondering if He would also give me the words. I was so nervous getting up to preach but I knew that God had brought me up to that church for a reason. And as always God came through. My sermon went really well and God did give me the words to say when I myself really had nothing to give.Afterwards the pastor said that my message was just what they needed to hear and that God had been telling them some of the same things. I can't tell you how happy I was to hear him say that. God is so good! On the way back down I was able to focus more on the scenery and oh, is God not the most amazing artist in the universe? Rwanda is so absolutely beautiful, pictures don't do it justice at all!

Thank you everyone for your continued prayers and support. We have a little less than five weeks left here in Rwanda. On February 14th our team will be heading to Burundi to do some hospital ministry. Please take a look at the website to check out what we will be doing there.
After we get back from Burundi we will be heading out of Kigali and going to a village for a week, and then after a couple days we'll be on our way back to the states! Please be praying that God will use us mightily in the time we have left here and that we will be bringing God's light wherever we go and be equipped to set the captives free (spiritually, emotionally, and physically!).

Love you all!


Monday, January 2, 2012

Hearts of Gold

Our "Christmas Tree"
 Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Our team spent the holidays pretty simply but we did our best to make it feel like home. For Christmas all of us were delegated things to cook/bake for the day. I made cinnamon rolls from scratch. They turned out surprisingly well considering that the ingredients weren't exact and neither were the measurements since I had to guess at how much a cup and teaspoon looked like. I also was in charge of making garlic mashed potatoes which also turned out really great. It took us almost all day to cook everything but it was worth it! To decorate our house and make it feel more "Christmasy" I cut out stars and made a "Merry Christmas" banner. For our tree I draped my green blanket over a wooden statue and pasted on construction paper ornaments. It was a makeshift Christmas but I think it made it more special. As a team we also did a small white elephant exchange and later played a few games of Mafia. In all it was a very wonderful Christmas! For New Years we went to an all night Prayer Meeting that started at 8 pm and ended at 5 am. When we got there it was packed! The church was filled with people so they brought out chairs and put them outside, which is where we ended up. It was really chilly outside so we only stayed until around 1 am.

Making Cinnamon Rolls
Since there are 7 of us on our team and we cook our own meals every day we alternate having 2 people stay home and do all the cooking and cleaning for the day and the others go to ministry. Just cooking the meals takes a long time as our microwave doesn't work and we have to boil everything we use (even water and milk) on our propane stove. We have nothing that is "instant" or "easy made", it's all from scratch! We eat so well and healthy this way! It can be quite the task but it's also fun and a great learning experience. We also scrub our laundry by hand in buckets in our backyard and hang them to dry on clothes lines. I'm finding outreach to be such a great preparation for being a wife and mother! :)

Peeling Potatoes

Me and my chicken
A few days ago I was walking home from the store when I passed two men on the street who had bunches of chickens tied up and hanging by their feet (still alive!). Out of curiousity I stopped and asked them "angahe?" (which means "how much?"). I am just beginning to learn numbers so it was quite the feat trying to understand what their answer was. One of the men ended up pulling out his cellphone and typed out the price on it. They were asking 3500 Rwandan Francs for a chicken which comes out to about $6. After all that trouble of trying to communicate prices with them, I then had to try and explain that I didn't have that amount of money with me. Feeling bad and on the spur of the moment I decided I actually would buy a chicken! After a lot more hand gesturing I got them to walk the short distance with me to the gate to our house and wait for me. My teamates were in the middle of eating lunch when I burst in saying "I found us a chicken!". I got one of my teamates Ben and our interprator Aimable to come out with me, and we talked with the men and picked out the best (aka most plump) looking chicken and bought it! I am still really amused that this even happened, it was such an impulse buy, but hey, I'm in AFRICA! Before I left my friend Logan told me that he wanted me to kill something if I had the chance. This chicken is my chance, the only question is whether I'm going to kill it sooner rather than later. Right now it's staying in our storage shed and since it had been dragged around upside down when I bought it, it's pretty tame and easily lets me pet it. My initial desire to kill it has waned the longer we've had it and especially since I named it (after Logan). It has also gifted us with a fresh egg every morning, which made me very excited. At the rate things are looking right now this chicken will probably have a long life (at least until we leave).

These past two weeks (it feels like we've been here so much longer!) we've been doing door-to-door ministry in a neighborhood here in Kigali. It's been such an amazing experience. The people here are so very welcoming, open up their homes to us and taking the time to listen to us share. God has definitely prepared and brought the right people into our paths. I'm not sure of the exact number but I would estimate that since we've been doing door-to-door at least over 20 people have come to accept and have a personal relationship with Christ! I am blown away at how receptive everyone has been to our message. God is so good!

During our wandering through the neighborhood during door-to-door we came across a small community that has really touched our hearts. I don't know how to aptly describe it but I will try. It's a very poor community made up of mostly women and children (lots of children!). The ground is muddy, the house walls and floors are made of dirt and the roofs consist of rusty and tattered sheet metal. There are around 21 children of various ages and sizes, from 1 1/2 years to the oldest being 15. They wear dirty, ragged clothes, most of them having holes in them and are too big for their little bodies. It's hard to distinguish the girls from the boys as they wear mixed clothing. None of them have underwear (or diapers!) to wear. Many have scabs on their heads from bug bites. From what we've gathered (although they haven't outrightly said it) it seems the mothers often have had to resort to prostituting themselves in order to be able to buy food for their children. (Which exlpains all the young children, and no fathers) You can tell that they are very hungry and hardly get much to eat. The children have one toy which is a horrifying doll that has only one arm, the rest that they play with is whatever they can find. But these children have hearts of gold and smiles that will light up your heart. Whenever they see us all of them run and leap into our arms, surrounding us and hugging us with such joy. I constantly have several children in my lap or holding my hand. They just love to be touched and held.

Several times we've had the children sit while we tell them Bible stories, and then afterwards we ask them questions and give them a treat. One of the little girls named Julia sat on my lap my first visit for almost the entire time we were there. She kept holding my hands, clapping them, stroking them, pulling my arms around her tighter; I almost didn't notice when she slipped something on my finger. I looked down and saw that she had brought a simple metal keychain ring and lovingly placed it on my finger as a ring. It was such a cheap thing, but to her I knew that it was special, and I have worn it every day since then.

Reading the Christmas Story
After the first time I visited them I wanted to cry, but at the same time I wanted to DO something. Our team has decided that no matter what other ministries we move on to, we are going to continue to spend time and work with this community. God brought them to us for a reason!

This next week we have decided to help them construct new toilets (basically outhouses). The one father that lives in the community had already started the process but hadn't been able to finish it as they didn't have the money for it. After that if we can get permission from the local government we hope to be able to build them a rain cachement tank so that they can have clean water readily available to them. Another thing that we believe is really important is training the women in a skill so that they have better means to make money and support themselves. We have discussed the possibility of teaching them how to crochet, sew, and do manicures, pedicures, facials, etc. It will take a lot of planning and work to do these things but we truly believe that it is so important. We want to leave a lasting change in these peoples lives that is there even long after we're gone.


Monday, December 19, 2011

Muraho from Rwanda!

Rwanda, the land of a thousand hills. It is so mind-boggling to me that I am finally here, thousands of miles away from home on a completely different continent. I am in Africa! It is so absolutely beautiful here, the way the bright orange and blues of the buildings mesh into the lush green hillsides. Our home here is so much nicer than we had anticipated. There are 8 of us living in this house (7 that makes up our team plus our Rwandan translator Amable) with 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms! I made a video that gives a tour of the house so you can get a better idea but the internet here is really slow, hopefully I will be able to upload it at some point. Rwanda is usually a very safe country but our house has extra security in that we are surrounded by walls and to get in you have to go through a gate. Every door (even cupboards!) in our house has a key that locks it. The thing though, about the walls in our backyard is that when you climb up and look over them you are greeted with poverty. Our neighbors on the other side of the wall live in dirt floor homes and cook their meals outside over a fire. It is so humbling, and the fact is that if we hadn't climbed up to look over the wall we could easily still be living unaware in the luxury of our home. It makes me feel guilty but grateful at the same time. It is such a strange mix of emotions.

Our team is still getting used to the time change (we traveled at least over 40 hours to get here) and the culture difference but I'd say we're doing pretty well. We're starting to get the hang of cooking our own food and taking taxis around. Surprisingly things aren't cheaper here like you would think, in fact prices are a lot more like that in Hawaii so we have to be consciencious of how we spend our money. It's a great learning experience. The one thing that I wish I had brought was nicer clothes. Everyone here dresses so nice, especially in church! Coming to Kona I only brought one nice dress as the style in Hawaii is very casual. I've picked up a couple things since then but I definitely feel lacking in the fashion department here.

Almost everywhere we go we are constantly stared at. It is so hard for me because even in America I hate being the center of attention. I dislike crowds because of the fact that strangers I don't know are looking at me. Here, there is no avoiding it. In church yesterday I was stared at by a particular girl for most of the service, no smile, just staring. I don't know how to react to that. I smiled and got no response so I just tried to ignore it. It's something that I'll just have to get used to living here though, as many people have never seen a white person before. I'm told some children may even cry! I do hope that doesn't happen though.

We went to the Kigali Genocide Memorial the other day. Over 250,000 genocide victims are buried there. I felt such a heaviness being there and going through the museum. It's so hard to fathom that something so terrible and horrifying could happen, but I thank God for the great work He has done in this country restoring it and for the strength He has given Rwandans.

This week it is planned that we will be doing door-to-door ministry visiting people in their homes. I am so glad that we have our wonderful translator Amable with us as the majority of people here don't speak English but Kinyarwandan. I made some flash cards of words in Kinyarwadan before we came which was helpful but I am eager to learn more. We are told that we will have times put aside for Amable to teach us the language and I am very thankful!

In our bathroom we have a small window and in the mornings when we're getting ready we can hear the children that live next to us singing. It is one of my favorite things of being here, I could listen to them all day. There is just something so precious about hearing children sing!

We will typically be doing ministry Tuesday through Sunday and only have Monday off to go downtown to an internet cafe. I don't have my own laptop so I have to borrow one of my teamates, so we'll see how it works out but I am hoping I will be able to write updates each week. Please continue to keep us in your prayers, they are so appreciated! :)



Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Ready for Rwanda

Lecture has officially ended and tomorrow I will be boarding a plane for Rwanda! It’s crazy how fast time has gone by, it’s hard to believe the lecture phase is really over! Words can’t aptly describe all that has happened in these past 3 months. Our lectures have been on topics such as worldview, the father-heart of God, relationships, the fear of God, giving up our rights, intimacy with God, destiny by design, spiritual warfare and global missions, and weeks filled with bible study, intercession, prayer, and worship. God’s been greatly working in me and teaching me new things each day and I know He’s not finished. It’s a life-long journey I’m on with Him.

I again apologize for the lack of updates. I think most of my problems with blogging are that I am a mostly internal processor, and since a lot of new information, revelations and emotions have been hitting me each day I struggle with having time to simply process them myself let alone put it into writing on a blog! I hope with time I will get better at it though since I truly do want to share with others what is happening in my life.

I am nervous but also excited for Rwanda. The things that I am nervous about are typical (unproductiveness, health problems, disunity etc) but the things I am excited about are seeing all that God is going to do because the possibilities are limitless! When praying about Rwanda I got a “picture” or “word” about the country that it is going to be a wellspring/fountain of living water spreading out to the rest of Africa bringing God’s love, hope, and healing! I believe that God is going to use the devastation that happened in Rwanda for His good. He is doing a mighty work in healing them and in turn they are going to be able to bring that same healing to the nations! That He will “…bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of His splendor. They will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated; they will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations.” I believe that God has amazing plans in store for this nation and I am excited to be a part of it, no matter how little.

  • Team unity; that we would not let anything come between us and that we would all have servant hearts and humble attitudes towards each other
  • Health; that all of us stay healthy and won't get sick or hurt 
  • That we would effectively be able to minister to those that we come across and speak boldly with no fear
  • Time; that we would use our time to best honor God and bring Him glory. Not wasting any opportunity that He gives us

I have been so blessed by all the support that has come in for this trip. I am truly blown away by the generosity that has been shone. The day before my outreach finances were due I still need $2,700. I was worried and starting to stress out, wondering how on earth I was going to get that much money in one day! But God works in wondrous ways and by the end of the day I had all of my funds! God is so good and so faithful! The next thing that I am trusting God for is my airfare coming home. I have yet to buy a ticket to fly home to Washington after outreach as I don’t currently have the money to do so. But I know that like the rest of the money, God will find a way to provide. What’s in store for me after this DTS, I don’t really know. I am praying that God will reveal to me what step I am to take next and where He wants me to go. Either way I know that God has something amazing planned for my life as I follow whole-heartedly after Him.


Sunday, November 27, 2011

A Typical DTS Day

6:00-6:30 am : Wake Up
6:30-7:15 am : Breakfast
8:00-9:00 am : Worship/Intercession/Bible Study
9:00-12:15 pm : Class Lecture
12:15-1:00 pm : Lunch
1:00-2:30 pm : Medical Workshop/Prayer Room/Outreach Meeting
3:00-5:00 pm : Work Duty
5:00-6:00 pm : Dinner
6:00-8:00 pm : Ministry Night/Free Time/Local Outreach/Corporate Meeting

The view from our class tent

Thursday, November 3, 2011


Hey everyone! Apologies that I haven’t been posting very often, it’s difficult for me to put into words all that is going on here. First off I should update you on where I’m going on outreach! As I mentioned earlier I put down that they could send me anywhere. The night that we found out they set up an elaborate and drawn out reveal of our outreach teams and the suspense was driving me crazy! I finally found out and the place I’m going on outreach is Rwanda! It (of course) was a complete shock to me, but after being able to process it and let it sink in, I am very excited to be going! Our team of 7 is made up of 3 Americans, 3 Canadians, and one Norwegian! We haven’t learned exactly what we will be doing while we are there but we will be staying with a missionary family in Kigali (the capitol) and doing short outreaches to other areas of the country.

The last two weeks of lecture have been great, but very emotional (it seems like that’s a constant theme here!). The first week our speaker was John Bills and he spoke on the Father-heart of God/Hearing the Voice of God. He was very real and open with us about things that he’d dealt with in his life and his testimony was so very inspiring. The last two days of the week our whole class kind of had a “breakdown” where people stood up front and shared some really deep and painful things/areas in their life, just laying it all out and being vulnerable. Our class really came around those people and just loved and prayed over them. We truly have become a family! 

This last week our speaker was Andy Byrd who talked about Intimacy with God. I've never heard anyone speak so passionately! His zeal was so contagious. A few snippets from his lecture I’d like to share:

  • Sometimes if we want the PEACE we have to give up the right of UNDERSTANDING”
  • Live from the revelation of His love, not for His love
  • We have embellished what we’ve given up and minimized what we’re gaining
  • You are either a slave to sin or a slave to righteousness
  • God wants us to be revived, delivered, and freed so that we can go out and bring revival, deliverance, and freedom!

On Monday our class was giving the opportunity to volunteer at something called Candyland. A local church here in Kona puts it on every year to help keep children off the streets during Halloween and give them a safe environment to trick or treat. There were fun game booths, face painting, jump houses, a rock wall, food, balloon animals, entertainment, and tons of candy! I helped out with one of the game booths and was dressed as a 50’s chick. It was such a great experience, especially being able to connect with the community here; around 8,000 people showed up!


·        Unfortunately I’ve been on and off sick for the past few weeks so prayers for my continued health 
·        Prayer for our Rwanda team that we would be able to grow close in our relationships with each other and be able to prepare as much as we can now so that we can be most affective on outreach!
·        Finances! I am still needing around $3,000 for my outreach expenses.

If you feel called to support me on this journey financially please contact me at

Imana aguhe umugisha, ("God bless you" in Kinyarwanda)

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Send Me

Ahh, I don't know where to begin. I feel like there is so much to say yet I don't know how to say it, which means this post will probably on the shorter side. We've had two weeks of lecture now, the first was on the topic of the Kingdom (of God) and the second on giving up our rights. We were blessed to be able to hear Loren & Darlene Cunningham speak this last week as they have such amazing stories and testimonies of faith. I won't go into detail about the lectures because I know I won't be able to do them justice. I will say this though; they have blown me away and been really beneficial to my spiritual growth.

I have however been struggling this week a lot with missing home, my family, friends, pets, fall, etc. I'm still getting used to the routine of things and settling in. It takes me longer to make friends then most people so that can be hard at times too (even though everyone is so friendly). Kona is such a huge campus with so many people that it can be really easy to get lost in the mix and feel lonely. Another thing about the campus is that there is a LOT of walking. I counted today that there are over 98 steps of stairs on campus that I walk every day (and more than once)! I'm looking on the positive side that all of the walking/climbing will help prepare me for outreach! Speaking of outreach....

We learned our outreach locations on Tuesday! There will be ten teams with about 8-10 people in each of them. The locations are:

  1. Cambodia
  2. Rwanda
  3. Colombia & Chile
  4. India & Sri Lanka
  5. Myanmar
  6. Japan
  7. South Africa
  8. Cambodia & Vietnam
  9. Virgin Islands & St. Croix
  10. Mozambique & South Africa
We were given note cards and told to put down our top three options, however I ended up writing on mine "wherever you feel led to send me". There are several reasons for that decision but mostly because I didn't feel a real peace or calling to any specific one and I will be satisfied with any of the choices, knowing that wherever I go, it's in God's plan. I am very nervous/excited to find out though! We will learn our locations and teams this Monday night. 

I am still needing to raise most of my outreach fees. Depending on where I go it will be between $4,500 - $6,000. It's a lot of money but I'm believing that God can and will be able to provide that for me. If you do feel led to help support me you can use the donate button on the right side of the blog or email me at for more information on how to donate.