I have been tremendously blessed to have had the pleasure of bringing so many wonderful and talented people with me to Africa over the past 12 years. This number has now reached into the triple digits…wow. Most of these individuals, I am happy to say, I have managed to maintain a relationship with. Although my prayer for team members is not that they will maintain a relationship with me or the ministry - it is that they will maintain and develop a relationship with Christ and understand why God called them to Africa in the first place. I do pray that each will continue to be a voice for what they have witnessed. Often, it’s not about Rwanda, or our women. It’s about leading them to a place where God is calling them to serve in their own lives.
When someone asks to join a team and travel, the very first thing I tell them is pray about the opportunity. Let God reveal if it is indeed the time. People struggle with this. They struggle with not knowing the reason God is calling them. They struggle with believing God for provision in fundraising. They struggle with all sorts of things.
I struggle also. I struggle with the discernment I believe the Lord has given me regarding team travelers. I remember well when God taught me this… when I took the very first team to Mozambique in 2004. Enough said. One of the most difficult tasks I face is telling someone that I don’t believe it is the time for them to go with me or with TVM. It’s hard.
But, when they are called… when they have that desire of burden placed so deeply in their heart…there is nothing like witnessing the transformation as they meet and get to know our amazing and strong women. From photographers to yarn spinners to other visionaries… I love seeing individual team member’s lives transformed. No one can meet our ladies and say this isn’t true. No one.
My prayer for the ministry in 2016 was to relocate to the new center and to work hard to bring all of our currently employed women to 100% pledged funding. We moved into our new center last March and now have the physical room to expand and offer the ministry’s mission to more women. Before we could do this, our team prayerfully decided to make certain we had committed funding for all of the ladies we currently employ in Rwanda.
As I write this blog, we only lack funding for ONE woman! God has been very faithful in helping us reach our 2016 goals for the organization. In 2017 our goal is to hire at least 20 new women and build safe housing for all of women needing this basic necessity. A new house in Rwanda costs approximately $2,500.
Last summer, Christina Lykken traveled with me to Africa for one month. Christina followed in her older sister, Laura’s footsteps, who spent a month with me in Rwanda in 2011. Both of them, like all visitors, fell madly in love with Rwanda and our women.
Two weeks ago, Nancy, the girl’s mother got in touch with me. She told me Christina and Laura asked to forgo Christmas presents and, instead, build a house for one of our ladies. I was a bit stunned but realized this decision was, in so many ways, an answered prayer. An answered prayer for me as I heard the heart’s desire of these two young ladies, but mostly an answered prayer for Bonafrida, who is currently in great need of safe housing.
God is faithful and I have only begun to see the gift of Christ’s transformation for Christina, Laura and Bonafrida.
Diana Wiley, Executive Director