January 2011

January 2011

It’s been a while…

Paul Ruth & Micah out walkingsince we’ve been in touch, and much has happened!  The last time we wrote we were very much enjoying a month in Canada with Paul’s parents on their farm.  It was wonderful to have a full month there – as well as feeling like we properly got to catch up with people, it also felt like a good rest!  We pitched in on the farm, helping with harvesting, selling at the market, and ‘testing’ the produce.  Micah in particular thought the strawberries needed a lot of quality control!
Micah enjoys the strawberriesWhen we got back to Oxford, England, Ruth went back to her specialist nurse job in the bone marrow transplant unit, while Paul needed to find work.  God is good, as he got an offer just over a week after starting looking!  The job is designing and updating a website for a small anti-virus magazine.  They have been very flexible with us, which means we’ve both been able to work three days, sharing looking after Micah.  On a Friday when we both work, he soaks up the undivided attention of his grandparents!

 

Micah

Micah is doing very well, amazing us how quickly he’s growing.  He’s very much out of the baby stage and is looking, and behaving, like a toddler.  He scurries around on all fours, jabbering away, and is on the verge of walking.  He is intensely curious, with an obsession for phones, hats, and anything electronic!  He often has us laughing, and is a source of great joy (most of the time!)

 

And Announcing…

Our exciting news is that we’re going to have another baby!  The due date is the end of July, so we’ll have quite a full summer this year!  

Out enjoying the snow

What does that mean for our plans?

We are still very much pressing on with our plans for going back to Burundi / DR Congo.  Of course it will mean we will be stretched to begin with, having a new baby and toddler when we arrive!  The plan is that we pack ourselves up over the summer, then go to south France for the Autumn to boost our French. Then we’d aim to head out to Burundi in early 2012!

 

Not much to do then!

In the next several months before the baby arrives we need to sort out how to rent out our house, including sorting our possessions, plan our months in France, start organising a place to live in Burundi, and raise support for our start-up costs and monthly expenses!  Thankfully we do have six months to be getting on with all of this.  But we will need your help!  If you don’t get our email letters, sign up now!

June 2010

Some of the Congolese kids enjoying the park.

Life Since Africa…

3 weeks have now passed since we left Africa and we’ve taken 4 more flights, changed 3 time zones and slept in 4 more beds.
We’re now enjoying a month in Canada with Paul’s family. It’s been 2 years since we were last here. Paul is working on his parents Organic farm and we’re enjoying spending time with family, friends and re-connecting with the church Paul grew up in.
Before leaving for Canada, we spent a busy and full 2 weeks back home in Oxford, it was great to see some of our friends and family again. It made us realise how much we had missed people and that we can only think about ‘going’ because we are rooted in community with others.

The end of the school day with Mary-Anne and Jolie

The Story so far….

The last month in Burundi passed very quickly, and soon it was time to start about leaving! During our remaining time we carried on helping Mary-Anne with the small school in their home and building relationship with all 50 of the New Hope Congolese children and young adults. We continued to try and improve our Swahili, Paul learnt 150 words…..Ruth not so many!
We wanted to finish well and had some good, honest conversations with Ruben & Jolie (his wife) and The Bales. We talked about their hopes for the region around Uvira, what we might do if we came and the need for a team to be formed.

Capital city, Bujumbura, with the DR Congo mountains across the lake.

Get to Bongo in the Congo?

During our time in Burundi, we felt God was bringing DR Congo more into focus for us. Everyday we would see the vast mountains of Eastern Congo. Due to the security situation with increased fighting in the north, we were only able to cross over to Congo for one day; but it was great to be able to plant our feet on the ground again and pray for the country with Ruben.

Micah enjoys his own ‘faith journey’

What now?

We return to Oxford the 5th July. Ruth is returning to her Nursing job and Paul needs to find a job! We need to talk with some key people but we are feeling like ‘this’ is the next step for us.
A big massive thank you for your friendship & for your contact while we were away. It really did make a major difference. Being away in Africa for the 3 months, we were so aware that we need your support and the support of others; to know that you are with us on this faith journey and that you too believe this could be the next step for us.
April 2010

April 2010

April 2010

Hello, and greetings from the heart of Africa!
We’re already half-way through our trip now! We had two weeks in Pretoria, South Africa, and have been in Bujumbura, Burundi in the heart of Africa for 4 weeks.

Micah enjoys his first taste of mango in South Africa

South Africa

Our time in South Africa was brilliant; we absolutely loved it. We stayed with Michael & Andri Neumann and their 2 kids. They were amazing hosts and we had great fun with them. We spent time in the Hatfield Training centre Michael helps run, met some of the people who are responsible for missions stuff in the Hatfield Church, visited some of the community projects and met some inspiring people who are working with the poor, we went on a couple of small game drives, drank some great beer and ate great food! It was a real gift to be there before coming here, giving us time to pause after the slight craziness of leaving Oxford and time to look ahead to the next 10 weeks.

The daily walk to school attracts much attention

Heart of Africa

We’ve been in Bujumbura four weeks now and life is starting to take some shape. We’re staying in a ‘maison passage’, like a private guest-house. It’s amazing how much there is to learn in a new culture. Life is pretty basic but we do have a DVD player in the house which is good news (so we don’t just have to look at each other all night every night!) We have enjoyed trying to establish a rhythm to our life out here. We’ve been able to borrow people’s cars and get out and about, learning to shop for ourselves and getting a feel for the area.

The Congolese kids paying attention in the school we help with

The Main Thing

So, the main thing is trying to engage in the Congolese community while we are here, and getting to know the people, like Ruben who is head of ARM Congo. We’ve been helping in the small school they run in the mornings for some of the Congolese children, and the afternoons are spent doing different things….food shopping in the town, visiting people, starting to learn Swahili and visiting the New Hope home where the Congolese children and women live. It’s good that life doesn’t feel too full and busy, though we have never spent so much time together! It can be a bit isolating that’s for sure.
Ruth’s mum and sister Sarah came out for a week over Easter which was great, we showed them the hot-spots of Burundi, and it felt like a holiday for us too – there are some beautiful spots along Lake Tanganyika. We took them to the crazy market in the centre of town, and they met the Congolese kids we are working with and came to their Sunday evening church meeting. Having them here made us realise how much we’ve learnt over these past weeks and how settled we feel.

Paul & Micah look out across the lake to Congo

At Peace

We’re feeling a lot more at peace being here this time than when we came in 2008. We’re enjoying getting to know Ruben and his lovely family. He is a man of peace , a ‘dreamer’ and has a big heart for his country. Next week he will take Paul along to Congo to present to the authorities plans for land they hope to build a school and training/trades school on. He has a lot of vision, and he gives us space to share where we are at and dream a bit too, which we appreciate.
Micah is doing great and seems to be adapting well. He is growing up so fast and getting a sun tan, as well as getting to try all sorts of new and exciting foods! He gets a lot of attention wherever we go.

January 2010

Much has been happening in the last few months in the lives of Paul and Ruth, including buying a house, the birth of Micah John Hettler, and making preparations to leave for Central Africa for a few months this spring. We apologize for not being able to tell you all this more personally, but do value you and want you to be informed in our lives!

119 Pinnocks Way

In August we moved into our own home (thanks to the help of parents and Nationwide Building Society!) on Pinnocks Way. There was a lot of redecorating to be done! It’s been great to be able to make it our own. It’s a three bedroom house; which means we’ve had space to have a friend Lauren McMillan lodge with us until she gets married at the end of this month, and that we have space for people to come visit…..so come! (when we’re here!)

Click link for more photos

Micah John Hettler

was born safely on the 23rd of October 2009, after quite a long labour – and at 3 months old has already changed our lives for good! He’s amazing! The first few weeks were tough, adjusting to a whole new routine, not knowing what he needed. Over Christmas Micah learnt how to sleep through the night, eat gingerbread (see below) and roll over! He’s very inquisitive, often sporting his ‘Elmitt frown’, but also flashes big smiles at those he knows! It’s great having him in our lives and already been so fun seeing him grow and change.

Click link for DRC Profile

Trip to Central Africa

For several years now we have been feeling God speak to us about working in Central Africa, specifically the Democratic Republic of Congo. We made a short trip in the summer of 2008, and this spring we are planning a three month trip to this region to explore – to pursue links, push doors and seek God’s direction for the next step (which will likely be a more long-term move to the region). For March to May we will be living in Bujumbura, Burundi, where ARM (an indigenous church planting / development organisation) has their headquarters, which is less than an hour from the Congolese border. This will enable us to get to better know their staff, and visit the DRC as often as the security situation allows. After a couple weeks back in the UK we’ll spend June in Canada with Paul’s family.

Congolese boys in an ARM orphanage

What’s the Vision?

This part of the world has known much poverty and war for decades. Millions have died in the DRC in the last ten years because of the fighting between the military and militias, who use child soldiers and other atrocities as common weapons of war. There are countless orphans, children and young people growing up without hope.
We long to see poor and broken people healed, restored, trained and discipled into who God’s made them to be. We are passionate about seeing people who are rejected by the world come to know their true identities in God and grow into their full potential. This has been a key part of our involvement at KBCTC. We would love to see holistic training colleges for young people; giving them a safe place to belong, heal and grow, training them in theology, character, discipleship, and practical skills. ARM has allocated land in Bujumbura to build the first of what will hopefully be many such colleges for the region’s youth.

Devouring the ginger bread house we bought on Christmas eve