One of the greatest privileges of coming to a place like Rwanda is the opportunity to connect with friends–people that are loved and known, and each visit makes those connections deepen and grow. That’s true whether they are Rwandans, or very close family like the Hanlons. They moved to Rwanda five years ago from Church of the Redeemer, to teach and serve. They probably didn’t even think about still being here five years on, but their lives here are deeply connected to the Anglican cathedral–where Dan serves as Pastor, and to KICS, the international school where Kari has recently returned to work and provide some important leadership. They also now have two children.

Josiah is picking out his own clothes, and I have to say, he does have his own inimitable sartorial style. I may not have selected those boots with that particular ensemble (especially in the tropics), but then, that’s what innovation is all about. And he obviously knows that vests are in. Norah wakes up cheerfully each morning, singing in her bed until her parents get her up. And her lovely voice can throw a scream without equal, and without warning. They are both personalities, each their own, and as they grow they will carry with them the gifts and challenges of TCK-dom, that I know only too well. Besides, they both know and use often my favourite phrase, ‘Papa Jay’.

The missionary life can be romanticized by many, and it does have perks, such as the ability to live in a beautiful place. But the sacrifices are almost always more deep than others can know, and years away from friends and especially family weigh on hearts and minds. There is also the constant financial pressure, especially when ministry and travel are underfunded. I am really too blessed, to be able to come and spend a few days with them hoping to provide some encouragement and a reminder that they are deeply connected to a people back home. Who am I kidding? I will receive during my stay far more than I can ever give.

Please follow their ministry– Pray daily for them. Support them financially, and if you get a chance, visit them in Rwanda. Its not a hard trip, and you’ll be eternally grateful.