Meet And Greet Round Two

So, at our first meeting we only had 17 men show up. I told them I would be willing to employee 20 as our starting off point. Well, the next meeting was the photo shoot/interview, which I broke up into two days. At the end of the second day I realized I had talked to a total of 25 men.....Yeah, I don't know how that happened either. In all honesty is makes me a little nervous. That's 5 extra salaries that I have to worry about. But it also means that's 5 extra lives I can be impacting. I am trusting God. I am trusting that He didn't want me to have 20, but 25. With that being said, lets me introduce you to some more of my fella's. (Oh, and 5 extra guys means that I get to be older than few more. Score.) 

*All photo credit goes to the very talented Alison Holcomb*

Francois Xavier is an 18 year old with no family but is not a child of the orphanage. His friends mothers was gracious enough to take him into her household and care for him. This job means having the opportunity to prepare a future life for himself and fulfilling his dream of building his own house. His favorite artist is West Life (how come I haven't heard of half these people?) and enjoys preparing shoes. In mention of you he said, "I am to pray for them to continue this good heart for love."

J Nedo is 18 years old and lives with his brother. Like Francois this job will help prepare his future life, he likes West Life and making shoes. Unlike Francios, when asked about his dream, he said, "to be in a commercial." Funny story: See, in America a commercial is something that appears on TV in between programs, and believe it or not when I was younger, living in Japan, I happened to be in a commercial for KFC. I told Nedo this and jokingly said I could give him tips. Not even a smile. Ok than, guess my hilarity doesn't transfer here. A little later when talking to one of the older gentleman he also said he wanted to be in a commercial. To this I was a little surprised. Than he went on saying he had done it before but it's been awhile. Even more surprised. And than they told me commercial in Rwanda is selling things. Well, to say I felt like an idiot is a bit of an understatement, luckily hardly any of them speak English, so chances are they didn't pick up on it...I'm hoping. Anyway, Nedo wanted me to tell you, "Thanks them and may God continue to give them the good heart to help people." 

This is Boniface. Do you like his snazzy shirt as much as I do? Boniface is 18 years old and currently lives with his mother but dreams of getting his own house. This job will help him support is own life. His talent is construction and his favorite artist is Ricklose(?) (Seriously, I mean, I know I've always been a little musically challenged, but how in the world do people from Rwanda know American artists that I've never even heard of. I need step up my game.) He said, "I pray for them to help the other like they help me." 

Meet Diedone. His name means "Gods gift", which were the first words out of his mouth. Funny, funny guy. Diedone is a 21 year old child of the orphanage, however for the last 5 years he has been living outside of the orphanage by himself. This job means gaining knowledge, which is something he craves. He will use the money he earns to help pay for his studies of engineering in University. His favorite artist is Akron (Nope, not a clue) and his talents are football and giving haircuts. He dreams of one day becoming an engineer. He told me to tell you, "God bless you helping me in my life and to help me continue my study in University. Thanks."

Pacifikye is 22. He is living along with no family. This job will help him continue in his studies. His favorite kind of music is Regea and he enjoys playing volleyball. He dreams of helping others who have problems. He said, "Thanks."

Modeste is 24 years old and currently living with his mom. This job will help him in life. He does not want to be rich but wants to live in a good situation. Modeste loves to dance, his favorite singer is MNM, and he dreams of one day becoming a painter. He said, "I want to introduce them to gratitude for helping us."

After the genoiced, at the age of 7, John D'Amour entered the orphanage and has been living there for the last twenty yeras. This job will help him achieve his dream of becoming a mechanic. His favorite artist is Justin Bieber and his talent is Karate. He said, "Tell them thank you and to pray for them."

Daniel is 26 and currently lives with his mother. This job will help him to study in University. He hopes to study banking and business in order to achieve his dream of one day owning his own business. His favorite artist is Donmon (I've considered googling these people but if you knew what the internet was like here you understand my decision not to) and enjoys playing football. He said, "I am to pray for them to have courage to continue to help people and give them thanks." 

Piter is 21 and lives with his mom only. This job can help Piter gain knowledge and earn a living so that he may continue in his studies. His favorite artist is Chris Brown and he has a talent for construction. He dreams of one day studying construction in University. He said, "Thank to them for helping me finish my studies and pray for them." 

If you are keep counting you know I still have a few more guys to introduce you to 
but for now I think we will call it a day. 

We are in the process of trying to raise $15,000 
So far we have only raised $620
We have a long ways to go but are trusting God to provide
 And my God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus Phil 4:19
*If you are interested in donating click here to find out how*

Get To Know The Guys!

So I wanted to introduce you to some pretty amazing guys. 
*All photo credit goes to the very talented Alison Holcomb*

First let start of this meet and greet with my right hand man Foustin. Foustin is my 28-year-old manager. He was originally born in Congo and is currently living is Rwanda with his “old people” aka Mom and Dad and his sister. Having this job can help Foustin help his family and finish building his house. He dreams of finishing his house and having the best family. He also love Justin Bieber and enjoys working out his vocal cords, to which I got little glimpse of today while he sang Justin Bieber’s Mistletoe. (Listening to Christmas music in September, that’s my kind of man!) Foustin wanted to tell you that he prays for you.

For those of you who don’t know I am only 21, making me fairly young to be “boss”. So it only makes sense that I am only older that 7 of the guys which I employee. Yikes. So here are those guys!  

Ota is a child of the orphanage. He is 20 years old and has been living at the orphanage since he was 15. Since he was born he has had problems with speech but was able to communicate to me that he wishes to speak English one day. For Ota this job means continuing his education. His dream is to learn to make shoes. He also loves football and gospel music. He wanted me to tell you “Mercosi,” which translates to thank you.
J’Claude is a 20 year old who enjoys listening to some Nicholas (an artist I have never heard of before now). His father passed away so it is just he and his mother. This job will allow him to provide for the both of them. He dreams of working in construction and perfecting his talents. He told me to tell you that he is praying you and he wish to give you thanks.

Celestin is an 18 year old with no family but not a child of the orphanage. Currently he is finishing up building the No.41 house. His new job will help him support his daily life. He dreams of one day becoming a driver. For enjoyment Celestin listens to Lil Wayne and paints. He said, “If they help me escape this situation I will pray for God to bless them.”

Fies is an 18-year-old child of the orphanage who can always be found with a set of headphones jamming out to his favorite artist Justin Bieber. He loves to play football and dreams of one day being apart of the national football team in Rwanda. This job will be able to help him solve problems with daily life. He gives you thanks. 

Diedone is 18 years old and likes listening to Lil Wayne. He comes from a fairly large family, which consists of his mom, dad, four sisters, and brother. He is hoping this job will allow him to return to study so that he may succeed in his dream of working construction. He said, “Thanks to you and I am praying for other helping.”

Aimable is an 18-year-old child of the orphanage. The orphanage has been his home since he was a baby. In his free time he likes listening to Justin Bieber and playing basketball. He dreams of one day becoming a driver. This job will help him to develop in life. He wanted to tell you that he is praying for you. What you do for him he can for others.
And last but certainly not least Alsen, also known as Sisse. He is really the only who I had a relationship with before this whole thing and I am so excited to watch him learn and grow. Alsen is a child of the orphanage and has been there since the age of two. He knows nothing of his family except for one sister who is also living in the orphanage. He likes listening to both Nicholas and Rihanna and is a pretty darn good football player. He has taken driving school but is waiting to pass the exam. Once he does this his dream of becoming a driver will have come true. He believes this job will help him accomplish his dreams. He said he is praying for you and for others to help.

What did I tell, amazing guys, and this isn't even half to them! More introductions to come! 
*If you are interested in donating click here to find out how*

Tea For Me

If we were to go to tea I would tell you that these last 4 1/2 months have been some of the best and most difficult times of my life. I have been stretched, pushed, and slapped around a bit, but I am grateful. I am grateful for this opportunity to experience a different way of life and in the process grow and become my own person.

I would tell you I miss my family and best friend everyday and cant wait to wrap my arms around each of them for a good hour. (And I'm not even a hugger.)

I would tell you that I miss food and have had literal dreams of eating all of my favorites. It's actually kind of sad.

I would tell you that I have been listening to Christmas music since June and I see nothing wrong with it.

I would tell you all about how God is directing me to open a business, something I never wanted or intended to do with my life. The only "business aspirations" I've ever had was to open a candy store and mocktail bar. My logic: I like candy and mocktails are delicious. I intended to make my sister do all the boring things while I sat in the background sipping on my mocktail and enjoy a piece of candy. But despite all of that, I am really looking forward to this new unexpected chapter. I can't wait to get to know the men, I can't wait to actually produce products, I can't wait to make our first sale, I can't wait  to be able to give back. I can't wait to see where God takes all of it. I can't wait for a lot things.

I would tell you that the money situation is a little stressful but I am confident that God will provide.

I would tell you our plan was originally to open shop October 1st but I don't think that's going to be possible anymore. I am having to remain patient and trust in God's timing and sometimes that can be hard.

I would tell you that whenever Foustin, my manager, calls me "boss" I get a little embarrassed because I am in no way qualified to be called "boss". I was that kid that dreamed of flying off to Neverland with Peter Pan. I didn't want to grow up, and still don't really. But I think it's possible to still be a kid and a least I'm hoping it is. Hey look at Charlie, Willy Wonka trusted him with his factory and he was way younger than I am now.

I would tell you that this time catching up has been swell and I hope to do it again soon.

In Him I Find Happiness

Our very first meeting was coming to a close. As I looked around I saw 20 very eager and excited men ready to come together and work hard and that's when it hit me; these men know what I am offering. I am offering them a chance to learn, a chance to provide for themselves and their families, and chance to give back to the neighbors in need, a chance to make a difference. 

Every time someone stood to speak the first words out of their mouth were "thank you". Every single time. And with each "thank you" I felt a wave. A wave of excitement, a wave of fear, a wave of responsibility, a wave of compassion, of wave of genuine love for the men before me. With every thank you it felt more and more real. With this new reality before me I knew what I needed to say. I took a deep breathe, swallowed my fear of public speaking, and told them why; why I was able and willing to offer them this opportunity. 

"I believe in one God, the creator of the world. I believe God sent His one and only son Jesus to walk on this earth and later sacrificed His one and only son so that we, as sinners, may be forgiven and have everlasting life through the belief and acceptance of Jesus Christ. I am a follower of Jesus Christ. As a follower of Jesus Christ I am always seeking after Him and His perfect will. God placed on my heart every single one of you and the idea to offer you this opportunity. From there God has opened door after door making this opportunity a reality for all of us. This house is Gods. This business is Gods. He is the boss. He is the one making this possible. And because of that I want this business to honor Him in every way, giving back all the glory to Him, and Him alone. That is why every day before work we will open in a word of pray. We will also gain knowledge through His word, learning more about the One who has given us everything. I recognize that not all of you may believe in the same God as I do and I do not expect or require you to, but I do expect you to respect my beliefs. If any of you have any questions, concerns, or are uncomfortable with any of this than please come speak to me."

As each man exited the door of our new office another wave hit. This time it was a wave of happiness. Knowing that I wasn't self-seeking but that I was truly being Gods servant, His hands and feet. I left that meeting feeling happy and ready to take on whatever else was to come.  

As Foustin and I sat down to wait for our teacher I looked over and saw the biggest smile. “Elise, I am so happy you were talking about God. People here in Rwanda don’t think white people are believing in God. Not all but most white people are too concerned with being happy and don’t care about God.” 

I have never heard someone put it so simply. In life we are too concerned with our own happiness, and other people see that! If other people are noticing, imagine what God sees, imagine how God views our selfish desires and ambitions.

 More times than I would like to admit I selfishly choose fleeting happiness as opposed to being obedient to my heavenly father. The main reason: I wanted satisfaction in the moment. 

Selfishness is ugly. When I am seeking after my own personal happiness as opposed to God's, I am being ugly, intentionally hurting Him, and possibly others. Right here, right now, I am choosing Gods happiness over my own. I no longer want to fulfill my own desires or needs to achieve happiness for a split second. I want to seek after God and His desires with my whole heart to achieve happiness for eternity. 

Psalm 16: 2 I said to the Lord, "You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing." 

p.s. We are still in great need for financial support to get this thing officially started and we would appreciate if you would prayerfully considered giving. You can read more on how to do that here. Whether through prayer, financial support, kind words or all of the above we love and appreciate all of you! 

Just Because Friday

Some Very Big And Exciting News

When I first came to Rwanda I had a small idea of what I would be doing. I thought I would work the toddlers at the orphanage everyday teaching them what they would typically learn in a pre-school setting because that is one of my strengths and something I have done before for several years. As time went by, however, I realized that’s not why I’m here and suddenly I felt very lost and unsure of myself as to why God had called me to Rwanda. It’s been a four-month roller coaster with ups and downs but I wouldn’t trade those four months for anything. God has been working on me these last four month preparing me for the next step in this journey and that next step involves opening a shop for men from both the orphanage and the village.
If someone would have told me four months ago that I would be starting a business in Rwanda, that I would be employing twenty men between the ages of 18 and 45, that I would be called “the boss,” I would have laughed and thought they were crazy.
The truth is I could never run a business. I have never had an interest in owning a business, hence why I have never taken a single business class in school. I know nothing about finances. I am an introvert and avoid being a leader. I am not creative in the ways of designing. I am not fit to run a business in Rwanda, yet here I am. I have learned that God did not choose me because I am qualified to run a business, I believe He choose me because I am unqualified. My weaknesses allow Gods power to rest on me.

“Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses” 2 Corinthians 12:9

A mere month ago, after much prayer, I realized I wanted to specifically help the older boys of the orphanage. Tara, my roommate, is currently running a sewing school for the women of the orphanage and village. Taking some notes from my Tara, I decided to begin the journey of opening a similar school the men. In the last month I decided to work on opening a school in which the men will work with leather, making bags, providing them with a skill, an income, as well as giving back. I took the first step and rented a 4-bedroom house in a matter of a week.
After making this decision Foustin came into the picture. Foustin is an amazing man of God who has been my right hand through this whole thing, and who also happens to be my manager. He has helped me find a leather supplier, he has helped me find a teacher and he has helped me find the twenty men that we are currently employing.
On Friday I gathered all the men at the house and we had our first
meeting. There we discussed what we would be doing. It was the first time that this whole thing felt real and I realized just how big it could be. My current plan is to start off employing twenty men. They will be making bags, which we sell both here in Rwanda as well as in the states. With each bag sold a portion will both be providing an income for twenty men as well giving back to the people of Rwanda. How we are going to give back is still being decided but some ideas the have surfaced include; sponsoring children to attend school, providing school supplies, and/or buying land to start a food garden for local villages. I am still talking with other Rwandese, discussing what the most beneficial thing would be before making the final decision on how exactly we will be giving back. This is just one of the many excited aspect of this project and as soon as the decision is made I will be making an official announcement. 
My main purpose behind starting a business that gives back is to honor God. I am seeking to meet the men’s physical needs as well as their spiritual needs. At the meeting I told the men this. Every day of work we will begin our day in prayer and reading from the bible. I don’t want myself to become the center of this, I don’t want the men to become the center, I don’t want the way we give back to become the center of this, I want God to remain in the center so that it is clear to all that God is making this possible. God is the one that is providing and taking care.
We have yet to begin work but are hoping to do so October 1st. And this is where you come in. I first want to ask for your prayers, for myself, for the men, and for how we are going to give back to become clear. We are going to need to be covered in prayers as we begin to learn and grow together.
Secondly I would like to ask for your financial support. Currently I am in need of 15,000 dollars to be funded for one year. Below I have broken down the pricing and our needs. I would like you prayerfully consider giving. I know that 15,000 is not a small number, but I also know I serve a much bigger God who makes all things possible.

If you are wanting to help provide fanncial support: You can go to under help someone go click on my name and designate how much you would like to give (there's also a link to the right of my blog that can just click on) OR You can also give by mailing checks to their office in Vancouver, WA. Just make sure that my name is easy to see on any of the gifts, so the bookkeeper knows to credit me. 
Their address is:
Ten Talents International
PO Box 873685
Vancouver, WA 98687

If you have any questions or just want to talk further you can email me at

I want to thank you in advance for your support through this time. The encouragement, prayer and out powering of love mean more to me than you will ever know. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for helping make this all possible.

Financial need break down:
$5,000 for house expenses for one year (rent, guard, electricity, water etc.)
$700 for teacher for two months
$1,500 for 3 big machine (460 each)
$1,400 for 3 small machine (500 each)
$1,400 for tools
$4,000 for employee income (4 months until we are selling enough for them to work off of commission)
$1,000 leather press


Life in Photos

We're not even half way through and already so much has happened

I've finished a stick of deodorant 

I stopped eating Rwandan food and starting eating PB&J's

 I feel in love with African tea

 I became a first time renter
*More on this later*

 I have gone on walks, taking in Rwanda's beauty 

 I, along with all of Rwanda, have entered rainy season 

 Which has made me want to eat and drink all warm things 

 I've discovered I don't like funfetti anymore

But I still, and always will, love chocolate chip cookies 

I ate my first salad in Rwanda

I spend the weekend in Kigali with my new family

And watched American TV on a real TV

We celebrated Ange's Birthday 
I held my first meeting
*Again, I'll explain later*

And I typed up this blog post lake side 

You can follow my on instagram to get updates in a more timely manner!

Have a tubular Thursday! 

How Many Families Do I Have Again?

For awhile now I have really been struggling with being alone all the time. Which is weird for me to admit since I actually love being alone (100% introvert right here). But four months of being away from the people that offer me love, comfort, support, encouragement, a good laugh, wisdom and so much more, has started to take its tole.

So in my state of loneliness I prayed. I prayed for someone that could offer me love, comfort, support, encouragement, a good laugh, wisdom and so much more. And you know what? God answered that pray with Josephine and her family.

She called me up on Wednesday and immediately invited me to spend the weekend at her house. When I got to Kigali she and her husband, Didas, and their two kids, Trisha and Nicholas (their oldest daughter is studying in America) picked me up and drove me to their home. Along the way Josephine warned me that this would be the last time I would come to visit. She told me that after today I would not longer be a visitor but that this would be my home.

I do not need to call to tell them I am coming, I can come as often and as long as I would like, I am not allowed in the guest room but have a room upstairs with the rest of the family. I am now apart of their family. I do not like to cry, especially in front of people, but let me tell you, I had to hold back the tears as they went on and on about me being apart of their family. God took care of me in a big way.
Besides the mushy stuff this weekend consisted of pizza, dinner rolls that tasted like golden carol, lemon cake, ice cream, African tea (can you tell that I love food just a little bit?), watching an episode of Amazing Race and What Not To Wear on a real T.V., driving around Kigali, jamming out to Taylor Swift with Trisha, getting quizzed on American history (which I failed, miserably), watching Megamind, going to church, watching a soccer match with Nicholas, talking, laughing and relaxing with my new family. It was just what the doctor ordered.

Is it too soon to be planning my return trip?......Pshh, of course not, I'm family, remember?

And since I wasn't able to get any picture of my new family I have decided to give you all a little treat today and show some of the true faces of the people I love and miss back home. Enjoy!

And because I'm a good sport 
*I hope they don't hate me now*

Have a wicked Wednesday! 

Thanks, Faith and Hope

So I don't even remember the last time I did a Thanks, Faith and Hope post but I missed writing them, I had time and this is my blog so I'll do what I want. (It's hard to convey tone through writing but just in case you missed it that right there was a joke.)

Thanks, Faith and Hope

1. WhatsApp. Being able to send my sister, mom and best friend messages whenever I please have been lovely.

2. Speaking of my best friend (for those of you who are new around these hear parts her name's Christina), I could not be more thankful for her and our friendship. Seriously our friendship is pretty redonkulous. You know when you are watching a movie or T.V show, like for instance, Boy Meets World, and you are all the sudden jealous of Shawn and Corey's best friend bro-mance and you hope that one day you'll have a friendship as great as theirs? Yeah, well Christina and I's friendship blows Shawn and Corey's, and any other fictional characters you can think of, out of the water, it's that good. And even though were on different continents right now I still receive her love, support and encouragement and it means the world to me. I am thankful everyday for our crazy awesome sis-mance. (I think I just invented a word!)

3. Pinterest workouts. Saving my butt.....literally.

4. Josephine and her family. They are amazing, wonderful, beautiful people and I am so thankful that they have invited me to be apart of their family. More on their awesomeness tomorrow!

5. My church. I grew up going to church but because my dad is in the military we never stayed in a place long enough to where I felt like that church was my family and than we started going Grace and all of that changed. The people at Grace Community Church are my family, are my support system, are my encouragers, are my prayer warriors. I am so thankful to have that family.

So many things to be thankful for but my OCD is forcing me to stop at 5. What are you thankful for today?

Have a splendid Sunday!

By the way, despite what our faces are conveying, we were on a bus getting a university tour,
 not some thrilling ride at an amusement park. 

Weekend Plans

I’m a list maker. I throughly enjoy making lists. I love knowing what I’m going to be doing for the day and being able to check and highlight things off. Sometimes my lists will be incredibly thorough, including times and things like *wake up, brush teeth, shower, get dressed etc.* The more things I have on my list the more I get to check and highlight. (I might have a problem)

Since coming to Rwanda I have taken a break from my list-making (much to my dismay). Everyday life was just too unpredictable to write an accurate list (and the list must be accurate other wise I can't check and highlight). Recently though life here has felt more settled and so the lists are back and I couldn’t be happier! I spend my days feeling accomplished, motivated and satisfied with each check and highlight. List making is a beautiful thing. (Ok, I definitely have a problem) 

Anyways it's Friday which means the majority of people back home are excited for the two day break from school and work and busy making plans. Well, I don't have a job. And I don't go to school. So the weekends normally don't excite me. BUT this weekend is different. My list for this weekend includes plans. Do you guys remember Joshephine, my Rwandan Aunt? No? Well that’s weird, you should probably read this than.

Ok now that you’re caught up I can tell you, Joshphine has graciously invited me to spend the weekend with her! Three days, two nights in Kigali. This will be my first time staying the night with a true Rwandan. Well, except that one time Megs and I were trapped and abandoned in Kigali. I didn't tell you about that? I think I'm becoming a bad bloggger. Ok, real quick: Me and Megs went to visit the boarding school kids way back when. We weren't using our brains, which meant we didn't check when the last bus would leave for the night. This resulted in Megs and I taking an hour long moto ride to the city, in the dark, on a holiday (remember we weren't using our brains). Once we were in the city we learned we missed the last bus. Luckily we know someone, called him up and he let us stay in the night at his house....and than I found 20 bucks. 

So back to the point of this post, I have weekend plans! That's pretty much it. I hope you guys have an equally fun planned weekend! 

Just Because Friday