JASON & ERIN STEWART

LilypieExpecting a baby Ticker

Monday, May 30, 2005

1 phone call, 5 times the love!

So your wondering how 1 phone call could bring 5 times the love...well I got to talk to my boys yesterday! It was SO awesome! Man I miss those kids. Kelly you rock thank you so much for that. I talked to Ben first, whose arm is healed up just nice and is almost done school, then Israel told me about T-ball and how fun that was. Aiden got a new bike and I can't wait to see him ride it, it sounds really cool. Hunter said the play went well and he only has a history test left in school. It was so great to hear their voices again. I really miss hang'n out with my little brothers, and of course Kelly. It was so great to talk to all of them. Thanks so much Kelly!!! and boys;)

So anyone heard of Rick Warrer...well for you "Purpose Driven Life" fans I have some kinda cool news. Apparently Mr. Warren and his team will be coming to Rwanda this July. Not sure how long but I will hopefully get to met him and his team. And I just finished the Purpose Driven Life today so that's cool.

Things have been a little more relaxing since the team left. I have settle back into my minstries. On saturday I went to the Intercontinental to chill'lax. Apparently there is some King in town and one of his wifes is staying at the Intercontinental and the other at the Novotel.

Well I am off to figure out how to teach english...hahaha. I pray all of you are well and that God will keep you safe until I can see you again. Until next time, I love and miss you!
Always Erin

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Phone calls ROCK MY WORLD!!!!

Well 2 VERY special people get VERY special mentions. A Miss Vanessa Jakola called me on monday night, man it was SOOOOOO good to talk to her! The connection wasn't great but it was awesome to hear Vanessa voice again. Thank you so much Van!!!
And then last night (at 4:00am..lol) Miss Angie Brohart called me. Talking with those 2 was awesome and a huge encouragement to me. Vanessa and Angie, you have no idea how much that meant to me!!! Thank you!!!
By the way any call at any time (even 4am) is coolio!

Ok so where to start, man I know it's been a long time and there is so much to talk about. Well the team was here for 2 weeks and what an amazing group of people. I had a hard time when they left. I may or may not have teared up....
Anyways well with the team here we were so busy so I can only share a few of the things that we were able to do.
Last wednesday we went to the game park. We didn't see Lion's and only saw Elephants from across a lake but we saw most of your typical african animals:) The coolest part of the day was when the land rover got stuck in mud and we got out of the rover and walked around barefoot. We were in the giraffe area and were able to walk within about 50m of the giraffes!!! It was so COOL! Like seriously wicked awesome fun! I was LOV'N it!!! Good times at the game park!

I went to church with the team and it was very interesting as the speaker spoke french, someone translated into Kinrwandan, then my translator translated to english. I got "holy spirit" and "water" out of it...hahaha. I noticed that after a while she just stopped talking, and would say about 10 words every 10 mins. Hahaha, oh well. It was still fun.

We went to Evelyn's oldest daughter, Diana's Gusaba. Its the bartering for the bride type thing. At first it was a little, mmm, slow, but then they had these really cool african dancers and singers and man was it awesome. I got some video, so don't worry you'll be forced to watch it.

So since the team has been gone have been getting into the swing of things. I taugh sunday school on sunday. Wanna know whats hard...trying to figure out what to do with kids aged 3-13, for 4 hours, with little to no-equipment!!! Of all my ministries I think this is the hardest. It is really important though.

The nursery school kids...oh my...talk about cute, I will be bringing home some cute videos of them. I walked home today with literally 4 kids on each arm. And yesterday after I left the kids from my school some other kids from another school started walking with me, before I knew it I have 2 little hands in mine. I saw them again today walking home. Its so great to connect with people outside of my ministries, especially kids.

Has anyone heard of westlife? If you haven't don't go out and by their CD. They are huge here. I'd say they are a mix between the backstreet boy and new kids on the block. In a word...BRUTAL. Why do I bring this up you ask...well at a friends house we had to listen not only to the whole music video DVD but one song (Queen of my Heart)...shudder...

Well I am getting tired of typing and I apologise for this brutal blog, it's hard when you have so much to say. I will start being more faithful to my readers again. Thank you again so much for your love and support. Your prayers are felt and appreciated.
With much love,
Erin
p.s. mom can you email me that osap stuff...thanks.

More Than Conquerors
"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.
What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written:
"For your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered."No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
~Romans 8:28-39

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Melissa Jakola - 1st Place

Melissa Jakola, yes that cool quirky girl, is the winner of the first international mail prize!!!! I recieved a lovely letter and some Taiwanesse gum (by the way melissa it was all gone by the next morning). So Melissa i loved the letter and the gum and i must say that you are not just a dead fish on the sidewalk!!!

Still waiting for lucky phone call number 4:)

ok I will write more when i have the chance and when i am not on a confusing European keyboard/computer

Much love!
Erin

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

So I'm a good writter but poor speller....

I hope no one has been too worried in my absence. I am safe and doing well in Kigali. I have been so busy with the team being here. Man they totally rock my world. They are so funny. I am seriously gonna miss them hard core when they leave on friday.

So your wondering what I have been up to. So many things. Man I need my journal here so I can remember. And yes aunt Lori I have been keeping up with the journal daily! Well mostly daily:)

I will tell you of one thing that I did with the teams here. It was probably the hardest thing I have ever done. Just outside Kigali are 2 memorial sites. Both churches.
The first church we came to was overwhelming. At this church 5000 people were killed inside and another 10 000 outside. Walking into the church literally took my breath away. The church was left as is. Clothing, bones, and dust (from human remains) litered the ground. We walked throught the church on benches carefull not to step on what remained of those 5000 people. This I can say was the hardest thing I have ever done and the worst thing I have ever seen. I imagined the screams and horror that took place. It is sickening! The brutal way these people died. Of that church there were only 2 survivors! 2 out of 15 000!!!! One woman who hid under bodies for 2 weeks before venturing out, and one man who hide in nearby bushes for 2 months!
The second church was cleaned up, and 'taken care of' by Chantal, the only survivor of that massocure. While physically alive, she seemed to be dead. She walked away when she saw any of us cry. She took Suzanna to a wall and said 'this is where the soldiers took the babies', when she saw the tears in Suzanna's eyes she walked away. I wrestled with how she must be feeling and how she could possible move on. It rocked me to my core. At that church 10 000 were killed inside and another 15 000 outside. It literally make me sick to think of the disgusting things that happened in those churches.
There was a special casket for one of the victums at the second church. She had been empalled with a poll (from her vagina) and left to die. Her baby was still on her back.
Since the visit tothe memorials I have wrestled with numberous questions. Some I know may never be answered. But as devestating and heart wrenching as the genocide stories are, there is hope and life in Rwanda! Rwanda is not dead it is very much alive!!! God is moving and working here!!! I see it daily!
I don't have much time online today but now that I am well. That you have encouraged me beyond words and that God loves you! God has blessed the westeren world and its time we start giving back.
Until next time. I love and miss you.
Erin

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Incredible Day - Incredible God

Yesterday in Rwanda I played volleyball at a Congolesse Refugee camp !!! That’s incredible. It was so fun and the people were so excited to have a white person who was female and good play with them. It was an incredible experience being at the refugee camp. At times it was hard to be there. Seeing the horrible living conditions! We drove through some seriously windy and hilly roads and our first view of the camp was breath-taking. Amidst the beauty of the Rwandan country side lies a sea of white tarps. These mud huts are ‘home’ for over 18 000 Congolesse people. Ironically enough the land and home they love and desperately want to return to, the Congo, is visible from the camp.
There is a lack of everything ; food, clothing, school, supplies, education, soap, everything. It is a sad state of affairs and it seems that it won’t be changing either. These people are losing hope.
We were able to bring bibles and other supplies to the camp which were appreciated and needed. But being there I realize just how little we could do. While I believe one person can make a difference, I realize that I can't help everyone I want to. But I also realized that if you can breath you can help someone. Before going up Josh (a team member) did a devotion asking the question 'what prevents people from going and serving others?' You may think I am being rash or rude but quite frankly I believe in North America we are too selfish to help. Not all of us but I'd say that's the main reason. Sure we can say we have no money or no time or we aren't qualified. Jane blew bubbles with the kids...if you can breath your qualified. Today I am wrestling with some questions, the most prevalent...Where are God's people?!
God gave me a gift in that I am very athletic. Funny enough I LOVE sports. God used my love for him and my love for sports to show his love to the people at the camp. I played volleyball at a refugee camp! You have gifts from God! USE THEM!!!
Now I am not saying I am perfect, in fact I have been 'too busy, not rich enough, and unqualified' for too long. But I can play volleyball andusing my gifts is as rewarding for me as it was for the people I was with.

How will you use your gifts?

Blessings and Love, Erin
p.s. I realize this is short but time is limited...I also want to say that this team is FANTASTIC and INCREDIBLE. Amazing people who I have come to love.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Teacha Erin

Well that's kind of a stretch. I have been noticing that no one can say my name!!! Seriously the close to Erin is Elrin. I have got Ellen, Hellen, Irene...everything but. But that's part of the language barrier here. "er" and "th" are not used together in their language and so words with those combinations are very difficult to say.

Ok so yes teacher Erin. I had my first day at the nursery school yesterday and second day today. Can I tell yoiu that I was literally maulled! Seriously the kids were all over me. Touching my skin to see if the colour came off, touching my hair, my clothes, everything. Haha. I was lov'n all the lov'n.
I taugh the children a few song (anyone got good song ideas or games let me know). I was sitting in one of the classes today and all of a sudden started thinking about my friend J.P. from Cambrian. We did a placement together in Mrs. Jakola's class and he was so amazing with the kids there. I thought of how awesome he would be there.
The kids are so cuddly and cute and funny...oh my goodness I crack up when they get into their little giggle fits. hahaha

This afternoon was my first experience teaching English and if I do say so myself, I rocked! Haha ok maybe I won't be getting a "world's greatest teacher" award, but I am definitly confident in my teaching abilities. Althought todays class only had about 15, and tomorrows will have about 50..to start.

The team is probably flying out of Germany right now and arriving in Ethiopia tonight and then Kigali at 4 tomorrow. I am teaching till 4 so I won't be able to met them but I am so looking forward to having them, and learning from them. I will go with them to stay at the light house resort which is good cause we haven't had water the past few days. Which sucks more than not having Electricty. I am hoping to have my stuff all 'moved in' in the morning and then I will head to Marion's to teach english and met up with the team after. I am really excited to meet them all.

Ok while I am writing this blog the city is going insane, horns, sirens, screaming, yelling, chaos! At first I was like 'oh my, we're at war' but then I remember that there was a football game (soccer) and by the sounds of it Kigali's team won! Sweet chicken!!! It sounds like the Leafs won't he stanley cup

Alrighty I think I will go, Vanessa you gotta tell me about this job! I wanna here all about it.
Keep up the comments, so far Ed is in first place.
Love and Blessings
Erin

"I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength." Philippeans 4:12-13

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

ED KNOWS ELVIS!!!

Hello my dear friends.
I recieved some of the most exciting news this afternoon as I opened my blog to read the wonderful comments. Today is a special day. My new blogger friend Ed (who is beating EVERYONE in the comment department) knows and is friends with my hero. I can hardly breath. For those of you who know me well you all know who that great Canadian, that I so deeply admire is. But for those of you who don't I will tell you. The great Canadian, that I admire and have HUGE respect for is the one and only ELVIS STOJKO
I can't believe that you know him Ed. That is so cool. I was so mad(ok an understatement I was full or rage!) when he only got silver in Lillihammer, and I cried when he skated in Nagano. He makes me proud to be Canadian. If I could pick one person to have dinner with it would be him. He is my hero(one of them)! Do you think he'd come to Rwanda for a visit:)?
I seem to get more comments when I ask questions. So who is your hero?

So today I went to a primary school where I will be helping out at and teaching at for 3-4 days of the week. The kids range in age from 3-6, and they all came out of the cute farm! Seriously I want to take them all home...OH yeah AND I got to hold a 1 and 1/2 month old baby today. She was so cute, and her name was Faith.

I am starting to get the schedule for my time here in Rwanda. Tuesday-Friday I will at the Primary school in the mornings. Tuesday and Thursday afternoon I will be teaching English to the woman at the woman's association and Fridays afternoons I will be teaching english at Marion's (the woman's shelter). The class hasn't even started there yet and already there are over 150 people that want to learn english! YIKES! That's alot! On sundays I will teach sunday school in the morning at Marion's and in the afternoon I will do English with the children at the woman's association. Saturdays will be my day off and Mondays will be a prep day. So that looks like my week.

The team comes friday and I will be staying with them at the lighthouse resort. I think they have hot water AND showers...hehehheheheh!

I am hoping to get online at least one more time before the team comes, but if not I look forward to your response about your hero.
I pray this blog finds you all well.
With much love,
Erin

"Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!"
-Philippeans 4:4

Monday, May 02, 2005

Embassador #1

First and foremost you must all understand and know that everytime I check my blog and the email I laugh and smile! You are responsible for numerous stares as I have cracked up laughing so many times. And I am constantly smiling. Crazy muzunga! By the wat I think I have to agree with Theresa when I say Ed is kick'n everyones butt in the comment department!!! Ed you rock and I thank you for your encouragement!!!


Saturdays are turning out to be my day off/prep day. So we went for PIZZA with Marion (of the woman's shelter). Coming from Sault Ste. Marie home of the greatest pizza in Canada for sure, I had high standards on what good pizza should taste like. I was pleasantly surprised when tasted the pizza, although not quite as good as the Sault(is any pizza though?) it was still very good!

Later that evening Evelyn was having a family meeting at the house. To stay out of the way Jen and I took Deborah and Daniel to the Intercontinental, a hotel here. We arrived with UNO and SKIP-BO and planned to spend the evening playing games and relaxing. Which is what we did. We enjoyed wonderful milk shakes (which I downed in about 2.5 secs) and free Banana chips and potatoe chips. I was loving it. As we were playing a game of skip-bo a man came over to us, he was loud but funny, laughed alot. He was so curious about the game we were playing and watched intently. He was cheering for me to win so I was happy. Anyways after some friendly conversation he introduced himself as the Lybian Embassador. That's right we were max'n and relax'n with the embassador himself! AND he bought us all drinks (we had soda's) AND we also got an invitation to have lunch with him over a game of skip-bo. How coolio is that! Now we are trying to get as many Embassador's numbers as we can!

Things will start to pick up this week as there is a team coming on friday. There are 7 people coming and they will be here for 2 weeks. It kinda puts my ministries on hold because we will being doing more "1-time" things while there here. Like going to the refugee camp and stuff like that. Also internet will be EXTREMELY limited while they are here because our schedule in packed so don't worry if I seem to disappear for 2 weeks:) Keep praying for me.

Yesterday after church we went to the Novotel to relax before the team comes. I met 2 guys from Lebanon and a girl from India. I love meeting new people so it's nice when I do.

Just a note for anyone thinking of coming to Rwanda...the food is AMAZING! Oh my goodness I LOVE the food...wait a sec now pick up your jaws, yes that is right Erin the pickiest eater in the world LOVES the food here! BREATH...I know I am shocked too!

Tomorrow is my first children's program at the woman's association. I love the kids they are so cute...Aunt lori..how many do you want cause I found about 500 cute ones!

Friday is my first English class so me fallow Anglish techers anny addvice???;)

Ok well I am done for now I will try to blog before the team comes. I pray this blog finds you all well! I will leave you with a verse my friend Avril gave to me(the words are from different translations)

"Be still...Let go...Relax...Cease Striving... and KNOW that I AM God."
~Psalm 46:10

With much love,
Erin