• Micah

Muraho! That's how you say "hello" in Kinyarwada. I'm excited to give you a much-needed update to our work here in Rwanda and let you know how you can be praying for the Hale family. While you are probably familiar with what Grace is doing as secondary principal for KICS, I will also give you an update about my work with B2TheWorld and share some of the exciting things that are going on. After a long wait due to delays with the IRS (which were exacerbated by the government shutdown this year) B2TheWorld has finally received its official 501(c)(3) designation! This is huge for our ability to receive the donations that we need and to make sure that your financial support is tax deductible. Don't worry - if you donated to us last year, everything is retroactive.

Speculating on what's in the care package from our church in North Carolina.

Nine months in and we have settled into life in Kigali very well. It's not always easy - everyone has their things that they miss about living in the U.S. For Esther, it's the pet hamster, Sasha, that she left behind. For Judah, it's McDonalds. Things like this care package from our home church in NC are such a huge blessing! Not only were there plenty of treats for the whole family giving us a little piece of home, but the kids received personal notes from all of their friends, classmates, and teachers from last year!

We had a great week with Aunt Karis and Grandma here in Rwanda!

We all miss family, and it's hard to miss out on things like my cousin's wedding that was this month in Florida or the annual family lake vacation that we won't be able to attend this summer. But not a day goes by when we don't look around and thank God for allowing us to serve him in such a beautiful place. And we also thank God for the blessing of having family able to visit us here in Rwanda. This past month, Grace’s mom and younger sister were able to spend the week with us. Together we were able to leave the city and experience more of our beautiful host country including the volcanoes, Lake Kivu, and a safari in Akagera game park. It was a much-needed time of rest and being close with family.

As rejuvenating as it was to have some rest and family time, it's now back to school and work, so I'll share a bit of what's going on in each of our lives.

Coach Hale with his U7 football team

Judah has really started to feel at home in Rwanda. He has loved playing soccer and recently finished the season playing on the school's Under 7 team as the goalkeeper. It's amazing to see how much he has improved since we first moved here and he is loving it. He's made some great friends and is even picking up a little Kinyarwanda. He has struggled with some anxiety when it comes to his school work. Even though he's very bright, he gets very self-conscious if he feels like he's falling behind some of the other students. Please pray that he'll have focus and confidence in class and be able to overcome his anxiety.

Esther has excelled in school and loves living in Rwanda but is also starting to learn what it means to be a missionary kid. She loves bird watching and trying to identify the numerous bird species you can see right from our front porch. One of her highlights was a class trip to a camp she got to go on recently. She started the year with a group of 4 really good friends which was amazing. Unfortunately, the reality of MK life is that 2 of them have already left, and the one she's closest with is leaving this summer. Many tears have been shed and I had to tell her that that is the sad part of being an MK but that she'll also make new friends as new people move here. Pray for her to make new friends and not to be too down, especially as she's at a very emotional age.

On the shore of Lake Kivu

Grace has been making an impact in the lives of students and staff at KICS but has also had by far the heaviest work load and the highest stress level. There are so many different stories that we would love to share publicly but can't for the sake of individual students and families. Being a school principal is never an easy job and in an international setting there are so many added layers that make the job even more challenging. Please pray for peace and emotional strength for Grace as she often works long hours packed with intense and emotionally draining meetings and interactions.

B2TheWorld's Global Educators Gathering in November 2018

Considering I was not sure what my role with B2TheWorld would look like before coming to Rwanda and didn't know what to expect, I'm really excited to share the great things that's been happening. As Programs Manager for B2TheWorld, my job has two main parts. The first is to plan, organize, coordinate, and run all major events for B2 outside of the U.S. Last November, I did this with our first annual Global Educators Gathering. I coordinated bringing in school leaders from 8 different countries on 4 different continents here to Rwanda for a week-long gathering to learn, collaborate, and tackle the challenges that each of them face in their various schools. It was a great success, and we received overwhelmingly positive feedback from everyone who attended! Aside from serving the leaders of those schools, the event also accomplished our goal of expanding our global network of contacts and resources. Which leads to the second part of my job: researching and starting new partnerships with the long-term goal of laying the groundwork for our first new school in a country recovering from war. At our Global Educators Gathering in November, we had an attendee from Pakistan who is doing incredible work in that country for poor children by offering them a safe place, free of religious persecution along with a quality education. We made the decision to come alongside his work and offer much needed support and fundraising efforts. This month we started an initiative to help raise funds to send their high school students to college. In the next few months, I will be traveling to Lahore, Pakistan to see the work first hand. This partnership is the first of what we hope will be many such collaborations as we strive to provide quality education is war torn areas while sharing the love of Christ. The next countries I am focused on are Burundi (our neighbor to the south) and a Middle Eastern country that cannot be named publicly right now. I am excited to see what God will do through B2TheWorld in the years to come. For me, you can pray for safety as I travel to some potentially dangerous areas and also for wisdom as I work to form new partnerships and eventually determine the location of our first B2TheWorld school plant.

For our whole family you can pray for continued health and that we will be able to reach a level of monthly financial support that will allow us to continue to work in Rwanda. Thank you for all of your prayers and continued support we appreciate having you on the Hale Trail team!

  • Micah

To our Newsong Church family, thank you!

Here on the Hale Trail blog, you’ll very seldom see an entire post directed at one group of people, but this is a special exception. In my previous post I mentioned the generosity of our home church Newsong in Cornelius, NC. Back in June they asked if there was one specific need as we prepared for our move to Rwanda, and we told them they we had no way of buying a reliable vehicle. We fully realized that this was a huge ask, and we were fully trusting God to provide.

But God worked through our Newsong family like I’ve never seen. In just a few short days they raised $9000. We were incredibly humbled and grateful to see such generosity from friends and even people we had never met before. It was an incredible feeling to arrive here knowing that God had provided in that way.

As is often the case, however, God’s timing is not always our timing. We began our search for a vehicle as soon as we arrived. Even though other missionaries had told us how difficult it was to find reliable vehicles here, we did not fully realize just how difficult. At first, we couldn’t even find anything listed for less than $15,000. – and these were 2003’s and older! That’s when we first started to get a bit discouraged. I remember the first time I found something in the $8-9,000 range. The guy brought it to me to test drive. As I sat down he said, “There’s a bit of a problem shifting gears, but my mechanic said it’s an easy fix.” That was definitely a red flag, but I gave him the benefit of the doubt. I started driving around the neighborhood and at first everything seemed okay and then I noticed that as I picked up speed, it wasn’t shifting gears. My friend who I trust with everything car-related had agreed to come with me. He told me to put the car in reverse and back up the hill we were on. At that point I heard some loud noises and car just started rolling forward instead. That’s when we realized the entire transmission was shot. They wanted $8500 for that car! I was definitely discouraged. We had exactly $9000 but we needed something that wasn’t going to fall apart the next day or cause us thousands in repairs every month.

During our search, our co-workers and friends were extremely generous in lending us their vehicles to go grocery shopping or get other errands done. I also did many walks to the little grocery store about a half mile down the hill from our house. Every time I walked back up the hill carrying the groceries, I gained new determination to find us a car.

Once again God provided. My friend who I mentioned before – the one that I trust with everything car-related told me that he had just successfully imported a car. It was an older used car but had relatively low mileage compared to most cars in Rwanda. He had done a ton of research and the car was in good shape. He and his wife had originally planned to keep the car but said that, if we were interested, they would sell it to us. Their asking price? $9000. I hadn’t told him how much we had or what Newsong had raised. This was just God’s way of saying “This is it.” This was the vehicle He provided for us through his church. Once again, we were blown away by the love and generosity of Newsong and also God’s constant provision.

So, to Newsong, thank you again for your prayers and outpouring of love. We thank God for you all regularly. You are all welcome to come visit us in Rwanda. We even have a car to pick you up at the airport

  • Micah

Hello from beautiful Kigali, Rwanda! By God’s grace we arrived safely in July with both kids, our dog, and every piece of luggage. Grace and I have wanted to reach out to you all and catch you up on our lives here in Kigali.

Getting to Rwanda:

Our last couple of months in the U.S. was a crazy whirlwind of seemingly endless preparations, paperwork, fellowship, and sad goodbyes. We were able to spend some much-needed time with both sides of the family. Considering we aren’t sure when we’ll be able to return to visit, that was a hard time but also such a blessing. Dealing with the emotions of leaving our families did not make the logistics of our move any easier. In order to acquire a visa to work in Rwanda we had to produce original birth certificates, marriage license, background checks, and diplomas, just to name a few. We’ve moved between states as a family a couple times and that was tough, but with our move to Rwanda it was on another level altogether. We had to consolidate everything to the suitcases and bins that we took with us as luggage on the flight over. Deciding what toys and household items to bring and which ones to leave behind was especially tough for the kids. However, through all of the tough and stressful times, God always reminded us that He was with us every step of the way.

Probably the biggest single blessing came during our last Sunday at our home church in Cornelius, NC, Newsong. The Newsong Church family truly sent us off to the mission field well. Not only was there an outpouring of prayer and encouragement (even a time where Newsong Kids prayed for Esther and Judah!), but at the end they asked if the church family would help us raise the funds that we would need to buy a vehicle when we got to Rwanda. This was one thing we were relying on God 100% for. When we had spoken to current missionaries in Rwanda earlier in the year, they told us that finding a good vehicle was very difficult and it would take at least $9000 to get an older, semi-reliable car. We had no idea how we would be able to afford it. The response from Newsong Church was mind-blowing! Within a few days, they had raised the entire amount plus a little extra. We feel so blessed and thank God all the time for giving us such an incredible church to call home. So, if you are part of that Newsong family, thank you from the bottom of our hearts! You are truly an answer to prayer!

Flying to Kigali:

On July 19th it was finally time to make the big trip across the Atlantic Ocean, across Europe, then the Mediterranean Sea, the Sahara Desert, and the Virunga mountains, before finally arriving in the small East African country of Rwanda. The kids loved flying here. Our layover in Amsterdam was a great break (and chance to have McDonalds one last time). Esther loved tracking our flight on the map and trying to see what countries we were flying over.

No one liked the food on the plane. A good first lesson for the kids in adjusting to new cultures.

Adjusting to our new life:

Being in a new place always has its challenges, but for kids, one of the toughest things is getting used to new food. There is no fast food in Rwanda and nothing is instant from a box or frozen – everything needs to be made from scratch. Everything from milk, to fruit, to cheese, to meat tastes a little bit different. I think they ate spaghetti every single meal for our first two weeks! They have slowly adjusted over the last two months and are trying more and more each day. Esther has fallen in love with the ever-abundant avocados that we have here. We have been able to find some comfort foods along the way, like hotdogs for Judah and applesauce for Esther. Please keep praying for the kids as they continue to try new foods and find foods they like here.

Judah loves to brag that “We live in a 4-story house!” In all honesty, our house is a modest split-level (with a few steps and a landing in-between, thus 4-stories). Both kids have their own bunkbeds which are usually covered with stuffed animals and pillows along with their mosquito nets. Grace and I enjoy having a dining room that overlooks the living room. We love that the layout of our house allows for a lot of family time spent together. We are also blessed in that our kitchen is one of the largest in the whole neighborhood. We can actually fit our whole family in the kitchen to make scrambled eggs in the morning (not that we always WANT everyone in there, but it usually happens).

Most people thought we were crazy for bringing our dog, Hawke, with us. Truth be told, there were many times throughout the moving process that I also thought we were crazy. Let me tell you, being on the other side of the move, I am thankful that we put the effort into bringing him with us. First, he has provided a constant for the kids. While we did our best to bring as many toys, blankets, and “familiars” with us for the kids, they are still going through a huge change and almost everything is different. Hawke has been a huge comfort for both of them (and can often be found sleeping on the bottom bed of one of their bunk beds). Second, Hawke has been a good security system. Many people here strongly recommend hiring a guard that stays on the property for security, but they have said that having a dog like Hawke is just as effective. While Kigali is a safe city and our neighborhood is especially safe, it’s nice having the peace of mind that we have Hawke here to let us know if anything is going on outside.

Adjusting to school:

Grace had just under a week to adjust to living in Kigali before jumping into meetings. Since then, she has launched full-on into her role as Secondary Principal. While this school is incredibly different from her previous school, it comes as no surprise to me when I am stopped in the hallway and told how amazing she is and how well she is doing. There will certainly be numerous challenges along the way but I can see the passion that she approaches her job with each day and I have no doubt that God is working through her to bless KICS.

Esther loves her teachers and classmates. During the staff retreat she was able to connect with some other staff kids also in her grade. It was so great to send her to school her first day knowing that she had some friends there already.

Judah had a lot of trepidation about school. He’s an anxious kid already, and all of the change already has placed a toll on him. Leading up to school he was pretty adamant that I was going to homeschool him instead. Even after the first few days he was still hesitant about school. He finally came home from school one day and announced “I have friends!” “Awesome! What are their names?” “I don’t know, but they’re my friends!”. Since then, Judah has connected with his classmates and is enjoying his time at school even though it is vastly different from his school last year.

Life now:

Life is starting to feel more “normal” now. We are enjoying the commute to school (1- minute walk) every morning and afternoon. I get the opportunity to drop off and pick up the kids every day. Judah is taking swimming lessons and is on the soccer team that I also get to coach. Esther has been taking traditional Rwandan dance lessons each week. Our mornings, meals, and bedtimes have become more routine. Each night we have been reading through The Horse and His Boy as a family.

While there are still many things to get used to, we are happy to be here where God has called us and excited about what he has in store for KICS and B2TheWorld. Speaking of B2TheWorld, I (Micah) will be sending an update soon about the exciting things that are happening and what my new role looks like. Thank you for your continued prayer and support!


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