Wednesday, December 23, 2009

50% Raised

Praise the Lord. Thank you all for your faithful giving to special education in Burundi.

I'm happy to announce that 50% of my trip total cost is raised!!!

It has been such a blessing to watch how the Lord has provided for this trip in many ways. I'm half way to the trip's cost, $20,000.
I talked to the secretary of the church and she said that checks are coming in on a weekly basis. God is good. Thank you for all of you that have been part of God's work.

I also want to thank all of you that have been faithfully praying for me. My heart is at peace. As I was visiting with dear friends this week I have been encouraged to tell them about the trip and how excited I am about going. I was also shocked to hear my voice talk in confidence about going. God is changing me. This journey to Africa doesn't start Feb 3 when I arrive in Burundi but it began back in April when I said yes to a crazy request to go to Africa. The Lord has been so faithful to meet me and change me along the way.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Plane ride for three

For those of you who are asking there will be three of us going to Burundi at the same time. We will all be staying at Hope Africa University and teaching as professors.
1. Me for a year to teach special education
2. Stephanie H. for a year to teach English
3. Javier M. for 6 months to teach English

Also UPDATE on finances:
Currently have raised $4,000.
Need to raise $20,000 total.
Leaving $16,000 more to raise.

If you want to help out with finances you can mail a check to:
Ballard Free Methodist Church
1460 NW 73rd St
Seattle, WA 98117
c/o Burundi 10/13

(10/13 is my birthday if you were wondering)

All donations go directly to my work in Burundi and are tax deductible

Friday, December 4, 2009

Plane Tickets

I have plane tickets!!! Stephanie (my cousin) also has them!

We are leaving Feb 2, 2010

Seattle to DC
DC to Brussels
Brussels to Bujumbura

Arriving to Bujumbura Feb 3, 2010 for the year of my life (or at least I hope)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Recap November

Wow it's been a long time since I posted. Mainly getting things in order and planning out and coordinating with people who are also going to Burundi.

Thanksgiving was nice to celebrate with family. It was weird thinking about not being with family next year. But I will have friends I am sure that will celebrate with me.

My family put on a party for was really nice. This huge cake (fed 80 people). And gave me gifts of things I will need for the trip. It was great! Thanks Fam

Update on plane tickets: Currently the date of departure is Feb 2nd.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Who would be that voice?

I was driving in my car the other day just chatting with the Lord about my finances for the trip. Remember Lord it's $20,000. How will you raise $20,000?
I told him that I trusted him; that if the money didn't come in then I would not go, simple as that. But then I started to think about it. What would happen if I didn't go? Who would go instead of me? Who would be a voice, someone to speak up for the children with disabilities. Lord if you don't let me go then who will go?
I told him that I wanted to go. I didn't want this opportunity to pass by because someone needs to go and if not me then who? I pleaded with the Lord to let me go to Africa.
Now let's put on the breaks a little and remember where I was just 6 months ago...Lord, don't send me! I don't want to go to Burundi! Please send someone else.
Wow how the Lord has changed my heart. He has brought me around to realize that his plan for me, if I am willing to follow, is right were I would like to be.
I, Rachel Jacobs, want to go to Burundi. I want to be a voice that speaks up for those who are hidden in their home and not cared for.
I am reminded of what Bishop Elie said to me when I asked how those with disabilities are cared for, "they feed them because they have to, they are a burden, that is all." Someone needs to stand up and say, "These people with disabilities are loved by God and should be valued and loved by families and neighbors."
God I want to be that voice

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Baby Blanket...Really?

So I'm sitting here writing out my packing list and began writing out what bedding I will need to take. I wrote down pillow and my hand stopped. My pen hovered over the paper. My hand wanted to write, my baby blanket but my head told me that I don't have space, I won't need it, and I would hate to loose it. As my hand was hanging there in mid air I began to cry. I laugh now that I have wiped back the tears and began to write about it but those were real tears. I'm telling you, I don't use my baby blanket very often, it's just a nice throw when I'm cold, and I'm sure I won't be cold in Burundi. But the thought of not having it and all the comforts of home that it represents brings me to tears. Wow I'm such a pampered American. Lord help me break my comfort bubble for your glory.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

She held my hand!!!

Yesterday I walked into the Marston's house. Two small girls met me. They began to speak Kurundi to me. I took off my shoes and hung up my coat. The oldest, about 3, took my hand and began to swing it. I knew I was welcome. In Burundi if someone holds your hand that means they like you or want to be your friend.
We went down stairs where the meeting was going on. I turned the corner and entered a room packed with black faces and a language I didn't know. The conversation stopped as soon as they saw me. I was asked to introduce myself. I began to speak and a video camera spun around to look right at me. They sat quietly until I said that I was going to teach at Hope Africa University. Then the comments went around the room. The man that seemed to be the leader said, "You are welcome" two or three times. Then the meeting continued. I found a seat in the back of the room and the little girl that greeted me at the door came and sat by me.
I heard a few words that I recognized, but didn't know the meaning. That excited me that I wasn't in Burundi yet, but I could pick out familiar Kurundi words.
The meeting closed and they stood for prayer. I helped the little girl off the chair. While they were praying the girls began to talk. I leaned down to them and quietly said, "numa". That is one of the words that I first learned, it means "be quiet". They looked at me with a curious look, but they quieted down.
The man who seemed to be the leader was the Director of Revenue and Customs for Burundi, Ezechiel Nibigira. He also was part of the first graduating class of Hope Africa Univ. He was the one that everyone came to hear, including me. When the meeting broke up a few of us stayed for dinner. I spent my time picking up on cultural norms I watch the speed in which they ate, the topic of conversation they had, and how they talked to different people.
At the end of dinner the Director's wife, a recent graduate of Hope Africa University, grabbed my hand and walked with me to the door. She told me that I had to come and visit her when I got to Burundi. I told her I would.

Walking into my parents house after the meeting I opened the door, my mother was in the kitchen, I blerted out, "SHE HELD MY HAND!!!" My mom asked me if that was a good thing. I explained to her that that it very good.
It is good to know that I have a friend waiting for me in Burundi.
I'm very excited to see what the Lord will do when I am in Burundi.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Lord what are you up to?

I'm excited to see what the Lord is up to...
Friday I met one of my co worker's brother. He has been in Sudan for a number of years working with the Jesus Films. He has been to Burundi and gave me some great cultural information! When we were done he prayed for me and that I would be bathed in the fire of the Holy Spirit. Wow I sure felt it and he did too.
I was informed that Ezechiel Nibigira, the Director of Internal Revenue and Customs for Burundi, and his wife Esperance will be speaking Sunday and again on this Friday. I was planning on going to both but I got a call from my cousin Molly on Saturday.
Molly informed me that she was at a conference at her church and sat next to Bishop Simeon from Burundi (not sure of his last name yet, or what denomination he is from). She called me and so Sunday I will be meeting him. He was telling Molly about Hope Africa University and that he knew Bishop Elie (who invited me to Burundi).
I'm so excited to see how the Lord will use these meetings for His glory.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Overwhlemed, it's a good thing

I presented at a church for the first time today it was Ballard Free Methodist Church. This is the church that will be collecting all my funding and then sending me the money while I'm in Burundi.

As I sat in the sanctuary listening to the sermon I looked down at the bulletin. I put my prayer card with my picture and where I am going to the side. I had stuffed all the bulletins with them earlier that morning. Then I looked down and saw my name, I was presenting so I thought it would be there. What I wasn't expecting was my classification, missionary.
Me a missionary, I didn't think about it like that.
As I presented I was overwhelmed with the huge responsibility, I will be representing this church, moreover Christians in Washington, and even more than that I will be representing Jesus Christ to those I meet in Burundi, Africa. Wow, what a task.
I was almost done with the presentation and I began to ask them to pray for me. I was overwhelmed by the need that I had for them to pray. (it's a big need)
I realized more than ever how much God is going to have to do everything during this trip. And that is comforting. Nothing I do on my own will be any good, it will be garbage. Only what God does will be worth the time and effort.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Prayer Cards and Presentations

Prayer cards are being printed this weekend!
Wow I feel like I'm going to be going and doing something soon. (funny isn't it)

This Sunday 10/18/09 I will be doing my first presentation to Ballard Free Methodist Church. I'm excited to see what the Lord does with this.
I am in the process of requesting churches to allow me to come and share my information. Let me know if you want me to come to your church, that would be fun.

Monday, September 14, 2009

My life, like reading a novel

You might not know it by hanging out with me or even being in class together, but I have a learning disability. I have very little working memory which make reading and processing information very hard. This leaves me with a 5th grade reading level. Reading was always a challenge for me but now that I'm out of school and I can take my time I'm finding that I really enjoy the stories.
I like to sit and read a book little by little. This gives me time to process what I have read and think about it. I feel that this Burundi trip is unfolding the same way I read books.
I am so excited about going to Burundi right now and it's not because of Burundi or what I'm going to do there. I'm excited to see what is on the next page, what God is writing next.

I pick up a book only after I know it is going to be a good one. I don't want to waste my time struggling through the pages if I'm not going to enjoy reading it. With this trip I only agreed because I was going to be able to work with people who have disabilities, which is my favorite thing to do. I didn't know what I would be doing specifically while I was there or if there would be anyone in Burundi with me. I was all alone and feeling lonely about going, but I knew that God wanted me to go and I was being obedient.
Then plans started coming together, things I would have never thought to plan. Just like the books I read, there are always turns along the way that are unexpected.
For the trip I now have a job description, people to travel with, people to work with while I'm there, and some serious support from people here in Western Washington.
I now want to go not to help, which sounds weird, but to see what God has in store for the rest of the story. I'm hooked to this novel that is my life and want to know what is on the next page. I want to see what He is going to do next.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

It's Official

So I'm very excited to announce that I'm now officially going to Burundi. I got an email from the VISA missions agency and all my paperwork and needed approvals are now done. I can officially go to Burundi!!!

Sunday, September 6, 2009


I thought our hope of being roommates were dashed, little did I know that God was planning Burundi instead of Warm Beach Camp.
Stephanie Harris' great grandpa and my grandpa were identical twin brothers. Stephanie and I had met before at family reunions but that was where it stopped. Until I went to work at Warm Beach Camp. Stephanie and I knew we were related when we started the job but we didn't know how well we would get along. The summer went by and Stephanie and I became close. With the next summer working side by side we couldn't just stop hanging out because the job was over. We stayed later in our family cabin on the property. We were discussing our next plans and we both didn't have any. We decided that we wanted to live in the family cabin and work at the camp. We would be roommates. But as plans made by girls in their 20's go it didn't happen.
God didn't think the same way I did though. God was planning, as he does.
When the chair of the English dept. at HAU asked me to be an English professor while I was there I told him I was willing but didn't really want to. The more I thought about it my thoughts took me back to my report cards for English classes, D's and C's. The thought of me teaching English was a complete joke. I would be so stressed out by the task. I jokingly said to my mother, "If he wants an English teacher he should ask Stephanie." At that time Stephanie had been teaching English to the people of Malawi for 4 months.
As I lay in bed I would day dream about Stephanie and I teaching at HAU together and rooming together. I would put it out of my mind though because I didn't want to get my hopes up. I knew it couldn't happen, why I'm not sure.
Last week Stephanie and I chatted on facebook and she told me she was thinking about teaching at HAU. She then asked me if it would be alright to share an apartment when we were at HAU.
I was elated, the thought of being roommates just thrilled me. Not only would I not have to be alone while in Burundi but I might have a travel buddy for the flight over.
God was scheming all along. None of this planning is for sure, but I can see that the Lord is taking care of me. He has a plan for my life and He is working out the details. I just need to remember His faithfulness and trust Him.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Tears at Westlake

I was leaving work and had some extra time. I thought I would walk through the Westlake Mall, since I was passing by. I stopped at the Made in Washington store hoping to find something to take with me to Burundi that would remind me of home. I saw extravagant plates and mugs, those wouldn't do. I went to the calendar rack. I picked up a Seattle calendar and started to flip through the pages. It was filled with picture of places that I love, places that I would have to give up for a year. I could feel the tears starting to come. I quickly put the calendar down and left the store. I didn't want to begin to cry there in the store.
I do love it here in Washington. And I will miss it. I am going to think of it as a fast. I will be doing a year long fast from the place on earth I love, western Washington.

Saturday, August 22, 2009


Wow what a week it has been a of rollercoaster of emotions.

Last weekend (Aug 14-17) I hung out with my sister. She was leaving for college the next Wednesday and the reality of me only seeing her at Thanksgiving and at Christmas before I left was too much for me. I will miss her more than anything. I was an emotional wreck! That Sunday at church I couldn't hold back the tears, I literally cryed the whole morning. My dear friends Heather & Aaron invited me over for lunch. It was so great to be with people that loved me.

That night I started a journal of my prayers and thougths. I have a hard time praying because my thoughts go every which way but when I write them down I can be more honest about what I'm thinking. My pen normally leads not only to the real problem but God's very real answer. The answer he had for me was this. "I'm finding it hard to turst, Do I think you wont' go to africa with me? Do I think you're not there...I think that's it. I think you are sending me but really you are calling me. You are in Africa prepairing it form e and you are calling me. Calling me to come and be part of your work; the work you have laid out for me, specifically me."

Wrapping my brain around the thougth that God is calling me and not sending me was very comforting.

When I was at work this week I was chatting with my boss (an MK) and he was able to share with me how true God calling and not sending is. It's so nice to have someone who has been on the field and can share wisdom with me. Tuesday we talked about guns and being white. He said that using street smarts will be my number one way to avoid harm. I'm learnign so much. God is so good at putting the right people in my path.

The week proved that fact.

Tuesday I met Javier. We met at the airport, we were seeing off the Hughes. They are flying to Burundi to get ready for school. Bob is the head of the English dept. at HAU. Javier is going to be teaching English at HAU in Feb. It was so nice to talk to someone just as confused as I am. But he is so excited about going. I’m thrilled to work with him to figure out this whole Burundi trip thing. I’m making friends already and I’m not there yet! I was hoping for someone to work on this with me but didn’t think to ask God for a person. He is so good to me. He knows my requests before I ask. I’m glad He’s my God, I wouldn’t have any other. Even when I doubt him he blesses me. Now that’s a good God!

Thursday I talked to a travel agent. From what he said I should not travel alone. So I contacted Javier to see if we could make traveling easier on me.

Javier is an adventurous person but very excited to not have to battle alone. He said that he would travel with me. He wants to stop and do a few days layover in places he has not been. I’m thrilled to get the chance to stop along the way and enjoy the trip instead of having to worry about my safety. God is so good.

Saturday I got more information from Bishop Buconyori (the one who invited me, president of HAU) He told me that they have special education classes they just don’t know how relevant they are to what is needed. He said he wants me to come and teach some classes and also look at the classes and rework the schedule. I’m honored that he thinks I’m qualified. The Lord is good though and will provide for my needs.

He said there was a container leaving the states full of education supplies for HAU in Oct. I want to help with the stocking of supplies. I hope to send some of my heavy books with the container. We will see.

Only a week’s time and I have come full circle. I need to remember that my God is good, truly good.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Answers a bike ride away

Last week I spent my time at Warm Beach Camp's Family Camp. It was so nice to spend time just relaxing and not having to work. The best part of last week was that the Ogdens were attending family camp also. The Ogdens are missionaries to Burundi that recently have spend more time here in Washington and gone back to Burundi for 3 months at a time or so. I have met with them and gleaned wisdom over the last few months. Being able to ride my bike to their camp site and ask a question whenever it came up was so nice. Carol and I discussed many important things such as whether to bring a swimming suit, fan or tea pot. It was so nice to ask the frivolous questions that are needed to be answered. I forget how basic some of the things that I need to know. It's like I'm packing for college but don't the climate or culture well enough to write a list on my own. I have a list now and feel more knowledgeable.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Baby steps

I feel like I'm taking the slowest baby steps toward Burundi that I can. sigh

Today I went to Costco and got my passport pictures taken.

I have applied to be a VISA Voyager, this is an organization through Free Methodist World Missions. It has been very helpful to have a wealth of knowledge just a call away.

Yesterday I went to my second Kurundi language lessons. I am trading English for Kurundi with a woman from my church. Her family are Burundi refugees. It's nice to hear what the words should sound like and also get some culture at the same time while she is talking to her children in Kurundi.

I can now say good morning, the numbers 1, 2 and 3, house, yes and no. Important words to know ;) There are other words I understand when they are spoken to me.

In the next few weeks I should know how my finances will be processed and will be able to start sending out support letters, applying for grants and visiting churches.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Q & A

Where are you going? Burundi, Africa
Who asked you to go? Elie Buconyori (Free Methodist Bishop and President of HAU)
Where will you stay? Hope Africa University (HAU) in Bujumbura, Burundi
When are you going? January 2010
How long are you staying? 1 year
What will you do there? I've been asked to set up special education for the country
(we will see what gets done while I'm there)