Heart Strings

I believe in heart strings. The tiny tug you feel or the soft whisper you hear…and you know it’s your heart, almost indescribably, pulling you in a direction… to do something… make a decision, get involved, make a change – whatever it is. The pull is different for everyone and you don’t need to justify it… it just is – what it is. Thank goodness.

As you would guess, the people of Nyabikiri have a strong hold on my heart, but it wasn’t always that way. It wasn’t that easy. I just don’t think that is how heart strings operate.

It started out as a soft nudge- 2005: “Did you hear that Tim and Susie are going to Rwanda?” To a consistent tapping- 2006: “I think I want to sponsor a child in Nyabikiri.” To a more aggressive jab -2008: “Maybe one day I will go to Rwanda.” To a full-on push- 2010: “They are taking a trip in July and I would really like to be a part of it.”

Don’t get me wrong, over the last several years there were obstacles: “Can I afford to sponsor a child right now?” — “My life is too busy.” — “We have a one-year old- can we leave her for 12 days?” — “How will we fund-raise that much money?”

But, ironically, it always felt exciting to continue to tell my heart “I am listening” – so I that is what I did. Through a series of small, purposeful decisions I followed its lead… and on one specific morning in Nyabikiri I remember consciously thinking “I am so happy right now. My heart is completely filled to the brim!” This where my heart was leading me and I am so thankful. Wow, our hearts are so darn smart.

Well, this is my last “official” blog post about our trip to Rwanda and I have been humbled to know how many of you have been following my stories. I am so grateful for those who have reached out to me and let me know, in so many words, that you have been touched by the people of Nyabikiri. That was my hope and my prayer.  I will be forever thankful that you opened your hearts to them.

The hard part: There is still so much work to be done and I have been asked by several people “How can I continue to help? What can I do?”… and I wanted to share what I shared with them:

Sponsor a child in Nyabikiri:
Food for the Hungry has provided me with a direct link to a list of children from Nyabikiri in need of sponsorship – CLICK HERE. Being a sponsor is so simple and makes such a profound affect in their lives. It is easy, easy (so fulfilling too)… and such great way to have an immediate impact. I would really love to hear about your new sponsored child!

Support the next Trip to Nyabikiri:
In June 2011 a new group of people from Pathways Church will be returning to Nyabikiri to continue the work that we (and the previous 5 trips) have done.  They will need financial support for the projects that are decided to be most pressing in June. If you would like to donate to their efforts, please CLICK HERE. (and select “Rwanda 2011” on the online donation page) We feel so connected to those who wanted to be a part of our trip and share in it with us this past summer. (Thank you!) We are still so inspired when we think about what we can accomplish if we all work together!

Rwanda Card Project:
Want to be inspired? Carol Schmidt, a member of Pathways Church, was on a morning run and thinking about how she could help the people of Nyabikiri. She knew that she would not, at this point in her life, be able to travel to Rwanda – but her heart strings were being tugged and she wanted to help. So, she decided to start making greeting cards…and every cent of the sale goes directly to meeting the needs of the people of Nyabikiri.  Her heart is sooo big for Rwanda and I pray she will be able meet the people of Nyabikiri – that she is creating a beautiful voice for – someday soon.  To learn more or how to purchase the greeting cards, please contact Carol Schmidt at carolschmidt@q.com

I was thrilled to donate my photography for the creation of some of the recent cards.

Check out her work…

Finally, I wanted to say how grateful I am to everyone who has supported Bill and I (and still do in so many ways) through this incredible journey to Rwanda. We know you have never left our side. Thank you! Thank you!

Truthfully, I don’t think traveling to Nyabikiri and this life-changing experience is the end of the road for this specific heart string of mine. It may just be the beginning, who knows? So, I keep listening.

…and as your heart whispers – I hope you keep listening too!

Thank you, endlessly, for sharing in this experience with me.

Love to you!


Ps- If you would like to watch or re-watch my photo slide show about our journey in Rwanda and see more images… click here. Thank you!!

Carol SchmidtOctober 3, 2010 - 8:19 pm

Wow! From the first minute that I set my eyes on your amazing photos I was deeply touched. For me, it solidified my passion to care with commitment. Each time I make a card I think about the life behind the faces, the joys and hardships, and I am changed. I am hoping to go on the trip next summer, to meet those I have grown to love simply through you, Kate, sharing your passion, skill, and enthusiasm with all of us.

Dick GillaspieOctober 2, 2010 - 5:33 pm

What a wonderful wrapup to an incrediable journey.

CindyOctober 1, 2010 - 11:57 pm

Thank you so much for so poignantly and beautifully sharing your incredible journey! Your ability to capture the spirit of the children is amazing. Love you!

Susie GradeOctober 1, 2010 - 11:51 pm

I love the idea of heart strings, and whispers, and hunches and intuition – such a powerful thing. So honored to be on this journey with you and glad to have you as friends. I am moved every time I read your blogs and look at these photos – thanks for taking the time to tell the story. Much love, Susie

JodiOctober 1, 2010 - 9:17 pm

Your pictures are really moving. This batch just brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for sharing. I’m listening!

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