Thursday, August 20, 2009


We are finishing up the mix for the album, and are re-entering summer in Minnesota. We hear from our friends in Rwanda, and ask for your prayers for the FH office in Kigali, and for the community of Gesanga as they continue to work so diligently on community development and care for these kids and their families.

Visit Part One - Getting there We just got an update from our sponsored child in Rwanda, and it was so strange to be able to picture the backdrop to that letter. I could picture Remy, the interpreter, helping Iranzi with his letter, and wondered if he had worked on this particular response at school or during one of his home visits. Iranzi's home is well off the beaten path. You have to have some pretty good shoes to get down the side of the hill that he and his family lives on. Or in the case of the children leading us down, you need no shoes and a lifetime of experience. When we went to visit Iranzi there was a lot of expectation, and I was trying so hard to take mental snapshots of what was going on without missing actually being in the moment as it was happening. In Rwanda, you do not have to be rich to have a great view. It is called the Land of a Thousand Hills, and whether you are perched at the top of one of those hills, deep in the valleys, or anywhere in between, the lush green, rolling views are breathtaking.

Iranzi's family was about three-quarters of a mile down one of those 'hills'. There is no road to speak of, just a foot path that goes from house to house. Moments before we got to the house, Kirby fell and scraped his knee. Cameras were rolling to document our visit as FH advocates, and I knew Kirby was not going to be able to pull it together by the time we reached the house. He was the focus of things because he and Iranzi are about the same age. I knew he was okay, but with all of the attention, he was overwhelmed, and was having a hard time calming down. I had one of those parent moments where I wondered if I should sternly command him to pull it together because we needed a good picture of him, or if even here on the side of this hill in Rwanda, I needed to take the time to hear him out. Kirby and I walked away from the group a bit and I could tell his knee was okay. It just took him a minute to regroup, and then we were ready to meet the family.

I am in that position a lot where I want my kids to act a certain way because we are in public, and have found that my expectations can be like poison to my whole family. I have to really check my motives. I want them to be kind, gentle people, but if my motive comes from my wanting to look good, my kids will figure out that my correction was ultimately about me and not about them. I have to admit that I was on the verge of hissing in his ear, but later I was glad that I had an opportunity to show Kirby that he is important to me even when we are doing other important things.

Sara and Kirby embark on their journey to meet their sponsored child Iranz.

The Groves family, with Food for the Hungry coordinator Remy, traverse the terrain to Iranz's house.

Kirby with Iranz's last letter he got back in Minnesota.


  1. I find that all too often, I do the same thing to my little one. She is 5, so far from understanding hidden motives... but I know that those days are drawing to an end. Oh, to have the forgiving heart of a child.

    I love the pictures, the work you are doing there (and everywhere.. even daily, in my home through your music) is amazing. They are lucky, as am I, to have you.

    I can't tell you how excited I am about your new album coming out. I am literally thrilled.

  2. What an amazing journey! My heart is just breaking as I think of those families over there. One day I want to take my children across the globe. For now, we will do our missions here in Minneapolis and St. Paul. Just yesterday my husband and I went to the deepest streets, bridges and railroad tracks of St. Paul to seek out the homeless. We're starting a ministry and desire to end homelessness in the Twin Cities one day. One person at a time. Anyways...this just touches my heart and I know it touches God's heart as well. Bless you in all that you do.

    And I'm so excited to have you at our church in October. Just got all the papers this week!

    In Christ,
    Christine Engman

  3. Very touching, Sara. (and familiar, too--the parenting part, I mean.) Thanks for keeping it real. I'm still enjoying Tell Me What You Know so much, but as always, look forward to hearing your new project!

  4. Yesterday, I figured out why my son misbehaves and displays a bad attitude at times. I caught myself acting like him in his bad moments, and realized that sometimes he has been imitating me. How embarrassing! Hopefully that never happens to you. :)

  5. As a former MK, I think it is exciting the wonderuful opportunities that you and Troy are opening up to your children. Teaching them to be Jesus with shoes on. The pictures are so beautiful, so scenic, so engaging. I hear a song in the words Land of a Thousand Hills.....:)I hear the drum beat from the distant lands.

    My mission field is my town and my county of Isanti. 80% of the people in my area here do not go to church. Which is the number of churches in Isanti (the city) is 4 or 5 all within a mile radius of eachother. My mission field is my public school classroom as well.

    Bless you as you minister in the name of Jesus in all the many ways your family does.

  6. What a GREAT reminder of how I will need to check my motives before I handle a situation with my child (our first is on the way due this February) in public and make sure that I'm saying what I'm saying and doing what I'm doing for their good and not for my own image.

  7. Sara,

    Thanks for blogging about the work the Lord is doing in your life through these missions to Rwanda. I just found a link to your blog on your website, and wanted to leave you a little message. You song "I saw what I saw" was part of my inspiration to go on my first mission trip. I knew the Lord was calling me, and that was around the time one of my friends went to an art music justice show. She played that song for me, and I would literally WAKE UP singing that song. :) The Lord was working on my heart. Just wanted to thank you for inspiring others, and also for GOING! :)

    I blog, too. Feel free to read about God's work in Peru and Haiti.

    for His kingdom,
    Rebecca Griggs

  8. Great post. I'm a mental snapshot person, too. Then I can go back there in my mind and envision people where they are.

    Talking about Kirby brought to mind a fantastic book that I'm working through called "Love Focused" by Bob and Judy Hughes and I highly recommend it. I am a mom who struggles with wanting to seem like my kids "have it 100% together" when really we are right at about 35% or less! This book has helped with what you were talking about, working on how to love in the moment instead of focus on our own needs and agenda. Way to seize that moment for your little guy!

  9. Sara, I admire the work that you are doing. A true example of being the hands and feet of Jesus. How nice that you're including your lovely family. : )



  10. Ugh, I have that challenge. We have a lot of children in a community of people who think two or three is plenty enough. I always feel like I'm in the spotlight to prove that I'm up for the task of mothering all these children, and hence struggle with the expectation for the youngins to perform in order to prove themselves, and their mother, worthy. I'm not as much in the spotlight as you are, but enough so to feel the pressure.

    It used to bother me more when they were smaller, but I think I've found a little bit more confidence in myself (but moreso in God).

    You're a good mom.
    I always wanted to go to Africa. I love your pictures. Do any of the moms over there need cloth diapers? I can make a donation.