Dirty Dishes, Diapers, and...Rwanda?
BY TASHA BURGOYNE, REAL MOM & GRACE ATTENDER
We started going to Grace Church after leaving Germany and full-time ministry – two things we deeply loved. It was the end of a dream and beginning of our journey into parenthood. We were lonely and confused.
Eventually I mustered up the courage to venture a little deeper into Grace and signed up for Real Moms. It was in Real Moms I found the face-to-face community I desperately needed. I was being challenged and encouraged in this new season of life.
I had no idea the door that was about to open.
About a year ago, I sat at a café table across from Corinne (the Women of Grace Associate Pastor), enjoying a wet cappuccino, talking about dreams and ministry, and feeling inspired by her heart and passion for the world.
She inquired, “Do you think you’d be able to travel internationally?” As much as travel had been a part of my story and as much as I loved it, I thought it would be impossible.
She began to tell me about a partnership between the Women of Grace and ALARM (African Leadership and Reconciliation Ministries) to train women leaders in Rwanda (yes, Africa) over the next three years. This summer, she said,
“We will be taking our first of six trips.”
I was so surprised when she popped the question; “Would you be willing to go with us to help capture stories and write about your experience?”
She didn’t know that just 3 months before, I had picked story as my word for the year. Story because I wanted to be fixed on God’s story and because I wanted to live out my love for writing stories. Of course I wanted to go, and of course I was terrified at the thought of going to Africa.
I thought my husband would think it was insane, being the realist in the family…and did I mention we have two small boys, and were in the middle of an international adoption process? And yet, when I told him about it over the phone he immediately said you should go.
We kept talking about this as I made stir-fry in our wok while our shirtless boys ran around the house like wild animals, and my husband made his weary, traffic-filled commute home. God showed up in the middle of our crazy mundanity and opened a door of possibility. After praying and waiting a few more days, I said YES to the almost impossible trip with the almost impossible timing.
A few months later, I was on a plane to Rwanda, with four women I barely knew for the adventure of a lifetime. God was about to ignite a passion for a people and culture I would have never imagined being part of in any way.
The thing is, I knew I needed community when I joined Real Moms and longed for a cup of non-reheated coffee, especially since most of my days were spent at home with dirty dishes and diapers. I didn’t know it would open doors that God would use to let hope rise in my spirit again. Not only was I being stretched in my new role as mom and wife, I was also being challenged to keep exploring the dreams God was cultivating in me.
What surprised me the most this last year is how much my family and our world needed me to continue becoming the woman God had created me to be. My boys still talk about when I took their Lego guys to Africa and traveled across the big pond to write stories and follow God in this big adventure.
Six years ago, I signed up for Real Moms as a lonely new mom grieving the loss of a dream. Today, I am still a Real Mom. But now, I am a Real Mom who is growing and changing. I am more aware of God’s incredible love for me. I have hope that He has good plans for me and I want to stay open to the places He is calling me to be or go, whether in my own home or thousands of miles away.