House of Lion and the Rat

I’m pretty sure many people back home think every morning I roll off a straw mat in a mud hut and walk outside, harness a nearby tropical animal and gallop around trying to save the world. 

Though I’d embrace that lifestyle, I have decided to break that myth and show you all my house.

My community built a house for me to live in which is a pretty astounding and undeserving honor.

I struggled for a while with that. It’s strange having a house of its size surrounded by mud huts. 

Firstly, I don’t have many things to put in it. Secondly, it quickly shattered the expectation of a two room hut. I wanted to live exactly like the people in my community live. And I do. But the house took some getting used to.

Every day I’m learning how to be grateful for this space–a space I can breathe and a space where I can invite others in. But more on that later. Enjoy the tour!

You can’t miss it. Kwa Lion (House of Lion) is already a landmark. It looks like someone took an oversized structure and plopped it down in a rural village. 

I’d show you my garden, but you know what it looks like already! (See previous post).

Let’s start on the inside and work our way out again: here is my room–bed is courtesy of my priest homies in the village.

I was visiting them and they heard I didn’t have a bed. Without hesitation, one of them replied,

“Can we send you back with a bed when you go?”

It was a powerful moment for me receiving that kind of hospitality. Impulsive and radical love. That’s how I want to live.

Next we have my wall of words. Never underestimate the power of words. And never forget your community and your friends. I left them all, but I brought them with me and still can turn to the wall of words for truth about myself and about God. 

(My address is BP 59 Ruhango, Rwanda) hint hint

This kitchen has been a battleground. Figuratively and literally. It took me days, red hot scissors, and gum to finally create the successful bucket tap seen above.

I also battled a giant rat in there.

One night, I walked into the kitchen and it just stood (stood?) there transfixed with its eyes gleaming.

When you live in isolation, you have few people to talk to, and when you have few people to talk to, sometimes you talk to things that don’t talk.

That is why I slowly closed the door reaching for a wooden mop, saying out loud, “It’s you or me.”

I lunged forward in a warrior stance twirling my mop like I was auditioning for The Last Samurai (I wasn’t).

And the rat ran at me like I was the prey.

It was crazy. Mop met rat. The rat continued to leap forward.

Mop met rat again. Rat met death. All was silent on the kitchen front.

But, I digress. Back to the tour?

Here is my living room–a giant area where I eat food, prepare projects, and pass out on the sturdy handcrafted couch (brought to my village on a bicycle) after exhausting 8 hour days with some of my 300+ students.

This is not a good punching bag. And has caused me to bleed. But it keeps me motivated and relieves stress like no other. It’s also technically a laundry bag full of bamboo and dirt.

Here is my “walking closet.” The usual reaction to my bamboo creation: “Dude that’s sketchy.”

This is a hole… Moving on!

Cold water bucket bath time. I don’t think I could go back to warm running water. I love it.

And finally. The backyard. I wish you could see the stars at night.
It reminds me of how big the world is, how small I am, and how overwhelmingly amazing Jesus is in the midst of it.

Thanks for taking the tour! Come visit again sometime!

Your Friend,




    1. Presley!! Thanks! Hope you’re doing well! Our team and IJM was made so much better because of you. Thanks for following my crazy journey. Excited to see yours as well. Keep being awesome!’


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