“…with God all things are possible.”

Matthew 19:26

I have the honored pleasure of serving kids and their families here in the states and across the globe. Many are homeless, refugees of the Genocides, and/or simply not afforded the basic comforts of life and the joys that the visual and performing arts can bring. I am heavily involved in ThruGuiDANCE Ministries, Inc., where, yearly, we provide performing arts camps that bring hundreds of deserving young people together to inspire them to trust God, discover their passions and become agents of change. I serve as Artistic Director and Co-Camp Director for an organization with love at its core; ThruGuiDANCE Ministries, Inc.


Below are a few of my blogs sharing ThruGuiDANCE in Coushatta, Louisiana; Kigali, Rwanda-Africa; Inglewood, California and – St. George, Grenada…where I’ve just recently returned…

They reflect the ongoing foundation of my life…the Mission of God!



7-15-15 entry:

Nightly, Grenada provides a beautiful orchestra of nature’s wild sounds weaving through its’ breezes. A wonderful calm after a very tedious & compact few days of serving in our full Camp complete with youth and young adults which, unexpectedly, includes 3 & 4 year olds’. Just four years younger than we had originally expected. But very welcomed!…Needless to say, we’ve a very colorful and exciting Camp this year!


7-18-15 entry:

It is with great appreciation that I write these words. God has and is sustaining, protecting, showing up and showering. I greet you from Grenada, the fairly small island located in Eastern Caribbean, capital; St. George. Although as a team we have each withstood numerous attacks regarding several things including our health; from bad skin reactions to the tremendous bug bites and vomiting, to full blown bed ridden flu, we refuse to be discouraged. He says, “…praise Him continually”. Thank God for His mighty hand of healing. We are forever grateful that, however uncomfortable the attacks have been, they have not been worse. For as we know, no matter how big a challenge, it can always be worse and is also never bigger than God. The team has been graced with the hospitality and love of many here who have extended their time, support and natural home remedies, which include herbs plucked straight from their yards. A soothing comfort.


Thank you for your prayers.


We have had as many as 93 youth and young adults participate in this year’s TG Camp. The days are hot, sticky and air is humid, sometimes hard to distinguish between the cause of all the sweating as we dance, sing, paint and praise daily throughout our 5 hours of Camp.


Camp Show entry:

And, a colorful Camp it was! From Miss Kendal’s choreographed movements and waves of the multiple colors of flags beautifully gestured by the many boys during our finale piece, to the white lapas (African wrapped skirts) worn by our teen girls dancing, Clear the Stage (one of our TG signature dances), to the innocent voices of our 3-5 year olds we loving refer to as our “little birds” singing, God Is So Big, to the metallic and glitter face masks worn by our pre-teen girls while dancing and acting in “TRY”, a piece I choreographed that tells a story of celebrating being beautifully made in God’s image and not trying to be someone you’re not. The theme of this year’s Camp: IMAGO DEI, Latin for IMAGE of GOD. The boys proudly recited these words in a set cadence while executing a rhythm of steps; STEPPIN, arranged by our teammates, Miss Aisha and Miss Danielle. All presented against the nice long mural that Miss Chasity had our campers paint and that is to be gifted to our friends at the Watts learning Center in Watts, CA, as a thank you for the backpacks and schools supplies they gifted to our Grenada participants. Prayer was the appropriate opening and close of our evening, led by our hosts and the women of New Horizons, Agape Foundation and ROCK Foundation.


And, so as we transition and prepare to head briefly to LA for one day before leaving out to serve our Camp family in Coushatta, Louisiana, I send my love, gratitude and many blessings!

Until next time…

Monica 🙂


We held our first preliminary Inglewood Camp in Inglewood, CA April 2015, and our young people  performed their stories through the arts! 
 Families and community came and celebrated God, the arts and children with us.
Event info is below.  The event was free…but donations as always were welcomed and appreciated! Most importantly, our student artists saw the audience full of community, love and supporter!!!
If you were unable to make it and would like to donate please visit our website and make your donation online.  Thank you for all that you do.
In His service,
Monica McSwain
Artistic Director/Servant
Thru GuiDANCE Ministries, Inc.
Inline image

Thru GuiDANCE Ministries

*Eradicating poverty thru Reconciliation, Scholarship & the Arts


Sharing my thoughts- 2014 – Monica

The Word: *Eradicate


The Definition: destroy completely; put an end to

What should you eradicate in or around your life? Any un-forgiveness, unhealthy relationships, thoughts and/or decisions? What will you eradicate? When will you do it? Tomorrow is not promised.

ThruGuiDANCE is purposed to eradicate/put an end to poverty; ending poverty of the soul, poverty of ones spirit, of ones mind, of education, poverty of ones hopes and dreams!




ThruGuiDANCE Coushatta 2013


An Excerpt: …thru the eyes of Chasity Price


“…I truly believe the camp gave more to me than I gave to it.  For this I am forever grateful.  I will return God willing to pay homage, to remember this blessing, and position myself to continue to be an instrument for God’s use.  ThruGuidance is a performing arts camp for children and a path to God for his temporarily misguided.  Thank you!”




Coushatta, Louisiana -2012

Rwanda Waterwalk_0529

posted: 19th August 2012

Final thoughts from Monica…


Excerpts of thoughts during my time in Rwanda this year…

Camp Presentation:

We came before His presence with singing! Opening our ThruGuidance Camp Presentation on Sunday, August 12, 2012, were the sweet voices of the children who worked with Mister Andre in the song workshop. This was followed by the syncopated movements Miss Tanae taught to the group. They will continue on with the church as the Dance Ministry. Kendal and I will assist our ThruGuidance Rwanda Team in organizing and leading this newly formed Dance ministry. Following this group was “Forever”, an original song written and sung by Andre. Brother Daniel, Delilah and our missionary friend Caitlin sang backup for Andre’s rendition of his song for the Camp. Sister Nikita, Kendal, Tanae and I accompanied them in liturgical, lyrical and contemporary dance.

God’s creations:

Giraffes, hippos, crocs and monkey are among the wonderful animals roaming the Akagera National Park. During a seven hour drive through its dry bush and winding hills on board the bus filled with our wide eyed American ThruGuidance Team and excited 20 plus friends from the “Street kids Program”, who are also participants in our ThruGuidance Camps, we encountered the parks “rouge” elephant! He came so intensely close to our bus that I don’t believe there was a silent voice among the chorus of screams, nervous shouts and laughter that was initiated by our close encounter. It was an exciting day. What beauty. God is perfection. He has created creation, defined, formed and shaped every creature and being, breathing, growing and living with faultlessness!

We His people:

As I see more of this world, I experience more

of God. Whether diving and peeking through the oceans waters to commune with His creatures there or interacting with people across His globe, I look for God, not as one who is lost or aimless but as a journey man who is thirsty, wanting more and more of Him, meeting Him wherever He leads and never too full or getting enough of Him.

Like the writer who authors the life of a character on the pages of a book, God so sweetly molded the world into existence creating the foundation. He breathed life into dust, filling those that will internally receive him to live inside and through them, for eternity. Image this for a moment if you will…We do not know from where or whom we will be born. No one does.

“…It is He who has made us and not we ourselves. We are his people and the sheep of his pasture.” Psalms 100

We are pre-assigned, born into this world with every hair on our head numbered (Luke 12:7). If you…your spirit, soul, heart and mind…had been assigned to live inside a different body, which was located in another city, country or continent, would you not be you? Is whom you are defined or determined by your external shell or by your internal soul, by the flesh and the colors it comes in or by spirit of light or darkness in which you choose to exist?

I wonder what “we” would/will look like without flesh and body. As I write I’m picturing souls and spirits appearing as light or as darkness afloat, occupying a given space. When in heaven, flesh will not be a distraction. As I think of His word, I am reminded of God’s love for all, that He has no respecter of persons, that He died, gave of His life as the ultimate sacrifice for each and everyone individual. Even before we/the world repented He allowed Himself to be crucified on our behalf to allow us to …choose ye this day whom we will serve, God or man? The choice is ours. God did not just create us but has given us free will. And like a loving parent He allowed us to journey this world, hoping we hold fast to His guidance and direction, making right choices and decisions. And with patient anticipation He stands ready with open arms, welcoming us home, back into His arms.

July/August 2012

Posted 19th August 2012


Posted 19th August 2012

Thru the eyes of Monica….

Bitay! (Ok I think I’m spelling it correctly. It sounds like Bee-tay, which means “Hey!” or “What’s up”)

We are day 4 into Camp. It has been a joy to see so many of the children from last year’s Camp! This year due to logistics, we are holding Camp at a different location. Kendal and I were not sure how the change would affect this year’s camp. Not only have the previous kids found us but new ones are also attending. Many are homeless; “street kids”. The children told their friends and more have come, so many. We have even had tell them not to invite anymore of there friends due to the 100 student capacity. But sadly we have had to turn away many newer ones that they have still invited.


By now you are probably aware of our inability to get online at our leisure. Although we have made daily attempts, we’ve only been able to gain access and post the few times we’ve been able to grab the opportunity! So, needless to say much has happened throughout Camp and over the past days since writing about Day 4. Insert: music sound track and video clips of the Team showing snid-bits of dance styles along with song.

Each child and young adult participating in Camp was provided a selection of classes from which they could choose one to take: Tap dance (taught by Delilah, Contemporary dance (taught by Nikita), Song (taught by Andre), Lyrical dance (taught by Tanae and Ballet dance (taught by me). I was not alone in being somewhat surprised about 10 of the young-adult men who chose Ballet. At times these men could be seen doing hip hop moves. Many of the younger kids look up to them. There was no negative stigma connected with their decision to learn Ballet. To them, Ballet was an opportunity to learn a style of movement of which they were not familiar and enjoyed seeing. Three other gentlemen and Sylvie, were members of our ThruGuidance Ministries Rwanda Team. I was told, “We want to learn technique”. Their desire to grow as dancers is strong. I shared how Ballet has benefited me as a dancer and often serves as an additionally great foundation for many dancers when learning and dancing other styles like Contemporary and Lyrical.

“And, uh, 5, 6, 7, 8!” This in dance, means…”On you’re mark get set go!” We were off! After teaching them the 5 basic Ballet feet and arm positions as well as parallel position and seeing the steady pace in which they absorbed the information, we moved on, adding more and more movement, learned terms and technique. We used our bare feet in the absence of Ballet shoes and the bare wall in the absence of a Ballet barre. And with the accompaniment of Tchaikovsky played from my phone, we were having Ballet class. We were dancing Ballet!

And yet again, dance served as a vehicle for expression, a way of communication and an outlet.

Psalms 149 and 150


Posted 19th August 2012 by Thru Guidance



Posted 6th August 2012

ThruGuiDANCE Rwanda…thru the eyes of Monica


Mwaramutse! My greetings to you from Rwanda!


Just as the sun shines on not just one but on all, this day is for not only one but for us all. Praise God for the love that He shares with not only one but with all; the light that he shines on not only one but on all of us and for the goodness, HIS goodness, which is that light that HE has provided for us all. This is the same light that I believe He refers to in the book of Genesis chapter 1 verse 3: And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. The whole world is blessed by the one sky that covers us, no matter who or where we are. There are so many other common and consistent factors that connect humankind together. We can’t be human all by ourselves. Archbishop Desmond Tutu offers what he calls, Ubuntu. By now you have probably seen Ubuntu mentioned in my other teammates blog’s as well as my previous blog(s). To briefly revisit, Archbishop Desmond Tutu shares his thoughts on the essence of being human…”I am because you are. You are because I am. And, we are because HE [God] is.” We think of ourselves far too often as individuals, separated from one another. We often forget that, who we are, what we do affects others, which affects the world. Just ask Adam and Eve.

A couple of days ago the team and I went to the Refugee Camp in Kibuye where over 20 thousand people live and over 50 percent are children. Walking through this camp one might naively assume it would have a more temporary feel or look. Not so. The Camp has been in existence for approximately 18 years after many fled the Congo. With what little they are provided, a community garden, market place and water “hole” area are among the things the people have developed, along with a newly designed library that my team and I appreciated taking part in helping build by moving and stacking bricks. The location of the library sits on a hill overlooking a breathtaking view of Gods great architectural landscape. The view brings with it a peaceful quietness, much like the warmth I feel from the people.

This is my second time visiting the Camp.. Last year I met Natalie, who has found a way to create and make jewelry using tiny pieces of fabric to make earrings and scraps of paper she rolls to make beads. It was such a blessing to sit and talk with her again this time, as well as reconnect with others. In some ways it was bitter sweet, though. Because they wish they were not still there. A common hope and prayer among them is to be able to leave the refugee camp and live in a house they can call their own, able to sustain themselves and there family just as many of them did some eighteen years ago before being forced to leave their homes.

As we sit we communicate with the small bits of language we are able to understand from each other. But the holding of hands, and silent hugs manage to say what words cannot. They are each so strong. No matter how constant and daily each of them are reminded of the years they have lived at the Camp, their belief in God carry them day to day. Their strength, hope, determination and love are to me, as powerful and breathtaking as the mighty landscape that surrounds the Camp they now still call home.


Posted 6th August 2012 by Thru Guidance



GuiDANCE Coushatta 2012. From the eyes of Monica


Hey! Hey! Listen up!

Hey! Hey! Listen up!

You listenin?

I’m listenin!

You listenin?

I’m listenin!

I once heard a friend of mine call out in a classroom, “Hey, listen up!” From there the seed was laid and the idea of a “Call & response” grew. Hey! Hey! Listen up! You listenin? I’m listenin…opened up Act II of our Camp Presentation in Coushatta, Louisiana, Saturday, July 14th 2012. It served also as a way for me to quickly get the attention of the kids during moments of impromptu chat sessions among this group of just over 100. Birthed from the roots in Africa and breathing today throughout churches and music heard over the Internet and radio, call & response is still very much alive, still serving as an important part of our world and how we communicate. I thought it not only helpful but also important to incorporate this into our camp.

Science tells us that with every action there is a re-action. The Bible says, “In the beginning God created…and there was…” I am reminded of Ubuntu, our theme for ThruGuidance Camps this year. To recap, it is, “I am because you are. You are because I am. We are because He is.” I am also reminded of the hard work and diligent effort the kids and young adults in Louisiana made in preparing to express themselves through dance, acting, singing and rhyming, I am additionally reminded of the responses and reactions told to our team from their family and friends. Statements like, “Thank you. I have never seen my child open up like this before!” and “This [the camp and presentation] was unlike anything we’ve experienced in Coushatta!”

I leave Coushatta, blessed by my new friends and family there, hoping to return again next year. Among several things, I pray each one of their experiences with ThruGuidance Camp will continue to impact and encourage them to move in their God given gifts which will in response, bless the world! Because…I am because YOU are and WE are because HE IS!

You listenin?!


Posted 1st August 2012 by Thru Guidance


Through the eyes of Monica GuiDANCE Coushatta 2012

Here we are in Louisiana’s sweet Coushatta. Say it with the right pinch of southern spice in your voice and it’ll come out pronounced like, ku-shaa-duh. And although the population is small the hospitality is full, like the fullness that hushpuppies, greens, cabbage, fried & grilled fish, melt-n-ur- mouth mac & cheese, potato salad, peach cobbler, pound cake, finger liking apple dumplings and all the other delicious foods my taste buds and vegetarian stomach can handle along with a bread I was introduced to called “monkey bread”. Can I hear a “Mmm -Yum yummm”! The love here is large, like the portions put on our plates. Generations and families are close knit. We are so blessed to serve such wonderfully warm people! It has been an honor to lead the 100 plus kids and young adults through this week of dance, music, acting and other artistic workshops. Our Camp theme? I am because you are. We are because He is. Or to elaborate, I am blessed because of you. And, we are here and we are blessed because God is God! It is a philosophy, I’m told that Bishop Tutu birthed in response to the apartheid in South Africa. Today is just the end of the second day of camp. After we dismissed, I was quickly asked the name of the artist and song to which we had just rehearsed in order to help aide in additional rehearsals at home. Needless to say, their enthusiasm is coupled with diligence. I am yet again reminded of how easily and how much people living in larger cities in the U.S. can take for granted privileges of easy access to the arts, arts education and the entertainment industry. On Saturday all the Camp participants will be sharing what they have learned and are working hard to retain in a presentation for family, friends and town. Coushatta is filled with gems of talent, even shinier and sweeter than the most buttery- glazed foods you have seen! Monica M.

Posted 17th July 2012 by Thru Guidance

 Newly arrived Couchatta LA ThruGuiDANCE Ministry Camp

We drove to Coushatta from Los Angeles on Friday July 6, 2012…after riding with the team 26 hours we arrived on Saturday late afternoon! Our FIRST Coushatta mission began!


ThruiGuiDANCE Fundraiser_June25th_Color



May 10, 2012 by

Blogger: Kendal Robinson (Founder ThruGuiDANCE Ministry)

Blessings and greetings to you all. I hope that Thursday is finding you well and God is enjoying your worship! HE is truly amazing! I am writing you to share something wonderful, Thru GuiDANCE Ministries, Inc.! For some of you this is not new information, but to others it is. I have started a non-profit!! Since returning from Rwanda summer 2010 God has given me the gift of this ministry. For the past two years I have been prayerfully and diligently working on this ministry and in two months I am leading Thru Guidance second team back to Kigali, Rwanda and hosting our first domestic mission camp in Coushatta, Louisiana!!!

For our GuiDANCE Rwanda Camp we are a team of eight and will host our third annual performing arts camp in Kigali, Rwanda for three weeks. I am very excited about this team, especially because I get to serve alongside my mentee Ashley! I am overwhelmed and honored that God would call someone like me in this capacity. Life is truly amazing!

The vision is simple: To eradicate poverty using scholarship and visual & performing arts as a vehicle of reconciliation for youth and young adults with God, community, and self. Thru Guidance not only host camps, but we also provide educational needs for some of the youth we serve in Rwanda, Coushatta, and Los Angeles. We are currently providing free education for three students in Kigali, Rwanda and our commitment is to continue to provide boarding schools fees for these students and more. God is GOOD! Our goal is to also provide educational scholarships for the youth we will serve this summer in Coushatta.

As I prepare for our trip in July my prayer is to not only continue to raise support for the trip cost, but also help my mentee with her trip cost, and financially support more youth with education in both Rwanda and Coushatta. Augustine, Ssali and Innocent are grateful for the opportunity to complete senior school and I am prayerful that God would use Thru Guidance to continue to answer their prayers and the prayers of other youth desiring the same. I am very proud of Augustine, Ssali, and Innocent. Their commitment to serving Thru Guidance over the past two years has been amazing!

I am humbly seeking your assistance with these missions. If you feel led, I am asking for donations of $100 or more towards any aspect of this mission. However, any and every gift amount would truly be a blessing. Our team has been individually (personal trip cost) fundraising for months and as we reach our financial deadlines I am seeking additional support for supplies, tuition, food for camp, and help with Ashley’s trip cost. If you are able to give there are a couple of ways to support this mission financially:

1. Donate by credit card by visiting www.thruguidance.com and submitting a donation through our website.

2. Mail a check or money order to Thru Guidance Ministries, Inc., P.O. Box 10391, Burbank, CA 91510.

3. Attend our Comedy Fundraising Event at The City of Refuge on Friday May 25, 2011 @ 7:00p. Admission is free.

City of Refuge 14527 South San Pedro St. Gardena, CA 90248 – I would encourage you to attend this event even if you choose option one and two.

This will be a wonderful night you will never forget. Our fundraising goal for the night is $10, 000. The purpose of this goal is to raise money for our Scholarship Program for 2012 – 2013.

Our financial deadline is May 30. For the upcoming missions to Coushatta and Rwanda there is a financial need of $5,000. I am also thankful to announce that we are in our final stages of completing our 501c3 status! Praise the LORD! Your gift will be tax deductible and you will receive a receipt at the end of the year.

It would truly mean a lot to me if you would share this ministry with the people in your life. I have such a heart for youth and know firsthand that they are key to God’s redemptive mission.

Last but certainly not least. I need your prayers. This Rwanda Team and Coushatta mission needs your prayer. On the night of the 25th you will have an opportunity to meet the team and pray for us. Thank you for your time, love, and friendship. All that you are is wonderful!

With all my love and appreciation,


Thank you for your continued support. Your gift allows us to eradicate poverty using Scholarship & the Arts as vehicles of reconciliation with God, community, and self to youth and young adults at our GuiDANCE Visual and Performing Arts Camps and through our Scholarship Program.

Posted 10th May 2012 by Thru Guidance



Blogger: Kendal Robinson (and ThruGuiDANCE founder)

The Mission at a Glance:

Thru GuiDANCE Visual & Performing Arts Camp

· 90 youth attended our 5-day camp!

  • · 85% of these youth & young adults are Street Kids. Most of these youth & young adults are orphaned as a result of genocide.
  • · Your giving enabled Thru GuiDANCE Ministries to feed these youth & young adults for 5 days.
  • · 6 youth rededicated their life back to Christ during camp.

Street Kids Day Camp

  • · We served alongside the Street Kids Ministry at Vivante during their annual Street Kids Day Camp.
  • · Thru GuiDANCE Ministries hosted a dance workshop during the Street Kids Day Camp.


  • · Your giving enabled Thru GuiDANCE to fund the cost of the Street Kids Day Camp. This includes: feeding over 90 youth daily and paying for facilitators to teach youth about Human Rights, HIV/AIDS, and the making of a Godly men (most Street Kids are male).
  • · We also did HIV testing on all youth. Of the 100 that were tested only 1 was HIV positive. While our hearts and prayers go out to him, we were overjoyed that there was only one person infected.

Ubuzima (Life)

  • · Ubuzima is an organization we serve alongside annually. This group of women and men have been infected with HIV/AIDS as a results of war & rape from Genocide. They come together in the midst of their suffering and new faith to LIVE. There are over 30 members of the Ubuzima family, and more than 70 children.
  • · Your giving enabled Thru GuiDANCE to feed this entire ministry (plus their children) for a month.
  • · We visited 3 homes of Ubuzima women and were able to gift them financially to assist with their basic needs.
  • · Your giving enabled Thru GuiDANCE Ministries to pay 4 months of back rent for one home & 3 months of back rent for another home. Mama K was evicted while we were there and we were able to bring her rent current.
  • · Team GuiDANCE Rwanda 2011 was able to purchase over $700 worth of product from Ubuzima to support their ministry and mission to provide for themselves. Ubuzima makes handmade comforters, jewelry, home goods, and handbags. This ministry is pivotal to their well-being and survival because most people living in Rwanda with HIV/AIDS have been outcast from their families.

Refugee Camp

Refugee Camp View -ThruGuiDANCE Ministry Mission 2011

  • · We visited one of the four Refugee Camps in Rwanda and donated over 200 new pairs of socks & underwear. Thank you again for your donations.
  • · Funny story. While visiting the camp my father took a picture of an elderly woman. In his attempt to give her comfort with having her picture taken he wanted her to see herself on the screen of the camera. She could barely see. His loving response was to let her “use” his glasses so she could see. Needless to say…she thought he “GAVE” her his glasses and started to rejoice. That was the last time he saw those glasses. Such a blessing.

Recap (last year)

  • · Do you remember Grandma? The woman I met last year living in the banana leaf house? Last year her hut was torn down and a house was built. So excited to connect with grandma again. Your giving allowed us to provide food and medical needs for grandma.
  • · A small balance was paid towards Augustine school fees.

Praise Reports (yes, this includes everything above)

  • · Thru GuiDANCE Ministries is sponsoring two more youth through our Scholarship Program! Both of these students have been out of school for years and have not had the opportunity to continue their education. Education at any level is NOT FREE in Rwanda. These two guys will start class January 2012, which is the beginning of the new school year.
  • · Thru GuiDANCE was able to donate to the continued work that Iteams Rwanda is doing in Rwanda.

Please ensure to stay connected with us on our website: www.thruguidance.com, blog: www.thruguidance.blogspot.com, FB: Thru Guidance, Twitter: Thru Guidance, and YouTube: Thru Guidance Ministries.

Footage from GuiDANCE Rwanda 2011 will be posted shortly and the application to serve next summer will be available September 1, 2011.


Thank you. With all my heart, Kendal S. Robinson


Posted 20th August 2011


From the eyes of Monica McSwain…

So Ethiopian Air flew us as God carried us!

Our first day at camp about 45 campers, who I like to refer to as, artists, showed up. We ended last week with almost 100 kids, youth and even young adults! This is only the second of what I expect will be many more ThruGuiDance Camps in Rwanda and nations all over. I consider it an honor for me to serve as the Artistic Director and alongside Kendal as co-Camp Director. The church where we have Camp is called Vivante. When showing up the second morning of Camp, my heart jumped at the sight of so many of the kids there early and preparing the space for “their” Camp…each stacking chairs and sweeping the dust from off the cement floor. The following day, they were again there very early and nearing the end of mopping the floor when the team arrived. There was still at least 10 minutes left until Camp began! They are thirsty and they are receptive, thirsty not only for the clean and uncontaminated water that is hard to come by in much of Rwanda but thirsty for artistic stimulation, support and to know God even more. They are receptive to us, a team of individuals from across the globe; simply wanting to avail ourselves, share the arts and our hearts. To know you are filling a need, an outlet and a void in one person’s life is humbling. To see the affects of doing this in several lives is unexplainable! I am honored.

Each morning we greet each other with “Amaroho” and/or “Mwaramutse”…which is to say, “Peace” and/or “Good Morning”. The warm greetings are followed by a traditional cheek-to-cheek hug, by switching cheeks three times and ending with right hands held. Strangers quickly become friends. The love here is just that…LOVE. I see God here. I feel His love. Through the people, culture and extraordinarily through their perseverance!

A few times after camp the LA team was taken to Memorial sites of the Genocide. And, yes, the Genocide is very real. Churches that once occupied breathing parishioners now house the corpse, bones, clothes and paraphernalia of human beings that ones breathed this God given earth. Many are gone, still innumerable bodies undiscovered and/or unclaimed. Imagine losing everyone you loved during years of a violence massacre, you had no choice, killed or be killed. You saw these same loved ones turned into murderers, rapists, or even torturers. You cannot forget. However, if you continue imagining yourself as one of the comparably few survivors, you would be among those that have truly forgiven. I’ve observed that here in Rwanda (pronounced here as, “Ra-nda”) a survivor is most often synonymous with forgiving and one that truly loves. The book of Corinthians reminds us that love suffers long and never fails. Some children here may have been blessed to connect with surviving men and women they are not related to but who now hold the “adopted” role of parent(s) to the children. Rwanda is still struggling to recover and a disproportionate amount of families have been created out of necessity and out of love for orphaned and or abandoned children and people as a whole. Even still, the country epitomizes what it means to “Love your enemy”. Peace, love and forgiveness breathe through the air and the hearts of the people and the country. May I ask a question…Who in your life needs your forgiveness…What things do you need to now-give-over to God or pre-give to God, regardless if an apology has been given or before an apology has or even will be given? Amahoro my brother. Amahoro my sister. Amahoro (PEACE!).

It won’t be long before my return back to the states. Among my many hopes in leaving the US was to see more of God through seeing more of His creation, His earth, His people. I believe I have seen just that. To see more is to know more. And I want to see more. The dictionary defines “see” in some of the following ways:

1. to perceive with the eyes; look at.

2. to view; visit or attend as a spectator.

3. to perceive (things) mentally; discern; understand

Perspective is truly something, to me. It can be quit humbling and empowering at the same time. To truly understand whom God is, I believe is to understand more of purpose, life and eternity. I thank the Lord. He has given me an even more clear view; sharper vision and understanding…I long to know You more and more each day God. I realize I will never fully know everything about you until the day I pass into eternity. However, until that day, I am determined to continue to seek You, grow in You and share YOU!

With (Corinthian) love,


Posted 6th August 2011 by


Posted 21st July 2011

From the eyes of Monica McSwain…

Moe-ra-ho! Greeting on our fourth day in Kigali Rwanda (Africa). The face of children’s smiles illuminating the unconditional love jumping from inside their hearts is stamped permanently in mine. Thank you Debra!

After an emotional visit to the humble home of Claudiene, an Ubizima mother, I saw you as you reached out your hand to me to be held and silently asked your mother permission. You held me so tight, your hug so strong with those little hands and arms, still just a few months young. I’ve known Gods love so pure, yet still, through you, little Debra it remains so real. “Nothing has the power to separate us from Gods love”. Such a tender embrace you gave as we shared giggles and laughter un-compared. Just a baby, an infant, yet ageless in spirit. It crushed my heart when you cried as we parted. Thank you Debra, lovely gift of God. Bless you now where you are and as you live and grow each day. Although we may be distant physically and geographically my love and memory of you lasts eternally.


Only four days and I’m full. We’re instructed to “…go into all the nations…” (Matthew 28). As I go I see more of God, His face, His glory, His creations, His love! And so I go.

Posted 21st July 2011 by Thru Guidance