right where we left off… | Searcy, AR family photographer

I had been planning for this past Saturday for weeks.  The Koonce family was making their way around the states on furlough from Africa with a planned stop in Searcy.  Each time they come to the states, their time here is jam-packed with people to see, places to go and connections to make, so I knew we would have to squeeze the most out of our day and maximize our sharing!  (and did we ever…)  We laughed and teared up as we swapped stories and basked in the joyful reunion, filling in the gaps time had created.  Our friendship with them has stood the test of time and distance for over 20 years.   We met right here in Searcy,  AR while we were students at Harding University, and although we’ve each grown and changed, lived on different continents and added family members, the bond is still strong and a true blessing and gift from God.

After spending more than a decade living in Togo, West Africa, Marty, Louise and their four boys moved to Rwanda in December of 2008 to begin a new season and an exciting journey.  With several other families, the Koonces have formed Africa Transformation Network, an NGO (non-governmental organization)  created to invest in the lives of individuals, families and communities the ideas, skills and training that will result in positive change and improving lives in African societies.

During our time Saturday, we sat with tears in our eyes as they told stories of the people of Rwanda and how this country is faring after the unthinkable genocide that ocured 16 years ago.  It is truly hard to wrap your brain around something so horrible and even begin to comprehend that there is redemption and reconciliation for such an atrocity.  But it’s true.  God is working and moving in Rwanda.  There is healing and hope because of a loving, caring God.

I am excited for what God is doing through them and look forward to telling you more in the coming months as we communicate about some partnership opportunities in the future.   Please go check out what they are doing in Rwanda, pray for them and if the Lord puts it on your heart, get involved.

Marty, Louise and boys, we are thankful for the time we were able to spend with you and will cherish it in our hearts.   You will continue to be in our thoughts and our prayers!

Much Love to you all!

Edited to add:  I linked to ATN above, but you can learn more about the Koonce family HERE and get more information about the work in Rwanda HERE.


lrKoonce boys

lrMarty Louise coll


August 30, 2010 - 9:20 pm

Maggie - I love this! And I am so happy that your time together was so blessed!

August 30, 2010 - 11:21 pm

Mark - I know it’s weird for another local photographer to say this, but I’m glad you guys are so awesome at what you do. Keep it up!

August 30, 2010 - 11:26 pm

Louise - Cheryl, you are amazing! You even made us look great. Thanks so much for the photo shoot, but even more for the time you spent with us on Saturday. It was refreshing and relaxing to hang out with you and Tim and your kids. We will treasure the memory of it until the next furlough! – or sooner, wink, wink.

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