One Story of 2wo

This is a story of two missionaries who gave up everything they knew to be true and constant.  They laid down family and friends; laid down comfort and entertainment; they even laid down their education to enter unknown lands.  And it wasn’t even their call.

This is the story of Baylee and Julia.

Dean and I understand you know who these two girls are but we want to introduce you to them, to our children, so that you can know them a bit more personally.  Up until know our mission to both Rwanda and Thailand has been about other people, that has been what our call was – to serve the hurting and lost, the abandoned and forgotten, and Baylee and Julia have followed us wherever we have gone.  They have done what has been asked of them even when they didn’t understand it.

Baylee is fifteen years old and is currently teaching herself sign language.  She is a computer whiz and loves music and cooking.  She has a huge heart and attracts small children to herself wherever she goes.  She has held children in her lap as they are tested for HIV, fed undernourished babies to bring them back to a place of health and she has woken in the middle of the night to feed abandoned newborn babies.

Thirteen-year-old Julia is a lover of all things four legged.  She is hands down the most easygoing person we know, always ready with a hug and a smile.  She loves to rough and tumble with the best of them but will also hold a child on her lap so that they can reach the crayons in the middle of the table.  Her heart’s desire is to be an animal conservationist, to save the Indian Manatee and the Ethiopian Wolf from extinction.  She knows the Latin names of just about every reptile we can think of and she knows what the ideal habitat for a tuatara is and how a quagga lived while it was alive.

These are great kids, kids just like yours.  They need love and stability, they need constant friends, and they need a really great education.  And now, they need to be our mission.

We have come to a point in Baylee and Julia’s education where they need more than what we are able to give them through homeschooling.  Baylee is very technical and is thinking about a career in computers and Julia has talked about attending the University of British Columbia since grade school.  Right now, more than anything else they want to return to traditional school where they can graduate with their peers.  We know their hearts but God knows them even better and He has brought us to a place of release where we can bring them back to Canada.  And because God is God, he can, and does, deal in the miraculous so it looks as though we will be home before the end of the year…maybe even in time for Christmas!

There are many things that still need to take place for us to return home, many of them here in Thailand but also many of them in Canada as well.   Our family has lived in a place of complete reliance on God for many years and we know that He will continue to provide for us, but it is also our experience that He provides through people!  We have always appreciated the support of our faithful friends and we ask that you continue to seek God’s leading about continuing with us prayerfully and financially as we integrate back into life in Calgary.

When we left for the mission field we gave up absolutely everything we owned, but that transpired with peace because we knew where we were going, what our jobs would be and where we would live.  This time, there is still peace but we don’t know any of that!  No jobs, no home, no furniture…. yet.  

Please pray about ways that God may be talking to you about helping our family, whether it is financially, or with a job, a place to live, or even furniture and household items.  Please also pray that things in Thailand come to a timely end; we need our car and motorbike to sell and we have a few large household items that need to be sold or given to the right people.  We are also praying for the full return of the $1600 deposit on our house that is not due to us before April.  We are completely at God’s mercy and grace – it is a great place to be as it is a front row seat to His greatness.

From our hearts, all of our hearts thank you for your faithfulness, your friendship and your love towards our family.  We love you right back…

If you have any questions at all, please don’t hesitate to email us anytime.

As always, all financial giving is tax deductible and can be given through “The Lighthouse International”.  Please make sure to mark contributions to “the Torgersons”.  For materialistic donations please email Pastor Dave Meyers at

Operation 1:27 - COMPLETED

The familiarity comes back so quickly.  The misty mountains in the distance, the smoky skyline before us, the curious eyes taking us in, and the smiles that are quickly given when we smile first.  This is Rwanda, our first missions home; a place that will remain close to our hearts.

The airport was a treat as Odetta and Fulgence along with a couple of the people working on the house were there to greet us as we came through security.  There was laughter and hugs and a beautiful gift of a hand-made peace basket filled with Rwandan coffee!  How blessed and loved we felt.

Odetta, Zachee, and Ivan at the airport

After dropping off our luggage we headed straight out to the village to see Odetta's house.  We were happy to see that it was almost complete with only a handful of projects left to be done.  We gathered with everyone inside the tiny "living" area of the old house and broke bread and drank fanta as we marvelled at all that God had done through them.  It was amazing to hear from all of them how they knew that they were working for God, not for us and not for Odetta and that their rewards were exactly where they wanted them - in heaven.  The motto was simple, we are building this house for Jesus.  And that is how they worked, everything they did, they did it as though it was being done for Him.
Our first view of the house

Enjoying a chat
We were out in the village just about everyday while they were finishing the cement work.  We would help where we could but honestly, a lot of our time was spent playing with the kids in the area or at the children's home as we were more in the way than we were a help!  As soon as we were able to put paint on the walls though we were in there!

Bubbles were a huge hit!

And the pictures and videos on Dean's phone provided much entertainment!

We started painting on a Tuesday and by the Friday we had all the furniture built and in the rooms, the glass was placed in the windows, the walls, doors and ceiling were painted, the solar lighting hung and explained. There were new sheets, blankets and pillows on all the beds and a new living room set complete with cushions as well as new "gadgets" for around the house and in the kitchen!

I had told Odetta the day we started working in the house that she was not allowed in until we were finished...she did not like that and everyday she would try to sneak past me! I explained the "Extreme Home Makeover" show to her but she wasn't having any of that! I often found her standing at the door with a paint brush in hand offering to come in and help but I was quick to shoo her out to work on the outside of the house. 

Late Friday afternoon we invited Odetta into her house, it didn't take her long to get there as she had been hovering at the back door for the last hour waiting to see her bed!  We could hear her talking and people giggling so we asked what she had said.  Apparently we were going to get a big hug once we were finished putting the blankets on!  Honestly, the best gift was to see her face as she sat on her bed.  She laughed and cried and hugged us with her heart.  It made us cry too. 

The smiles say it all!

We finished the project with a celebration at the new house.  Anyone who helped in anyway was there and everyone ate and drank fanta until they were full. We were blessed to have a lady by the name of Anjeannie attend as she played a very important role in seeing the house built.  She is the sister of the Mayor to Odetta's district and she is the one responsible for obtaining the building permit.  Fulgence was having a near impossible time getting approval to build a new home and he wasn't really sure about what to do next.  That is when he happened to meet Anjeannie and shared with her the vision to build a new home for Odetta.  It just so happens (not really, God knew all along...) that Anjeannie has a heart specifically for widows and their children and loved the plan to build this house. So, she went to her brother, and ploughed through the red tape on our behalf, and we had our permit!

Our very hard working team!  Anjeannie (in the black top)

We really wanted to bless all those who labored to build Odetta's home so at our celebration we made sure there was plenty to eat and drink but we also wanted to leave everyone with something that would last longer.  Having lived in the village before we have seen the water that people drink to survive.  We couldn't leave there knowing that these people we had come to know and love were drinking unsafe water so we bought a case of water treatment and gave a bottle to each worker and all the extras went to Odetta's neighbors.  There was even some shoes purchased and some medical needs looked after.

Operation 1:27, the name of this project, called so after James 1:27 where we are called to help the widows and the orphans in their time of distress, was a huge success and we look forward to the next project with willing hearts!  

The new house behind the old one.  What a contrast!
A view from the back of her house.  
We were even able to give her a new toilet and shower house.

An Amazing Gift!

We had an incredible time with the children at Victory Family Home of Champions while we were in Rwanda.  Isaac and Serena Tyrrell, the directors, along with their son Henry and Wiola, another missionary living there, were so good to us! We were treated to fresh coffee each morning before heading up to Odetta's, and home cooked dinners in the evenings.  They gave us the freedom to visit with the children and with Joseph and Grace as much as we wanted.  They made us feel so welcome and at home.  

The children's home looks amazing!  Isaac and Serena are doing an incredible job loving on everyone there, not to mention how they have poured not only their hearts but their entire lives into their ministry.  It was such a gift to be able to go there and feel so welcomed.  We went hoping to reconnect with the children and with Joseph and Grace, and we did that.  But we gained something more; we gained wonderful new friends.

New Friends!  Isaac, Serena and Henry

Thanks to a generous gift from someone in Calgary we were able to treat everyone to a feast and celebration at the children's home!  There had to have been at least a whole cow barbecued on Isaac's amazing home-made grill and enough extras to give each person a mountain of a plate as well as the always loved fanta!  The kids and mamas were great and we were treated to a show involving karate, singing and dancing, a comedy skit, and some soccer skills were shown.  Bishop Joseph and his wife Liberatta were even able to come out and join us.  It was our last night out there so there were lots of hugs, some pictures and letters shared and a few tears.  It was a great night!

Check out this amazing grill!  Never mind all the meat...

Yup, that about says it all!

Thank you so much to all of you who gave, and who prayed for our project in Rwanda.  We went to be a blessing and in return we were blessed beyond measure!

The Start at the End...

Our time in Canada draws to a close.  Only eight days left and then we are headed on a plane back home to Thailand.  But really, it is another beggining for us, as only seven days after we land in Bangkok we will be boarding yet another plane headed to Rwanda, Africa.

The time spent in Canada has been fruitful and relaxing.  Our first five weeks were spent with family and friends catching up on all that has happened over the past two years.  We spent many hours marvelling at how tall children have gotten, how "little kids" have graduated high school and how this one or that is now a licenced driver - scary!

The last bit of our time has been focused on fundraisng for both our ministry in Pattaya and our project in Rwanda.  For those that haven't heard, we have always wanted to go back to visit our family in Africa and the timing felt right for us to go back this year.  We didn't want to only go back for a visit though, we thought that for sure there would be something we could do while we are there and instantly God placed on our hearts Odetta.  Some of you know her, many of you have heard of her and seen her pictures.  She was a mama at the children's home in Rwanda while we lived there.  She is a character and a great mama!
Odetta Nirere
A few weeks before we left Rwanda she approached us and asked if we could help fix her home as it was beginning to fall apart.  It was hard for Dean and I to hear her plight and not be able to do much of anything to help.  With only weeks until we were going back to Canada, we simply didn't have the finances or the time to raise them before leaving.  So we prayed with her and told her that we would not for get her...and we never have.

Odetta's falling down, leaky house

As soon as we felt the time was right to go back to Rwanda, God brought Odetta's situation back to us fresh.  Now was the time to see her in a safe home.  God gave us a name for this project, He called it "Operation 1:27" out of James 1:27 "Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you."

We started planning right away about the logistics of building a house from another country.  God's timing is so perfect!  Fulgence's school year at VBCI-Thailand came to a close at the end of April and he was headed back to Rwanda for a visit.  He was so excited to be part of a project that gave him the opportunity to serve his people.  His love of Rwanda and his fellow countrymen has not diminished but rather it has increased!  He hit the ground running as soon as he landed and has been overseeing and working very hard on the building of this home for Odetta and her children....a true James 1:27 project.  

Fulgence in the ball cap, working to build Odetta a new home

We spoke to Fulgence last night on the phone and Odetta's home should be completed in the next week or so and praise God under budget; they are putting the finishing touches on now and when they are done, she is going to have the one of the best digs in the village!  Her home has been built out of reinforced concrete - not mud, she has a good metal roof, steel outer doors, solid wood interior doors and actual windows with is safe to say that her socks have been blessed right off!  Fulgence happened to be with Odetta when we called and he was relaying to her in Kinyarwanda that once we arrived we were going to take her shopping so that she can pick out whatever color she wants to paint the inside and outside of her house, and shopping for material for real curtains on her windows, to which she sent over the phone big "MURAKOZE CYANE!" (THANK YOU VERY MUCH) but as soon as we had Fulgence tell her that we were bringing interior solar lights for her rooms inside the house the crowd broke into light at night - truly something to celebrate!

Clearing the land

Starting the foundation
We are so looking forward to being back on African soil.  Not only to see Odetta and to help make her house a home but to hug our Rwandan babies has been over two years since we last saw them...too long.  We plan on spending as much time with them as we can, and we hope to have enough funds to do something fun with them while we are there.  We would also very much love to bless Jospeh and Grace (the Rwandan nationals we trained before we left) to a fun night out as well as the current missionaries that are there...can't wait to meet them in person!  God also laid on our hearts to go to Eastern Rwanda with food aide.  It is the dryest, most desert like area in Rwanda and the people living there struggle to grow enough food to eat.  We really want to visit this area and do all that we can.  We envision bringing beans, rice, corn, oil, sugar, porridge, soap, and whatever else we have funds for but more importantly the message of Jesus Christ our living Lord and saviour. 

There are several ways that you can join us in this project; you can pray for our family and that God's will alone is accomplished and that ALL glory goes to Him.  You can give financially towards the completion of Odetta's house, towards blessing the children's home, towards food relief in Eastern Rwanda, towards our personal expenses, or towards all of the above!  100% of the gift you give goes to this awesome effort.  You can also come with us!  Please email us at if you want to know more about getting involved in this project.  Rememeber, all financial gifts are tax deductible.  Just look to the right to see where to send financial gifts.

Thank you to all of you who have given already to help pull this project together. It could not become such an incredible reality for this family if you didn't "show up"!  Become our "Operation 127" partner today.
Ready for a roof!

In The Gap

Ministry in Pattaya is vast, thereby making it much more fruitful to work with like-minded people.  We have knit ourselves together with a ministry that has a heart for children, children at risk to be exact.  Hand to Hand started one year ago in a very small, windowless commercial bay with six children in attendance; but today is a bustling nursery school and night drop in centre caring for over thirty children every day!

Monday through Saturday there are thirty six children ranging in age from newborn to fifteen years old from surrounding slum areas that come to Hand to Hand.  It is a safe place where they can come to have good meals, receive showers and clean clothes, they learn about Jesus and how much He loves them, they are taught the basics of education to get them ready for school; and for many, it is a safe haven - a place where they can escape abusive families.

In serving these children, we in turn serve their entire family.  We see buddhist parents turning to Christ because their own children are sharing the hope and love that they themselves have learned about from our centre!  Our hearts are to see families turned from ones of poverty and hopelessness to ones of self-sustainability, joy and hope.  We want to eradicate child exploitation, and the most effective way to do this, is to show families that there is another way.  Their children are a gift from their Creator, and once they understand, that He can, and desires, to be the centre of their lives, they too can see them for the precious gifts that they are.

At Hand to Hand we minister to all the needs of impoverished families; spiritually, mentally, and physically.  We offer training and assistance wherever and whenever we can.  One of the most important and practical ways that we can meet physical needs is with a child's education.  The Hand to Hand nursery school was intended for children aged three to five but we have many children that should be attending regular school but are not simply because their families cannot afford it.  With 98% of our children being raised by single moms, the number of children unlikely to see the inside of a classroom, without some kind of assistance, grows exponentially.

To a single parent, the money needed to send a child to school is unattainable.  To us from the West, it is probably the amount we spend on coffee each year!  We currently have seventeen children that we are seeking scholarship for so that they can attend school this upcoming year - Thailand has this crazy law that prohibits children from being enrolled midway through a school term.  Thankfully, the new year starts in May.  Please read through the list below and pray and seek God about helping a family send a child to school.

The cost listed is for an entire school year and includes all fees, uniforms (all Thai schools have uniforms), supplies, hot lunch everyday, and transportation to and from school.  We at Hand to Hand will be registering all the children ourselves to make sure that the children are enrolled and the families will be held accountable for ensuring the children attend each day.

  • Kindergarten       $385 
  • Grade One           $385 
  • Grade Two           $385 
  • Grade Three        $410
  • Grade Five           $425
  • Grade Eight         $480

"We worry about what a child will become tomorrow, yet we forget that he is someone today."
Stacia Tauscher

Please email Dean and I to let us know if you would like to "adopt" a family and give them the amazing gift of education!


Well, little SaiRoong was placed with her "Forever Family" just before Christmas, on December 23, 2010.  It was very difficult to kiss her little face and say good-bye, but it was the plan all along.  Brent and Julie Pennington flew to Pattaya completely on faith, as we did not know for sure if the birth mother still wanted to let her go.  We arrived at the prison with a Thai social worker and a whole lot of prayer covering.  SaiRoong's birth mother was relieved to know that her daughter would be brought up in a good family who would be able to provide her with everything she could ever need.  There was a lot of tears shared as Julie sat across from the woman who was giving her a new daughter.  A very emotional time.

We keep in contact with the Penningtons and we all know that God was, and is, the one in complete control over this baby, now named Joy Janelle Pennington.  There is no doubt that there was a reason she came to Hand to Hand and our family is excited to have played even a small role in her destiny. 


Wow!  Two and a half years after leaving Rwanda, and we are planning our return - and oh, how excited we are about it!

The three week plan for Rwanda includes building two homes for widows and their children; running one, possibly two children's programs, and feeding a village or two....

We need to raise at least $15,000 and a team of people with a heart to join this you?  If so, email us as we would love to have you join us.

While we lived in Rwanda we were told by a fellow missionary that "you can leave Africa, but Africa never leaves you" and we have found this to be completely true.  We fell in love with the people, the land, and of course the children and we simply cannot wait to see their sweet faces again!

The ladies whom we plan to build homes for are woman that Dean and I worked very closely with our entire time in Africa.  They both have children that they love and struggle to feed.  One home in particular was falling down around them while we were there, so we fear what it is like now, two years later.  The other lady has had to rent homes as she has never been able to build a home on land that she owns.  We plan to build them solid homes made out of cement blocks.  We want them to have good windows and doors.  We want color inside for the children to see, curtains on the windows, beds for them to sleep on, and good pots for cooking.  We don't want to give them a shell of a building to sleep in, we want to give them homes that they love and can be proud of.  

Fulgence will be returning to Rwanda during his break from VBCI here and he will be our project supervisor.  We will have him get all the building started as soon as he gets back in May so that by the time we arrive at the end of July the construction should be almost completed and we can put all the finishing touches in....taking both ladies shopping so they can pick all the things that makes a house a home for them and their children.

After sitting and planning with Fulgence, we estimate that we can build each home for about $5000.  With the rest of the money we raise we will outfit each house to make them homy and we will have outreach feeding programs in as many villages as we are able.  We will also run kids programs at Victory Family Home of Champions and hopefully another children's home we were connected with in Gitarama city.  

We are calling this mission Operation 1:27 as James 1:27 says that "Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you." (NLT)

If you want to know when we are going this summer, the cost of the trip, or how you can give financially to this project, please email us.

There is nothing worse than feeling like you are always asking for one likes to be on the asking end.  But unfortunately hands on, outreach ministry takes finances and resources.  Dean and I are very blessed in that we do not have to worry about covering our expenses and feeding our children each month, but there is not a lot left over at the end of the month to do all the things that we love to do and that opens the door for us to share the work, and the blessing of being a part of something incredible, with all those we know and love.  We have said many times before, not all are called to go, but all are called to play a part; either with prayers, and/or with finances.  We are blessed so that we, in turn, can bless others.  (Don't forget, all giving is tax deductible!)

Dean and I pray that you know how much we appreciate you all.  God has placed us in strategic places but it is not by our own might.  We need all of you.  We need your prayers, we need your support, and we need your faithfulness and generosity with your finances.  Since making the move to Pattaya and working with Hand to Hand Ministries, we are faced with endless need and our hearts cry out to do more and more.

In Him and for Him,
Dean, Kathy, Baylee and Julia