Authentic Relationships

Compassion Visits at Runda & Gikomero (Day 4 & 5)

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! -Philippians 3:19

The Team has experienced a wonderful 2 days learning about Compassion and how important their work is in the local parishes of the Shyogwe Diocese. Through Compassion, their children are being released from poverty and receiving the gospel. They have an opportunity to receive Jesus Christ as their Savior.

Tuesday the team went to Runda Parish and were blessed with the opportunity to spend time with the children we sponsor from Runda Parish, Shyogwe Parish and Gikomero. Our hearts were overflowing with joy, as our children came down a hill and into our arms. Witnessing Ford and Sarah meet their children for the first time was a special treat.

We learned about the Runda Parish’s Compassion Project, looked at the children’s records, exchanged gifts, of course Ford’s child received a UNC T-Shirt! With the help of a Translator, we had a special time of speaking with our children and learning about their lives. The children, Ford, Sarah and I enjoyed playing games and football (soccer) with them. Runda’s Compassion staff had fun jumping rope with the girls! After this we shared a snack with them. Pastor Jean Baptiste and Runda’s Compassion are serving God well as they love and provide for the children.

We learned one of the girls, Alexia, age 13 from Shyogwe Parish, is loosing her eye sight. Her eyes are cloudy and yellowish/red. She requested prayer for healing. With the help of a translator, Alexia received healing prayer. This was a very powerful moment as we experienced the presence of Jesus. The Compassion Project will take Alexia to the hospital for an examination. Please pray Alexia will be able to see a Doctor soon, also for guidance and wisdom for a correct diagnosis, so she can receive treatment and her eyesight will be restored. Alexia is a precious, vibrant and gentle young girl.

Today, we visited Church of Gikomero to visit their new Compassion Project. We attended a Thanksgiving and Praise service for their new Project. They have 270 children, with 55 children being sponsored. Ford shared with everyone, “God hears our prayers for Him to have pity on us and help the children! God has heard our cries and answered prayers. He did a great work in giving Gikomero a Compassion Project.” Gikomero came together today to honor and thank God. Praise the Lord from whom all blessings flow! God is faithful!

The Team has seen first hand the amazing work and dedication the Compassion Staffs are doing for these precious children! We have heard from Bishop Jered, Pastor Jean Baptiste of Runda, Pastor Alfred of Gikomero, Pastor Prosper and Zibre how important Compassion Projects are to the Shyogwe Diocese. The many Sponsors from Redeemer and Apostles are living out the gospel, as they go and make disciples of Christ by helping to bring these children out of darkness into the light of Christ. Children are being fed, clothed and their bodies are being restored to health. Matt. 25:34-39 is being lived out among the children. Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.”

We praise God for the very generous and compassionate hearts of Redeemer Anglican Church and Church of the Apostles!

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!

And you thought a Unity Service was long...

Rwanda Team - DAY 2 and 3

Today, our 2nd day in Runda, was simply amazing. We were able to break out into the people and spend special time with many of their groups from the youngest to the oldest. We were part of talks about honoring our parents, not being looked down on because of our age, how to live as a chosen people, and even a little sex education. We were full of laughter and joy while playing 20 questions with the compassion children, learning their games, and letting them touch our Muzungo hair J!

We taught over 100 children an oldie but a goodie; “This is the day that the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it…..”. Later in the afternoon we got to preform our hit for the convention. It was great. It may not be playing on the local Kigali airwaves anytime soon, but it’s a version we won’t be able to forget.

And even though the videos of us dancing and singing should definitely fall under a “What happens in Rwanda stays in Rwanda” category we will be sure to share them with you. What a great joy it has been to be worship and be with our sister church. It is only the beginning of our relationship but strong bonds are already being formed.

The cherry on top of today was being reunited with our luggage. All of the women are rejoicing with their products and Benji and Ford now have razors. You should all be disappointed that you did not get to see Ford with a mustache.

Sunday began with some morning exercise (squats) by using a traditional toilet in Keyenzie. Things were all up hill from there. While in Keyenzie we were able to participate in an inaugural church service for a new Chapel. We witnessed a confirmation service, partook in communion, and worshipped together. After the 6 hour (no seriously) service we were revived by lunch at the new pastor’s home. It has been wonderful to be with them as they embark on the same journey we have been on for the past year. We felt a special connection with them sharing similar feelings and challenges that come along with planting a church.

So after 3 days in Rwanda, and 20 church service hours later we now have the equivalent of 4 months of church. So see you some time in November!

Ordinary Stories for Ordinary Time - Tracy Vazquez

Church -

Last week we introduced Ordinary Stories for Ordinary Time. Over the next several months we hope to send out a new story every couple of weeks so that we are encouraging one another with the ways in which the people of Redeemer are Participating with Christ in the Redemption of All Things.

Follow this link to the Ordinary Story of Tracy Vazquez. It's an encouraging story of how Tracy is using her passion for fashion to encourage girls towards the godly value of modesty. This is a message that they may not hear anywhere else. Thank you, Tracy, for living out your faith this way and for encouraging us with your story!

 

From Rwanda: The Power of God

Blessed are those who consider the poor!    --Psalm 41: 1    Jesus looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the offering box, and he saw a poor widow  put into small copper coins.  And he said, “Truly, I tell you this poor widow has put in more than all of them. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.”

Blessed are those who consider the poor!    --Psalm 41: 1

Jesus looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the offering box, and he saw a poor widow  put into small copper coins.  And he said, “Truly, I tell you this poor widow has put in more than all of them. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.”

I had a special privilege of witnessing the power of God’s Word in Psalm 41: 1 and Luke 21: 1-4 on Saturday and Sunday at COTA Church of Gikomero.  Our brothers and sisters, living in severe poverty, are giving out of their poverty to rebuild their new church which fell down.  

Saturday we saw the new strong foundation.  Pastor Alfred shared he is giving the funds received for his greatly needed motorbike to the construction of Gikomero’s new church.  Sunday a collection was received for the rebuilding of the new church.  A member brought forward a bag of vegetables, this was all they had to offer.  These were sold and funds used for the church.  One of our Interpreters was so moved by the love for Christ church, he promised to donate five 50 lb. bags of cement.  The congregation was thrilled with this precious gift!  

God desires us to love others as He loves us with a love we do not deserve!  Pastor Alfred and our brothers and sisters of Gikomero are loving others well!  They are sacrificing all they have for the sake of the gospel through the reconstruction of their new church and sharing the gospel within their community.  I am challenged to be more attentive and eager in seeking God’s will as He speaks to my heart in regard to making sacrifices to further His kingdom.

God gave me a beautiful gift on Tuesday as we toured the Shyogwe Diocese projects.  As we entered the Mother’s Union Vocational Sewing Class, I heard a young girl call my name as she jumped out of her seat and ran into my arms.  I looked into her face, and saw Belise, our Compassion child!  We sat together holding hands during the team’s visit.  My heart was overflowing with love for Belise and praise to God for this wonderful, wonderful surprise!  What a blessing it was to tell her I would visit with her on Thursday at the Compassion Project!  Claudine, director of the Mother’s Union, told me Belise is a very good student and will graduate in October.  I am very proud of Belise and grateful to the Mother’s Union for educating the young girls with the skill of sewing.  The Diocese’s desire is to have the opportunity to give each girl a sewing machine at the time of their Graduation, so they are able to work at home and help provide an income.  Currently the funds for these sewing machines aren’t available.  I pray the funds will become available.  As our brothers and sisters say, “God will provide.”

- Teresa Kincaid

Rwanda Blog: On the Ground, Ready to Go

After 12 hours across the ocean on a very large plane, we touched down in the small Middle Eastern country of Qatar. Felt like 135 degrees on the tarmac, and it was immediately clear, we weren’t in Kansas.
Our eyes met travelers from Arabic, Asian, African and probably a hundred other nations. Beautiful people, all made by God. But very different from a stroll through North Hills. 

And we weren’t there yet.

Several hours more, and our eyes finally met the bright-faced, mild-mannered people of our host nation. Getting our passports checked, the Team began butchering and blundering some basic Kinyarwanda vocab. That produced some smiles from the otherwise stoic passport screening officials. 

Then finally, familiar faces! Eugenie. Celestine. Claudine. And many more familiar faces appeared, eager to greet us and welcome us. We sat down in the room where we’ll share meals this week, and enjoyed fresh crepes, fresh fruit and hot tea while the mellow sun sank beyond the rolling hills outside the window. 

As I type, most of the Team is playing Bananagrams in the dark because power is out. Something that happens almost nightly. We’re tired but looking forward to what’s ahead.

And what’s ahead is more faces of people made by God, loved by God. We will lock eyes with old friends and new friends in Gikomero tomorrow. We will sing, maybe dance and definitely seek the Lord with them in worship Sunday. And the week will continue from there.

Our aim is to pray with people. Sounds thoroughly unproductive in some ways. And yet, the point of our journey, the point of being linked with these folks is relationship. And there aren’t many more things that link you closer than praying with someone. So, our hope is to pray. To pray a lot.

Pray with the Shyogwe diocesan staff. With Pastor Alfred, who is Gikomero’s new pastor, and his family. With the mothers of the Healthy Mums Project. With the Health Center staff and patients. And hopefully with some families of the church. 

And the Lord only knows what will happen as he hears and answers these prayers we pray with our brothers and sisters. But hopefully we will walk away closer to them, and them to us. 

We’re on our way. Pray for us!

-Eric Bolash