Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom. — Psalm 145:3
This was my 6th trip to Rwanda, “The Land of a Thousand Hills!” As our friendship and partnership grows, each trip becomes more special! This year was particularly marvelous as we partnered with Runda Parish, Church of Gikomero and Shyogwe Diocese to spread the Gospel. The HOLY SPIRIT’s presence was poured out on everyone in a powerful way when the JESUS Film was shown!
We saw God’s faithfulness as over three hundred adults and children committed or recommitted their lives to Jesus in response to sermons and the showing of the JESUS Film in their native tongue. We showed the film three different times. 120 people attended the first showing at Runda Parish, RAC’s Sister Church and 20 people gave their lives to Christ. The second showing was in the old church building in Gikomero, and over 1000 school kids jammed in to see it. They were literally spell bound!
Several of the kids openly wept at the trial and crucifixion scenes. In the evening, 300 adults and some kids attended. A Rwandan Campus Crusade worker narrated some key moments in the film and even led the crowd in cheers and hallelujahs! He then issued the invitations and both prayed with and provided followup instructions for those who had committed their lives. All of us were in awe of the effect of this movie! The JESUS Film project gifted the diocese with the projector, battery, solar powered recharger, screen and film (all of which fits in a backpack) with the agreement that the film be shown 150 to 300 times over the next three years. Bishop Jered Kalimba assured Patrick (Pastor of COTA) that this will be “no problem!” as they have the capacity and enthusiastic desire to do so. We were very encouraged to hear from one Zibrie, Accountant for Shyogwe Diocese, that she had given her life to Christ at age 7, when she had seen the JESUS Film! We rejoiced in God’s goodness and faithfulness, when Patrick and I preached on Sunday (he at Gikomero, me at Runda) as about 35 people responded to the invitation to receive Christ. Praise God from whom all blessings flow!
Wednesday we spent the day with Runda Parish and Muganza Chapel. I was in awe as the Catachist of Muganza Chapel, Athansia, led Pre-school children in reciting the entire story of the Bible; from Creation to Jesus return!
Pastor Jean Baptiste gave us the following prayer request for Runda Parish. Your prayers are greatly appreciated.
The Compassion International Project has 270 children. They are in need of 2 more classrooms.
To generate income for the building of a new Church, they desire to build a Guest House for people from Kigali to conferences and meetings in western Rwanda. This will provide jobs, generate income for a new Church and a salary for Pastor Jean Baptiste. Currently his salary comes from Scripture Union organization.
Muganza Chapel’s desire to build a Church on the land RAC helped purchase.
A huge thanks to Redeemer for your prayers and support which helped make the 2017 trip to share time with our brothers and sisters in Shyogwe Diocese possible. GOD’s faithfulness and steadfast love fills me with overwhelming gratitude. Each day was a special gift and He receives all honor and glory! Thanks be to God!
" I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel...I hold you in my heart, for you are all partakers with me of grace." --Philippians 1: 3 & 5
We spent an incredible day spent with Redeemer's Sister Church, Runda Parish and their Chapel, Muganza Chapel. When the team arrived at Muganza Chapel, people were already singing, dancing and worshiping Jesus Christ. Inside we were greeted by women, men and a pre-school class. The children sang sweet songs and recited the story of Creation to Christ return. Praise God for Athansia, Muganza's Catachist. She is a woman of God!
I had the blessing of presenting Pastor Jean Baptiste and Muganza Chapel with funds to help purchase a much needed key board. They were overjoyed with Redeemer's wonderful gift! I wish all of Redeemer could have experienced the love and gratitude Muganza feels for the gift.
We were humbled to be invited to Athansia's (Catechist) home for tea and a meal. Athanasia has been given the gift of hospitality. Afterwards, we went to Joselyn's home for a delicious lunch. Joseyln is Runda Parish's Catechist. We felt very loved by these gifts of hospitality.
In the afternoon, the Team showed the Jesus film. What an incredible experience to partner with Pastor Jean Baptiste in sharing the Gospel. It was a powerful 2 hours! Twenty people gave their lives to Christ! Yesu ashimwe! (Christ be praised) We also fed everyone a basket dinner and they were thrilled to have a delilcious meal. The people were nourished spiritually and physically! Jesus is the Bread of Life!
Our day with Runda began at 8:30 am and we returned to the Guest House at 9 pm. We were tired, but energized by the power of the Holy Spirit, also!
Imana ishimwe (God be praised) for His many blessings with Runda Parish. I am excited for Redeemer's partnership in the Gospel with Runda to continue growing, as we share the love, grace and mercy of Christ!
Imana iguhe umugisha (Many Blessings)
Muraho! Greeting with Rwanda!
We have continued our journey with Christ and our adventure in Rwanda with the Compassion children! Compassion is an international organization which seeks out children in need and couples them with a sponsor. The funds sent supports the child's education, health and overall creates a better quality of life. Currently, Compassion is serving over 85,000 children in Rwanda alone and is continuing to expand.
Today we met with Teresa and the Wilson's compassion children. John and Barbara sponsor a young girl named Annunciata who is eleven years old. Teresa's children are named Fiston (4), Thirry (9), Solange (11), Alexia (14) and Gentile (18). We were able to meet all the children except for Teresa's oldest child who was away at boarding school taking exams. The children were very sweet. They sang and danced for us and even let us join in, which was a good activity to break the ice. Then, they each present their Compassion parents with a present and the parents gave their kids each a gift. It was like Christmas :) Each kid was given a backpack with notebooks, pencils, crayons and various toys to enjoy. Fiston in particular loved his toy truck and we enjoyed playing soccer with the rest of the kids.
We visited with the Compassion kids for almost four hours, enjoying their company and their smiles :) It was sad to say goodbye, but it was a great visit. A little later we walked to the Zion Hill Projects and were greeted by a whole school of children singing songs to end their school day. We introduced each of ourselves and the children were especially happy with Patrick because there was a girl named Patricia in the group. They were confused when Chris told them he was ten years old, but they also thought it was very funny :)
Overall it was a great day :) Looking forward to the great days to come :)
Today we ventured to Kigali, where we met with Archbishop in the morning. In this meeting, he spoke to us about the various ways the Anglican church in Rwanda is working to train up their multitude of staff members. We also talked about the many differences between American and Rwandan churches, and how each country could learn from the other. After finishing up with the Archbishop, we traveled further into the center of Kigali for lunch. We had very delicious Sambusa along with many other delicious foods. Our final stop for the day was the National Genocide Memorial and Museum. At the museum, we were able to learn about the genocide, and understand further the horrors that occurred. Over 250,000 victims of the genocide are buried at the memorial, so we were also able to visit their memorials and pay our respects. As we rode back from Kigali, we began to prepare for the Compassion children's visit the next morning!
Muraho to all!
Today we visited the Nteyno Parish and attended their Sunday service. We were welcomed into the service by one of the four choirs, and we were able to dance with many of the parishioners. At the service, Pastor Amos and Mattias, along with Patrick and Teresa all spoke to the congregation. Both Luke 8: 1-15 and Deuteronomy 28: 1-8 were preached on. After the service, we were able to meet many of the parishioners and speak with them before being given a tour of the primary school housed on Ntyeno's campus. The wonderful staff members of the school then hosted a wonderful lunch for us in one of the classrooms. We are so thankful to have arrived safely in Rwanda, and to have spent our first day in the country worshiping alongside many of our brothers and sisters in Christ!
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!
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!
The sun peaked through from behind the clouds of an evening Rwandan sky; God was smiling down upon us as we sang praises, danced unto the Lord (especially Ford, ask to see the video evidence), and heard the gospel anew. It was our first full day in Rwanda with our brothers and sisters at the Runda Parish. We worshipped together with them at an “evangelism convention”, planned to reach out to more folks in the community. One particular moment stands out from the rest. Pastor Charlotte preached an evangelistic sermon in Kinyarwanda, the language of Rwanda, to those who were gathered together at the close of the day. As I sat listening to a language I could not understand, I was moved by the power, passion, and conviction in Charlotte’s preaching, clear evidence of the Spirit’s presence in this place. This reminds me that God moves in ways that are far beyond our comprehension and that he is truly a God to be seen and experienced all throughout the world. Imana ishimwe (God be praised).