Sunday, November 25, 2007

Bridge To Rwanda Blog Newsletter, Vol. 4

November 23, 2007 KIGALI, RWANDA – Grace and peace to you from Rwanda. Time just runs away from me here as God keeps me so busy. His grace abounds and my cup runeth over. The Lord keeps growing me stronger and stronger with trials and blessings. He has me juggling multi-projects, which I receive as a privilege and honor that He entrusts me to handle. But it is not I who handles anything, but God Himself who orchestrated and manages them. And His presence and covering is felt so strongly within me that I can hardly express it in words at times. There are many days when I cannot conceive of fitting all I have to do in the day, but God miraculously pulls me through. And the ongoing theme of bringing me people and resources continues…all to build God’s dream for Rwanda. Its all about the Worship of Christ Jesus.[PHOTO: Rwanda Victory Mission Worship Team]

The end of the first term of school year 2007-8 at Kigali International Community School (KICS) is coming to a completion. This year I have a full load of classes and an array of students. We doubled the school population with an increase in Rwandese students. I mainly teach Grade 4 and 5 simultaneously. Our supplies and curriculum is still very limited for reasons of budget and shipping challenges, so I pull much from what I know of my life experience. It was a rocky start as the students have such diverse educational, language, and familial backgrounds and levels, but my feet are stable and the kids are growing and learning. Our favorite part of the day is morning devotionals when my class and I learn from God’s word and pray together. They are young, but thirsty for His word.[PHOTOS: My 4th and 5th Grade class at KICS]

I also teach both the Middle School and High School computer classes, which have evolved into journalism classes because of a lack of software and internet access. The High School is assigned the first student-produced KICS yearbook. The Middle School is assigned the first student-produced newspaper called Top of the Hill. They are learning hands-on organizational, leadership, research, and reporting skills. Producing a yearbook and newspaper in Africa is no easy task, but God will bring it.

One of my most blessed assignments from God is integrating into Rwanda Victory Mission church. First, God has filled me with supernatural love for this church. I say supernatural because it’s beyond reason. I have yet to know each individual and the culture, yet I just felt the Holy Spirit place and bind my heart with the heart of the church. They are my family here in Rwanda. God has designated me the task of helping to grow the church, especially the youth, to stand up for their country as servant leaders. First, let me point out that in Rwanda “youth” is officially any unmarried person below age 45. Well, that counts me in as youth. Gotta love it! [PHOTOS: My beloved church Rwanda Victory Mission]

God has designated RVM Worship Team as the doorway to my place in the church. In the beginning there was chaos and now God has breathed a new start for the Worship Team. I advise and help to revamp the management and growth of the Worship team. It has been both a tremendous challenge and a tremendous blessing. My friend Turambe is the Worship Team Director. Our enhanced vision and mission is to serve and honor God by modeling and teaching a lifestyle of true worship. We are now more than singers, but primarily commited followers of Christ. I have been voted into the leadership team as Outreach Missions Projects Coordinator, which I am very excited about. We will be growing together with Bible studies, skills training, and inreach/outreach mission projects. I will eventually help set up a blog for the worship team to use in ministry. I am also teaching Bible, technical sound and stage production, music theory, guitar, and English worship music to the team to enhance their ability to serve the Lord. I have also introduced Powerpoint projection of song verses into both the English and Kinyarwanda services, bringing a new level of focus on the meaning of the songs and a new level of congregational participation. It also allows me to participate as I can now read and sing the Kinyrarwanda songs. I have always desired to participate in worship and praise, but never imagined God would have me work with a worship team in Africa. Imana n’inziza! God is so good![PHOTOS: My Worship Team family]

And when things are rough and I am weak, the Lord lifts me high above the clouds and refreshes me with His presence. I had been praying about being able to afford a keyboard to take on mission trips and for teaching the orphans. I only sought a safe way to transport it from the US (because mail is not safe), but God selected some wonderful godly friends (Bridge to Rwanda organization in the US) who donated and brought a keyboard to me for my ministry work. Praise the Lord!!!! Thanks Jean and Gary!!! It has been a strength and a joy. And the predicted challenges of transporting it here were paved in God’s provision. My precious friend Francis, who serves as Music Director of the Worship Team, is teaching me to play the keyboard and we are having wonderful times of exchanging God’s gifts. He teaches me to play and I teach him music theory. My mother and father would be happy to know that after years of piano lessons as a kid, I know can play accompaniment. I still have more lessons to go in order to play like Francis, but I know its God’s will and his gift. I shall use it to glorify Him. Imana n’inziza cayne cayne!!!! God is so so good!!!

On November 11th I had the privilege of attending the Robert Kayanja Miracle Crusade at Amahoro Stadium. The football stadium was flooded with people wanting to witness miraculous healings. Kayanja is an internationally known evangelist and miracle healer from Uganda. He has been featured on TBN and Benny Hinn crusades. Kayanja preached about sowing seeds for the country of Rwanda, about healing and forgiveness of the soul. Then, he led the multitudes in worship and prayer. The blind received sight and the deaf received their hearing. The crippled began to walk and the short of breath began to breathe. This is what I saw. I don’t judge, validate or invalidate it. It’s just what I saw. It was a wonderful time of seeing the people of Kigali joined in one stadium to worship God.[PHOTOS: From Kayanja Crusade]

The day before, on November 10th, Jessica Kayanja, Pastor Kayanja’s wife, led the women with her Girl Power ministry at the Petit Stade. It was packed and overflowing with women. Mrs. Kayanja taught about God’s unique purpose for each woman with the illustration of Joseph’s dreamcoat. Her message is that God the Father has “made” a very special “coat” for each woman. It was a message of encouragement and empowerment.

The time is also drawing near for me to spend my first Christmas in Rwanda, and my first Christmas away from my birth family. It will be hard, but God has already made blessed plans with my church family. First, I was invited to spend a week in December in Uganda, visiting the church and ministry of Pastor Everest Bizimungo. I will be bringing another RVM Worship Team Leader to join me in ministering and learning from the adventure that God has appointed. Please pray for safe travel all the way as the pastor is driving 10 hours to Kigali, just to drive us 10 hours back each way. What a precious man of God he is.

We are also planning a very special Christmas Eve Church Overnight at the church where the Worship team will lead in worship, prayers, and devotional. Then, we will project the movie The Nativity Story with Kinyarwanda translation. I will miss my family soooo much, especially my nephew Tyler who has not spent a Christmas without me until now, but I am looking forward to celebrating the birth of Jesus with my church family. I wish Pastor Josephine could be here to join us, but I wish her a blessed Christmas in the US. Her church family misses her very much.

I am also hoping to plan some Worship Team Christmas missions. I hope to have a Christmas gift drive (toys, clothing and food) at the church to gather gifts for the orphans of Nyabugogo and Ndera. I plan to bring the Worship team to celebrate Christ’s birth and deliver gifts.

I thank you very much for being witnesses of God’s handiwork in Rwanda, and for your prayers and support. And to all those who have sent me packages of provisions, my heart is so thankful. God bless you truly and abundantly!!! I love you all and miss you all so much, but God has me right where he wants me and I give my all to Him. My every waking hour and every decision is focused on serving and pleasing my Lord. I will write again soon to share about my Christmas in Rwanda.

Love in Christ Jesus,

NEEDED PRAYERS: Still praying for the following…
• I’m urgently seeking an affordable house of my own, preferably near my church in Kanombe, to freely use in ministry small groups and for quiet peace time with God. There is little peace in my current living situation, but I bear it with the strength God grants me.
• I’m still praying for a large affordable vehicle (SUV or van) to transport equipment, supplies, orphans, and ministry teams. I have not been able to see my Ndera orphan kids because I don’t have transportation to facilitate tight schedules. I spend much time waiting for pick up rides.
• I’m still praying for more support funds for my initial 2 years of service.
• I’m also praying for funds and provisions to start the child advocacy NGO Christ Is Our Hope International and the leadership school. Also, praying to finish the strategic plan.
• I’m praying for my student class, all their projects, and peace.
• I’m praying for continued strength and covering to weather the storms and keep the faith.
• I’m praying for Rwanda Victory Mission Church and my Worship Team family. To grow them in their walk of faith.
• I’m praying for peace and joy this Christmas in Rwanda.
• I’ praying for my family in the US to know how much I love them and miss them. And that they would see Christ in me.
• I am praying for a digital camera because mine broke. I now use my video camera to take stills, but it is not good with stills. Praying to get one sent from US so I can continue to take photos for the blog.
• I am praying for donations of NIV and NASB Bibles to share with my precious English reading Rwandese friends and worship team who are hungry for God’s Word. The Kinyarwanda Bible does not translate well. I have given away all my spare ones and still have many thirsty friends.

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I LOVE YOU ALL DEARLY. May the Lord shine his face upon you.