[Sorry, Prayer Team! I began writing this two and a half weeks ago and couldn’t get it finished before today.]
We are half way through our first term of CLIR, studying Man, Sin, and Salvation, so last week I asked students if they have any testimonies to share. Here is one paraphrased excerpt:
“I am a university teacher. In the past, I would hear my Muslim students and peers discussing the problems with Christianity, and I was afraid to get involved. Because of what I am learning in this class, I was emboldened to respond to their questions and ask them some challenging questions of my own. They were shocked and asked where I had learned this.”
Others spoke of new and deeper conversations with their families and friends. It is such a joy to see these students already growing in Christian leadership after only a month with us.
Here’s the Cliff Notes, from the first day of class:
- God is holy and righteous.
- Humanity is sinful.
- God, in his holiness and righteousness, must punish sin.
- God, in his mercy and love, sent Jesus for sinners.
- Those who repent and believe in Jesus as Lord and Savior are saved.
- Those who are saved by Jesus, live in Jesus.
Keep them in prayer as they study. It is a spiritual work that God is doing in their hearts and minds. [In class last week, I challenged the students to repent of sin, and trust in the grace of God alone. I called them to accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior. No one spoke up that day, but in our conversations this week, I can tell that they have been reoriented (back?) to faith in Christ alone, and not any works or associations, to save them.]
Continue to keep our family in prayer, too.
Thank you all for your prayers over the last few months. It was a significantly difficult week before that last email. The crazy thing was, after the email, after you all started praying, all the kids got sick, but in all that sickness, Krystal and I felt the presence of God keeping us at peace. Ministry these days continues to be an exercise of faith in God’s provision for health, strength, ministry, and fruit.
Do not stop praying! While it is tempting to give in to compassion fatigue, know that your prayers are lifting us up in the storm.
This past year has been one of refocusing for Krystal. As you know, she taught in CLIR last term, and this term she began mentoring a CLIR student. She continues to facilitate a bible study with women from church. She also serves as our team leader, helping us new leaders grow into our roles and offering support and accountability. Finally, Krystal has returned to working in Nyabisindu clinic caring for pregnant moms and doing health checks with babies. She is wearing a lot of hats and uses a day-planner well to keep her days and weeks organized.
A generous donor sponsored a retreat for our WorldVenture Rwanda team. We spent three days and two nights at a hotel working with a guest speaker to understand each other and our team culture. Krystal and I have believed that God has called us to be “better together” as a married couple. The same holds true for our team. God has put us together lift each other up and be strong where the other is weak. On the retreat, we experienced the joy of getting to “play” together, but also to know each other more deeply so that we can have greater grace with each other.
We were looking for 30, but God brought 24 for this term. Already, I have heard of students contacting their friends to apply. Who knows who God will bring for term 2?
As we pray for students, we also pray for staff. We have several teachers who are scheduled to teach, but may face trouble. We have one teacher who must finish his Masters degree just before he teaches. Another is finishing his Doctorate abroad. Another three (two staff, one teacher) are abroad on medical emergencies. Another, a skilled disciple-maker in the Pastoral Training School in Kinyarwanda, will be solo teaching in English at the Bachelors level for the first time. Also joining our NCM teaching staff, a new family transferring from Mali to Kigali in September. For all this uncertainty, praise God with us for the growth and development and healing that it represents. God is good.
Finally, as we consider the process of accreditation and program development, pray that we would do so with wisdom, based on a spiritually discerned strategy that fits with the purpose of New Creation Ministries and the real needs of the Rwandan church.