A few months ago, we asked you to pray that God would keep our kids healthy. Then they got sick and God walked us through that time with grace and faith. Over the last year, we have mentioned that our WorldVenture Teammates, the Janzens, home on medical leave. We have been praying for their healing and soon return. And early last month we received word that the required ongoing medical care they need just isn’t available in Rwanda. They will not be returning to work with us.
We have had over a month to process this. We discussed it with our team, our supervisors, trusted friends. Krystal and I spend some significant time fasting and praying for clarity and vision in light of this news. We asked the tough question, “Is this God’s way of telling us to stop?”
The short answer is no. God wants us to continue.
It was beautiful seeing how God would bring us each to the same passage in our separate Bible studies. What a time for spiritual growth! And what a blessing to be in it together with Krystal!
A couple of highlights were:
2 Corinthians 4:7-10—But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.
28 Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The LORD is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.
29 He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
30 Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
31 but those who hope in the LORD
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.
Back to the Question
God isn’t telling us to stop by making things hard. He is reminding us that the work is HIS from first to last. God is returning us to a visceral awareness of our dependence on him. To attempt to do anything in our own strength would be suicide. To steal from our Sabbath to get work done, to forget our quiet time because we are too busy would be to undermine the very source of our wisdom and strength, and would undercut the fruitfulness of the labor.
We pray to the Lord of the Harvest to send out workers. (Matthew 9:38) And we see people on the horizon. Our teammate, Laura, has June 18 penciled in as a return date. A Southern Baptist family are due to arrive in Rwanda in August and begin at NCM in March. A Rwandan PhD student, Apollo, plans to return to work with us in 2020. Our lack of missionary teachers has opened the door and opened our eyes to various qualified Rwandans to teach with us as visiting teachers.
We will work wisely, strategically, and diligently, but we will work first from a place of dependence on God to bring the increase. (1 Corinthians 3) This means more delegating, empowering, training, coaching, and trusting our Rwandan colleagues. I also have responsibilities as a husband and a father, and as a Christian in community and at church. I must use my hours wisely.
Pray for Us
Pray that we are able to live out our belief in God’s provision.
Pray that God would keep unity within our family, within WorldVenture, and within New Creation Ministries. Jealousy, anger, dissention, and the other “fruit of the flesh” (Gal 5) are Satan’s way to undermine the work of God.
Pray that God would give us favor as we create a 5-year strategic plan. Pray for wisdom as we modify our programs to meet the needs of the Rwandan church. Pray for our plans for financial sustainability. Pray for God to bring the right workers to NCM.
Pray for me, Nick, as I teach Global Missions to my CLIR students over the summer, and for Krystal as she prepares her course on Making Leaders. The work is indeed sweet.
We are grateful for your partnership in this ministry. Understand that God uses your prayers to bring about dramatic change in the hearts of Rwandans.
We will send out an email, soon, with a CLIR student testimony, and a request for donations toward our CLIR scholarship fund. Pray with us for generous giving.