On Saturday December 15, we hosted a Christmas Party for our CLIR students, especially those who had completed two full years in our program. I can’t tell you how encouraging that night was! Each of those students gave a short speech, saying things like:
- If I had to be done with CLIR right now, without the degree, I would not be disappointed because the program has already been so very transformative in my life.
- Learning about the Christian Life and Family messed with my head! I had to put off my wedding (which was two months away) for another eight months, because I knew that my fiancé and I needed a better foundation. And now, I’m so glad we did.
- Through the discipleship I have had at CLIR, I have been inspired to begin evangelizing and discipling my parents and siblings.
- Being at CLIR has influenced how I am as a pastor. I believe that what NCM is teaching and how it is teaching is a light in all of Rwanda that will cause a shift. It is moving all of Rwanda closer to the true gospel.
Our whole team was touched and blessed to hear the testimonies of changed lives, families and ministries. This is the work of discipleship to which God has called us. This is our joy. This is the work you support through your prayers and giving. This is God’s work and God’s ministry. May he open the door for more changed lives through CLIR.
A Not Very Good Meeting
Many of you were praying for an important meeting last Monday. Thank you! That meeting was jarring, to say the least.
We arrived early, but couldn’t find the man to whom we were referred. Turns out we were given the wrong name. When we did find who we were scheduled to meet he wasn’t available because the whole staff was leaving immediately for a two-day work trip.
I sat in the lobby with Eric, Director of New Creation Ministries, working out a strategy for next steps, and calling to make another appointment when a man came up to help us. He eventually identified himself as the Executive Director of the Higher Education Council. He asked us where we were from, and asked if we already had students. He then advised us that we needed to stop teaching immediately because we were breaking the law. We left amiably, hiding our crushed spirits. “That was worse than I imagined it could be.”
I spoke with Krystal. Eric spoke with his fiancé, Fabi. We all prayed. And felt something significant was happening. None of us started this ministry. All of us are standing on the shoulders of giants who worked hard and prayed hard to found these schools. The roots of NCM were laid through impossible situations and each leader before us had to come to a place of realizing that this ministry is not ours but God’s and he will use it to bring himself glory. Now it is our turn to persevere in prayer, in spite of opposition, to see God receive the greater glory. Remember that Moses was told to confront Pharaoh, and told that Pharaoh would oppose him, so that God would be glorified all the more (Exodus 10:1-2). So too, we are engaged in a spiritual battle that will test our faith, and God will be glorified.
Our Rwandan colleagues and American mentors were not discouraged, but had three important pieces of information. They said, this is the time of annual reviews for ministries, and his department has to present to the President of Rwanda. They are very busy. Also, their executive director knows how to manage a department, but doesn’t know our specific situation as well as the application processor who has been working with us for months. Also, there are hundreds of non-accredited schools in Rwanda, religious and secular, that will not all be closed down immediately. Finally, NCM is registered like a church (Local Religious NGO) and we were told in 2012 that churches are free to offer their own training programs.
There was confusion about who we were (an already registered organization), and what we were asking. It is also possible that the new policies have been written, and just not published. Either way, we need to wait until February to have a conversation with someone. We will continue with finding people to disciple.
As I said, this is God’s ministry and he will keep it. There are too many pieces to try to manage all on my own, so I need to trust my team, trust the Spirit leading me, and trust God’s providence to maintain us in the favor of the ones who rule.
Please continue to pray for these upcoming meetings! Pray for understanding between us and the Higher Education Council. Pray for grace. Pray that we will be able to become one of the first Christian degree programs to be accredited in Rwanda. And pray that we would be faithful to the ministry God has called us to do here in Rwanda.
Gary, Barb, Grace, Rayna, Laura, Eric, Fabi, Nick, Krystal, Luke
- Pray for our future meetings with the Department of Higher Education –we would like to become accredited so that people who would like to teach in churches could have a education that is gospel focused
- Pray for CLIR student admission
- Pray for Nick as he prepares to teach in the New Year
- Pray for our team as we have two families on our team in the States on medical leave
- Pray for our fellowship tomorrow as we host our celebration at our house