Back to Work

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Here’s the prayer list:

  • NCM Retreat this weekend: unity after a time of stress, vision for the future, rest and fun together
  • Pirolo Family: setting boundaries and expectations better to prevent burnout
  • Pastoral Training School: we have a cohort of year 2 pastors coming on Monday.  We are recruiting for a new cohort to begin in January
  • CLIR: accreditation process requires effective recruiting, consensus building, and wisdom.  We are praying for favor before the government, and a wise group of accreditation auditors who will judge what and how we must adjust.
  • Team: WorldVenture teammates need prayer.  Eric’s new wife, Fabi needs a visa extension in the US. (She is Brazilian.) Laura is having health issues that limit her work capacity. She is so frustrated.

Pictures Promised

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Sumo is an almost graduate of CLIR.  We’re giving him some scholarship money to continue at a partner school.

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This is our General Assembly meeting (second of three in six weeks), where we approved our new statutes.  Yeah, bureaucracy isn’t my favorite.  What I learned, was that these men and women LOVE New Creation Ministries.

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NCM staff playing Jenga.  Pray Together, Plan Together, Play Together

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At this commissioning service for new pastors in the Nkurunziza denomination, I learned that 12 of the 17 pastors present (including denominational leaders and church founders) had been taught and mentored by NCM’s PTS Director Joseph Muyumbano (seated middle in the second Jenga picture).  He is a man of great influence in exactly the right way.

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Grace, Rayna and Luke washing vegetables with Phoebe.  One of many ways we work to prevent amoebas from growing in our tummies.

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Well, I guess we didn’t have two girl rabbits after all.

CLIR Christmas and New Year Plans

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.

Plan

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.

Merry Christmas!

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Gary, Barb, Grace, Rayna, Laura, Eric, Fabi, Nick, Krystal, Luke

Noheli Nziza!

Prayer List:

  • 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

Blessed

Meetings

While January and February have been very busy, Krystal and I have been blessed over the last six weeks.  We have had over 30 meetings with friends, and told them the story of how God called us to be missionaries to Rwanda.

It has been a very confirming experience because, as we share, we remind ourselves of all the work that God has done preparing us, guiding us toward medical ministry and pastoral training and discipleship in Rwanda.  We come to believe more firmly that he has brought us safe thus far, and he will continue to go before us.  This is doubly affirmed when those hearing our story can also see God at work.  Thank you all for your encouragement.

Another blessing of meeting with people and sharing our story is that it becomes an opportunity to hear their stories. We have heard of God’s miraculous provision month after month, ministries bearing fruit, and jobs finally coming through.  We have also heard of illnesses, injuries, dreams on hold, impossible job situations, and family stress.  In this, God has opened our hearts in a new way to bear your burdens in prayer.  It is a joy and a privilege to pray for you.  We are encouraged to know that you are praying for us.

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We’ve had several reunions with fellow WorldVenture missionaries in the last month.  First, we had dinner and presented to several of our fellow “appointees” during the Renewal Conference.  Then, our good friends from Rwanda, Gary and Laurie Scheer, came over for dinner.  Finally, quite a few friends were in town for PDX, partnership development training, so we hosted a get-together.

These were special times because many were part of our “appointee class.”  We went through much training together, and we will be learning the ropes in our respective countries at the same time. In our time of sharing, we heard some pretty significant things: God opening up ministry opportunities that confirmed their calling, struggles of culture shock followed by wisdom from God, and even confirmation that God is taking care of family they are leaving behind.  We continue to be impressed by the authenticity and openness of this group of missionaries.  We are strong as a body when we can share our joys and needs.

Requests 

Two personal prayer points for this month:  First, Grace is beginning to express very clearly what she does and does not like.  Pray that we would raise her with wisdom, love, and respect.  Check out this video of Grace.  (I think it only works if you are Facebook friends with Krystal.  Friend us!)

Ultrasound in Gahini

Second, when we were in Rwanda, we realized that a key area of need is in the care of moms and babies during birth.  Through her employer, Krystal has an amazing opportunity to expand her knowledge of labor and delivery nursing.  This course runs seven work days, Monday February 25 through Tuesday March 5, from 7:30-4:15 in Wheatridge, Colorado (45 minutes from our house in traffic).  Needless to say, this will be a busy and difficult time for Krystal as she learns valuable knowledge that will help her ministry in Rwanda.

It will also be a hard time for Grace, as she won’t have mommy as much as she is used to.  I’m with Grace four of those days and a good friend will have her three.  Pray that we are able to keep Grace happy and healthy.

Thanks for your prayers for us in this unique time of ministry.

Next time, Krystal will share about pregnancy and labor issues in Rwanda.