Some missions trips are easier than others, and often for very different reasons. This was my first trip to Rwanda, the unfortunate host to a horrible genocide (1994) where upwards of 1,000,000 Rwandans were killed, over the course of approximately 100 days. For the last 19 years, the nation has been working on healing and restoration, and the church has been right in the middle of the healing process, in cooperation with a fairly stable and progressive government, led by His Excellency President Paul Kagame. It was a difficult trip, not physically, but culturally, which is understandable considering the history of this emerging nation.
I was invited to Rwanda by Dr. Philip Tutor, Pastor of New Life City Church in Safford, AZ, who first began going to Rwanda in 2007, to speak at the graduation of schools sponsored by Dr. Harold Eberle, who used (partially) Vision materials for his bible schools in East and Central Africa (what a circle of divine connections). Phil has a real passion for the nation, and his church has purchased land for buildings, and invested heavily in the ministry lead by Bishop/Pastor Patrick Mutware, Arise and Shine Ministries International. Arise and Shine/New Life City Church of Rwanda, run several churches (and are active in church planting), an orphanage that is desperately needed and they would love to expand, a vocational school that we are hoping to help with, and they want to establish a Christian University, to train ministers and also, eventually, to offer market place degree programs for the Rwandans and beyond. It was for this reason I was invited, along with speaking at New Life City Church Rwanda conference, and the national conference titled Rwanda Reborn, which turned out to be a conference with upwards of 600 leaders from the faith based community and government leaders. The conference was very successful (time and coordination issues), though difficult at times; thank the Lord for His much needed favor…we needed it and will continue to need it to move forward in a positive way.
Due to the tenacity (and excellent cell phone usage) of Bishop Patrick, we were able to make an impact on the nation. Along with the successful conference, we met with several key spiritual (Archbishop of the Anglican Church, head of the Pentecostal Church, etc.) and governmental leaders (Minister of Governments, Minister of Education, Mayor of Kigali, etc.). On our very last day, Patrick was able to arrange a meeting for Dr. Tutor and I to meet with President Kagame…a very gracious man. We had about 10 minutes with him, where he expressed his gratitude for the Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters we presented to him from Vision International University, and a picture drawn by a member of Dr. Tutor’s church, depicting David and Goliath…a symbol of overcoming great adversity, which this emerging nation certainly has.
I love going to Africa, but perhaps two trips to Africa in a month was too much… but what an honor to serve, to be used of God to help disciple a nation. We are working to connect Bishop Patrick with our East African team to help them get the Bible College in a Box to them, and start them off right in training ministers for greater leadership. We are contacting key partners who have the ability and desire to help in the building of the necessary buildings for future growth*. There is so much work to be done in Rwanda, which has been prophetically declared to be the hub for restoration and reconciliation in Central and Eastern Africa, and beyond.
Of course, I could not go on these impactful trips without the support of a great office staff, and the generosity of my Gideon’s 300 givers.
Please keep our staff and key leaders in prayer for the following:
- Effective follow up for Rwanda, and for Liberia, which is also doing great things in God.
- Continued growth in Distance Students and Resource Centers, which provides the bread and butter for us to operate.
- Wisdom and favor as we focus on preparing for another round of accreditation.
- Staff additions (welcome to Kim Kelly, my new assistant) needed for the Ramona offices, and finances to pay them
- Favor with organizations that have shown interest in partnering with us…people with strong connections and deep pockets that could take both ITEN and Vision to a whole new level.
- Health for all our staff, and key world leaders
- Fresh revelation into the word of God, for teaching and preaching
Thanks for being such faithful partners with me and Vision around the world. God is so good to us, and we are all privileged to be serving in the Kingdom of God…taking the whole word to the whole world and preparing leaders in the 21st Century.
*PS…I am working on a narrated PowerPoint presentation on the opportunities for Rwanda and for Western Africa, especially for Liberia…if you are interested, drop me a line and we will get you a copy for you or your churchy to review…it is all of 5 minutes…a tear jerker!! Should be ready in a week or so.