Ministry in Rwanda is exciting these days! We are presently in preparations for the Rwanda Yearly Meeting’s 25th anniversary. There will be people coming from all over the world and all over this region to celebrate God’s faithfulness with us. David is currently working on an hour-long video that documents the church’s history and casts vision for the future. This is a hard project! It takes hours, days, weeks, months…and there are plenty of glitches that have to be worked out along the way. David is enjoying using his creative gifts to bless the church with this video. And we are all looking forward to the big celebration.
Here in Rwanda our team’s ministry focus is called Discipling for Development. We engage whole communities, in a long-term, three-to-five year relationship. We help the community members to recognize the assets they have in their community as a first step in finding solutions to their problems. Recently I was sitting with a group of leaders in a community where we had been building relationships for about a year. These people are very poor by any standards, and when we started working together, they were sure that they had nothing of value, that they didn’t have any resources at all. We had done all kinds of exercises to help them recognize all the resources available in their community, and in this meeting we were sharing all the resources we had discovered there. As we shared our findings with each other, we wrote them down. The excitement in the room grew as our list got longer and longer. Now I smiled as I looked around the room at the beaming faces of people who were discovering that God has given them many, many resources. They are beginning to realize that if they could think of ways to use these resources better, they might be able to find answers to some of the plaguing problems of poverty that they face. One lady shared with me that she thought she would always be poor, but now she sees that God has given her so much, she feels that she has a responsibility, with God’s help, to use these resources better than she has in the past.
David’s recent experience in a community…
Marriages in Rwanda (as in many cultures) are far from the picture of marriage we find in the Bible. As we have been working in poor communities in Rwanda, it has been evident to us that marriages are rocky at best in many of the communities. However, we are committed to helping people learn what they feel is most important, not what we see as most important. So we were thrilled two months ago when one of the communities identified their marriages as the number one thing they want to work on! A preliminary survey showed that 90% of the couples in the village were not legally married. When we asked why, the men responded that it gave the women too much power. If they were legally married, the women had rights in the relationship and that power would go to their heads. Many of the issues that were uncovered dealt with women not having a voice, not having any rights, and men ruling the house with power, but not with love.
For two months now Dave and Brad have been leading this community through the Bible, helping them discover God’s desires for marriage. It has been rocky at times; some of the men want to change but also resist it. There has been one wedding celebrated already, and that is encouraging. Overall we are seeing God slowly transform the minds and hearts of men and women alike. Our prayer is that each one would be able to submit themselves to God’s challenge to them, and that marriages would begin to embody of God’s way of loving, respecting, and valuing each other.
Life Verse: Proverbs 3:5-6 "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and he will make your paths straight."
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Kigali, Rwanda, Africa
Debby: June 27
Gwen: October 1
Aren: September 15
Breanna: May 2
Alandra: January 28