Hi Friends and Family,
Sorry again that it’s been so long since you’ve heard from me. I intended to send out updates to catch you all up month to month with what’s been going on, but with frequent trips within Rwanda and often being sick when I wasn’t traveling, I haven’t been able to do that. At this point, I want to give you an overview of what the past couple of months have looked like for me and tell you about one of the most exciting things that is happening here.
First, the overview. I’ve been very thankful to visit more of our Friends pastors and churches here in Rwanda. I had the privilege of staying with Pastor Silas and his family in southeastern Rwanda and visiting three of the churches in that region. Like the homestays before them, they received me and cared for me with such warmth and generosity even though my visit was shorter than we all would have liked.
Also, over the past several months, I’ve had the privilege of being at three different D4D (Discipling for Development) trainings. The D4D team did training in Musanze (where I live), Kayonza (eastern Rwanda), and Kibogora (western Rwanda). I was grateful to be at each of these trainings and to travel with the D4D team on the last two. I’m also thankful for how I became closer to them during the trips and for how they cared for me on the last trip when I became very sick. (Don’t worry. I’m more than fine now.)
And I can’t even begin to tell you how wonderful it was to meet more of the Carpenters’ extended family and Jonathan’s immediate family. I had the privilege of spending a good amount of time with Brad’s parents when they came in the spring and with Brad’s brother and his family when they came this summer. I’m also so thankful for all the time I got to spend with Jonathan’s parents and sister when they visited and stayed at our house. (Jonathan is one of my housemates.) All of these people were so kind and warm, and I’m thankful for each and every one of them.
Now for that exciting thing I mentioned earlier, the missions conference in Burundi. Thank you so much for your prayers for us. God did some incredible things during that time as all of us at the conference had time to fellowship with each other and learn from each other that week. We had people from all over East Africa at the conference (Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania, Uganda, Congo, and Kenya), several from the U.S., several from Latin America (Mexico, Guatemala, and El Salvador), one from Nigeria, and one from Nepal. I don’t know quite how to describe it, but it felt like a historic moment, part of a turning point for our churches here that we’ll look back at years from now.
Let me explain what I mean and give you some context. For many years, Friends missionaries have come to our churches in East Africa, but until fairly recently our Friends here had not considered sending missionaries of their own. Money was always one of the main obstacles. How could they support missionaries to go to another country with the same model they saw Westerners use? It just didn’t seem feasible.
Enter the missions conference in Burundi where Global Disciples taught about business as mission and Friends from Latin America and Kenya shared their paradigms of missions. I saw a lot of the exciting discussions our East African Friends leaders were having in their various groups and had the chance to talk with some of them about their thoughts on the different paradigms they were hearing. God truly used this time to further mobilize all of us, and I’m very excited to see in particular how he uses this to mobilize our Friends in Rwanda and Burundi who are in the beginning stages of missions sending.
As I wrap up this update, here are some of the ways you can be praying for me this month and next.
- Pray for me and the Carpenters as we reflect on my time here; that God will teach us what he wants to through that.
- Pray for sweet times of fellowship as I say goodbye to so many that are dear to me here.
- Pray for the Carpenters as they’re in charge of the logistics for the upcoming Kumbya conference and for me as I help them with that.
- Pray for me as I readjust to life in America at the beginning of next month. I’m looking forward to being back, but I know that there will be much for me to adjust to since I’ve been gone for a year.
Once again, thank you all for your partnership with me in prayer and financial support. None of what I’m doing would be possible without all of you. I’m so excited to see you all again, tell you more about my time here, and talk with you about what’s next. (I’ll also write about some of what’s coming next in my next update after I leave Rwanda.) And for those of you who don’t live in Florida, hopefully, it won’t be too long till I get to see you again.