When we returned home from Rwanda in the summer of 2017, we thought our work in Rwanda was over except for an occasional trip. However, in May of 2018 we were asked to reengage in Rwanda to continue to oversee the building of churches as well as helping the churches meet new government regulations. As it now stands Gary is traveling to Rwanda every two to three months as churches continue to be built.
On the most recent trip he had the privilege of ministering in Mubuga where Pastor Agatha leads a strong village church. As a teenage, Agatha lived a very wayward life which led to her becoming pregnant and giving birth to a daughter. After she came to faith in Christ and became a strong worker in her village church, she felt a call to ministry and went to bible school.Some time after returning to her church, the pastor sent her out into a remote area to plant a church. When we visited that church a few years ago there was a vibrant congregation meeting in mud building. In...
Seven years ago God spoke to our hearts that it was time for a change. At the time we weren't sure exactly what that change would look like. But a year later we were living in Rwanda as missionaries seeking ways to be a blessing to God's kingdom. One of the things that touched us deeply was the dedicated pastors who were struggling to build the kingdom while worshipping in mud churches, some of which were on the verge of collapse. As we labored and prayed, God gave us a vision we called ACE--Adopt a church - Change a village - Enlarge the kingdom. As we shared the vision, churches and individuals began partnering with us to make this a reality. And then last year, the PenFla (Peninsula Florida) District of the Assemblies of God took up the vision.
In the months of January and February we had the joy of conducting five crusades tied to new church dedications. When we go into these villages and dedicate these churches, there is an air of excitement, thanksgiv...
As we celebrate Christmas and all that it means to believers in Jesus, we also want to celebrate the building of many new churches in Rwanda. Thanks to the sacrificial of giving of people from Florida and Oklahoma, new churches are being built at an unprecedented rate in Rwanda. And these buildings are more than roofs and supports. They are complete structures built with brick and cement complete with doors and windows. In Rwanda, because of availability of materials and local church participation, a church that will seat 300 adults can be built for $10,000.00. Since June of 2016, we have had the privilege of dedicating two of these churches while seeing new church construction begin in the villages of Bicumbi, Bunyagurube, Mageragera, Mbare, Nyabikiri, Ngarama, Ndatemwa, Kavumu, Zoko and Mutete. Five of these churches are now complete and we will be conducting dedication crusades in five of them during January-February of 2017.
Everywhere we go across Rwanda, the most densely populated country on the continent of Africa, we are welcomed by children running out to the road smiling, waving and shouting "muzungu." ( white man) They love to run up to us, touch us and hold us. These children are little "thieves." They have stolen our hearts. We want to do something special this Thanksgiving/Christmas season. We want to build a school that will help give these children an opportunity for a brighter future. We are asking all of our friends and supporters to do something. For only $30,000.00 we can build an elementary school with six classrooms that can accommodate 200 students.
If you are willing to help us, here is what to do. Go to the link provided and where it asks for "Class" choose '60' and in the comments section type "Project 15091." Then you can make your one-time donation to this project. Click here for link:
In some cultures of the world, widows are cast in a disparaging light. However, throughout God's Word special care is given to admonish us to care for widows and there are many circumstances where God not only blessed widows but worked through them to bless others. In 1 Kings 17, God sends Elijah to the home of widow where he is told, "I have commanded a widow in that place to supply you with food." (1Kg. 17:9) What is interesting in that story is that to supply Elijah with food she had to use what she thought was her last bit of flour and oil to bake a cake for Elijah. On the surface his request of her was very selfish but in truth it was God's way to bless her and the prophet.
The Need of Permanent Church Structures in Rwanda.
One of the greatest challenges to our pastors and churches in Rwanda is the need of buildings that are not susceptible to being destroyed by the wind and heavy rains. Some of our churches have been closed by government officials because they are deemed to...
One of the great joys of ministry in Rwanda is the privilege of preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ and seeing people come to Jesus every week. Decisions for Christ are followed up by local pastors who disciple new believers and baptize them. Baptism in Rwanda is not as simple as turning on the water and filling up the baptistry. Other than a very few city churches, churches in the village must either go to a body of water, dig a hole and fill it with water or, in the case where there is a baptistry in the church, make many trips to carry enough water to fill their baptistry. Last week we had the joy of going to the village of Mabuga and participating in water baptism at the lake nearby.
We arrived at the church on Thursday morning at 9:00 AM. People had already gathered and were singing as they waited for people from other churches to join us. Altogether there were eight churches represented with people from three of the churches being baptized. At 9:30 the p...
In February of this year, I accompanied Mike Darrah and Pastor Ted Miller to Rwanda to dedicate two churches built with funds given by Crossroads Church. On one of our trips we stopped by the church at Ndama that had recently been severely damaged by heavy rains.
Pastor Flora showed us a footing the church had prepared a year before believing God would provide. As Pastor Miller walked the grounds and prayed, he felt led to commit to raise the funds to build a new brick church on their foundation. We visited Ndama three weeks ago and this is what we found.
The church members are thrilled with their new church and we will travel there in July to do a three-day evangelistic outreach and then dedicate the church.
New Church Plant - New Hope for Fabrice
On Sunday, June 26, we traveled to minister at a new church plant in Mutenderi. The church is only six months old but already has close to 200 attendants. They meet near the road in and around a rented house.
We just completed a week in Rwanda where we dedicated two new churches, visited with pastors, missionaries and church leaders and made plans to help a precious pastor whose church was severely damaged by recent rains. One of the most important challenges facing our pastors in Rwanda is the need for permanent buildings that the rains and weather cannot destroy. Here are the stories of three such churches.
When we first visited Rusasa a few months ago, we could not meet inside the building because it had been condemned as being unsafe for people. Although it was the rainy season, Shirley and I were
blessed with a rainless Sunday morning that enabled her to teach and me to preach and see people experience the life change that comes through faith in Jesus. I will add that when we returned this past week, the young man standing behind me during this invitation was at the church testifying of his life change.
There are differing opinions on the value of making New Year's Resolutions. Some of the most common ones are, lose weight, quit smoking, get in shape, get out of debt, spend more time with family, etc. When we look at this list, most of us would say that these are wonderful resolutions. If that is the case, why is it that so few accomplish their stated goals?
Years ago I saw a quote and I liked it so much I printed it and put it on the refrigerator. The quote read, "Nothing tastes as good as thin feels." If that is true, then why is obesity a major problem in the USA? As one who has fought the proverbial "Battle of the Bulge" most of my adult life, I think I have an insight they may or may not be the core of the problem. Although thin may feel better than the food I want tastes, I can achieve instant gratification from a double-dip sundae, a slab of ribs or a super-sized meal at the fast-food restaurant. On the flip-side, it takes weeks, months and in truth years to achi...
During this time of year we often hear, "Jesus is the reason for the season." It not only has a nice ring to it, it is true. Regardless of what time of year Jesus was born and no matter that some want to tell us that this holiday comes with some pagan history, in our day people reflect on the birth of a baby born in Bethlehem. In countries around the world where the Christian population is minimal, Christmas is known for the story of a baby born to a virgin, celebrated and worshipped by shepherds and kings.
As I was reflecting on this, the thought came to me that there is a "reason for every season of our lives." It doesn't matter if you are in the season of your youth or in the season of reaching the finish line. I am certain that each person has a reason for being in this season. It is in discovering our reason for being that we find true meaning in life. I discovered my reason for being when I was 17 years old and Jesus radically changed my life and gave me my...