Rwanda 8/10/2012

Third World living is just that, like an "other world." I had my first shower Wednesday night. I asked to take a shower and one of the workers on the compound brought me two containers of water - one boiling, one cold. I mixed the water in a wash pan in the bath tub and began! I was laughing to myself the whole time, "If Grace could only see this." I have been as careful as I can be. I have used all my supplies diligently. God has kept me up, strong, and going.

Today was another full day of teaching. I went over three expositional messages with the men in detail. Because my time with them ends Saturday, I have only one more full morning with them. The vast majority of them have had no training in ministry except what they have gleaned from their spiritual mentors who may also have had no formal training. They are all poor, but they are all committed and hard working men. It is humbling to embrace them as brothers in Christ knowing that they cherish the teaching. They are so respectful, but they are not afraid to ask questions, good questions.

They are still all working to forget about the genocide. None of them were exempt from the carnage and suffering. Most of them have forgiven and are trying to move forward by God's grace. Some still struggle with the memories and pain. Some watched family members being taken from them forever, others witnessed their murders, some others went through other unthinkable atrocities. Each session begins with the men spontaneously singing choruses. About the second chorus some of them will begin prancing around in pure African jubilation. I wouldn't call it dancing, just a sort of prancing. It is a hoot! When it comes time to teach, they are all business. My host Pastor Denys, is sick tonight. But he has told me that he is greatly pleased with the meetings. He definitely wants this again in the future. Because of the price of tickets for them, it will be a year or so before it happens again. I hope we can help raise this money through GBTF to help them. It would be best to have classes every six months, but, the fact that this will become a regular teaching site is a very good thing.

Speaking of food. It has been great. I am being served cooked meals twice daily. For breakfast, they eat a lot of bread, tea, and coffee. I am not taking any chances with anything. Today after the meeting, one of the office workers who speaks some (limited) English took me for a walk in Kigali. What an experience. Most of the people looked at the strange white man like I had three heads, ----crazy feeling. I had to guard my pockets from the many pickpockets who throng the streets. I was glad when I got back to the familiarity of the compound.

Rwanda 8/9/2012

It is Thursday night (August 9), and I am wrapping up my first, and very long, day. I slept fitfully through my first jet-lagged night, waking up and going back to sleep three separate times. My bed is surrounded by mosquito netting. There were many new and unfamiliar sounds in the night: the Moslem temple playing their canned music through the bell tower just a few hundred yards from our compound, the sound of the city as it finally ended its day and went to sleep, birds which I had never heard before singing outside my screened, the coming and going of quiet conversation of Rwandans as they finally broke off and decided to go to bed. I finally woke up about six this morning and began my day.

After devotions, dressing, and breakfast, we started the first meeting at 8:30 am. There were several preachers who were in transit from all over Rwanda, but we started anyway with lively singing, introductions, and finally I began teaching about 9:00. I taught with two breaks until 12:30. I covered mostly introductory matters, the role of interpretation, and then I went through the mechanics of an actual expository message from 2 Cor 5:10-21. We then broke for lunch until 2 p.m. We started back and I taught until 4:30 on the theology of preaching and on the expository method. In each session we started with lively singing from the men. You will see that African singing is not for the timid. I wish I could reproduce the sounds of it for you tonight, but I promise to get video of teaching and singing tomorrow.

To say that these Aftrican preachers are hungry for teaching would be a gross understatement. How I wish all of us could be so hungry! They listen to everything. They watch, analyze, listen, and write down what I say. I have no doubt they are going to implement what they have heard into their lives and ministries. Tomorrow, there will be more preachers. By the time we ended today, there were forty of them. Many of them had come from some distance, others from villages surrounding Kigali. Tomorrow, I am told, there will be more, perhaps twice as many. I will be getting up early!

Please pray for Akeem's wife's sister Rose. She and Pastor Denys (Dennis) met me at the airport on Wednesday afternoon. She felt poorly last night and was no better this morning. They think she has a case of malaria. I have been sharing my ibuprofen with her to help her fever. They do not expect her to get any worse and believe she will improve in a few days. It is a good reminder to me to not forget my medicine! I do not need any reminders. The bug situation has been helped by rain last night and an even harder rain this afternoon. The downpour on the tin roof of the church made it very hard for the preachers to hear. My Rwandan translator has a booming voice so it was not a big problem. I did not think a translator would be necessary here, but it turned out to be the case.

Please keep people praying for the ministry here. It is, I think, one of the most important things I have ever done in the Lord's work.

groupofpastors

Romania 1/10/12

Yesterday, I preached from I Peter to a church composed of Gypsys and Hungarians.  They are such unique people groups here, but in this church they are one.  Some of the gypsy children in this church were able to go to camp this winter because of the HAF funding.  Seventy-five children trusted Christ.  This is why Chaba is so burdened to become a pastor for these young people.  He knows the future depends upon discipling these precious souls. Well, it is my 56th birthday.  On this day I was born to a Hungarian mother who really wasn't much interested in having a third baby, opting rather for abortion.  But, because of the insistence of a German father, I was born this day in 1956.  Funny, but providential.  It was my father who said that he believed that one of his sons would become a preacher.  Little did he realize that his second wife would bring that to pass.  It was also in 1956 that Hungary became a communist state.  Today, they are still trying to outlive that heritage.  The only real way for them to outlive it, is to be transformed by the gospel.  It has been so overwhelming to me to preach in this annexed part of Hungary called Transylvania.  The Hungarians here have not forgotten their heritage, but like the rest of Hungary, they need the gospel.  I have to fight the desire to cry when I preach to them.

Romania 1/8/12 Part 2

After we left the church we walked down the narrow village street to Pastor Modi's house.  We had to be careful as we walked between horse droppings and wagon mud that had had been deposited from muddy wheels.  The villages are quiet, very rural, and full of dogs and chickens roaming around.  If a dog wants to live another day, he will leave the chickens alone.  The dogs will usually hunt rabbits themselves or eat whatever the villagers leave out for them.  Most of the homes in these rural areas of Transylvania have wood stoves and they buy their wood in large chunks from the forests outside of the villages.  Mrs. Modi made us a big lunch of meatball soup, roast beef, potatoes, peppers, pickles, and a Hungarian pastry called keifli.  I was so excited to have Keifli because my Hungarian mother had made it for us when were were just kids.

 

Romania 1/8/12 Part 1

After we left the church we walked down the narrow village street to Pastor Modi's house.  We had to be careful as we walked between horse droppings and wagon mud that had had been deposited from muddy wheels.  The villages are quiet, very rural, and full of dogs and chickens roaming around.  If a dog wants to live another day, he will leave the chickens alone.  The dogs will usually hunt rabbits themselves or eat whatever the villagers leave out for them.  Most of the homes in these rural areas of Transylvania have wood stoves and they buy their wood in large chunks from the forests outside of the villages.  Mrs. Modi made us a big lunch of meatball soup, roast beef, potatoes, peppers, pickles, and a Hungarian pastry called keifli.  I was so excited to have Keifli because my Hungarian mother had made it for us when were were just kids.

 

Romania 1/7/12 Part 2

Our host Miklos Modi, a pastor of 11 Hungarian speaking churches here in Romania took us to three different church meetings today. These Hungarian churches are all in Transylvania which was in Hungary before it was annexed by Romanian Government. I spoke at two of these churches. The first was this afternoon at four o'clock. I spoke, along. with my translator for an hour. Then we traveled for about 25 minutes to the next church where both Brett and I spoke for a little over an hour. Then we traveled to the third church where just Brett spoke from seven o'clock until eight. We then drove 30 minutes to Pastor Modi's house and ate dinner. I got home about thirty minutes ago just before ten-o'clock.

Tomorrow morning (Sunday), I will be speaking three times; morning, afternoon, and evening. Now before you think that I have been busy and overworked, let me tell you that Pastor Modi does this seven days a week. There is no vacation for him on the horizon. All of this, and the man never complains. In fact, he says that he is simply doing his duty before God. He and his wife are two of the most precious people I think I have ever met. I am humbled by their work ethic. This man lives on 300 dollars US a month. To say that this man needs more pastors here is a gross understatement.

But get this.  The pastor told me today that if he had two pastors trained to take over two of these works he would start two more churches in villages that need them. Stop and think about that for a minute!

 

Romania 1/7/12 Part 1

The meeting last night at church is still lingering in my mind.  The brass band was amazing.  Very talented musicians, and very good team.  The culture here is so different.  They are still waking up from the repression of Communism since the fall of Ceausescu.  The town and village cultures have not caught up yet.  This is especially true with agriculture.  Many of the Romanians still use horse drawn carts and so forth.  It is like stepping back into pre-industrialized America in Missouri or some other farming state.  The people are reserved but very friendly for the most part, especially when they see you are interested in them.