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Today begins our blog for the 2014 Rwanda and Congo classes. The big difference this year is Grace’s presence here with me. This changes the entire trip for several reasons. The first is that the church leaders here in Rwanda have wanted to meet her for over two years now. Last year when I left, Pastor Denys, the leader among the Baptists here in Rwanda said as I left for the airport, “Dr Bruce, you must bring your wife with you next year to teach classes here for the pastor’s wives.”
I knew then that this would be the year we would travel together to Africa. Grace’s Bible teaching offers some of the most insightful teaching I have ever heard from any women’s teacher. I know that sounds arrogant, but it is the truth. The women in Myanmar chose to ignore taking breaks and drinking water to sit on their bamboo mats to keep listening to the teaching. Grace can make the Bible come alive for her listeners, and the African women will be no different. She has been given limited time slots to teach the second week while I am in the Congo, but the women will want more.
The second reason her presence will change things this year will be her taking videos and pictures while I am teaching tomorrow thru Friday here in Kigali. I can spend more time focused on teaching and answering questions while she takes care of this vital part of communicating with you.
This morning we awakened (in the private house they have provided us – I will let Grace tell you more about living conditions) to the busy Rwandan street outside filled with the noises of people, motor-scooter horns, and the coming and, and then we were picked up and taken to the compound to be fed breakfast. We had coffee, tea, and fresh bread with honey and our Jiff peanut butter which we brought with us for the trip. We brought more than we needed for ourselves this year so we could share it with our hosts. The church service was very good. God blessed the message, and Grace told me later that she noticed several of the Rwandan men and woman crying during the message. I preached from 2 Kings 4 on the need for God to challenge our faith in order for us to grow. This kind of message deeply resonates with people who have suffered on the scale Rwandans have both before and after genocide. However, I almost was reduced to tears by something else that was said by the church pastor on our way back to our guest house after lunch.
Pastor Fidele told Grace and me that his preaching and ministry have changed since taking the classes. He went on to say, “I no longer minister the way I used to.” I have thought for over two years now about whether or not the time, teaching, monetary, and physical investment has been worth it. I have wondered if the planted seeds of academic and practical training were going to grow or not. Well, this morning I got an answer from God that cheered my heart more than anything I could have heard. When you read this blog, pray that the classes this year would change a hundred of these pastors’ ministries and preaching! Pray that God would raise up more pastors, church planters, and fearless evangelists, and please pray that God would keep us humble and useful for His cause here in Rwanda and Congo.