I'm snapping myself out of "journal mode" to give some of the details of our upcoming trip. I've just copied our letter, but taken out identifying details. We'd love for you to pray for us!! And if you didn't receive this already by mail or e-mail, let me know and I can add you to our mailing list.
Dear Friends and Family,
We hope you are doing well and enjoying this incredible spring weather! The past year or so has brought about a lot of changes in our life, and it looks as though the next year will bring even more. A (now 15 months) will become a big brother in September and by next December L will have finished his Masters degree.
Meanwhile, we have been looking ahead to our long-term future and we feel that God is calling us to serve Him in full-time ministry overseas. More particularly, we feel that He may be leading us to serve at a pastoral training school in Rwanda. This ministry has a unique program that serves people who are already working as pastors (often at multiple churches) but have little to no training in the Bible. For example, after one of their recent sessions that taught the basics of the Gospel, over a third of the attendees responded by claiming that they were professing faith in Jesus Christ for the first time! Although they had been serving as pastors, they hadn’t even understood the Gospel for themselves. Apparently, this is a typical scenario in much of the African church, and for many of these pastors, training centers supported by missionaries are the only Biblical and Theological education available to them.
We are extremely excited about this opportunity, and we feel as though God is leading us to join this ministry team. We are passionate about the work they are doing, we feel that we are both gifted to accomplish this kind of work, and many of our friends and advisors have been encouraging us to pursue it. Therefore, our next step is to take a short trip to Rwanda to see and experience the ministry first-hand. While we are visiting, we will have the opportunity to tour the country to get a feel for life and ministry in Rwanda. L will be able to observe the pastoral training school while they are in session, while J will be able to observe one of their other programs that helps church workers develop effective children’s ministries. Overall, we’re hoping to accomplish three things on this trip. First, we want to confirm that God is indeed calling us to Rwanda so that we can move forward with confidence, second, we want to begin to develop a vision for our future ministry there, and third, we want to make connections with the missionaries and local pastors in order to have a personal tie with the real needs of those who are laboring for the gospel in Rwanda.
Although we’ve been expecting to take such a trip, J’s pregnancy demands that we either do it immediately while it is still early in her pregnancy or wait for nearly another year from now when the new baby is old enough to travel. We feel that God is clearly leading us to take this trip sooner rather than later. Therefore, we will be traveling to Rwanda May 17 – June 1. We’ve estimated that the trip will cost about $5,000.
We would love for you to partner with us as we pursue God’s call on our lives. Please pray for us as we step out in faith and seek God’s wisdom. In addition, with L having been in school for the past year, we are not able to pay for this trip on our own. If you are able to help us with this need, you can let me know and I will give you the information about how to donate.
Although the details of planning a trip so quickly can be overwhelming, we are excited and thankful for this opportunity that God has given us! When we return, we’ll contact you again to let you know what God has done while we were in Rwanda. We are so thankful for your love and support.