Thanks to your encouragement, prayers, and financial gifts, we made it to Rwanda and back safely. Thank you all for being patient with us as we took some time to talk through things with our church before sending this report letter to you. Now that we have a plan, we would like to share with you about how our trip went, and where we see God leading us from here.
First, the trip was everything we were hoping for. While we were in Rwanda we visited two churches, spoke with several Rwandan Church leaders, ate in a Rwandan home and several Rwandan restaurants, visited a church’s children’s program, visited the Rwandan history museum, drove a significant length of the country (which is only about the size of Maryland), visited the market, observed the day-to-day life of our hosts (and their three energetic children), visited and observed the pastoral training school that we are hoping to join, slept under mosquito nets, drank about 10 Fantas (the drink that every good host offers his/her guests), took walks through neighborhoods in Kigali (the capital city), and even visited a Starbucks-ripoff coffee shop complete with Caramel Macchiato. All in just 2 weeks! In short, we were able to get a taste of what Rwanda is like, see what needs the church there has, observe what living conditions would be like if we were to move there, and picture how our gifts could be used in ministry with the Rwandan church.
One thing that really impacted us was the realization that the church in Rwanda has a lot of very deep needs. For one, the vast majority of their pastors are untrained and are hungry for Biblical and practical instruction. For example, one pastor who we visited told us that his greatest need was not financial, but was training in how to be a pastor. He had not gone to seminary or been ordained before becoming a pastor. Rather, he told us that he was a layperson who had been slowly given more and more responsibility in the church until eventually he was running it completely. To make matters more difficult, church leaders usually do not mentor those below them, because there is a fear that if you train someone below you, they will rise up and steal your position. This means that if you cannot pay for formal instruction, as most pastors cannot, then you have no options for learning the Bible or training in ministry.
The ministry that we hope to work with was formed to address this exact need in the Rwandan Church. Their core ministry is a 4-year school that uses a modular setting to train pastors in Biblical Studies, Theology, and Ministry skills. It is a very exciting ministry that is addressing one of the most important needs of the Rwandan Church, and because the education is heavily subsidized, it is available to even the poorest of students. Were we to join this school, Luke would use his education from as a teacher in the school, likely specializing in theology and Church history. Jaymi would use her skills and experience to work in their Children’s Ministry Training program, which helps churches create effective gospel-centered children’s ministries within the pastor’s churches.
So what’s the conclusion? We feel that God has used this trip to confirm our calling to go work in Rwanda. The work that they are doing in Rwanda is very important and fits perfectly with our gifting. In addition, we feel both a peace and a tremendous excitement to get back there, which has only increased the longer we’ve been back.
Because of this, we have begun the process of applying to return to Rwanda long-term. So far we have applied with our home church’s mission board, and they are excited by our vision. While Luke finishes school, they plan to help prepare us by offering us a number of opportunities both to be mentored and to serve in ministry, with the ultimate goal of us being appointed with the missionary organization in June 2011. At that time, we will begin seeking individuals and churches to partner with us and help send us to Rwanda, while also preparing to leave as soon as we can.
In the meantime, we’ll continue growing through the work of our church, finishing graduate school, and adjusting to life with two boys under 2 (second baby due any day now!). We’ll begin sending out updates again next spring as we approach the appointment time with the mission board.
Thank you all for your prayers and gifts. We most certainly would not have made it to Rwanda this summer without you, and we are grateful to God that we did.
Luke, Jaymi, Ayden, and Baby
In the coming months, please continue to pray with us:
- That our hearts will continue to be drawn to Rwanda and our future life and ministry there.
- That we will be focused, effective, and learn a lot while finishing school and serving in our church and neighborhood in Chicago.
- For the current work being done at NCM in Rwanda and the team that we will be joining.
- For smooth adjustments for our boys, as the next few years will include a lot of travelling and transition.