Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Greetings Ministry Partners from the Beautiful country of Rwanda

Sunday was the first day of ministry and I shared my testimony at Vivante Church and challenged them about forgiving their enemies. It is a very large church and I met with the pastor and his staff following the service, Pastor Deo from Prison Fellowship is the assistant pastor there. I was invited to speak with a group of about 50-60 (of the total 80) of our brothers and sisters in Christ. Some are married to each other and ALL are dying of HIV. This church is struggling to support them financially but most importantly they are supporting them spiritually.

Yesterday, I returned to Ntsinda Prison and had the opportunity to share the "Gospel Message" to the 4,500 inmates who came.
Today, I returned to minister in Relima Prison, where 2,000 attended.
To each one of you who have been praying for the Holy Spirit to prepare their hearts........
. More than I ever could have imagined. It's all I can do to keep from dropping to my knees on the spot to offer our Savior....PRAISE.
I will keep this short as internet service here is, shall I say....lacking in all areas, quality and quantity. Sorry, previous posts have not been able to make it through.
WE are, we are, we are finding favor with the wardens and the Rwandan pastors and others helping us are already praising God along with us as we are watching and seeing God do GREAT and unheard of things.
I asked you to pray along with me that I would find favor with the wardens. And God is answering that prayer for sure!!!!! One warden who also oversees a complete district made a personal visit to see me tonight. She has offered her personal transportation to pick us up when I am scheduled to visit another prison in her district.
I could tell you my cup is full but actually, the truth is, it's full, running over and developing a very huge, wonderful, puddle around my feet.
Tomorrow I return to minister with the 26 ladies, dying of HIV, that I worked with last year.
So, I am off to bed
Please continue to pray, pray, pray......

Praising God along with you.


Thursday, September 24, 2009

Dear Ministry Partners,

I am so excited that today has finally arrived and Lord willing, on Sat., the 26 our plane will land with us safe & sound at Kigali airport at 2am.
There are far too many "Thank You's" to list but I note a few of them here.
"Thank you", to my friend, Bobbie for the many ways she partners with me. She volunteers at my home church, New Life, in the Missions Dept. and she is truly a "gift" to me and IRM as she continually types and prints my messages. Actually, she prints, prints, prints - everything I need and her wise council and prayers are a huge encouragement. This photo reminds me that this trip she printed 2,700 gospel tracts not only for me to use but for some of my teammates to also hand out. These postcard size green tracts are filled with scripture and are very clear in sharing the love of Jesus Christ and His sacrificial provision for our sins. As I look at them I am reminded of the following scripture:

"My word, which comes from my mouth, is like the rain and snow. It will not come back to me without results. It will accomplish whatever I want and achieve whatever I send it to do." Isaiah 55:11

"Thank You" to those of you who consistently pray for IRM and for me and most recently, have been specifically praying for my toes. A few days ago, while walking through my house at 1am in the dark, I stubbed my left foot on a chair leg. After a trip to the Emergency room and x-rays it was discovered I had fractured (broken) one toe. The Dr. told me if I stayed down, elevated and iced my very swollen and painful foot, I would be in OK shape for today, with the addition of a not exactly stylish, "boot." Of course, you and I know the best medicine for my foot & toe is Jesus healing hand.
I have never been so pampered, "Thank You" to Lorraine and Betty who brought me delicious dinners ~ the first time in my life to have friends provide in such a manner. I can only offer praise to God that this is a minor bump in the road and it is nothing to keep me home from this trip. I no longer have to try and decide which nice shoes to take with me, thus saving luggage space and weight ---a hidden blessing. Since I spent Sunday with my foot elevated and iced I was unable to get a photo of teammate David, Suzanne and myself for this "post". Considering this current "foot" issue, I must once again say.........
"Thank You" to teammate Kristy for procuring the shortest flight itinerary in my 6 trips to Rwanda.

"Thank You" to each one of you who sent one of the many emails of encouragement. I share a part of one from a dear sister in Christ:
"Anyway, you know God has a plan for this. The first thing that comes to my mind is that there is someone who will see you in your boot when you get to Rwanda and it will happen when God has made an appointment with that person's heart. Your infirmity will be used to help heal another soul that has been waiting for the day. So I will pray in this regard while you are there the next few weeks. Blessings to you my sister. With Jesus' love, Judy."

Thanks, Norma, my friend & neighbor who took me to Emergency and to the airport today. "Thank You" to neighbors and friends, Jean, Jo and Norma all who will perhaps be glad to get rid of me as the last month they continually heard ~ "You wouldn't happen to have .............?"

We depart Portland in just a few hours at 12pm and I will post again as I am able and internet service is available.

Thanks again to each one of you who partnered, in your own unique way as God laid it on your heart, with IRM in serving the people of Rwanda. Please continue to faithfully praise....pray....praise....pray....praise....


Friday, September 18, 2009

Greetings Ministry Partners,
The first prison I am scheduled to minister in, this trip, is
Ntsinda Prison.Ntsinda Prison-guard, Alfred Mupenzi, Arlene, Lead prison pastor

This was the first prison I visited in 2006 and this will be my 6th time to minister there. Photos are not allowed, but on my last trip many were praying that I would find favor with the wardens and God answered those prayers as EVERY warden allowed us to take some photos. This guard was about to take Emmanuel's phone/camera (all we had at the time) away from him but he was informed by the warden that we had permission to take photos. With that, he almost pushed Alfred out of the picture to make sure he was included.

Many of the prisoners, almost all murders involved in the 1994 genocide, have lost hope. They feel because of what they have done God has turned his back on them and no longer loves them. They listen intently and when they are faced with the truth of God's Word...that he does indeed hate their sin (and mine), but He showed his love for them , in that Jesus came, suffered, and gave his life as payment for that very sin. And when the Holy Spirit makes God's Word real to them and helps them grasp the fact, that even inside prison walls, God offers them forgiveness through His Son, they a ready to believe and receive God's precious gift of salvation. Only then, can they finally lie down and sleep, in His perfect peace.

"THANK YOU" to each of you ministry partners that have faithfully continued to send and bring ties and scarves to me. All that I am unable to take this trip, I will keep and take next trip, Lord willing. Would you believe I am already making some preporations for the 2010 trip!!!!

One teammate, David Coffman, will be involved with IRM's prison ministry this trip as he has caught my vision for the "Bibles for Rwanda Project." I appreciate all the work, time and effort he and his friend Suzanne have put into helping me with Bible fund-raising. This is the first time IRM has had a teammate so focused on that part of the ministry and he will be overseeing the count of the Bibles and helping me distribute them along with our Rwanda staff and partner, Alfred and Pastor Deo.

This Sunday is our last Sunday before leaving and I will be at my home church, Canby New Life, for first service and will then meet up with David and Suzanne for the Rolling Hills Singles Service. I will try to get a photo of the three of us to post in the next blog.

6 days and counting....................

Blessings on you all as we work together in reaching the lost,

Thursday, September 10, 2009

A Bible of their very own.

Ministry Partners

Let me introduce you to this group of dying Rwandan women who walk 3 miles, twice a week, to meet at Pastor Deo's (Prison Fellowship International -Rwanda) office. Still traumatized from the 1994 Genocide that ravaged their country, they receive counseling and encouragement. Although there is usually no lunch, as there are no funds for such luxuries, this day God provided a delicious lunch for us to enjoy together. The soft, colorful scarves you donated brought smiles to their beautiful faces......

But....... placing a new Bible and Discipleship Booklet in their hands caused a celebration time to break out with smiles, singing and dancing, worshiping God and giving Him praise for such a precious gift !!!!
"Thank you" to each ministry partner who contributed to
the "Bibles for Rwanda Project" It is a bargain and I know of no better way to spend $8, the current price. I will be spending one day with these wonderful ladies, eight of whom accepted God's gift of salvation last trip. Please pray for them and for me that the Holy Spirit would guide my words, all for His glory. The four babies that were there were beautiful and their mom's were gracious and allowed me to hold them.

It was a perfect ending to my time with them.

It appears I am not the only one counting the days until Sept.24, according to my Gmail chats, the IRM Rwanda staff and Pastor Deo are also counting.
Ten days to go... and yesterday was the team "packing party".... 12 tubs filled with sewing machines, scarves, ties and lots of other team supplies. A big "thank you" to Kristy, the sewing teacher, who decided to only take 8 sewing machines, leaving extra room for others supplies. It appears I will only need to pay for 1 piece of additional luggage this time. How is it that there is never enough luggage space to take all the tangible things we would like to bless them with?
But the fact remains that building relationships and
sharing the gospel message of God's love and getting His written word, the Bible, into their hands, is by far most important to me and the staff of IRM. Seeing the hope that resonates in their eyes as they ask Jesus for forgiveness and accept His payment for their sins, realizing He has their soul in safe keeping for eternity,
is such a privilege for me, and the IRM team, to see God do.

May our Lord richly bless each one of you as you partner
with me in serving the people of Rwanda.

That none would be lost,

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

"16 Days to go - but who's counting - ME !!!!

Dear Ministry Partners,

As the days are quickly approaching for this next trip to Rwanda and I prepare to, once again, enter the
prisons there, I am reminded that:

When all hope is gone:
God steps in with His great mercy.

He has done that in my life and I am compelled to tell others that His wonderful love, grace and mercy is also for them.

This is Ntsinda Prison and there were 11,ooo inmates there. Alfred Mupenzi interprets as I have the privilege of sharing the Gospel message, of God's great love. How important this message is and that they understand Eph.2:8.9, that salvation cannot be earned but rather it is a "free gift" from God. That Jesus paid the huge dept for our sin, a dept we could never pay !!!! This is the first prison I visited in 2006 and since then, the Holy Spirit has allowed me to witness Him speak into the hearts of those prisoners, bringing them to saving knowledge in Jesus and adding 1,000's of their names to the Lamb's Book of Life.

A recent comment by IRM Operations Supervisor, Alfred Mupenzi:
"Life behind prison walls is not always what it seems. Rwandan prisons are full of men and women who now have broken, shattered lives and dreams. Each day that passes pushes them further from humanity, as they struggle within the prison walls, to
maintain their sanity."

Previously, I have done 11 prison visits to 4 prisons and God has provided that I will not only revisit them but will have opportunity to minister in 4 new prisons, one by special invitation from the warden. I am thankful to the government of Rwanda and the gracious wardens for giving me permission to enter the prisons and share the "Gospel" freely.

Words cannot express how excited I am to go, just to observe what God has designed and what He will do this trip.

My prayer list remains the same:
  • The Holy Spirit would prepare the hearts of the Rwandan people for the "Gospel" and the "Forgive Your Enemies" messages
  • What we plant, water and harvest will have positive results for God's kingdom
  • The IRM team and I would find GREAT favor with the wardens and everyone we have the privilege to meet and work with
  • God would open many unscheduled doors of opportunity
  • The Holy Spirit would give me wisdom, courage and clarity of mind as I prepare my messages now and when I actually speak in Rwanda
  • The team would have safe air and in-country travel
  • The team would stay healthy now, while in Rwanda and for my personal health needs
Thank you for your continuing prayers.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

23 days and counting !!!!!

My Friend, Katilda

On my second trip to Rwanda I met 73 year old, Katilda one day as I was handing out scarves and tracts in one of the villages. She had fallen two years before and broke her left upper arm, which is still dislocated and she had never been to the doctor!!!.
My heart was broken as I was told that there was nothing I could do for her. I have visited her on my return trips, taking her rice, beans, soap. ect. and she always tells each new interpreter that goes with me how I cried the first day I met her.
The last time I saw her I had the privilege of hearing her ask Jesus for forgiveness and to be her Savior. This precious woman who calls me "friend" is now my sister in Christ. I hope I will be able to see her this trip.

Pastor Dustin has all the pages up on the web site and although he says he still needs to refine it some I think he did a great job of conveying the heart and focus of IRM. If you have not had a chance to do so before, go check it out, it really is very informative. The addy is:

~ www.newlifeirm.org ~

A big "THANK YOU " to you, Pastor Dustin

"Thank You" also, to two of my neighbors, Jean and Norma, who helped me yesterday package donated womens' scarves (800) and mens' ties (400), a tangible gift of God's love. For many it will be the first "gift" they have ever received.

May your day be filled with the Lord's peace and presence,