Friday, June 24, 2011

June 24...........

Ministry Partners,
Sorry we have not been able to post while we were in Butare but the internet was not available.

Today was our last day of ministry at Butare Prison and because it was visitor day at the prison the Director asked us to arrive at 8 and finish at 11, which we did.

The women's team arrived at the courtyard inside the women's area about 8:30 and waited until the sound system and women prisoners arrived. I presume they had not been told of the 1 hour earlier schedule as when the saw the big metal door open and we started to enter, they started running to get seated. They began singing and I began greeting as many as I could, some with a cheek to cheek greeting, some with a hug and some, because there were so many around me, I could only extend my hands which they eagerly shook.

Kathy did 1 teaching, followed by 2 songs from their choir all dressed in their colorful choir outfits, then she did a second teaching. I am so very thankful for both Kathy and Lovena as they have shared their hearts and God's Word with such passion and love. I could not hold back the tears as I looked at all the women following the scriptures Kathy was using in their very own Bibles.
"Thank You"
again for each Bible you graciously provided.
They would not allow photos but it is a photo in my mind I will never forget.

I shared at the end of our time with them an object lesson and explained the scripture bookmark we were leaving for them so they could remind themselves everyday of the truth of God's Word concerning who they are and what they now posses as born again children of God. I had shared previously with them about believing a lie from the enemy, for a long time, that I had no value and how I wanted them to tell themselves the truth from God's Word. I pulled up the faces of a few of the seated women, looking her in the eyes, and said "You have great value". And then I asked them to tell their neighbor the same thing which they readily did with laughter, hugs and smiles. Then I asked them to make me a promise...... that they would tell each other that same thing many times a day and they agreed to do so. I finished by telling them how much we loved them.

Those of you who know me personally know that by then the tears were rolling down my cheeks so I had to explain to them that they were tears of joy for the time we had been able to spend with them.

Alfred arrived to escort us out but as we were about to exit 6 ladies appeared with arms laden with Peace Baskets, decorative baskets and woven wall hangings as a "thank you" for all of us, including Mary, a woman who oversees the women prisoners. Mary informed us that when she went to check on the ladies yesterday they were ALL reading their Bibles.....every single one.

The baskets are such beautiful gifts, ones we will treasure for sure. As we were leaving three more women handed me additional different baskets and later I discovered one had a tiny handwritten note inside that gave her name and in Kinyarwanda it said " God bless you. Pray for me and I shall meet you in heaven".

As we got outside the walls and were walking toward the area where the men were getting ready for the Certificate of Completion ceremony the women prisoners rushed to the few window openings in the 20 foot brick walls to wave and get one last glimpse of us.

I don't have adequate words.............

The men have had a wonderful time doing the Spiritual Leader Training and from all the terrific reports, Pastor Al, Steve and Pastor Roger will have stories and memories for a lifetime.

We have such wonderful Rwandan volunteer partners here, they are a vital part of the ministry we are doing. Alfred and Blessing Mupenzi and Pastor Peter Deyali translate for us, not just word for word but they capture the biblical concept we are conveying.
The nine of us make a powerful team.

I will have to tell you in person about the adventure the women's team plus Alfred had yesterday at Mpanga Prison but when I was standing in front of and realized that I was going to preach to approx. 7,000 men and women prisoners I turned to Kathy and Lovena and said "You'd better be praying!!!" to which Kathy said, "Your David with 5 smooth stones facing Goliath."

I hope one of the men will be able to blog and tell you about the Trainings. We are all going to miss Steve as he is leaving for America tomorrow. I know he is anxious to see his wife, Joyce, and tell her what he saw God do here.

Continue to pray that the team would have renewed strength for our remaining time here as we have a crusade tomorrow, 1 more TIG camp crusade and two more prisons to do ministry in.

That none would be lost,

for the team

1 comment:

  1. Prayers, hugs, and rejoicing in the faithfulness and goodness of the Lord..... I would love to be there hugging and ministering His love to those women and children...... Maybe someday the Lord will allow that to happen.

    Hug Kath for me!