Saturday, November 9, 2013

The Afterglow Newsletter

Dear Ministry Partners,
Murabeho (Goodbye) was a word that all of the team members found hard to say as we prepared to leave the IRM partners in Rwanda following our ministry time there.

 The U.S. team - Leslie, Toni, Arlene, Terry & Brian
For me, this ministry trip was my first time to travel to Uganda and my tenth time to go to Rwanda but for the four U.S. team members it was the first time their feet would touch Rwandan soil, see the rolling hills and meet some of the beautiful people there. It was an opportunity for us to serve alongside our dedicated Rwandan partners to minister in villages and prisons, sharing the gospel and training disciples. 
 Because off the work God has called IRM to do in the Great Lakes Region of Central Africa there are struggles at times but with each struggle we watch as the Holy Spirit pours out His power, equipping us and providing for us. It was that way when two days before the U.S. teams arrival our signed IRM application to do Rwandan prison ministry was not in my hands and it “appeared” like there would be no prison ministry for us to do but God had his plan and our application was approved.
                  Alfred, Arlene & Pastor Peter                          

This spring as I was preparing for the trip I told many partners that I felt that we were going to watch God pour out His power like never before and so he did at every turn for the five weeks I was in Africa. At the end of the trip Pastor Peter stated, “This trip had been more amazing, more powerful and more unique than any other trip.”                                
A word to IRM partners from Alfred Mupenzi,  IRM Vice-President Rwanda:
“Thank you to those of you who supported IRM prayerfully, financially and practically. Your prayers were answered and your support blessed many thousands of Ugandans and Rwandans this year as we witnessed the Holy Spirit bring to salvation 14,726 and as 13,637 confessed forgiveness upon those who had hurt them and upon themselves, 95 made other commitments and 1 was delivered from demon possession but there is much more that is yet to be accomplished. We believe that, by God’s grace, IRM will have the privilege of seeing the Lord achieve many more powerful things in the village communities and in the Ugandan and Rwandan prisons in the coming years.”

I just want to add a very special personal “Thank You” to each one of you who partnered with us for this trip.

That none would be lost,

Monday, August 12, 2013

Aug. 12, 2013

Ministry Partners,
The 2013 Ministry Team to Rwanda safely arrived back in Portland last evening at 6 p.m., greeted by family and friends.
It was a ministry time of watching God do incredible things in both the
 hearts of the Rwandan people as well as each team member.
 "This has been the most amazing ministry time/trip ever." a quote by Pastor Peter that I wholeheartedly agree with as we watched God pour out His power as never before.
Every team member expressed that although they were so looking forward to returning to their families they were also sad to be leaving the IRM Rwanda family where they had made treasured friends as I have.

 The IRM "Thank You" dinner
Irene, Arlene, Leslie

Leaving Rwanda has never been easy for me and with every trip I make to Rwanda, and now Uganda, it becomes even harder as they really have become family for me.
Thank you so much for partnering with the team, IRM and me with your faithful prayers and support. May the Savior richly bless each one of you.
Now, I ask for your continuing prayers as I seek God's direction for IRM and me in the country of Uganda and Rwanda for 2014.

That none would be lost,

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Flight day

Ministry Partners,
Today is a day of expectations for some to see family tomorrow but also a day of leaving family behind.
It has been a powerful time of watching the Holy Spirit do amazing and powerful things in the lives of the Rwandan people as well as our own.
We leave in a few hours...........see you soon America.

Thanks again for your continuing prayers. That none would be lost,

Friday, August 9, 2013

Aug. 6, 2013 - by Leslie

Good morning from Rwanda,
I realize it is 10pm on Tuesday back in the US, but here it is morning on Wednesday and we are up and moving on this beautiful day.  It’s hard to believe that we are nearing the end of this mission. A part of me is truly filled with joy knowing we are almost done and I get to wrap my arms around my beautiful family. Then there is another part of me that grieves leaving here. From the moment my feet touched Rwandan ground I was filled with a peace that surpasses understanding. I was then able to enter every correction facility and be at peace so I could walk out the mission beginning with prayer and be aware of all things going on in the spiritual realm.
I must say that the Holy Spirit has opened my eyes to things in the spirit I have only had small experiences in.  This is different. This trip has shown me even more that we have a great enemy that wants to distract and block what the Holy Spirit is doing along with destroy us. HOWEVER, we have a God, the God of heaven and earth who fights for us even when we do not know we need it. Then there are times, like yesterday, that you are aware and the Holy Spirit instructs you on how to respond. Sometimes it’s just to sit and pray, and other times to get up and go lay hands on a person. 

Leslie, Mercule, Arlene & women at the IRM office

Yesterday was a day at the IRM office with the HIV women. They straggled in as they had all come long distances, some with their babies on their back, to hear the “musugu” (ones with light skin) share from God's Word. When we arrived only a few women were there, and they began to worship. I truly cannot express to you what it is like when the people of Rwanda begin to worship. I know I have said it before, but it’s a body soul, spirit kind of worship. We worshiped for at least 30 mins. as ladies came in. Then Arlene introduced me to the ladies and I began to teach about Joseph and how he was betrayed.
I became aware very quickly that there was a lady who was sitting just a few seats back who began to make an awful noise. It was distracting at first. I looked at the women and indeed I could see she was being tormented by the evil spirit (s). As I was talking two of the women’s leaders escorted her to the back so that she would not be distracting. I kept on going with teaching and then began to share my testimony. Of all the times I have shared with hundreds of women, this day was different. Before I would tear up a bit, but yesterday it was hard to get the words out. The Holy Spirit was doing a deeper level of healing in my heart. I watched as the Holy Spirit began to touch the heart of these women and they began to cry. I finished up my time. We took a small break so the women could stretch their legs and get a soft drink. Then, I pointed out the demon possessed women in the back to Arlene; God had protected her ears and eyes from it up to that point.  She leaned over and asked me to go with her and pray. I tell you what, in the few times this has happened to us, I see in the Spirit and then share it, then I watch the Holy Spirit empower Arlene and she moves with boldness and obedience to what the Spirit is asking her to do. So we moved a bench up to the back of the women, I had anointed my hands with oil and we went back to her. We moved her forward and she did not resist. We stood there and prayed. I had my hands on her back and bound the Spirit in the name of Jesus. I knew it was not the time, nor were we the ones to perform the deliverance, but knew we had taken authority and pleaded the blood of Jesus over her. Then Arlene stopped and she prayed. She prayed the blood of Jesus over everyone and giving thanks to God for his salvation. I felt the spirit leading me to move to a seat so I could look at her and pray. So that’s what I did. I bound the foul spirit in the name of Jesus and silenced it in the name of Jesus. At one point the woman looked at me and we locked eyes. I even smiled and got a smile from her. She then shook her head  and I said under my breath one more time for the spirit to be silent, in Jesus name. The women made one more sound and stood up walking away in pain because she was being tormented, she then left the building. After the service we talked to the Pastor Peters wife and we asked if they knew her.  She said they had never seen her and she said they would find out who she is and get her to come back and they would have a time for deliverance. The time with the women ended and we prayed handing out our theme verse book marks and scarves and exchanging many hugs. It truly was a blessed time. 

Leslie & the children

Before I knew it the all the children where wrapping their arms around me. It was precious. My words will never express how much I love the women of Rwanda. I am forever changed.
My heart is sad, knowing that our time of Women’s Conferences has come to an end. I am beyond grateful that the Lord called me here. It will be a joy to see my beautiful family and friends while I am thankful for our team. We are all amazed day by day at the amazing work the Lord has done. Our team has felt every single one of your prayers and we thank you. We thank you for your continued prayers as we finish this mission and finish it “All In”.
Please continue to pray for safe travels.
May God richly bless you.
With much love,

That none would be lost,

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

August 5, 2013 - post by Brian Youd

Ministry Partners,

Words will not be able to describe our experience yesterday!
On Friday we traveled to Gisenyi Province, which is in the far northwest corner of the Rwanda. The last three days have been spent in a hotel literally 200 yards from the border with the Democratic Republic of the Congo on the beautiful shores of Lake Kivu. None of the team had ever been to Gisenyi to do ministry before, so it was truly new territory. As part of our time here we worshiped with our brothers and sisters in the Mahoko Foursquare Church. We were warmly greeted by Pastor Telly who gave Arlene the privilege of preaching to the congregation of 100 plus worshipers. As has been the norm on this trip, God showed up in a big way and many of the churchgoers responded to Arlene’s call to faith and forgiveness. The worship and the smiling faces in the church are things I will not soon forget. Nor was the great joy on their faces as we handed out bibles to the people there.

Terry handing out Bibles

After church, Pastor Telly accompanied us to the local TIG camp to do ministry. TIG camps are filled with ex-prisoners who are in the midst of working out their sentences through community service. The local camp was located next to a refugee camp for people from the Congo who have been displaced by the war going on there. As we arrived, we were accompanied to the TIG camp by 50 or more children who were so excited to see “muzungus!” 
Beautiful children
TIG camp ministry is much different from prison ministry because though the people in camp are ex-prisoners, they have not yet been integrated back into society. As our program began, with singing, as usual, the people in the camp began streaming in. Literally, we were surrounded by all the people who showed up. It was a really eerie feeling to know that the people who had us ringed in were serving out sentences for crimes they had committed. Never once though did I feel unsafe or in danger. As I said earlier, the Lord showed up big time! Arlene’s dual message of reconciliation with Christ and forgiveness toward others of themselves was received with open arms and many responded in faith. We also had the opportunity to hand out bibles to all of the TIG campers. Their joy at receiving the bible in their native tongue was absolutely beautiful to watch. As we left the camp the smiles and well wishes accompanied us all the way back to our place of lodging.
What a full day yesterday was! I still cannot believe that the Lord’s hand of favor has been so strong on our group. Even though we had begun to face some physical ailments, the Lord provided healing and strength. As I write this we are in the van headed off to Ruhengeri Prison for the day’s ministry. I have absolutely no doubt that the Lord will continue to shower His favor and blessing on the work He has called us to do. Again, thank you for your prayers. They are like water to our souls and we need every one of them. As our trip begins to wind down our prayers are that we would remain fully here for the work ahead. Please join us in this prayer and rejoice with us as we continue to anticipate a great harvest for the Lord. As always, your comments are welcome!
Sincerely, Brian Youd

That none would be lost,

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Aug. 3, 2013

 Ministry Partners,

Events here continue to change hour by hour.
Yesterday, (Aug. 2) when we arrived at the prison in Ruhengeri we off-loaded Bibles and Booklets and proceeded to The Rehabilitation Center for Rebels from the Congo forests. We found that the 140 ex-patriots were being prepared for release and had a full schedule for the day but we found favor with the Director and he stopped all events and allowed us to do a crusade with everyone present including about 15 of his staff as he advised them that they needed to hear what I had to say. :-)
Assistant Director, Arlene, Director

Indeed we had found favor with him as he explained to the men that they do not just allow people to come and speak but he was giving his special permission for us to hold a crusade.
After the responses for salvation and forgiveness everyone on the team had fun passing out bible sets to those present.
Then it was off to Gisenyi to spend two days, returning to Ruhengeri for a prison crusade on Monday.

It was a difficult thing to pass by the refugee center where 1,000's and 1,000's from the Congo now reside. We could see the aging tents and conditions in general ........ it really was difficult .......... hummmm ...... perhaps a good place for a crusade.
The guest house is pleasant although some of us did not have hot water to bathe. I must admit I have never adjusted to a cold shower especially since it is cold here!!!

Today, we went to the prison here, it was a new one for me and the team.
 Gisenyi Prison sign

 There were some 4,100 men inmates there and about 3,500 came to the crusade. It is amazing how every prison is so different from each other. To date I have entered every prison in Rwanda except for a Youth Prison of about 100+.
All of the church denominations represented combined their sound systems for us. It was good to see them work together for the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
As soon as I started to share my message all the team could hear a call to worship by another religious organization. The main voice was soon accompanied by other voices and then by a single voice using a sound system. Eventually one leadership prisoner sent a Internal Peacekeeper prisoner in the direction of the "sounds" and within a few moments the prayers ceased. But that was soon followed by rain that had been threatening all morning. A couple of the prisoners who were running the sound system disappeared then returned with a tarp to cover themselves and the sound board.
Pastor Jerome stated, at our debriefing time, that because of what he had been informed of by the prisoners in leadership about the hardness of the prisoners here, that perhaps there would less than a dozen that would respond to a salvation or any other invitation there but the power of the Holy Spirit was evident as so very many responded to the invitation and prayed the sinner's prayer as the cold rain poured down on all of us.
Following the prayer some left but returned with coats and coverings as they responded in resounding fashion that they wanted me to continue and as I shared what God had taught me about forgiving others and myself my heart was touched with the hunger of these prisoners to have "Hope" for a change in their hearts and lives in this desperate place, a change that only begins with the healing power that God's hand can bring. The prisoners responded in a huge way to the "Forgive others or Yourself" prayer.
When we ended it was raining hard and I held tightly to Alfred's hand as the team made it's was up the 1/2 mile steep, rocky, windy path  with prisoners waving along the way.
Once we arrived back at the van we went inside and met with the warden for a few minutes before going back to the van for a quick lunch.
The men were then off to meet with the Spiritual Leaders for 1 1/2 hours while the gals reflected on the previous events of the day. After the men finished their time with the prisoners and returned to the van Alfred handed me a badly crumpled and worn paper bag saying one of the Spiritual Leaders had given him the bag for me saying, "She reminds me of my mother. I want to give her this gift." Inside was a new, knitted, warm vest. I cannot imagine giving up such a treasured warm piece of clothing while in this cold, barren place.
It was then off to our guest house to have dinner at 6.
At dinner one teammate said, "It was a day of great warfare but greater victory" and so it was.
It was an exceptional day that words cannot accurately express.
Tomorrow is Sunday and we will go to the local Foursquare village church in the morning and then do a TIG Camp village crusade in the afternoon.
I am getting a "bit" tired so your continued prayers are so appreciated.
That none would be lost,

Thursday, August 1, 2013

AuAug. 1, 2013 Leslie Yoder

Dear Ministry partners and loved ones,
This has been a day to remember.  We began our morning leaving our place of stay and heading out for a day of Women’s Ministry at Pastor Jerome’s Foursquare church here in Kigali. The guys took care of a few things that needed to be done after dropping us ladies off. The day was originally scheduled for another day, but changing things seems to be our “normal”. 
God has opened doors, and we will take any opportunity to share the love of our Lord Jesus Christ, with anyone who will listen. Amazingly here, most people are willing to listen, and are hungry for Truth.
I know we can often say, “I have no words to describe what God is doing.” But truly, I have NO words that would accurately describe what the Lord did as we said yes to the Lord and watched the Holy Spirit move in power and transform lives. There were about 60 women at the church today. The babies, oh my, I couldn’t even count them. They were precious beyond precious and I got the opportunity to hold and love on a few of them.   
The women in their beautifully colored dresses and their heads wrapped just so, melt your heart.  Then you realize there is a tiny little baby in a wrap on her back, which she so gracefully carries. I smile, because the way they carry their babies makes it so they can be hands free as the walk the miles and miles to get water, water that they carry back in a rectangular shaped jug, on their heads. And that is just one of the “smaller items” we have seen them carry. 
It’s indescribable and truly breath taking. But these were not women we passed by in our car on our journey up to a prison and snapped a quick photo . No, these beautiful women were right there with us. They came to hear a word from the Lord. 
As we walked up the steps into the little church, they had already begun singing. Their voices carry through the air and straight to the throne room. We settled in. 
The women’s leadership introduced Arlene and I, as Toni had stayed behind today as she is still not feeling very well. Please keep her in your prayers.
 Arlene said a few words and then introduced me and I got up to teach and share my story. I left the US with a direction I thought we would be heading in for the women’s conferences and trainings, but boy was I wrong. God decided to go a different direction and so as of last night, God confirmed through Arlene, sensing the same thing,  that I would teach about the story Joseph.
Because of the things we needed to accomplish as a team last night I had not time to prepare. So I got up at 5:00 am, got ready quickly and sat outside on the balcony. I prayed, read the Word a bit and wrote down a few pages of notes. I was not done, but I knew this was an opportunity for me to say, “ok, Holy Spirit”. This is your message and I am going to trust that when I get up there, You will give me the words to say and I am anticipating miracles, because I had nothing. 
Indeed, that is exactly what happened.  I honestly cannot tell you what all was said in those hours.But I can tell you what I saw ....... I watched as the Holy Spirit spoke to those beautiful women and broke them free of sin, shame, guilt, anger, you name it! After I was done Arlene got up and to be honest , I cannot not remember a whole lot of what was said by her either, except that the Spirit was flowing through her and the Holy Spirit brought many to make a decision to accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior.
There came a point where there was time for a few testimonies. I was in tears. I am in tears now as I type. We had the honor of anointing and praying over a few ladies. When I held their beautiful faces in my hands, and looked into their eyes and told them that they are beautiful and loved. They looked back and the tears flowed down their cheeks. I am so thankful and honored that God has allowed me the opportunity to be with these women as He ministers to the very depth of their souls. 
It was hard to say good bye to these ladies. So hard, but we got lots of beautiful pictures with them, so that we can remember their faces. I am so thankful for this team God has put together.  It’s truly beautiful watching everyone working in their gifting and how we all fit together like a puzzle as we go out and do the work that God has set before us.
Blessings and much love to each of you reading this blog, thank you for your continued prayers. We love you all.

That none would be lost,