This is just a quick email in between teaching this morning on the principles of intercession and sharing my testimony this evening, to share the joy of some of the fruit we have been seeing (and I don’t mean avocado and mango and papaya, delicious as they are). Thankyou so much to all of you who have been praying for us. Last week we were in Butare, the Cambridge of Rwanda! At least insofar as it is the nation’s university city. And we were very much encouraged. We were working with a Rwandese lady called Bella, who is the founder of a ministry called Let The Little Children Come To Me (LLCCM), which began under a tree with her simply trying to meet the needs of the children that she met. (According to Operation World, Rwanda has about 900 thousand orphans – from AIDS, war and the genocide – so to care for needy children is a vital task here) Now the ministry supports over a hundred children, funding their education and placing them in local households to be taken care of. We spent most of the week sharing teaching and testimonies with the women who look after these children – and were very blessed by their hunger for the Bible and their resilient faith. Many of them have heartbreaking stories of things they have suffered during the genocide as well as in other situations, but rarely have I seen people take so much joy in worshipping God.
Before we’d even arrived in Butare though, we were already seeing God work through us. As we stopped for five minutes to stretch our legs on the way there, a woman asked if she could have a lift. We said Yes, and then as we travelled together Immaculée (our Rwandese leader) asked her if she had committed her life to Christ. The lady responded that she sometimes prayed, but she had never made that commitment. So Immaculée challenged her to do so, offering to help lead her in a simple prayer of repentance if she wanted. A few minutes passed and then the lady said that Yes, she would like to pray that prayer of commitment!
Then once there we found about fifty kids eagerly waiting for us, all singing worship songs with great gusto to mark our arrival. We were surprised and rather pleased – and were then informed that we were supposed to respond in kind by sharing some testimonies and a message from the Bible. Not having been aware that we were expected to do any speaking until the next day we were even more surprised by this, and most people were slightly less pleased. It did mean though that I was allowed to preach (instead of being told, ‘Peter, you’ve had your turn, let someone else have the chance’) – so I was happy :) And after I had thanked them for the welcome they had given to us, and spoken on the triumphal welcome Jesus received into Jerusalem (an event crowned by children rejoicing in worship Matt. 21:15) Immaculée invited anyone who hadn’t done so before to come forward and commit their lives to Jesus. And six responded! So we rejoiced some more. And the next day as we led the service at a local Baptist Church, two ladies also responded to the invitation at the end to make a first-time commitment to Jesus. So please pray for those who prayed these prayers, that “their faith would grow exceedingly, and their love would abound” toward God and toward people (2 Thessalonians 1:3). Pray especially for the lady who had a lift on our bus, that God would lead her to a church that would help her to grow as a Christian.
Oh, and one other encouraging testimony: One of the women who came to hear us share teaching and testimonies during the week (the women were mainly made up of those who are involved with looking after the LLCCM children) came up to us after one of the morning sessions and asked us to pray for her. She said she had a lot of pain throughout her body and wanted us to pray for healing. As we were praying, one of us sensed that the problem was not so much physical as spiritual, and was the result of unforgiveness. So we asked if there was anyone that she was holding a grudge against and hadn’t forgiven – and she said Yes, in fact there was; she’d tried to forgive them but the sense of resentment kept returning. Had she told them in person that she had forgiven them? we asked. She replied No, but resolved to do so at the first opportunity. The next day, after we had finished what we had to teach, we invited the women to share their own testimonies. And that lady stood up, and testified that all the pain that she had been feeling in her body was now totally gone and she was able to move freely and without pain! So, as they say in Rwanda: YESU SHIMEI! (Praise the Lord!)
Please keep us in your prayers. We’re now back in Kigali. This week we are working with Immaculée’s church; next week we will be helping in a school run by the YWAM Base here.
Grace and peace, Peter & Taryn