Since we last wrote to share some of our encouraging testimonies from Rwanda, much has happened. We spent a week working with a church in Kigali with a congregation of fifteen thousand (!), and another week helping the Arise & Shine School established by YWAM Rwanda. And we returned from Africa, had a final week of debrief back in Harpenden before our graduation ceremony, and are now with my parents for a few days before heading to Wales for a much-needed time of rest and relaxation before getting ready for the next step to which God has called us.
A Church In Kigali
In Kigali we had the chance to work with our outreach team leader Immaculée’s home church, Zion Temple. The church now has almost fifteen thousand members in their main congregation, and as well as having planted churches as far afield as Belgium and Canada, they have a vision to see churches planted in all of Rwanda’s 3000+ ‘sectors’ in the next ten years. But it started just after the genocide with just a handful of people (including Immaculée, and the now senior pastors) praying in a cave! And after several years praying, they started the church in 1999, and have seen God grow the church at an astonishing rate.
I (Peter) was really encouraged to see how a church that puts such a priority on prayer has been so blessed. And I was also humbled with the opportunity to teach their intercessors – over fifty people meet each weekday morning to pray for several hours – on the subject of intercession! Praise God for the privilege of prayer! Please pray that prayerful churches would continue to be planted throughout Rwanda and across the world – that the whole world may be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord.
Arise & Shine School
One of our favourite weeks as a team was the one we spent working with the Arise and Shine YWAM school, situated conveniently on one corner of the Rwanda base. We started off with a comically melodramatic orientation (the school’s principal, David, though excellent at his job, would have also had a successful career in Broadway – perhaps this is why the children love him so much) and then spent the next few days involved in ‘presence ministry’. The structure of each school day was so well-thought-out and the staff so capable that they did not really need much help, but the teachers and children seemed to mightily enjoy our presence, almost as much as we enjoyed theirs.
I (Taryn) was invited to share about the need for the Gospel in India in the periods set aside for intercession. If ‘faith like a child’ is what it takes, then what spiritual mountains could the prayers of twenty-eight two-year-olds move? Praise God for the powerful and effective ministry of Arise and Shine School – the teachers love the children as though they are their own, and through the children, the door is opened to bring Jesus’ healing and hope to their families. Please pray for more staff, as well as refreshment and provision for the staff that are there, pouring themselves out sacrificially and living by faith.
Final week in Harpenden
Our final week in Harpenden was a time of intense activity. There were innumerable evaluation forms to fill in – we evaluated our team leaders, they evaluated us, we evaluated the DTS, we handed in staff application forms for the DTS to evaluate. Our team, which had had a particularly challenging outreach, had to be debriefed quite a bit. God worked it all together beautifully, some might say miraculously – with the help and wisdom of our DTS leaders, we were able to process our negative experiences and finish DTS reconciled to each other and to the way our outreach had played out.
Farewells were, of course, difficult, because a soul-searching, heart-baring experience like DTS tends to bond people together quite closely. However, we are looking forward to seeing many of our friends again (before Heaven, even) at the Harpenden base over the course of the year, as many are returning to help with the Olympics ministry. Praise God for the DTS and all God has done through it! Please pray for God to continue to work in our lives and seal all that He has done over the past six months.
Heading to Wales
Tomorrow we head to Porthmadog in Wales for three weeks holiday. We haven’t had the chance for just the two of us to retreat somewhere on our own since Taryn arrived in England over a year ago, so we are very grateful for this chance for us to retreat and relax. In particular, the house we are staying in is a specific answer to prayer. We had been hoping for a place where the two of us might be able to escape from the world, and then were offered the chance to stay in this house in Porthmadog (the family holiday home of a friend of my parents) free of charge! Praise God for His provision! Pray that our time in Wales would re-energise us for the next season of ministry.
The Next Step
We have been invited by John & Suzi Peachey, leaders of the YWAM Harpenden Base and also the main leaders of our DTS, to stay on in Harpenden and be involved in catalyzing 24:7 prayer on the base. We have also been asked by Connie Taylor and Andy Henman if we would be involved with a Fire& Fragrance DTS (with a prayer/worship and mission focus – think the ‘fire’ of the altar and the ‘fragrance’ of Christ going forth) that they are hoping to start in Cambridge in September 2013 – and to prepare for that, if we would stay on as staff in Harpenden and get some experience staffing the Discipleship Training School. And we have been asked to stay in Harpenden by the Brazilian couple planting the church in Luton that we were working with for a week of outreach before heading to Africa.
So after praying, and after consulting with my parents and our Cambridge pastor Ian Hamilton, we have decided that it seems right for us to stay in Harpenden. So our application form is currently in process for us to become full-time YWAM staff – this should hopefully be confirmed within a couple of weeks. In the meantime, we’ll be on holiday in Wales from tomorrow until the 24th March. Then we’ll return to my parents’ flat at All Nations for the weekend before returning to Cambridge from the 26th March until about the 20th April. We’re looking forward to seeing people in Cambridge again!
Grace and peace, Peter & Taryn