Aug 28, 2010

Rwanda Day 6 - 40,000 Participate in Events as Hundreds Embrace Christ!

One of University of Rwanda Christian Choirs leads
more than 2000 students in worship on Friday night.
On Friday night, more than 2000 students gathered for the final campus outreach event at the University of Rwanda.  Throughout the week, we have been giving teachings at the University focused on equipping them in their calling as Rwanda's  new generation of leaders. 

For the final message, I spoke on Joshua's call in Joshua 1:1-9.  I highlighted the fact that Joshua's journey was one that progressed from success to significance.  When we encounter him in Joshua 1:1, Joshua is described as Moses' servant.  But at the close of the book, he is described as the servant of Yahweh (Joshua 24:29). 

Moments later, Sammy speaks, challenging the students to
embrace God's new future of hope and healing for the nation of Rwanda
Drawing from the openning verses to Joshua, I highlighted the fact that God's call to Joshua is three fold.  He is being called by God to embrace his past rather than dwell in denial.  Hence God's reminder that Moses is dead. 

Secondly, he is being called by God to surrender or release his past into the hands of Yahweh hence God's reminder that Moses is dead.  Finally, he is being called by God to embrace a new future and vision for his life hence God's command to arise.

These, I said, are partinent steps to the nation of Rwanda which is scared and wounded by a horendous history.  Yet rather than allow the past to cripple their future, God's three-fold call releases them into a new future of hope and meaning whose author is God Himself. 

Earlier, more than 300 pastors and Christian leaders attended the
Leadership Conference.  Here, Candy Kellen speaks on relationships.
I further warned them to be on guard in three critical battle fronts of which God warns Joshua about.  The first is the emotional front.  Eight times in nine verses, God warns Joshua against fear.  His call is to be bold and courageous. 

The second battlefront is intellectual.  God warns Joshua to guard against intellectual pride and arrogance but also against decay and disinterest (1:8).  Finally, God calls Joshua to watch the moral front.  In 1:7, God asks Joshua to be careful to do according to all the Law that he has been commanded.  We ended the evening with a time of prayer for the students and for their University.

Pastor Richard Munala from Minneapolis speaks on sexuality
at the Leadership Conference on Thursday attended by more than
300 Christian leaders from across different denominations
 Upto this point in our mission here in Huye, over 40,000 people have participated in our events.  More than 10,000 have prayed with us to receive Jesus Christ into their lives as the Lord and Savior.  We Give God the glory.

We have three events left to wrap up this week of intensive mission.  First we are hosting the government leaders for a dinner in a couple of hours.  Then tomorrow morning we have church ministry as well as an outreach to the city prison.  Nearly 3,000 prisoners are housed at the prison our team will be visiting for ministry. 

Earlier on Friday, Sammy speaks to residents of a rural village
outside the city of Butare where several of them prayed
to receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
Finally all the churches will end their servicesby 11:30 AM and then join each other for a Jesus match through their city streets.  The processions from the different directions of the city will end at the local stadium grounds where we will hold the final rally. 

Pray for me as I prepare to preach one more time to the expected huge crowd of people coming out to the final crusade on Sunday afternoon.  As many as 10 thousand people are expected to attend the closing rally.  

A neat story we heard today is that among the 10,000 plus people who have come to faith this week are five well-known witch doctors in the Butare area.  One of them, a lady, has consistently come to the outreach meetings in her neighborhood the last three days.  Those who practice witchcraft are usually highly feared in several African cultures including here in Rwanda.  We give God the glory for continuing to set His people free from the bondage of Satan and his powers.       

Aug 27, 2010

Rwanda Day 5- More than 8,000 Have Received Christ

Several hundred of Residents in one of Butare neighborhoods
respond to the altarcall for Salvation on Tuesday evening
following Sammy's message.  Since Monday, about 8000 people
have given their lives to Christ in different parts of the city.
It is now our fifth day since we kicked off outreach efforts here in Huye, Rwanda.  God is doing wonderful things as our partners pray.  In just five days, nearly 30,000 people have been ministered to.  As many as 8,000 have prayed with our team to receive Jesus Christ into their lives as Lord and Savior. 

The local follow-up teams are extremely busy gathering names, distributing booklets, assigning the 200 trained counselors to various groups of newly saved individuals.  It is now apparent that the 200 trained counsellors are too few for what God is doing here. 

One pastor wondered how they are going to care for all the people who are coming to Christ, suggesting that maybe we should stop the work for now until those that have responded to Christ are taken care off first.  Their is great joy as children, grown men, women, students, leaders, and people from different segments of Rwandan society are being transformed by the gospel of Jesus Christ.

A teenage girl reads through the follow-up booklet prepared
by Africa Evangelistic Enterprise moments after
praying to receive Jesus on Thursday evening.
On Wednesday and Thursday, more than 300 pastors and Christian leaders representing different churches participated in our leadership conference.  God's presence was pulpable as they followed the teachings with great attention and anthusiasm. 

Pastor Richard Munala of Mzizi church, Minneapolis, Gary and Candi Kellen and I each presented leadership materials with a special focus on relationships as a fundamental component to transformational leadership. 

 Not to be left out, two elderly men pray to receive Christ
into their lives.  The elderly are a rare sight in Rwanda
because of the genocide in the 90s.
Not only did these leaders appreciate the material, but they saw their own need for repentance and deliverance.  After the openning session on Thursday morning, one pastor requested if instead of delving into the question and answer time we would pause and allow them to repent over some things that the Holy Spirit was convicting them about. 
Today Friday we will be wrapping up the University outreach with students.  Christian students have been reaching out to their fellow students going door to door and sharing the message of salvation with them.  Pray for me as I give the final message to these young leaders of Rwandan society.
A young girl in deep prayer on Thursday evening
Tomorrow Saturday, we will be reaching out to orphanned children before hosting 70 regional political leaders over dinner.  Guests expected include the provincial governor, the mayor of Butare city, several businessmen, parliamentary representatives as well as several lead pastors of the area.  Pray that God will touch their hearts through our message to see their need for salvation and God's help in their day to day leadership roles.    
  Jesus said, the harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few.  Pray the Lord of the harvest that he may send more laborers.  As we continue with work here in Rwanda, we are also keenly aware of the shortage of resources to do what God has called us to do. 

Pray with us especially as we will be starting our Malawi mission early next week.  We are still in need of $ 9,000 to help us cover our ministry expenses.  As the Lord speaks to you and you are prompted to partner with us in this work, click on the donate button on the left side pannel of this page and help us complete this eight week mission successfully.  Come back over the weekend for more reports from Rwanda.

Aug 25, 2010

As you know by now, God is moving and doing great things as we continue with ministry here in Rwanda and Malawi next week. Over the last several days, already more than 5000 people have prayed to receive Christ into their lives as Lord and Savior. We are doing everything possible working with the churches here in Butare to make sure everyone is connected to a church. Thank you for continuing to pray.

With a few more days of evangelistic outreach to go that will touch every segment of the society here in Butare, we are anticipating that as many as 10,000 people will have made decisions for Christ by Sunday evening. What a joy!

Already 30,000 people have been ministered to here in Rwanda over the past four days. This is in addition to the large stadium events that are still to be held this weekend! 

Besides continuing to pray for us, we are greatly in need of financial resources in order to complete this work successfully. I request you to consider a generous gift that will go toward this mission and help us cover a $ 9,000 shortfall in our outreach budget. Please help us finish this work that we have started and bring glory to God. Would you prayerfully consider making a tax deductible contribution to help us reach Rwanda and Malawi for Christ? You can scroll down and click the donation button on the right.  Thank you and God bless you very abundantly.

Aug 24, 2010

Rwanda Day 2- More than 2500 Receive Christ Around Butare During Second Day of Mission

Several hundred Rwandan University Students listen to the message of Christ August 23rd

Gary joins in street dancing during an outreach in the
Muslim neighborhood as hundreds of residents watch.
It was another very fruitful day as our teams worked to multiply the impact around the city. In conjunction with Rwandan evangelists from around the country organized by African Evangelistic Enterprise Rwanda, we ministered in sixteen different venues around the city of Butare. 

To the glory of God, we have received more than 2,500 names of people who gave their lives to Jesus Christ from all the sixteen sites.  Our team from the United States worked in two locations.  I spoke twice to University students at the University of Rwanda.  

Several hundred kids pray with Sammy to receive
Jesus Christ into their lives in the Muslim neighborhood
Later in the evening, we preached at an open air in a muslim neighborhood. It is the main Muslim neighborhood here in Butare. To the glory of God, more than about 300 people, both young and old, prayed to receive Christ in this Muslim neighborhood. It was literally half of the audience that filled out the street.  

It was quite a scene described by one of the local pastors as a miracle to see more than 600 local people filling out the street and following the message of Christ. Glory to God!

Today I speak once again to students before preaching at a different neihborhood in the city. 

At the University meeting last evening, Gary and Candy shared their faith story highlighting how God healed Candy both from horrible back injury and most recently from blocked heart artery. 

Sammy speaking to students during an outreach to
the University of Rwanda August 23rd.
The audience was largely of Christian students.  Many were encouraged through our sharing and several of them prayed to redicate themselves to Christ. 

During the first lecture, I challenged them to grow like Jesus.  Taking Luke 2:40 and 2:52 as my texts, I highligted five areas that Jesus grew in.  The first was physical growth which also speaks of his humanity.  The second area was spiritual growth as He developed intimacy with God the Father. 

The third area was social/emotional growth.  Jesus demonstrates great emotional intelligence througout His life and ministry.  Emotional intelligence is a subset of social intelligence that involves one's own and other's feelings and emotions.  It requires one to descriminate among them and to use the information to guide one's thinking and actions.  The final area of Jesus' growth was the intellectual or mental growth.

Rwandan ladies dance to music during the
street outreach in the Muslim neighborhood.
Following the genocide, Rwanda is largely a country of mainly young people.  You would hardly see gray hairs here.  Majority of those graduating college automatically assume roles of great responsibility in society.  I reiterated to my audience that it would be tragic if as a nation, Rwanda would be led by people of great minds but of little or no moral character and suffering from spiritual bankrupcy. 

Today Tuesday, I will once again be speaking to students at the University as well as preaching in a different location of the city as we continue with multiple site preaching around the city.   Please pray for strength and renewal for us.  Our team is experiencing a bit of physical exhaustion and frequent dehydration. I had a pounding headache most of yesterday in the midst of my four times of preaching.  Gary also woke up this morning with a headache. 

Sammy will once again be speaking to
students at the University at noon.
Today Gary, Candy and pastor Richard Munala who got in this morning, are staying home to prepare to speak at the leadership conference tomorrow morning.  The leaders are eagerly awaiting to learn and grow in their leadership skills.   

Aug 22, 2010

Rwanda Day 1- 300 pray to receive Jesus

At this church where Sammy ministered on Sunday
 morning, 18 people prayed to receive Christ.
More than 300 people prayed to receive Jesus Christ today during the openning events of Rwanda for Jesus Mission here in Huye Rwanda.  This morning during the service at one of city churches, eighteen people received Christ into their lives as Lord and Savior after our preaching.  I spoke from Revelation 5:1-5.  More than a thousand others sought prayer for healing and various other needs.
City Pastors representing all of the churches of Butare stand
to be acknowledged by the people at openning Rally. An estimated
5000 people attended the openning night.

City Pastors representing Butare churches stand to be acknowledged by the people (left)
at openning Festival. An estimated 5000 people attended openning Rally 
Although Gary and Candie did not ask if there were any who wanted to receive Christ at their service which was at a Presbyterian church, participants reported being blessed by their ministry.  They both shared their testimonies and challenged those present to seriously consider how they want to spent their eternity, either with or without God.

Sammy leads those who responded in a
repentance prayer at the openning Rally
This evening all the churches in the city of Huye came together for the kick-off rally at the local stadium.  The audience was estimated by the local pastors as being between 5-6500.  Following colorful presentations of choirs and singing, I spoke from Matthew 10:28 regarding Jesus' invitation to come to Him. The people sat attentively, following every word as Jesus was proclaimed.   

Following the invitation to receive Jesus into their lives, about 115 adults and nearly 200 children came forward in response (actual numbers will be presented to us later by the follow-up team).  We give God the glory for a great start to our mission here in Rwanda.  

About 300 People responded to recieve
Jesus into their lives at opennig Rally
Continue to pray that our efforts over the next seven days of outreach will bear great fruit that remains.  One of the really neat stories was for me to see the celebration of the pastors as they welcomed us back to their city.  They reported joyfully that many people who gave their lives to Jesus Christ during our outreach in 2006 are attending their churches. They were overjoyed when they heard that I was coming back as the evangelist for these events.  

Pray for us as well as for the local teams of evangelists as they preach in every corner of the city during the day.  I will also be speaking eight times to students at Rwanda's main University starting tomorrow noon. 

Gary and Candy ministered to believers at the
local Presbyterian church earlier in the day.
Gary and Candy are looking forward to spending time with the leaders at the leadership conference on Wednesday and Thursday.  They will be joined in presenting by Pastor Richard Munala of Mzizi church international in Minneapolis, MN.  Pray for them as they finalize the presentations that God will use them to deeply impact the leaders in this city. 

Glory to God for a Great Launch to mission Rwanda.