Jul 27, 2012

SINK, or SWIM?

Today is the openning of the 2012 Olympic games.  I am looking forward to the rivalries between Lochte and Phelps in the swimming competitions in addition to the mid and long distance rivalries between Kenyan and Ethiopian runners.  But with our mission to Rwanda starting in a few days, it is unlikely that I will have much opportunity to watch the games.  I am running a different kind of race and swimming in a different kind of pool. 

Foot washing during our ministry team's family prayer meeting
this last Monday.  We thank God for our families that stand
alongside as we take the Good News of Jesus Christ around the world.
Here, team member Shug Bury washes the feet of one of
the family's member
Whenever I tell people the name of our ministry, SWIM, many respond with a pun "Sink or SWIM?"  Well, the pun has taken on a new significance this summer.  As I look ahead to our departure for Rwanda this coming Wednesday, there are so many loose ends on so many fronts that I am left pondering, am I going to sink, or swim?

Qualitatively I know the answer.  We are and we will keep swimming.  There is no question about that because we know who is with us and for us.  Humanly speaking, however, the pressure is real.     


With my third year of doctoral studies underway, I had a pile of reading and writing to do in preparation for our cohort seminar this past week at Bethel University.  That is beside my adjunct professor roles at Crown College where I was teaching a course in Human Diversity. 

The real monkey wrench was getting a short notice from our land-lord saying he was putting our home up for sale and we needed to move within sixty days.  We started searching for a home to buy in earnest, packing our belongings, moving in with friends as we await closing, in addition to our already full schedules.

Thankfully, this ordeal is soon coming to an end as the Lord has led us to a nice home that we should have been closing on today at this very moment, but, there you go again, we have to push it back because some unexpected complications have come up with the paperwork between the lender and the seller.  I am still hoping we get to close before I leave for Rwanda.  If not, God is in control.
My Doctoral Cohort at Bethel University Representing
just about every continent except Antactica
So here we are, five days before departure for Rwanda and for South Africa.  We are $17,500 short on our budget for the mission.  The funds have to be raised somehow.  My family is in-between homes with a complication arising in the new home buying process that is causing a delay...all the appliances have to be bought... 

The mountain of books to read for the summer has significantly reduced but a new one for the fall is rising.  There are messages for Rwanda and for South Africa that are in the works.  Packing for a three-week mission to two countries to do.  And of course I want to spend as much time with my wife, my 2 1/2 year-old son and 10 month-old daughter before I leave.  Shall we sink or swim?
Moving out of our old residence last month

We will SWIM to the glory of God!  I can hardly wait to report in my next blog how God is supplying these needed funds for  Rwanda before I leave on Wednesday.  We are grateful for the $2000 that has come in through online donations since Monday. 

I also can't wait to report how our house buying process successfully comes to a close.  Finally, as I prepare to begin writing my final doctoral desertation early next year, I can't wait to celebrate God's help through it all. 

In 2 Corinthians 4:7-10 Paul writes:  "But we have this treasure in earthern vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves; we are afflicted in every way but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing, persecuted but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body." 
Waiting to move into our new residence.

Or as the writer of Hebrews says, "...Let us run with endurance the race set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy sent before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." (12:1-2). So help us LORD as we shine Your Light to the very ends of the earth! Ruzizi shall be saved!

If you would like to support us on this mission to Rwanda and to South Africa, please click on the donate link to the right of this page.

KENYA!  KENYA!  And USA!  USA!  USA!  for the Olympic medals :)      

Jul 22, 2012

Rwandan Churches Gear Up for Rusizi for Jesus Mission

With exactly two weeks left to go before the kick-off festival event in Ruzizi, Rwanda, the churches and para-church organizations of Ruzizi are working overtime in anticipation of what Christ will do in their community. 

Prayer teams are interceeding. Counselors and ushers are mobilized and trained.   Local evangelists, pastors, and church leaders continue to meet to discuss how best to preserve what God will do among them. 

Our team from Minnesota and from around the world are equally praying and anticipating great things.  Once again we will be joined by Derek Simpson from Great Britain, Robert Siakimotu from New Zealand and Emmanuel Manleau from France who will provide training at our evangelism and pastoral conference as I focus on preaching at the outreach events.

Several hundred Ruzizi pastors and lay leaders receive evangelism
and follow-up training in anticipation of the upcoming festival 
This year, SWIM is also teaming up with the Lausanne Movement and GoodWord Partnership to provide evangelism and logistical training for several delegates representing Francophone African countries.  The partnership is part of the Mission World initiative that was first proposed at the Lausanne Congress in Cape Town 2010. 

2010 Congress Director, Founder of GoodWord and former international Crusade Director for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association Rev. Blair Carlson has been working tirelessly on the partnership details.  Please pray for a successful diffusion of the work around Africa and the world. Along with our Rwandan partners, AEE, we are pleased to partner with the movement in providing a launching pad for this global initiative. 

Funding Update

Outreach Director Emmanuel Kwisera engages leading
local pastors representing different denominations in Rusizi 
I must confess, fundraising for this mission is providing one of the toughest challenges in my fourteen years of fundraising for evangelistic work.  On the brigter side, it is another opportunity to see God at work. With one and half weeks left before I get on the plane, we are $19,000 short of our budget goals.  Many of our supporting partners have given very generously to allow us to get where we are.  But we still have this huge deficit.  We need your help.

Will you pray for open doors this week?  If you are in a position to help us close the gap will you consider doing so by clicking on the donate button on the right side on this blog?  Come back later this week and learn of how God is providing for this mission.  Thank you.