It’s Saturday here in Kigali and I am using this slow time to get this prepared before I head to the airport for the return flight to Nairobi. There are two things I’ll put into this post. One is the lunch meeting I just finished and the second will be some reflecting on what’s going on here in Rwanda as far as the church is concerned.
LUNCH MEETING: TRAINING YOUTH LEADERS IN E-4 CHURCHES
Dominique an I had lunch with Peter Gitau, an African Inland Mission missionary who works with and trains youth leaders here in Rwanda. (See picture in album)
You may remember that I had a meal with Peter last week (or was it earlier this week) in Nairobi and we agreed to meet for lunch today in Kigali.
I think it is safe to say that our thinking, priorities in ministry, and core values match up well. He is preparing youth leaders to discern between what culture is saying and what the Bible says along with biblical principles of leadership. What he presents to the youth leaders is very basic. He does not work with the pastors and in some of the pastors are not willing to allow these youth workers to alter from his (the pastor’s) plan for the youth.
We work with pastors, trying to help them see the need to lay aside a personal agenda for the sake of God’s agenda. But we don’t work with many youth leaders. So, we compliment each other well.
So, we talked about how we could work together. One easy way would be to introduce Peter to the pastors we are training/mentoring as someone who can help him (the pastor) develop the youth ministry at his church.
At the same time, Peter will think about some of the youth leaders he is working with who would benefit by having some intense Bible and theological training.
It seemed like a match made in heaven (literally) and he and Dominique will continue the dialogue.
Most of us know about the attempted genocide in 1994 when one tribe here in Rwanda tried to extinguish another. If I have my numbers right, there were over 1 million slaughtered in three weeks. That was just 26 years ago. It is amazing how this country has recovered. I am told it is one of the most peaceful countries on the African continent.
The two tribes, Tutsis and Hutus, work side by side in the government and military. National ID cards no longer mention “tribe.” Kigali, the capital, has been turned into a beautiful, modern city.
In most African airports, there are just a couple of immigration officers dealing with a plane load of passengers who are entering the country. In Kigali, there were 6 or more in a well-lit room. And the line moved quickly.
Kigali was the only airport for me on this trip that screened every passenger asking questions related to the coronavirus. And every person receiving people entering the immigration area of the airport wore masks.
On my way “out of town” today, I saw something at the airport I have not seen anywhere else including the USA. Every car was screened by an electronic device that reminded me of a car wash. You put your car onto a track and get out. The track takes your car slowly through a “tunnel” kind of thing and the car is screened. Pretty amazing. Plus there are armed military guarding the airport entrance.
Rule of law
They seem to be trying to enforce the “rule of law.” You see policemen in many visible places with semi-automatic rifles hanging on their shoulder. I don’t see them as a threat but as a sign that I am safe to walk the streets.
Drivers are expected to stop for pedestrians who enter a crosswalk and for the most part, they do. If you ride on the back of a motorcycle (taxi), both driver and passenger are to wear a helmet.
The flip side
But with progress has come an engaged, regulatory government whose regulations are impacting the gospel. I would not go so far as to say it is intended. I’d say it is an unintended consequence. Examples:
- Because the government wants an educated population, schools are no longer allowed to teach “just theology.” They have to offer liberal arts classes as well. This is making it harder on Bible schools that want to focus on training church leaders.
- Because the government is trying to crack down on false teachers making a fortune calling themselves a pastor, pastors have 5 years (now down to 3.5 years) to get a bachelors degree or start the process.
- I asked if we could get recognized by the government by registering as an NGO. I was told that the government only wants to register organizations who will invest money on domestic projects that will “better” Rwanda economically.
- To keep some kind of control over what is being built so it fits in with the governments development/modernization plans, church that are being built must have parking lots, plumbed toilets, and be sound proof so your music will not be heard all over the area.
I like what I read once, when God gets small, government must get big to keep people “under the law.” Either God and His Word being taught and applied keeps people under control or government does. We see that in America and we are seeing it here as well. Governments do not see the value of teaching biblical morality. They try do accomplish their goals and keep immoral behavior and crime under control by worldly laws not the law of God written on the hearts of men.
This will help you know how to pray for Rwanda. There are so many good things going on but the unintended consequences of government regulations is making it harder to raise up Christian leaders and plant churches.
PICTURES (CLICK HERE)
I uploaded pictures yesterday without captions. Please go back to the picture album and look at the captions. Some are worth nothing. Note in particular the two pics about Christ Embassy here in Kigali, and the networth of their pastor, Chris Oyakhilome. Note also “my home” for 22 years when I am in Nairobi: Mayfield Guest House.
Monday morning I’ll make a short flight to Kisumu, Kenya (see map in picture album). Then members of the Kenyan team will jump in a car and make the drive to the Ugandan border. I’ll spend two nights with our newly sent missionary family, the Glasscocks.
On Tuesday I’ll meet with the combined teams from Kenya and Uganda.
On Wednesday morning we’ll drive back to Kisumu, I’ll then have four flights from Kisumu to Nairobi to Amsterdam to Salt Lake to Portland.
For continues safe travel for me. The road from Kisumu to Uganda can be challenging.
For safe travel for the Ugandan and Kenyan teams.
For good rest and continued good health for me.
For our meeting Tuesday. There are some sensitive money issues we need to discuss
By His grace,