Sunday, May 23, 2010

Seeking Partners

Dear Family and Friends,

Several of you have asked, “What do you need to return to Rwanda?” We’ve come to that most embarrassing part of missionary communication. Yes, God has gone far beyond our hopes and dreams in ministry growth over the last 5 years. Yes, God has healed our physical wounds and taught us new lessons in life. Yes, many of you have gone extra miles to participate with us in God’s mission. There is no possible way we can communicate all of our thankfulness.

Yet, we simply need more financial partners for our family to continue to serve in Rwanda.

Let us walk you through our journey of the last several years from a perspective we have rarely spoken. Our 17 year career as missionaries in Africa has been full of many ups and downs financially. In 2008 to 2009 we thought we had finally turned a corner. Our financial support seemed solid for Dave as the lead church planter at Christ’s Church in Rwanda (CCR). Also, Jana was employed by Gladney Center for Adoption as their Rwanda Country Facilitator. We were doing all we had ever dreamed of doing and being well paid for following our dream. For the first time in our married life we were paying all our bills, enjoying life, and putting money in the bank.
Then it seemed as if we began to live out the story of Job. Our vehicle began to repeatedly break down and much of our savings were lost. Jana lost her job due to the global financial crisis. Then Jana became ill and returned to the US for health care. While Dave was taking care of our kids in Rwanda he began feeling pain on his left shoulder that radiated down his arm. Doctors removed a non-cancerous tumor from Jana’s colon on August 3. On September 29 doctors fused 3 vertebrae in Dave’s neck. We have recovered well, but our lives will never be the same.
We have lost approximately 1/3 of our monthly missionary support. The mounting costs we have incurred that were not covered by our health insurance and associated costs have placed a significant financial strain on our family. When we include the loss of both our monthly missionary support and Jana’s lost job our family has lost 55% of our monthly income.

Though discouraging, God’s Word teaches that seasons such as this are ones in which God’s voice is heard in the clearest ways. These seasons refine us into what God intends. They rally our community to build.

With prayerful discernment we believe that now is a time to step forward into a new season of growth at CCR. Appropriately stepping forward requires us to reflect upon the past. As we began CCR we chose to plant a non-denominational church that honored our Restoration Movement ideals of unity and revival. Thus we crafted a covenant with our spiritual forefathers called “Honoring our Heritage.” Then on March 4, 2007 as we publicly launched CCR our “Contract with Rwanda” was signed by Rwanda Minister of Local Government, Protais Musoni and Dave. These core documents can be found on our ROC Partner Facebook Group page or on our blog We believe these core covenants empowered CCR's growth and community relevance.

Two areas have captured our passion in the future of CCR. The first is the need to return to Rwanda soon to further disciple our young church. Yes, the growth has been fantastic. Yes, our CCR members are very capable people. However, we still believe our presence is required to simply gather people around these old words of Paul, “Follow me as I follow Christ.” In our passion for discipleship we have always found that the Lord has given us a special affection for university students and young professionals. Our hope is that upon our return to Kigali, God will empower us to mentor and guide Rwanda’s brightest.

The second area of passion is for orphans and vulnerable children. Throughout our family’s life and career the incorporation of the fatherless into families has been a driving passion. Though we are thankful that God allowed us to work for or with other organizations in this passion, we sense that now is the season for the Church to be the leader in caring for society’s most vulnerable. Thus it is our hope that upon our return Jana’s skills and passion will be used to launch CCR programs as an advocate for vulnerable children that incorporate them into families and communities.

In order to reach our hopes we need you to covenant with us in a similar manner to how CCR covenanted with our spiritual forefathers and the Rwandan people.

Five years ago our faith community saw the opportunities in Rwanda and responded. We never could have anticipated the fruit we’ve seen. Thank you so much to those of you who have continued to be part of this journey with us. Now at this crucial cross-road we ask for more to partner in this journey. After receiving this letter and praying we ask for you to do one of three things:

One, make a one- time donation to ROC Partners to help us purchase a new truck. We have currently discovered almost $15,000 and need to raise an additional $35,000 to meet our goal.

Two, become a monthly contributor to ROC Partners so that our family can thrive in church maturation and vulnerable children advocacy.

Three, refer us to another church, organization, or individual who can financially partner in our journey. We believe that God is honored when his people unify in His mission.

If you choose to make a financial contribution send your gift to ROC Partners with Jenkins in the memo.

ROC Partners Address is:

3007 NW 63rd, Ste 205
Oklahoma City, OK 73136-3605

We hope to shortly be traveling to various cities in the US to explain face to face the opportunities in Rwanda. Please feel free to contact us if you would like to visit over the next few months.

Thank you for your participation in our Rwanda journey.

Imana Ikurinde (May God Stay With All of You),

Dave and Jana

Monday, May 17, 2010


Following is a core document our CCR leadership created as we wrestled with how to plant a non-denominational church while honoring our heritage. We believe that our desire to honor our father's ideals of unity and revival is one reason the Lord has empowered CCR to grow both numerically and spiritually.




Christ’s Church in Rwanda is a non-denominational church whose heritage comes from the American Restoration Movement (Churches of Christ and Christian Church.) As such we affirm our heritage’s history of allowing each generation to discover its own faith through the study of the Bible. During this process the Gospel is discovered afresh as we seek to find both appropriate methods and messages for Gospel engagement with contemporary cultures. We affirm our heritage’s past practices such as believer’s baptism by immersion, the spiritual discipline of weekly communion, empathy with the most vulnerable of society, nurturing the transitions of life and families, world evangelism, and education.

As our spiritual fathers sought unity with like minded believers we also do. We will continue to unite with those with whom we share common convictions. We will seek to partner with many in the establishment of Christian community for the sake of Rwanda’s development. We will continue our fathers’ traditions of liberty, grace, and unity while hungering for a greater understanding of God’s involvement in our world through the study of Scripture with the illumination of the Holy Spirit. We will resist making judgments upon others based upon their ethnicity, origin, and religious heritage. We assume like our fathers that unity is possible if we seek discovery through humility and love. We resist any model that seeks to divide men by any other standard than the holiness of God. We welcome into our community all who choose to partner in the vision placed upon us by the Lord despite their origin and heritage.

Our worship style will reflect the liberty of our heritage coupled with its simplicity and hunger for greater understanding. Thus we will honor our heritage of a Capella worship which taught us the virtue of simplicity. Worship springs from the heart and our created nature provides the music. Our ability to worship is not restricted by mechanical limitations. With our simple tradition we can find a means to worship in any environment. We can gather with sojourners in a hotel room. We can express thanksgiving as a family at home. We can praise God for the beauty of creation after a long climb to the top of a mountain. The poor can express their worship with no hindrances caused by lack of instruments. The Lord has given within us all that is needed to express our awe of Him.

We will also exercise our liberty and incorporate into our worship other styles that are relevant to our contemporary culture which teach us to celebrate God’s goodness. As such we will be an a cappela fellowship, but not exclusively a cappela. Our church exists first for the glory of God and second for those in Rwanda who do not know Christ. Thus we will be advocates for the lost. We will structure our church so that the lost are always welcome and our preferences are not a distraction from evangelism. Our assemblies will remind us that God’s children for many thousands of generations have expressed worship through diverse forms ranging from silence to dance. Our worship style will continue diversity of language, style, and heritage so that our unity and liberty can be evidenced, and thus the lost will be drawn to Jesus.

Contract With Rwanda

Following is our CCR Contract with Rwanda that was signed by Minister of Local Government, Protais Musoni and myself on 4 March, 2007 at CCR's Grand Church Opening. I believe it is a core covenant that empowered CCR's growth and community relevance.

Christ’s Church in Rwanda begins operation as a church on 4 March 2007. This beginning has followed a lengthy process of listening, seeking advice, and serving. We recognize that new beginnings in life are seasons in which communities develop contracts with one another. Contracts bring responsibility that if faithfully executed will be rewarded. They also are times of reflection as they carry consequences for unfaithful execution that can negatively effect future generations. With this solemn responsibility Christ’s Church in Rwanda makes the following contract with the people of Rwanda.


Christ’s Church in Rwanda recognizes the government as God’s appointed institution to exercise authority on earth. As such we pledge to submit to the government’s laws, processes, and vision.

In a paradox of our faith we also recognize that we are God’s mouth piece to speak to the government with the voice of prophets which hold the government accountable to her contracts to Rwanda’s people.

We pledge to be the voice of the voiceless. We will speak for refugees, the poor, women, children – both born and unborn; and all others whose voice would not be heard in the normal discourse of public life. We will give no favor to any man or woman based up race, ethnicity, education, or economic standard.


Through out all of our interaction with our communities we will remember the words of our Lord “Do onto others as you would have them do unto you.” Therefore our presence in our communities will model kindness and civil decency.

We will respect the normal working and living hours of our community. Our services will not disturb the tranquility of our community. Our communities have many responsibilities from their families to places of work. Therefore, we will operate as much as possible on a schedule so that our services will not interfere with our community’s ability to thrive.

The sounds coming from our facility will be the reasonable sounds of Christian joy, the teaching of God’s word, the laughter of playing children, and thoughtful dialogue and debate as our community seeks to find solutions forward.

We recognize that the greatest gift our community gives is of itself, and we will never pursue ministry as personal business.


We believe that the first institution of leadership in our community is the family. Therefore our leadership will be made up of those who have succeeded as spouses and parents.

Our community’s youth and children will always find a safe place in our midst from all who would use them for selfish pleasure and gain.

Lastly, we consider it our greatest joy to be the caretakers of the transitions of life. We will celebrate and dedicate the new births of children. We will educate children. We will guide youth. We will host and celebrate new marriages. And in life’s finality we will comfort the grieving as their loved ones pass from this life to another; and we wait in hope for the final resurrection.

May 2010 Prayer Bulletin

Dear Family and Friends,

It has been a whirlwind of a month. This month we would like to ask your prayers for the following matters:

1. The future of the first 10 Rwanda Presidential Scholars Graduates. It is hard to believe it has been 4 years since they first came to the United States. We were thrilled to witness them graduate and are hopeful for their participation in Rwanda’s future. The next few months will be interesting one as they explore opportunities in graduate school and employment. May God place them in situations where they are most equipped to bless and serve others.

2. Health of ROC Missionaries: May God be glorified through both our struggles and triumphs.

a. Dave finished the Oklahoma City Half Marathon a few weeks ago. However, he lives with a loss of motion that makes laptop computers, driving in a multiple of lanes, large social settings, and grocery shopping difficult.

b. Jana has recovered from surgery, but still has some residual pain and weakness.

c. Brett Shreck has recently ruptured his Achilles tendon and is returning to the US for surgery.

May these circumstances shape our personnel into the people God intends, and also place us in situations where we can best display the Lord’s glory.

3. Wisdom, patience, and grace. The Lord has exceeded our ministry hopes immensely from 5 years ago when we first moved to Rwanda. We recognize that now is a season that requires changing ministry organizational structure to meet ministry opportunities. Again, we find our understanding is short, but God’s wisdom is beyond measure. May we be granted new measures of wisdom, patience, and grace through this season.

4. Time away from Rwanda has given us opportunity to reflect, pray, and dream for the future of Christ’s Church in Rwanda (CCR). As we do this two matters have come to mind. We ask your prayer that as we return to Rwanda the Lord will empower us to:

a. Disciple able and available people. Particularly, we would like to begin more assertive discipleship among university students and young professionals.

b. Our family has always had a passion to care for orphans and vulnerable children. Particularly, we desire to see them in families. We ask your prayers that we will be placed in a situation where we can facilitate children being incorporated into families and community.

5. The last 17 months have felt much like the story of Job
. Besides family health problems, Jana lost her job with Gladney Center for Adoption and we lost a significant portion of our missionary support. We are currently living on 55% less financial resources than we had in early 2009. We trust that this is the Lord’s leading to new partners to share in our ROC vision. May the Lord place us together with those who will share our passions, joy, and journey.

Thank you for your prayers, support, and encouragement that sustain our family and ministry.

Imana ikurinde (May God Keep All of You),

Dave and Jana

Monday, May 3, 2010

Quail 2 ROC

Last week we sent out our first postal mailer in some time. With it we sent a prayer card (photo of our family with our contacts) to encourage our family and friends to remember us in prayer. We also sent news about a transition in ministry infrastructure we are making due to the significant growth we have experienced in the last few years.

Following is the letter. If you did not receive the postal mailing and would like to be included and receive our prayer card please send us your address.

Dave and Jana
Dear Family and Friends,
It’s been a long time since we’ve sent out a postal mailer. Thank you so much for your partnership in our lives, your patience with our struggles, and your willingness to listen.

We offer no excuses for how we fell off the face of the earth the last few years. It seemed that every time we tried to communicate something got in the way. Maybe, it was God or maybe it was just our weakness? We’ve had both a wonderful and trying few years in Kigali. Maybe, for a season it was best to be quiet. However, we believe today is a season in which it is best to communicate widely and clearly all that God has done. We hope in doing this God’s honor will be seen through humble servants.

We have long approached our African journey believing that the starting point for all endeavors is prayer. Thus as we begin anew we desire to make our first communication one in which draw attention to the need for prayer.

In June 2005, the Quail Springs Church of Christ in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma commissioned us to go to Rwanda with the call to start a new English speaking Bible based church targeting Rwanda’s Thought Leaders. During our first year in Kigali, we wondered if we would receive the necessary legal documentation to start, but in May 2006 Christ’s Church in Rwanda (CCR) was legally recognized, the first new church to be legally registered in nearly 4 years.

Within months of arriving in Kigali, we wondered if we would be sustainable with 5 school age children while Kigali had no school using American curriculum. We found several other families in the same situation, and in September 2006 our families began Kigali International Community School (KICS).

When we were given our legal registration to start CCR we were instructed to quickly develop property by the Secretary General in the Ministry of Local Government, Mr. Eugene Barikana. Fortunately, several years earlier a model community was built that contained a hall that seated 500 and a school that accommodated 250 students. It was a dream facility, but we pondered if our dream was connected to reality.

The Quail Springs Church of Christ sent two of their elders; Engineer Tom Gooch, and Architect, Larry Schwab to help us explore options. They concluded that we were best served to purchase the school and hall for $1,356,000 as offered by the Rwandan government.

We returned for furlough in October 2006 and with some good friends began the Rwanda Outreach and Community (ROC) Partners to discover the resources to purchase the property. With God’s help all of the resources have been discovered. One of Rwanda’s premier properties is now completely owned by the ROC Partners.

On March 7, 2007 Christ’s Church in Rwanda began our first worship service. CCR has grown and now over 300 people attend each week. These members are those who provide much of Kigali’s leadership in fields such as education, government, business, and the non-profit sectors.

Kigali International Community School (KICS) moved into the facility in April 2007. KICS has grown to nearly 200 students from over 30 nationalities. It is a distinctly Christian school that seeks to empower the faith community to build lasting institutions in Rwanda. Forty five percent of KICS student body comes from Rwandan families. Another thirty percent of KICS student body comes from families of Christian Cross-cultural workers.

Managing all of this quick growth has been a constant challenge. Our small group of friends has realized how true Jesus’ words of "What a huge harvest! How few workers! On your knees and pray for harvest hands! (Matthew 9:37-38, The Message.)”

Bryan and Holly Hixson joined us in August, 2007. Brett and Keli Shreck arrived in Rwanda a few months ago. Rusty and Onawa Linden are in the process of fund discovery and hope to depart for Kigali shortly.

As you can see your prayers are vital to the fruitfulness of this endeavor. Thus as we begin anew we are sending you our prayer card. We ask that you place it somewhere that is easy to see as you remember us in prayer such as your kitchen refrigerator.

As we’ve grown we are making some transitions. ROC Partners has grown significantly to become a ministry serving multiple missionary families and the oversight responsibility of education efforts, community development projects, and faith-based initiatives. To be organizationally cohesive our family will join the Hixsons, Lindens, and Shrecks underneath the ROC umbrella. Quail Springs Church of Christ will still be highly involved in our endeavor and their leadership will continue to serve on our ROC board. Tom Gooch, Larry Schwab, and our former Missions Committee Chairman, John Osborne are key leaders on the ROC board. Quail will still be our home church when we are in the US. They have been the first in faith for 5 years and are worthy of honor.

Thus if you desire to contribute to our ministry we now ask that you send your check (Jenkins in memo) to:

ROC Partners
3007 NW 63rd Ste 205
Oklahoma City, OK 73136-3605

In making this transition we will continue to embrace our wonderful heritage of unity and revival. Our desire is for Christ’s Church in Rwanda to be a place where that heritage thrives. We hope ROC will be an organization that widely reaches to the faith community to form partnerships which bless the Rwandan people.

We thank you for your prayers and support over the last 5 years that have empowered our family and this ministry. We will continue to communicate through e-mails, our blog, Facebook, and postal mail in the coming weeks about ways you can become more involved.

Imana ikurinde (May God Stay With All of You),

Dave and Jana