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 http://jenkinsinrwanda.blogspot.com/.) 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