Saturday, July 24, 2010


For the last year I’ve cautiously watched a debate in Uganda. She is a nation very dear to my heart. My family treasures the eleven years of grace we spent there. Three of my five children were born in Uganda. Two of my five children carry Ugandan passports. Uganda taught me some of my most difficult but treasured lessons of life. I truly can say, “I grew up in Uganda.”

The debate that I have watched concentrates on David Bahati’s introduction into the Parliament of Uganda legislation related to homosexuality. I pastored a small church in Uganda. I volunteered my service with both children’s organizations and media. I have many diverse friends in Uganda. My friendships range from Uganda’s political and media leaders to church members to children who are now the youth of Uganda. I’ve watched as some of my better Uganda friends have become adversaries in this debate. I’ve grieved at what appear to be a lessening of the bonds of friendship in a search for community solutions.

A year ago, I left the Great Lakes region to seek physical healing. While gone I have gone on a pastoral sabbatical. On occasion a friend who knows that I lived in Uganda and consider the protagonists in the debate my friends asks for my perspective. I have cautiously spoken. I’ve read a few stories of homosexual pornography being shown in church. I thought surely that was a media exaggeration. Several weeks ago I saw a television documentary and realized the media reports were true. The profane had entered the sacred. It seemed to me that hatred was overtaking love. When hatred overtakes love the consequence is that fear overtakes courage. In such an emotional climate ignorance overtakes understanding. Such a debate can create opportunity for humanity to fall into our most destructive nature. In such a season it is time for voices of reason and love to speak.

I do not speak under the banner of the church I pastor nor the organization that has sent me to Rwanda. My views do not represent those bodies. I gently asked friends of mine in the media if they would consider a column from me on the homosexuality debate. Though I on occasion do write for independent media outlets none has asked for me to write. In a way I breathed a sigh of relief. I would prefer to be quiet.

Yet on my sabbatical something stirs. Possibly, it is the Spirit of God. Maybe, He is asking for me to write just as a God seeker. This blog is a reflection of that spirit. On it I will not hide under any title, position, or relationship network. These are only the reflections of me as a Jesus follower seeking understanding.

Uganda’s history tells of homosexuality being introduced into her land of fairy tale kingdoms by outsiders. Her history tells of this introduction leading to violence being directed against faithful young Jesus followers. The Baganda found the practice of homosexuality abhorrent. Baganda faced competing interests between Muslim Arab traders, French Catholic missionaries, and Protestant missionaries from the United Kingdom in the early 1880’s. Many believe that Kabaka (King) Mwanga was influenced to become a homosexual practitioner by Arab Muslims. When his pages resisted his homosexual advances it led their martyrdom on June 3, 1886. I cannot imagine that these old stories do not impact today’s perceptions. What I now find ironic is that though Uganda’s early Christians were the victims of homosexual violence some Uganda Christians are now advocates of the death penalty for homosexuals. I believe history teaches that the path of grace and redemption bears the greatest fruit.

It is my perception that Uganda’s prevalent same gender affection is a mark of grace and community. Some of my better advisors have pointed out that Uganda’s tradition of same gender affection is one of the reason that homosexuality tends to be so rare in Uganda. Young men freely express their affection to one another and to the older men who mentor them. Young women also freely express their affection to one another and to the older woman who mentor them. There is no unmet affection need in Ugandan culture for same gender affection. Yet, I observe that one of the first uncomfortable moments Uganda’s visitors experience is watching same gender affection or even experiencing it firsthand. (To be clear for my Bazungu friends hand holding and close physical affection is widely practiced among Uganda friends of the same gender.) Many expatriates assume this same gender affection is a reflection of homosexuality. I believe that assumption is deeply flawed. Same gender affection is a mark of a healthy community.

As a pastor I have experienced some of what stirs our emotions so passionately. I wept several times as I listened to Ugandan youth tell me stories of being seduced by expatriate practitioners of homosexuality. The times when I heard these stories were times when Uganda’s cultural practice of same gender affection and poverty created an opportunity for exploitation. Since I only pastored a small church in Uganda I assume that those who pastor larger churches have more stories to tell than I. During these times my emotions have been full of anger and rage. Deep inside me I sensed the call of victims for justice.

I also have had the experience of being part of a poorly organized international organization that was unable to decisively deal with gross moral failure among its personnel. In those seasons I have argued against cover up, for justice for victims, and for the perpetrator to be removed from his position. I believed that removal and discipline of the perpetrator would actually lead to his personal healing and redemption.

I have also several times while on a ministry sabbatical received a phone call or e-mail from an expatriate friend or colleague crying out for help. My friends had become exploiters. They had removed themselves quietly from positions of influence and leadership, left Africa, and sought healing. I cried at the loss, wrestled with both compassion and anger, and prayed trusting in redemption.

Maybe, this is my biggest concern with Uganda’s debate on homosexuality. It seems that the debate has centered upon judgment and neglected redemption. For those in the daily political arena judgment is part of their responsibility. For those who pastor our responsibility is to explain God’s justice and pray for it. Yet, we entrust justice to God. Out of humanity’s self inflicted disasters we seek to be tools of redemption and healing.

Out of this seeking to be a tool of redemption I offer four suggestions upon Uganda’s debate of legislation related to homosexuality. The first suggestion is to respect the development of democratic institutions and practice. I was at this year’s National Prayer Breakfast in Washington D.C. when United States President, Barak Obama and Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton chose to speak against Uganda’s legislation on homosexual practice. Afterwards, I apologized to my Ugandan and Rwandan friends with whom I shared breakfast. It was my understanding that the breakfast was for the purpose of prayer and that political banter was not to be practiced. It was also my understanding that remarks made at the Prayer Breakfast would not be reported in the media. However, it is now clear these remarks have been widely reported.

I believe that we live in a global community in which it is acceptable for friends to widely and graciously advise one another. However, I also believe that sometimes global advice can degenerate into the powerful manipulating those who have less global influence. I found it disturbing that though David Bahati was the author of Uganda’s legislation and Edward Ssekandi is the Speaker of Uganda’s Parliament, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton did not mention a phone call to either of them. Instead, she clarified that she had called Uganda’s President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni to voice her disapproval of the legislation. It seemed to me that a phone call to President Museveni communicates that the United States government is more comfortable with a developing nation where one individual personally influences national policy than one in which democratic practice is debated and decided in community. David Bahati saw a problem in Uganda. He introduced legislation that he saw as a solution. Now, Uganda debates his proposal. This is how parliamentary democracy functions. We in the west would be well served to allow Uganda to debate and decide without our manipulation. Those of us who are only visitors or friends to Uganda must allow Uganda to develop her own democratic institutions and practice.

My second suggestion is that the time has come for the repeal of capital punishment for sexual offenses. Ethicists around the world still are debating capital punishment. We will likely debate this issue until the end of time. For some it seems that their belief in the sanctity of human life calls them to conclude that punishment that includes the loss of human life falls into the pitfalls of revenge. This offers no communal or personal redemption. It perpetrates cycles of bitterness and resentment that lead to more violence. Others will argue that because human life is sacred the only acceptable means of justice is capital punishment. If life has been taken in anger it must be taken so that humanity’s call for justice is met. Both will quote extensively from the Bible. The pragmatic will debate if capital punishment actually creates a safer society. For my argument, I conclude that though humanity is capable of great evil capital punishment should only be considered when human life has been taken. It should be removed as a justice option for those who offend community sexual morals.

Those of us who observe the pragmatics of capital punishment threats in the face of offended sexual morals notice that frequently this threat is a tool of revenge. It is used as a means to remove offended family honor and elicit financial compensation for the loss. This practice must simply stop. It is time to remove capital punishment as a means of justice in face of offended community sexual morals.

My third suggestion is that legal and institutional means must be developed to protect children. Many of us have experienced the tragedy of Uganda youth being exploited by homosexual practitioners. At each one of those moments we ask ourselves, “How did this happen? What can be done to prevent such tragedy from happening again?” Most of us find the systems in Uganda that should protect children are weak. David Bahiti did see that there are legal holes in Uganda’s legislation. Others have noticed that Uganda’s government services to protect children are understaffed and underfunded. Again, I believe the answer lies in democratic debate, common sense legislation, the strengthening of institutions, and in developing a culture where community leaders are empowered to protect children.

My last suggestion may too strongly reflect my own experiences and wounds. If these are not the thoughts of Jesus follower I ask my community’s forgiveness. My suggestion is that international organizations serving Uganda must be held accountable for the behavior of their expatriate personnel. The incidents of homosexual practitioners exploiting African youth that I know all concern expatriates. Uganda’s Ministry of Internal Affairs should require all international organizations to clarify their mechanisms of international recruitment and screening. Background checks are almost uniformly required in US churches and ministries, but may be lacking in recruitment for international organizations. Though I’ve personally felt weary each time I must bring a police report when I renew my work permit I now see how this is a valuable practice that should continue. When an organization becomes aware that her personnel have been involved in illegal and exploitive relationships they should be required to report it to Ugandan authorities. Too frequently the knee jerk reaction is cover up and a quick exit of the perpetrator. If an international organization is found to have poor screening mechanisms and a culture of cover up I suggest they should leave Uganda and their property be given to another organization that is serious about caring for Uganda’s youth.

The debate concerning legislation on the practice of homosexuality in Uganda is a necessary one for a developing nation. After all a nations future is her youth. Such debates can at times degenerate into a loss of reason, love, and redemption. I am only a God seeker offering my limited wisdom. It seems to me that there are four vital components to this debates resolution. First, those of us from outside Uganda must respect the development of her democratic institutions and process. Second, the time has come to repeal capital punishment for sexual offenses. Third, we must further develop legal and institutional means to protect children. Lastly, international organizations must be held accountable for the behavior of their personnel. May Uganda continue to prosper and bless others as she has blessed me.

Friday, July 16, 2010


Last week, my old Minnesota buddy Dr. (I love calling him that) Chris Gonzalez listed his Face Book status as “Chris Gonzalez thinks missionaries are probably the most controversial people on the planet.” The comments started flying. My brain started racing, but I was in the midst of doing 3,000 miles and 4 ROC receptions in a week. I’m still now and I can’t resist the subject.

Are missionaries the most controversial people on the planet? No. Maybe? Yes.

No. Give me a break. In order to be controversial one must be both relevant and influential. Many missionaries are not. They are not society’s power brokers. They are irrelevant in manipulative political games. Those missionaries whose opinions are outside of the populism of either their sending organization or converts can easily be neutralized. Deprive them of church pulpits and denominational publishing and they are neutralized by their disagreeable senders. If they have no access to media and social function in their host country it is almost impossible for the masses to know who they are – let alone what they believe.

Maybe - after all the self-reflective missionaries are ones of great paradox. Some would call it humble contrition mixed with immense strong wills. Many have been strongly opinionated, denominationally loyal, protective, and just simply ornery. Their peers describe them as extreme, flamboyant, and flawed. They chose the wrong battles. They wish they had said less, listened more; and then kick themselves for not standing strong on the issues that truly mattered. They did the wrong work while the right work could easily be accomplished. They closed their careers apologizing to both their hosts and senders. In the end, their controversy was because of their failings. They speak of grace because they are so in need of forgiveness.

Yes, but only the effective missionaries during seasons of community discovery and reformation.

Let me start with a controversial definition of a missionary. Most English New Testaments do not use the word “missionary.” Linguists will pull “misseo” from Latin New Testaments to get “missionary.” When we check the original Greek it uses “apostolos” where the Latin writes, “misseo.” Thus a missionary is actually linguistically in English an apostle. Chris did a great job of qualifying his statement as “non-kook missionaries,” but frankly many missionaries don’t pass my kook test. They are nuts who think God has given them the same level of authority as Peter, John, and Paul.

Jenkins' family being commissioned by CCR to serve African Great Lakes Diaspora
To survive the kook test let me propose an ordinary, but controversial definition. A missionary is simply a messenger sent to make disciples of Jesus and develop churches. If someone is a missionary they must be sent. All missionaries have a sense of call. The kooks are so self-absorbed they confuse their delusions of grandeur with a call from God.

A call is always confirmed in community. Without a community to send a missionary is a kook. Missionary personalities are quite similar to entrepreneurs. The recent jargon of “social entrepreneurs” summarizes their call well. However, honest personality evaluations notice that white collar criminals and entrepreneurs are remarkably similar. A sense of community sending is a must to provide balance and accountability. This sending process may not look the same. One can be sent by a missionary organization, local church, or small group of friends; but there are no self-sent missionaries. Their call is heard by the needs of distant community and confirmed by their home community. They can label themselves many things from tent maker to pastor. Missionaries are not defined by their employer, but by the responsibility they take in the global body of Christ.

CCR Diaspora in Washington DC - Eustache Nsinga (RIP), Amanda Moore, Frances Cossar
The missionary task is two-fold. First they must make disciples of Jesus. It is a simple process of befriending, praying, and teaching. However, the implications are immense. Jesus so challenged religious norms that he was executed. Disciples of Jesus will shake the world up wherever they are. As Chris said disciples of Jesus can easily be seen as subversive.

The second task is to develop churches. This is where it all becomes paradoxical. Churches are a stabilizing cultural institution. They take the always troubling mating cycles of human beings and turn it into a solemn ceremony. Youth are guided, married, and their reproduction is celebrated. They also frequently build schools to educate and facilitate scholarships. Lately, they’ve been leaders in facilitating small business. Their members come from all portions of society and find both hope and conviction as they leave Sunday to start their jobs on Monday. Bottom line – Churches make life tasty and sustainable.

However, the paradoxical nature of church means they are prophetic. They hold society accountable to keep her covenants and protect the most vulnerable. Cultural change has always been led by churches. They were the forces of abolition and liberation throughout history. They are the institution that calls every generation to discover faith anew. They are dead without a revival in each generation. Missionary types are the catalyst for this both cultural stability and generation renewal.

Now let me become more controversial. Some contemporary preachers love the jargon that “all Christians are missionaries.” Non-sense. All followers of Jesus are called to be active persuaders in the resurrection of Jesus, but not all Jesus followers have the specific missionary call. For instance, all disciples should manage their money well, but not all disciples are called to be church treasurers. All disciples should worship the Lord, but not all disciples are skilled worship leaders. All the churches I’ve pastored would be disasters if I became their treasurer or worship leader. Maybe, the Holy Spirit had a point with this missionary call?

Why do some want every Christian to be a missionary? Could it possibly be either envy or just a veiled attempt to make the missionary calling less troublesome?

Nor is every Christian living outside of his home culture and doing good works in Jesus name a missionary. In order to be a missionary one must be a messenger sent to make disciples of Jesus and develop churches. Some today that are true disciples making a significant impact outside of their home culture are still not missionaries.

Three controversial missionaries quickly came to mind as Chris raised his question. Mission’s history makes them heroes, but to their contemporaries they were controversial. They were flawed. They push even my definition of missionary to the edge.

The first is David Livingston. He came to Africa as a traditional missionary, but sensed a call beyond the confines of mission compounds. His explorations were both flawed and inspiring. He loathed the slave trade. His mantra of "Christianity, Commerce and Civilization" brought practical results, but later enabled exploitive colonial economics. Livingston’s early journeys were controversial with slave traders. After his glory had passed he became controversial with his missionary peers and colonial financers. One of his lasting legacies is that his explorations and writing brought an end to the slave trade. Livingston’s legacy teaches us today that missionaries will be controversial as the implications of their endeavors break beneficial systems of economic exploitation.

A second is Alexander MacKay, one of the early Protestant missionaries to the Buganda kingdom. MacKay was a practical engineer, competent linguist, and die hard theologian. He was both diplomatic and prophetic. He sought friendships with the powerful King Mutesa, but also continued arguing against slavery, polygamy, witchcraft, human sacrifice, and war. When Mutesa’s son, Mwanga came to the throne MacKay fearlessly continued his arguments while his converts were martyred. MacKay’s legacy teaches us today that missionaries will be controversial as the implications of their endeavors confront the flawed ethics of the powerful.

The third is Dr. Joe Church, one of the pioneers the East African Revival. From remote Gahini, Rwanda sub-Saharan Africa Christianity was changed by the Balokole (Saved) movement. Though many now consider the Balokole movement ritualistic and irrelevant during its birth it was controversial. The Balokole embraced brotherhood across ethnic, racial, and denominational lines. For those living under the narcotic of denominational acceptance and identity the Balokole brotherhood threatened all sense of order. For those profiting from colonial racial segregation the Balokole threatened economic wealth. Church’s legacy teaches us today that missionaries will be controversial as the implications of their endeavors confront their sending institutions and country. Missionary voices are ones of prophets both in their host and sending country.

What will be the legacy of today’s controversial missionaries? I suspect old definitions and stories will recycle themselves.

Few expatriate development workers are friends with contemporary African intellectuals other than missionaries. Those friendships are transformational. Slavery is long gone. However, new forms of economic exploitation exist in the AID industry and neo-colonial economic agendas. Today’s controversial missionaries refuse to market pictures and stories that meet donor emotional needs while ripping the guts out of developing sustainable economic institutions.

Few expatriate development workers are friends with national political leaders other than missionaries. Rules of diplomacy do not permit diplomats to stay in a host country long enough to become friends. Ethical rules of development organizations insist on no political entanglements. The result is only missionaries celebrate life from birth to marriage to death within a community. In community friendships are established. Friendships are always beyond the reach of political agendas. As a result only missionaries can maintain their integrity while maintaining their friendships with political foes. These friendships allow prophetic voices to be heard. Missionaries are simply friends with a Jesus agenda. This makes them strikingly controversial.

Few denominational administrators understand the missionary enterprise. It is a difficult to comprehend paradox. It builds an institutional church for society’s stability, but many times is incompatible with its sending institution. The missionary enterprise is one of an entrepreneur outside of a denominational agenda. Today’s missionaries butt against denominational protection and this makes them controversial.

Are missionaries the most controversial people on the planet?

No. Maybe? Yes.

Thursday, July 15, 2010


(An old Monitor FM broadcast and Focus column)

Have you heard the latest news? A Mbale trader, Samson Wesonga was ambushed by 6 thugs on the Jinja – Kampala Road on Friday, 11 August. The ambush took place at mid-day with in the Mabira forest. According to Wesonga, the thugs had placed a tree across the road, and when he slowed down to stop, they way laid him at gunpoint. Then they beat him severely, stripped him naked, and left him for dead.

The thugs took Wesonga’s Nissan pickup, 10 boxes of Blue Band, 5 boxes of Kimbo shortening, 300 kilos of posho, and 2.6 million Uganda shillings.

Wesonga came in and out of consciousness several times until his rescue, and reported several travelers who stopped to observe his condition.

The first was Jim Bob Allister, missionary for the Evangelical Missions Alliance. Allister was driving a Toyota Hi-Lux pick-up.

“I thought I was saved,” reported Wesonga. “Everyone knows Bazungu have lots of money, and are such kind people. The Muzungu greeted me with ‘Jambo, rafiki. Habari?’ When I tried to explain my condition in Kiswahili he called his translator. Then I heard him say ‘Time is money. I have an important meeting with our mission board, and can not be late.’ Then he drove off.

The next to stop was Apostle Bernard Okidi with the Divine Church of Deliverance and Healing. Okidi was traveling in a Toyota Hi-Ace with a group of Christians going to attend a crusade.

Wesonga reports, “Again, I thought I was saved. Surely, a group of Balokole would help me. They are the chosen people of God.”

Again Wesonga was disappointed. Okidi reportedly called for God to heal Wesonga. When there was apparently no response from God Okidi remarked, “Brother, you do not have enough faith to be healed. I must wipe the dust off of my feet from you, and move on to our crusade where people do have the faith to be healed.”

The next time Wesonga awoke there was a leader from one of Uganda’s traditional churches.

“I was too delirious to get this man’s details,” reported Wesonga. “All I can remember is robes and religious babble. As he drove off in his Pajero I heard him say, ‘We don’t know who this man is. He could be a rebel or escaped prisoner. We can not jeopardize our good standing by getting involved with this type of man.’”

Finally, Somali transporter, Abdu Mohamed, rescued Wesonga. Mohamed was driving a Shell Petrol lorry.

“I didn’t know what to expect when the Somali pulled over to the side of the road,” reported Wesonga. “I was too weak and tired to be scared. I thought maybe he was an angel coming to take me to heaven.”

Mohamed quickly had his turn boy, Nyusef Abdullah, begin cutting branches to alert other travelers of the accident. As Abdullah was alerting others, Mohamed got the first aid box from his lorry and begin applying bandages and ointment. He also gave Wesonga a slice of bread and some water. Then Mohamed and Abdullah carried Wesonga to their lorry, and transported him to the Lugazi hospital. Abdullah rode on the top of the lorry so that Wesonga would have room to rest comfortably on the trip.

At the Lugazi hospital Wesonga was given 34 stitches for 3 lacerations on his head. Also, a broken right arm was set. While in Lugazi, Mohamed reported the crime to the police. He also placed a phone call to Wesonga’s family in Mbale to notify them of his condition. Mohamed stayed the remainder of the day in Lugazi with Wesonga, and then paid his bill of 122,000 shillings as he was released from the hospital that evening.

Mohamed then transported Wesonga to Mukono where he put him up in Collines Hotel. He left a deposit of 300,000 Uganda shillings with the management. He instructed the hotel to care for Wesonga until he returned from Kampala on Tuesday, 15 August. Mohamed plans to transport Wesonga home to Mbale on his return trip to Mombassa next week.

In related news police spokesmen, have asked for the public to help in locating Wesonga’s Nissan pickup. They also caution travelers to exercise caution when they approach non-police or UPDF roadblocks. They promise to apprehend the thugs who robbed Wesonga, and bring them to swift justice.

The N.G.O. Board of the Ministry of Internal Affairs has promised to investigate the Evangelical Missions Alliance and Divine Church of Healing and Deliverance. “We need more men like Mohamed in this country, and less of these phony N.G.O.’s,” they said.

Shell Uganda Management has nominated Abdu Mohamed for the Shell World Citizen award. They have also re-imbursed him for the expenses in aiding Wesonga. Management said, “Mohamed is typical of Shell employees who are driving Uganda into the 21st Century.”

When interviewed Mohamed was asked why he chose to help Wesonga. He humbly replied, “What else could I do? As I have traveled I have learned that all men are my neighbors.”

For further information on this interesting piece of news from Uganda check out the original source. His name is Jesus of Nazareth. He told this story to illustrate the failings of law keeping without compassion for all people. A doctor named Luke recorded it in a historical dissertation approximately 2,000 years ago.

Sunday, July 11, 2010



Over the last few months I’ve assertively began our fund discovery portion of furlough. It’s been a thrilling journey. I’ve traveled through a multiple of states, spoken at a several churches, and enjoyed receptions in a variety of cities. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed renewing friendships face to face. Also, we’ve been surprised at the generosity of many. For instance, a few weeks ago I spoke at a small church who I treasure, but who I had not seen in years. This small church surprised me with the generosity of a $4,000 gift and a thoughtful discussion of how to recruit more personnel for our growing ministry. While many are going through an economic season of recession, God’s people are displaying their deepest character. We are a generous people of faith.

While in this fund discovery season two questions have come to mind. The first is, “Why?” The second is, “What do we need to do today?”

I love to wrestle day after day with the important “Why?” question. Our generous character sometimes grows weary. Academicians call it “Donor Fatigue,” and document that it has been growing since the 1980’s. Sophisticated fund raisers learn to market a little better each year to stay ahead of donor fatigue, but in their cynicism remark, “It is all about the slide show.” The result has been a series of well marketed crises. You’ve read and seen them. Is it AIDS, malaria, water, mosquitoes, education, micro-finance, livestock, orphans, vulnerable children, refugees, food, etc? Which developmental marketing jargon will finally solve the world’s problems and release the developed world from corporate responsibility?

I've been at the missionary game for 17 years. I've participated in the jargon jiggles. However, I find our root problem to all the trendy issues of development is poverty. Until poverty cycles are broken children will continue to die when their immediate solution would only cost a few bucks. Poverty goes deeper than simple answers to complex problems by rock stars. The issues are rooted in generations of broken, non-existent, or dysfunctional systems or institutions. Providing lasting solutions means we have to invest in building lasting institutions. Only then will cycles be broken. These institutions vary from government policy to small businesses to schools and churches.

In order to build these institutions we need passionate disciples of Jesus of Nazareth committed to being salt and light. We've got a world-wide Jesus Crisis. It may be horribly simplistic, but I believe in the deepest part of my being that it is time to get back to that old fashioned formula of simply asking people to follow Jesus. The Jesus Crisis is the real one. He is the answer to the “Why?” question.

The privilege of our call is that we become the answer. Jesus followers gather with other Jesus followers in churches. Churches are meeting points of humanity. In church we learn to find answers in community discussions and labor to turn our ideas into reality. Friendships at church result in new ideas and institutions. Churches do not control these institutions. Instead, healthy churches retain their prophetic voice. They speak to the institutions so that those institutions are faithful to their covenants with the communities they serve. Then over the course of years the root problem of poverty is addressed. Children sleep at night without being bitten by mosquitoes. Their needs for nourishment and education are met. As they mature they start businesses and lead their communities. The world we live in will always have problems. However, when God’s kingdom reigns on earth His people’s actions are the solution. We hope the institutions we build will survive and bless generations. However, the only institution that will last for eternity is Christ’s church. Investing in the church is the ultimate institutional investment.

I can’t believe God has entrusted our faith community with the answer to the why question. Surely, He could find a better answer than Jesus expressed through us, but that is how it has been done since Jesus walked this earth.

Now, the question, “What do we need to do today?”

I’m sure I’m not the only missionary / development worker you know. Nor do I represent the only church or Christian organization who puts information in your mail box. However, it does seem that God created an opportunity far out of the ordinary in Kigali in which he has used us. We have landed in a place where out of the one of the previous century’s greatest tragedies God is building a new city. For some reason, we’ve been given a great amount of responsibility in that task.

We’ve had a season of health struggle, but now are ready to return. In order to return we need more to be part of the community that sends. Can you help today?

It comes back to those old historical ideas. Paul wrote about them. In order to go one must be sent. History tells story after story of those who labor on a field supported by those in a distant land (that some consider “home.”) With the heroic efforts of the on field laborer was a community of heroic and sacrificial senders.

Thank you for considering this request. It has been a delightful journey the last few months.

Imana ikurinde (May the Lord Stay with All of You),


P.S. If I can answer any further questions or visit face to face, please feel free to call at 405-464-7385.