As 2011 comes to a close one word stands out – unforgettable.
We sensed Christ’s Church in Rwanda’s (CCR) future was to be found through investing in Rwanda’s youth. We prayed and moved forward assuming God directed our thought process. Dave in the spring of 2011 lectured to over 600 university students in ethics. Later Dave facilitated the Rwanda Presidential Scholars program with 20 of Rwanda’s brightest students beginning their undergraduate career at some of the top liberal arts universities in the United States. On Friday, 23 December over 300 young people gathered at CCR as we celebrated God’s goodness through music. Unforgettable.
We sensed that CCR must find a way to serve Rwanda’s most vulnerable children. God’s word and the best of Christian theologians resonated with the theme of adoption. On May 13, Mugisha Gabriel entered our lives. He has brought new joy and discovery to our home. On 17 November Mugisha Gabriel began having seizures. The seizures have decreased in frequency and intensity, but still remain. We do not know the future, but belief in God’s call. Unforgettable.
With a few others families in 2005 we began the dream of Kigali International Community School (KICS). We began with 26 students in a 4 bedroom rented home. In April 2007 KICS moved to her current home. The number of students has grown to over 200 from over 30 nationalities. KICS empowered investment and made Kigali livable for many families. On Friday, 27 May Sophia graduated from KICS. It was one of our most rewarding days since we arrived in Rwanda. She was accepted at prestigious Wheaton College. She began her college journey on Thursday, 18 August. Unforgettable.
We sensed that we had entered a season to seek God’s will for the future. Dave spent 40 days outside of Rwanda as we settled Sophia into college. It appeared doors were opening for a year furlough in Chicago to be near Sophia, serve Great Lakes Diaspora, and pursue further education. Then the ROC leadership asked if we would consider returning to the USA for a season to mature ROC as a missionary sending organization. We believed this was the call of God. Nineteen years of missionary service in the Great Lakes Region of Africa is coming to a close as we begin a season of serving in the Great Lakes Region of the United States. Unforgettable.
Our African missionary tradition is to celebrate the Christmas Season with all the strength and joy the Lord gives us. Just before Dave began his Christmas Eve Sermon, news came that our friend, Major Eustache Nsinga had passed from this life to another. Rwanda lost one of her brightest minds in ICT at the young age of 38. His sense of justice, loyalty, hope, and joy is irreplaceable. Our community’s loss is immense. Unforgettable.
Our CCR numbers were high over the Christmas Season. Over 200 attended our Christmas Eve Candlelight Service. Approximately 350 attended our Christmas Day Service. We faced paradox on Monday 26 December as over 650 from our community gathered for Major Eustache Nsinga's funeral. We remembered his life and our hope of a resurrection. Unforgettable.
Rwanda’s missionary tradition from the days of the East African Revival in the 1940’s is to gather on the Kumbya Peninsula on Lake Kivu to rest and reflect. Sophia is home with us for Christmas. Our family is together for a few days in Africa before we begin our newest transition to the United States in 2012. We again are at Kumbya. This morning Dave remembered 45 years and 4 recovered back surgeries as he swam 2400 meters in Lake Kivu. Unforgettable.
Through these journeys old truths remain. Our hope is in the resurrection. On this earth our greatest joys are in family and friends.
Many of you have sacrificed deeply to make this journey possible. Your sacrifices have blessed many. Our December financial report showed that giving was down in 2011. Yet, God has done the surprising through friends and family for 19 years. A year end gift would greatly ease our transitions in 2012. However, God chooses to shape us in 2012 we trust it will be unforgettable.
May your yearend reflections also be filled with joyful memories of the Lord’s goodness.
Imana ikurinde (May God Stay With All of You),
Dave and Jana