Tuesday, January 25, 2011


Dear CCR friends,

The New Year at CCR promises to be one of many new beginnings. We are growing. Soon we will be giving you information on a second worship service.

This week we are starting a series that I am eager to share. I think it is especially relevant to Kigali today.

For the last 5 years I have been fortunate to teach Ethics at Kigali Institute of Science and Technology (KIST). I like university students. Their questions and debates help me become wiser with joy. Life in contemporary Kigali is like nowhere else in the world. The challenges that we face are different from the generations that have gone before us. We live in a season of building. I would be foolish to teach with yellow notes. Every week I re-write old notes as these students push my understanding.

I imagine their questions are much like your own. Rwanda is complex.

Yet in the midst of complexity sometimes it is good to remember that there are principles that for thousands of generations have shown themselves true. Sometimes it is good to read the old with fresh eyes.

Eugene Peterson translated an old story in Exodus 20:13, “God spoke all these words: I am God, your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of a life of slavery. No other gods, only me.

His translation will be our message this Sunday. God existed from before time. He is personal. He saw each one of us from before time began. He rescued the nation of Israel when they were slaves. He rescued us when we were slaves to oppression, addictions, and delusions. While there are many that strive for our allegiance only He is God.

I hope you will join us on our journey through the 10 Commandments. I promise you will not leave CCR bored as we wrestle with timeless truths in our contemporary Kigali.


Sunday, January 23, 2011


Rwanda’s biggest selling point is the absence of corruption. Last week, I discovered a corrupt plot by at least 300 of my dear Rwandan friends. I am embarrassed to tell the story as it shows both my own naivety and ethical uncertainty. However, if I ignore this conspiracy I have absolutely no business as a Kigali pastor or professor.

Rwanda has a rampant problem with ghost university students. The time to speak and act is now. The only dilemma is that this form of corruption is practiced by our future. A caning will break their spirit of hope. Yet forgiving them without accountability will teach their young minds that truth can be negotiated. For this season the only appropriate principles are the oldest ones of time. We must seek both justice and mercy.

Academic policy at our government sponsored universities requires for students to attend 85% of lectures in order to sit their final exams. Many classes have 100 to 200 students. Many lecturers do not take roll call. Besides the loss of lecture time some students are notorious late comers. Sometimes one lectures for 45 minutes in a two hour class before the full class arrives. Thus many professors pass a sheet of paper for students to list their name, student registration number, and signature.

Last week I followed protocol, but decided to count students at the end of the lecture. My first class had 95 signatures, 47 students, and 48 ghosts. My second class had 120 signatures, 71 students, and 49 ghosts. My third class started with 3 ghosts and grew to 10. My fourth class had 9 ghosts when I interrupted the passing of the list to count students.

My fifth class surprised me. They had 51 signatures, 51 students, and no ghosts. They are the KIST Fourth Year Mechanical, Civil, and Water Engineers. In January 2012 they will be the first ones I recommend to potential employers. Parents of this group you should be proud.
I only discovered the ghosts as my first two classes were dismissed. However, my third, fourth, and fifth classes heard me teach ethics with all my might. They claimed that in their four year academic career the ghosts had only been caught once before. God help us if they are telling the truth on that matter. In my class the ghosts are busted.

A caning is for children. These young people are adults. They vote. In a year many will be laboring to build our nation. I chose to ask the question of why before I administrated discipline.
Martin Luther King Jr. in his Letter from a Birmingham Jail wrote, “I have tried to make clear that it is wrong to use immoral means to attain moral ends. But now I must affirm that it is just as wrong or perhaps even more so, to use moral means to preserve immoral ends.” This great teacher of ethics guided our discussion. Why did many choose to lie for a friend? Was their love and loyalty to be commended? Or was their corporate deception the substance of Rwanda’s next historic tragedy?

Several common answers arose. Ghost students learned their trade from ghost lecturers. If the teacher chooses not to come to class, his students will follow the same practice. Hypocrisy is hereditary in academia. Others remarked that ghost students thrive in an academic climate that only teaches rote memory, but ignores the development of critical and creative thinking. A class led by lecturer who thrives on debate dare not be missed by the inquisitive mind. In a class led by video tape masquerading as a teacher all one needs to survive is a friend’s notes. Honest academia is a great equalizer. The students are the true masters of the class. The professor is accountable to them before all others. All I could offer these complaints were my repentance for those who practice my trade with sloth and a commitment that I would never bore them with a rote lecture.

However, another answer common arose. MINEDUC cancelled the bursary. Many students are struggling to find the resources to survive. Their comrades with the resources to attend lectures are lying to protect the poor. Yet, there are holes in the argument. By my student’s admission ghost students did not begin in 2011, but in 2006 and 2007. Ghost students are a long standing bad habit. A great Jewish ethicist named Moses affirmed that it was right to lie to protect life. Minister Murigande is not Pharaoh, King of Egypt. Nor are my lying friends, Hebrew mid-wives saving children.

Martin Luther King Jr. further wrote, “There are four basic steps: collection of the facts to determine whether injustices exist; negotiation; self-purification; and direct action.” Thus we will journey together. My students may be adults in Rwanda’s legal framework. However, they have shown themselves adolescents in the practice of democracy. Adulthood is about responsibility. Adulthood refuses to blame another for one’s own choices. When adults find a problem they reason in community to find an answer. Thus the cost of my forgiveness is that my class will debate, find consensus, and put their thoughts in writing. MINEDUC and KIST you will hear from my students. If you make a choice that is not palatable to my students we will seek purity of thought and action. Rwanda has no future with ghosts. With real students acting as adults in community Rwanda has a great future. I refuse to compromise Rwanda’s future for ghosts.

Saturday, January 15, 2011


For my Balokole clan mates there is one proposed miracle of Jesus that causes us to read our bibles with a paper shredder and black marker. We have a moment in which we consider labeling this Jesus’ story “classified,” and simply black it off the book. For the Ollie North’s in our pastoral community this one proposed miracle seems best approached with a quick rip of the pages and shred of the paper. In this absurd proposed miracle Jesus’ family and followers are invited to an underfunded and inadequately planned wedding. Jesus’ mom feels the social pressure of the extended family. In typical mom fashion she asks her son to help. Though she had met an angel and experienced a miraculous birth Jesus had yet to reach his potential. His response of “Woman, what have I to do with thee?” may be a moment of a boy realizing his call to become a man of purpose. Then he turns water to wine (John 2:1-11).

My Balokole clan mates have traditions of rules and rituals of religion. We have our own specialized language of Kilokole that only we can properly speak. Our grandfather’s profound experiences left us with empty rules devoid of meaning. One of these Kilokole rules prohibits the consumption of alcohol. In the midst of our greetings of “Imana ishimwe” we find one proposed Jesus’ story that will not fit with our rules. Maybe even Jesus is not a Kilokole speaker? After all he does not follow our Kilokole traditions. Why did he change water to wine? Was he one of these boys who trouble our peaceful Kigali with the noises of late loud parties?

Our Kilokole traditions meet another absurd moment in the weekly rhythms of Kigali. When the wine changes to water, can we use the church toilet?

Our Balokole churches are in some of Kigali’s most prestigious neighborhoods. Our halls are only used for church functions a few hours per week. Thus many of us Balokole open our halls for Kigali’s rhythm of weekend introductions, weddings, and receptions. Our Balokole clan mates know better than to ask to bring alcohol into our holy sanctuaries in the land of Bulokole. However, the foreign non-Kilokole speakers have the audacity to ask. We write our policies and present the documents. “No. You cannot bring alcohol into Bulokole. Kilokole tradition prohibits it.”

The foreign non-Kilokole speakers are quite clever. Just across from Bulokole is a no man’s land where law and order is a bit more flexible. The foreigners pitch their tents in the no man’s land and plan their alcohol inclusive parties. Then the awkward moment begins. For all our Kilokole rhetoric about the purity of our heritage we are an inter-mingled people. Our Balokole sons and daughters have married foreigners. The foreigners are many times influential and our liberal Balokole cousins dare to call them friends. Thus the foreigners invite us to their alcohol inclusive parties and the social obligations of our free market economy obligate us to venture into this foreign land and culture.

The wine and beer freely flows in the foreigner’s tents. The foreigners are gracious to our Kilokole traditions and offer us sodas and water. With each speech and toast beverages are consumed. Then biology catches up to our awkward traditions. The visitor from Kenya whispers, “Iko wapi cho?” The foreigner with whom we share citizenship whispers, “Wese iri hehe?” Finally, a Muzungu has the audacity to shout, “Where is the toilet?” Even the deaf understand the message. Eyes shift. Bodies wiggle. Legs cross tightly. Kitoleti is a reflection of our biological function. No matter what mother tongue we speak we instinctively know when it is time to find a cho. Kitoleti is heard, seen, and spoken by all.

The land of foreign tents is immaculately planned and groomed. Yet it has one large design flaw. The foreign tents have no toilet. Across the way in Bulokole rests the most treasured possession – a toilet with running water and a door to preserve our dignity. Kitoleti proclaims, “When the wine changes to water, can we use the church toilets?”

Among the Balokole lives a wise mzee. He speaks all the dialects, stories, and proverbs of Kilokole. He knows the inconsistencies and even hypocrisies of Kilokole. His conscience has never been at peace in Bulokole. The proposed miracle of Jesus changing water to wine provides mzee the answer. Scholars call this miracle a luxury miracle. After all, there were no blind, sick, or handicapped to be healed. The problem was simply the social awkwardness of a poorly planned feast. Yet, mzee knows that the pressures of an extended family. Jesus saw the socially awkward moment and responded. At that moment Jesus took the mantle of his life purpose. His followers put their trust in him. His fame began to spread.

With Jesus in mind, mzee hears Kitoleti. He walks across the boundary to Bulokole. He opens the church doors, turns on the lights, and rolls out the red carpet to the toilet. His answer is, “Yes, when the wine turns to water you can use the church toilet.”

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


Dear Family and Friends,

Our Christmas holidays were busy and the substance of life long memories. It is a joy to be in Rwanda.

This month we ask for your prayers for the following matters:

1. Christ’s Church in Rwanda (CCR) spiritual and numeric growth. It is our belief and practice that CCR should make the most of every opportunity to speak well for Jesus and serve our community. Thus we celebrated a Youth Concert, Christmas Eve Candlelight Service, Christmas Day Service, and a Boxing Day (Sunday, December 26) All Church Dinner. We estimate that approximately 750 different individuals were in our CCR assemblies in December. In the next few months we hope the Lord will use this busy season to call many closer to Him.

We ask your prayers for several specific ministry opportunities:

a. Our facility on many Sundays is close to occupancy and we are planning to begin a second worship service in 2011.

b. Our CCR youth are now entering university and Kigali’s campuses are booming. We hope to begin an assertive campus ministry in 2011. Dave has been asked to teach Ethics for approximately 400 university students at Kigali Institute of Science and Technology (KIST) for the next four weeks.

c. The Rwanda government is beginning a process of De-institutionalizing the care of Orphans and Vulnerable Children. Inside our spirits we sense this is a place CCR must engage.

May we be filled with divine wisdom to make the most of these opportunities for the Lord’s glory.

2. Our oldest daughter, Sophia will soon be leaving our home and entering college.
In the next few months we will find out the results of her university applications. Also, our financial resources are limited and we hope for generous scholarships. May God place Sophia in the place where she can mature into His intentions and bring as much joy to others as she has to our family and friends in Rwanda.

3. Settling and Organizing.
It may sound unbelievable, but in living in Rwanda for 5 ½ years only last week did we completely unpack. The pace we have run has been both thrilling and exhausting. Unpacking was good for our spirits and allowed us a season of deep reflection. May the coming year be one of family and ministry stability and growth.

Again, thank you for your prayers, support, and encouragement.

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

Dave and Jana


Yes, this is a completely ludicrous title for a blog on Rwanda living and ministry, but I’m convinced it is true. All I needed to know about Rwanda I learned (or re-learned) at a Kigali Yard Sale. Our family last week completed a yard sale. It was de-cluttering. It was finding the resources to pay our bills. However, it was also a profound experience of listening, discovering, and processing.


Rwanda’s President Kagame says, “Others can walk. We must run.” It stirs my runner’s ambition. Yet, it also describes the pace of life for all who gather in Rwanda with both vision and work ethics. Our days start before the sun rises. Some of us are doing office work at 5:00 a.m. Some of us don’t call the work day over until 11:00 p.m. Our To Do list is never finished. Our phone rings. Our inbox is full. The community we serve has many needs and expectations. In the midst of our business sometimes the mundane and ordinary becomes trivial. It falls to the category of “I will take care of that after the important matters are done.” Somehow the important is never done and our community’s needs increase.

Our family packed all our earthly belongings in storage in Uganda in June, 2004. In November, 2004 we decided to move to Rwanda. We arrived in June, 2005. In November, 2005 our container arrived. At the time we were struggling to live, exploring the idea of KICS and CCR, and Dave was teaching Ethics at KIST. We never had a quiet week or two to unpack. We simply pulled what we needed for the day from our container. Yes, we lived in a country for 5 ½ years without ever completely unpacking. We managed our house so that many guests were served. Our home appeared orderly. However, we knew our container was full of years of clutter and it troubled our inner sense of order.

Last week, we finally had our chance to unpack and organize 6 ½ years after our first packing.


We knew we needed to do a yard sale. We never had a quiet week. However, we also never had several required earthly possessions in our hands until last week. Rwanda is blessed with abundant rains for almost 8 months per year. We use every room in our home (including the garage) for our kids and guests. We have no spare garage to host a sale. If we place sale items in our yard the rains will leave it all drenched each day. We needed several large tents and many tables to be able to organize a sale.

A by- product of CCR are 2 tents and many tables. Though frequently used on weekends during weekdays they are available. Thus it was in God’s timing when CCR had the maturity to have tents and tables that we finally had the capacity to host a yard sale.

We spent several days sorting the contents of our container and organizing the sale items on CCR tables underneath CCR tents.

We needed 6 ½ years of settling to be able to unpack. We left Uganda during a season of turmoil. Our call was painful relinquishment. Now it all makes sense. I don’t think we would have had the emotional reserves to unpack 5 ½ years ago. God knew what timing was the best for our spirits.

As we unpacked we found our memories. Some we sold. Some we threw away. Some we gave. Some we kept. One memory now sits in my office in the same emotional place as my deer horns. In my teens and twenties I was fortunate to hunt and fish with my dad, brothers, and friends in Minnesota and Arkansas. Those men are still the best friends in my life. My office deer horns speak of those old friendships. The memory I discovered that I would not sell, throw, or give away is the baby back pack that I carried all 5 of my children in up Uganda’s hills. The frame was broke and held together with duct tape. With Rwanda’s limited supply of childhood goods I still could have sold the backpack. However, I would not sell its memory. It is now on my office wall. The 5 kids in Uganda were a treasure. They represent the best years of my life.


For those who have never lived in a developing nation I am not writing about the debate between Pepsi, Coke, or even RC. COLA stands for Cost of Living Adjustment. For many in the US COLA is more foreign and confusing than a vernacular language. How can a poor country where the average person lives on a little over a dollar per day be expensive?

Yet financial realities hit all who try to labor with a family and professional skill in Rwanda. Diesel fuel costs $6 / gallon. Some homes go through $300 per month in electricity while never even owning an air conditioner. Others spend $150 per month on cooking gas, but never heat a home. Cereal sells for $11 per box. Public school is not an option so we send our children to private schools and pay their tuition.

Rwanda is simply expensive. Many COLA indexes list Kigali as 40% more expensive than Washington D.C. January is my month of both school fees and quarterly rent. COLA speaks to me in January with all her force.

Those of us who labor here learn to live without movies, Dr. Pepper, and delivery pizza. We enjoy the few costs that are cheaper than our home economy. However, there are some purchases that are difficult to avoid. They stir the deepest parts of our hope and ambition. We desire for our children to enjoy life and see a good future. With such hopes sometimes we must go extra-ordinary miles.


As we unpacked and organized we found the items that marked the seasons of life when our children were babies and toddlers – cribs, car seats, strollers, bikes, and toys. We remembered COLA and placed these items on the tables under our tents. Though the items were years old we sought to sell them for just a slightly lower price than we had purchased them years earlier. We advertised the sale. Our phone began to ring.

Kigali is filled with many whose parents and grandparents left Rwanda in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s as refugees. For the fortunate ones, refugee living became an experience similar to the Jews of the Babylonian Exile. In the Dispersion they gained an education and professional skill. As Rwanda settled they returned to a land that they had never seen. They came with vision and work ethics. They returned with young children. They did not have the resources to return with all the childhood paraphernalia of their place of exile.

Births of new children create scrambles for cribs, strollers, and car seats. No Baby Gap or Babies R Us exists in Kigali. Birthdays and Christmases create scrambles for bikes and toys. No Toys R Us, Target, or Wal-mart exists in Kigali. A yard sale of an older family creates the frenzy of a Tickle Me Elmo Stampede. The only difference is that Rwandans are well known as restrained, dignified, and polite.

To survive 18 years in this region of the world one learns to put certain emotions of compassion aside. I cannot survive if I weep over every tragedy. However, I also cannot survive if cynicism destroys my ability to feel other’s hope and disappointment.

A surprising moment happened in my de-cluttering of the memories of our children as babies and toddlers. My emotions stirred. I watched 5 childhood bikes sell in a few hours. The last family to purchase a bike arrived a few moments before another eager family. I could not express my regrets enough to the disappointed family. In January some were buying their children gifts for a Christmas 11 months in the future. Our cribs were gone before the sale even opened. Friends called and pleaded for a crib. I remembered what it was like to have babies and toddlers. I admired these families courage to return and build. I grieved for the sacrifices they made with their children for the sake of their grandchildren’s future.

At the end of our sale I sat with a friend. We discussed the struggle of being a returning Diaspora. We remarked that though our incomes were good and “reasonable” we were unable to provide all we hoped for our children. In fact, we knew the cost of sacrifice was immense. Yet, in the midst of self-pity we remembered that only a few miles from the struggle of middle class Rwanda exist the poorest of the poor. We would sleep with full stomachs. We would find ways to send our children to Rwanda’s best schools. Others would struggle to feed their children and even buy them a pair of shoes to wear to school. Empathy reigned. It is the substance of vision and work ethics in a community. May we never lose our ability to feel for others.


In 18 years in Africa I have learned that anger is an emotion best kept hidden. In my early years my anger was displayed far too frequently. Now some remark on my ability to withstand continual chaos with presence and grace. A fleeting thought went through my mind as we prepared our yard sale. I had done two yard sales in our Uganda years. With each one I had a moment in which I completely lost my composure. Would I do it again?

When our family moved into our Kigali home across the street was the Papyrus restaurant. It gave us charm, friendship, and meals when life was too busy to cook. Our neighborhood is full of trees. With these trees come a wide variety of birds and monkeys. Within our Kimihurura neighborhood is a park. We found our Kigali neighborhood to be delightful.

Upon our return to Kigali five months ago a new phenomena has happened. Our neighborhood restaurants seem to have become discos and bars. The noise level makes sleep difficult. I sometimes arise early and am in my office at 4:00 a.m. On those early mornings my quiet neighborhood street is filled with cars and people dancing in the streets. Some of the young women are dressed in a way that I am sure their fathers and brothers would never approve. A few months ago on my morning run I saw a woman and man with too much to drink physically fighting with stones. I have had pleasant discussions with bar and disco owners, but my patience is growing limited.

Our sale opened at 10:00 a.m. each morning. Thus we spent the first hours of the day organizing the chaos of the previous day. On Saturday morning three men who spent the night drinking at a bar across from my home entered our yard at 8:30 a.m. I had yet to have breakfast or coffee. I asked for them to return at 10:00 a.m. They explained that they could not return in a few hours, but were eager to make a purchase. I reluctantly agreed to allow them to look through our yard sale. They picked up many items and vigorously shook each item. I tried to persuade them to be gentle. They argued vehemently with every stated price. Finally, one began rifling through a trunk containing my family’s memories that were not for sale. At that moment reason left my mind and outrage entered my complete being. I yelled. I screamed. I commanded their departure. When they slowed down I looked for a stick to beat them. Thankfully, they left before I found a stick. I had not been so angry since the last time I had a yard sale 9 years previously.

Jana overheard my rant and remarked, “Dave – right decision to have them leave. Wrong temperament.”

My conscience was troubled. A few hours later there came a knock at the gate. Two of the three had returned. They had bathed and changed clothes. I no longer smelled alcohol. They apologized. I offered my forgiveness. They gently looked at items. They graciously paid the price. We reconciled. Again, the biblical formula of repentance (changed action) met forgiveness and reconciliation happened.

Some matters in life demand outrage. Rage reflects offended morals. Hopefully, we are offended at the matters that offend God. Our region of the world has many areas that demand outrage – war, genocide, poverty, and non-literacy lead the list. These tragedies are not the sum of bad fortune, but the sum of bad leadership and broken or non-existent institutions. In order to make matters right an outraged authority figure may be required to bring order. Outrage is unpleasant. When it is over the outraged one may have regret. Rage touches the darkest places of our soul. Yet without an authority demanding accountability and change hope and love in community are impossible. Humanity in community is messy.


As we de-cluttered, sold, and visited with our Kigali community we were reminded the task of our generation is to build the sustainable institutions. Our children may not have all we hope, but they learn character from observing our labor. We labor in hope for what life for our grandchildren will become. Rwanda has too few churches, schools, and businesses. Her institutions that lead in education, justice, and preservation are young. When the sale is over and we return to our offices we find even more resolve.


Lastly, our Kigali yard sale taught us that old lesson that has been spoken by generation upon generation. Invest in children. They are the future. Today is fleeting.

As we de-cluttered I found construction toys my father gave my children. Our kids no longer played with them. Soon our children will leave us for university. With some regret we decided to sell some of the toys of childhood even though they contained treasured memories. With COLA in mind we chose to make the sale worth our while.

The toys high prices kept them sitting. Finally, on the last day a father with a new born son made an offer on one of the road construction toys. I asked him what he did for a living. He was an accountant at a local road construction company. I told him a story. When I was a child my dad was a road construction worker. He gave me road construction toys. He showed me how to build roads as we played in a sandbox. It was all about drainage. If there was not a proper ditch and the road doubled as a ditch the road would wash away. I shared my experience in Uganda of watching roads poorly constructed double as ditches and become our region’s running joke. The issue was more than drainage. I believe Uganda’s disaster roads reflect a deeper sickness – fathers do not teach their sons character. I asked the father of the new born son to promise me that he would use the toys to teach his son to build good roads. Roads that last are built by men of character. He agreed and I parted with my memories trusting they would bless another family.

As our sale closed we had a toys and clothes that still remained. We considered boxing them for a future sale. COLA would be a reality of our family as long as we live in this region. We considered boxing them for a future ministry. CCR is praying and pondering about beginning a ministry for Orphans and Vulnerable Children. Then God spoke in the present. We have good friends who in the midst of building a new business also have taken 20 vulnerable children into their home. We boxed our remaining toys and clothes, made a phone call, delivered our remaining items; and called our yard sale finished.

All I needed to know about Rwanda I learned in a Kigali yard sale.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


After weeks of angry stares and pretend conversations in front of Christ’s Church in Rwanda – Gaculiro it is time to put my cards on the table. Here’s my best guess at the questions and my response:

Who requested to put these speed bumps in front of Christ’s Church in Rwanda (CCR) and Kigali International Community School (KICS)?

Other CCR leaders and I.


KICS has over 200 kids dropped off each day. First Impressions, the Day Care Center at CCR has 30 kids dropped off each day. During Sunday at CCR many families attend with children. Most Sundays we will have nearly 100 young children. On Friday evenings CCR sometimes has 250 youth at our events. Across the street from us is a greenbelt where neighborhood children play.

Since being in the Gaculiro Estate I’ve many times seen people drive by our facility at a speed which I do not believe is safe for our community’s children.

I consider one of my pastoral responsibilities is protection. This practically means I both preach about the value of life and make the community God has called me to as safe as possible for children.

Why do you park so we must drive over the speed bumps?

Because I noticed shortly after the speed bumps were installed that a few vehicles were not reducing their speed. Instead, they dodged the speed bumps by entering into our CCR parking area. Their speed and maneuvering actually seemed to increase my concerns about the safety of children in front of CCR.

Bottom line: If you are driving in front of CCR when children are nearby slow down. If you don’t want to slow down the consequence is to hit a speed bump and suffer the consequence.
Another possible choice is to take a different route through our community.

Do you know what these speed bumps do to our cars?

Yes. I replace shocks and have work done on my vehicle’s suspension also.

Are you concerned that this will affect CCR attendance, giving, and community good will?

No. I do not preach for either money or the praise of man.

I’m mad at you and going somewhere else to church.

I am sorry you feel this way. However, pastoring has some sacred responsibilities. I will not sacrifice safety in cowardly accommodation.

Let me also give you an unrequested editorial. There are good churches and pastors in Kigali. All the good ones will insist that your faith experience leads to good ethics. If you land at a good church you will have the same conflict you are having with me with another good pastor.

If you land at pseudo-church led by a religious charlatan I am confident he will be glad to take your money and hear your praise while he never insists that the Gospel is good news about our lives being thoroughly changed.

“Not in front of my church seems a bit extreme.”

You may be right. Theologically, the Church is possessed by Christ. We pastors are just temporary stewards. If the Lord does not return in our lifetime another human pastor will arise to take our place. In eternity, the Lord is the ultimate pastor of His Church. I should probably say, “Not in front of the Lord’s Church where He has asked me to serve.”

A day of judgment will come. On that day all my faults and sins will be exposed. I’m terrified to stand before the Lord on that day. My only hope will be His grace and forgiveness.

However, there is one area I am willing to risk before the Lord’s judgment. That area is the lives of the vulnerable people He has asked me to shepherd. If the Lord finds that I was too protective and possessive I am willing to be judged as guilty.

He is about life and so am I.

You will not drive in front of my church in a way that is dangerous to children.