Wednesday, January 2, 2013

LORD, BLESS OUR HISTORIC PARTNERS

Ruth, Sophia, Martha, and Esther Tushabe dancing Rwandese in Uganda
Dear Family and Friends,

As our family processes 19 years in Africa and prepares for our new call to serve the Diaspora from Africa’s Great Lakes it is appropriate to remember, say thank you, and bless (http://jenkinsinrwanda.blogspot.com/2012/09/announcing-thank-you-tour.html.)   

 This month we request that you pray for God’s kindness to be abundantly shown to our historical partners.    (Many were involved so we ask forgiveness of those we neglect in this Prayer Bulletin).    Please this month ask God’s everlasting kindness to specifically reach these:


1.    Our overseeing congregations during the journey:

Toddler Ruth, Palm Sunday, Uganda
a.   Northern Light Church of Christ (formerly Brooklyn Center Church of Christ), Brooklyn Park, Minnesota:   When we were young and na├»ve they saw potential and gave us a start.     May God fill their congregation with the dreams of the young and new beginnings.

b.   North Central Church of Christ, Indianapolis, Indiana:   They were faithful during difficult seasons which God later would use to produce great fruit.    May God reward their faithfulness and bring great fruit in their midst.


c.   Quail Springs Church of Christ, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma:  They gave us a safe place to heal and process, and stood by us as we discovered the courage to embrace Restoration ideals.   May they continue to be a safe place for healing that nurtures courageous ideals.

WOO HOO!! HOOYEE!! RADIO WE GO!!
2.   Those who nurtured our God given gifts of shepherding thought leaders:

a.   World Radio, West Monroe, Louisiana:  Out of the blue they contacted us in 2001 to see if we would have interest in doing radio just at the point Monitor FM was getting off the ground.   They took risks, trusted, and encouraged.    May their sensitivity to God’s prompting continue.    May they be abundantly encouraged.    May their trust be rewarded by God’s providence.

b.   Oklahoma Christian University (OC): Again, an out of the blue phone call came in a season of transition.   The year (2004-2005) we spent at OC prepared us to follow the call of God to plant Christ’s Church of Rwanda (CCR.)    Then OC began the Presidential Scholars program to further nurture some of the brightest young Rwandan scholars.   May OC’s sensitivity to God ordained opportunities continue.   May OC continue to be a place to nurture missionaries and their dreams.


Rwandan Presidential Scholars at Hendrix Graduation
c.   Hendrix College Consortium:  The Presidential Scholars program rapidly grew to include 18 more colleges under the Hendrix college consortium in following years (http://www.hendrix.edu/rwanda/.)    With this came a broadening of the influence of Rwanda on American universities and greater awareness of the wonder God was doing in Rwanda.    May Hendrix continue to nurture diverse unity, the acquisition of knowledge, and the telling of Rwanda’s God journey.

3.   Rwanda Outreach and Community (ROC) Partners:   From three families at a table going, “What should we do?” God did the extraordinary through a small group of Oklahoma friends at Quail Springs Church of Christ.    Now God is asking for us to go to a new place.    May the ROC leadership be filled with immense wisdom and foresight for the new season of God’s favor.


Mungu akubariki (May God bless you,)

Dave and Jana

P.S.   The ROC board is hosting a Celebration Blessing on Saturday, January 19, 2013 at 7:00 p.m.  in the Gotcher Room at the Gaylord University Center on the campus of Oklahoma Christian University for our family .    We would love for you to attend.   Following is a message from ROC Board Chairman, John Osborne,



Alain Shema, John Osborne, and Arlette Muhoza at OC Graduation 2010
Dear Friends,

Let me take this opportunity to invite you to a special celebration gathering to bless and commission the Jenkins family.  As many of you know, Dave, Jana, and their children returned to the United States in June for a season to respond to the needs of their family and with the vision to help grow ROC’s network of partners.  

Dave and Jana have been pioneers in Uganda and Rwanda for the last 19 years and your support and partnership have made that possible.  The Jenkins would like the opportunity to thank you for the partnership you shared with their family while they were in Africa.

We also want to take this unique opportunity to honor and bless the Jenkins family for their service, their devotion, and their faithfulness.  We know your presence would be very meaningful to them.

We are hosting the Jenkins Celebration Blessing on Saturday, January 19, 2013 in the Gotcher Room at the Gaylord University Center on the campus of Oklahoma Christian University.  We will gather at 7:00 PM for dessert, tea, coffee, and fellowship.

We also plan to offer a “giving basket” as an opportunity to express our appreciation for the Jenkins and to help meet some of their needs during this transition.

I hope you can join us.

On behalf of the ROC Board,

John Osborne
ROC Board Chair
Mobile: 405-819-7181
Email: john.osborne@oc.edu

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

THERE ARE NO FORGOTTEN BIRTHDAYS




The humble one’s stories are too easily forgotten.    This morning as I checked my Facebook I had 37 friends whose birthday is January 1.     On an average day I should have 8 or 9 friends to wish a birthday.   (3,051 Facebook friends divided by 365 days in a year equals 8.35 friend’s birthdays per day.)    Today, there is a 411% increase in birthday averages.   What is up?

A couple of my Bazungu (white, or those who wander in circles) friends truly know that January 1 is their birthday.    A couple of my friends from Africa who were fortunate to have their mother deliver in a hospital during a day of relative peace truly know that January 1 is their birthday.

Yet, for the majority of my 37 Facebook friends today they were born during a season of absolute chaos.    They were born in places like remote villages, refugee camps, and urban slums.   Their mom was one of the world’s poorest of poor.    She was likely on the run.  Their mom was thankful to have lived through delivery, and today is exceptionally thankful the child born on that day is alive.

These friends of mine share a common past with my boss, Jesus of Nazareth.   He too was born in poverty (Luke 2:1-21).     Stables and mangers in church nativity scenes frequently miss this point.    If you can’t smell the manure your church has understated the chaos of Jesus’ birth.    Jesus was born in forced circumstance as his nation, Judah was under Roman occupation.    His parents were forced to travel near the end of his mom, Mary’s pregnancy just to register for a census and pay tax.    Forcing a pregnant woman to travel is the height of oppressive government policy.    

These friends of mine share another common past with my boss, Jesus of Nazareth.   His family too was forced to flee for their safety as refugees (Matthew 2:13-18.)    An evil despot intended to kill all rivals, and that included infant boys in a remote village.     Despots do the same things today.

Where is God in such circumstances?

Paul in describing the riches of knowing Christ tells an unfathomable truth (Ephesians 1.)    Before creation God in His infinite knowledge knew His creation would rebel.     God’s holiness could not dwell with rebellion.    Our rebellion would cause eternal separation from the God of infinite love.     The consequence was as horrific as an infant child abandoned and left to die in a field (Ezekiel 16:4-6.)    God chose to rescue us by sacrificing the life of His own Son.    In the process He took us rebels, and adopted us into His family.    Can you imagine?    He knew every sin we would commit.   He knew the horrific costs.   Yet, He chose to create what He would redeem though sacrifice.    Amazing.  Jesus is Emmanuel, God near and with us.

In the chaos that humanity lives God watches every movement of life.   In God’s eyes there are no forgotten birthdays.  His word states,

“Yet you brought me out of the womb; you made me trust in you, even at my mother’s breast (Psalm 22:9.)”

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13.)”

“This is what the LORD says— he who made you, who formed you in the womb, and who will help you: Do not be afraid… whom I have chosen (Isaiah 44:2.)”

“This is what the LORD says— your Redeemer, who formed you in the womb: I am the LORD, the Maker of all things, who stretches out the heavens, who spreads out the earth by myself… (Isaiah 44:24.)”

“Before I was born the LORD called me; from my mother’s womb he has spoken my name. (Isaiah 49:1.)”

“And now the LORD says— he who formed me in the womb to be his servant (Isaiah 49:4.)”

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; (Jeremiah 1:5.)”

In eternity, God will redeem each one of these chaotic births.   In God’s eyes there are no forgotten birthdays.   Yet, we do live in the here and now.   Is there hope in this life for God to bring good out of chaos?

Absolutely.    God is sovereign.   He is good.    He is full of love.  His ways are mysterious.   Yet, His ways are just.    History is full of stories of God bringing good from chaos.

One of the privileges God gave me during my season in Rwanda was to be a facilitator in the Presidential Scholars program.   Facilitator sounds important.   All I did was pragmatically pastor.  I made friends.    I helped friends communicate to one another.    Sometimes it was rather mundane.   One of the mundane moments was filling out visa applications.    The applications required filling out a date of birth.    Many times we wrote in the application January 1, _______.

Most of those bright young Banyarwanda who wrote January 1, ______ were not born on January 1, ______.    Instead they were born during absolute chaos.     All their family can remember is a year filled with turmoil.    In some ways, God has helped them forgive the sources of the chaos, and in the process forget a few details that would even include the month of the birth.   

Rwanda Presidential Scholars at Hendrix College
Yet, something wonderful happened in the years following the traumatic birth.    Enough peace came that a family could survive.    They could put down a root somewhere.    The kids could go to school.    Many times the schools were barely functioning.    Yet, somehow learning happened.    The brightest students found a place of marginal stability and success.    They kept at it for years.    Then they sat their final secondary exam.   They scored near the top of all the students in the nation.     Then they received an opportunity to interview with the different universities offering scholarships.    For some of these bright Banyarwanda, this was the first time they had even been in the capital of Kigali.   If there was no God they would have had no chance.    Yet, there is a God.  He is good.   He enjoys showing His grace upon the most humble.   These kids whose families don’t remember their birthday were offered scholarships to attend prestigious universities in the United States.   God is good.

So today I ask that if you definitely know the day of your birth thank God.    Much of the world does not have that luxury.   If you’re one of those who wrote January 1, _____, but really don’t know; also thank God.   If you meet someone with a January 1, ____ birthday, listen to their story.   Thank God.   He is good.  There are no forgotten birthdays.