Weekly Update | Paul Lecturing

This week in Rwanda has been good. We weren’t able to get a speaker to come and give the lecture for our Discipleship Training School, so we decided to divide up the weeks’ teaching between the staff. I ended up teaching two days on the cost of discipleship.

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I made a powerpoint presentation, which I haven’t done since I was in school, so it was somewhat nostalgic. The students seemed engaged and attentive. I was happy to hear any questions they had because I definitely do better in discussion style lectures. It went really well and they all learned a lot.

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Sue and I helped plan and set up a night of “Surrender to God” for the students. We had a time of prayer and meditation where we asked God if there was anything we were personally holding on to that it was time to let go of. Maybe a bad relationship, or an unhealthy habit, or a negative attitude. Then we had a feast of fruit and tea and banana cake. It’s been great being part of something real and powerful. The students are opening up to us and I can call them my friends now.

There’s been a big retreat of about fifty people from Tanzania, Kenya, and Uganda staying at the base. The meal times have been wild. Sue and I made breakfast today and I’ve never seen scrambled eggs like that before. Also we eat beans like everyday. But this last time randomly they got a little more burnt and the flavors were actually quite nice.

Also the the YWAM team from Kona (who have been in Uganda for the second part of their outreach) came back to the base today. We’re all happy to see them and hear all their stories about Uganda. We’re looking forward to what is to come as we prepare for outreach. We only have 5 short weeks of lecture left before we leave for the big outreach to The Eastern Province. The adventure continues; and as we’re learning, will never end!

Weekly Update | Geocaching Attempt

This week in Rwanda has been awesome. We’re becoming friends with all of our students in the Discipleship Training School, and getting to know them better and better.

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Sue and I are coordinating speakers for our weekly lectures. We couldn’t find anyone to come next week, so I reluctantly volunteered to teach on the cost of discipleship. I’m not generally keen on speaking in front of people. I am trying to grow myself and become better though. So I’ve been preparing a PowerPoint. I haven’t created a PowerPoint presentation since I was in school, and my skills have dramatically declined. But it’s okay; it will work out.

We made friends with our new neighbor. He’s nineteen and working with a coffee company out of Alesund Norway. Rwanda has wonderful coffee. Naturally of course that’s exactly the activity we chose to do with him. We walked to our favorite café here and talked for hours. It was great. Sue can engage people in conversation like a therapist, or a hair stylist.

This weekend we went all over the city Geocaching. We took motos and walked and climbed. We finally made it to the exact location the coordinates brought us to; a motel overlooking the city. We searched all around dismissing waiters and guards, tromping through bushes, peeking in the private rooms. Finally the manager found us. He knew what we were up to and gave us a clue that it was over by the entrance gate. We thanked him kindly and ran like deranged children to the gate and started ripping up the bushes there. We looked everywhere for over an hour! I even searched every stone in the brick wall to see if there was an Indiana Jones secret loose brick. Nothing.

One of the guards came over and motioned to us that the Geocache was right there by the gate where we were looking. I asked if he could show me. He shook his head smirking malevolently. We searched and searched. I picked up every old piece of trash and inspected it like a DEA detective. Nothing. I begged the guard, “please, can you show me?” He repeated his gesture of denial.

We searched some more and I asked him one more time, “I can’t find it. Do you know where it is?” He nodded with the same smirk. “Can you show me please? I can’t find it anywhere.” He shook his head again and smiled. I was his source of entertainment for the evening. I guess I don’t blame him for not wanting to end it.

Either way though we had to go. Slightly disappointed but grateful for the adventure. We got some motos and proceeded home. Sue’s moto driver couldn’t get his bike up the hill though. He had to stop and ask Sue to dismount so that they could push his bike along the highway to the nearest bus stop where he flipped it upside down and violently kicked it. Somehow this did the trick and they were able to continue on.

Just another week here. The adventure never ends.

Week three of DTS

What we’ve been up to…

The DTS has begun and we are now in our third week of lecture phase. We have 9 students from Rwanda, Uganda, Tanzania and Burundi. One of our students is coming from a Burundian refugee camp in the Eastern Province of Rwanda called Mahama. Mahama is home to around 75,000 Burundians fleeing political conflict and violence in Burundi. Our students are all coming from different backgrounds and cultures and it’s been amazing to learn and grow together as a team.

Our first week of lecture was about the character and nature of God taught by one of the staff here at YWAM Kigali. Our second week was about the father heart of God and forgiveness, taught by a local Rwandese pastor. The majority of our students have lost parents and family members to genocide and war. Some of our students are coming from unimaginable situations and it has been amazing to see the power of forgiveness and inner healing at work in their lives.

This week we have a couple from Australia teaching on relationship with God and identity in Christ. They were the base directors in YWAM England for 15 years and have been living and doing ministry in Australia for the past 13 years teaching in high security prisons. They have been such a blessing to our school and encouragers to us.

The team from Kona Hawaii is leaving for Uganda on February 5th to finish the last three weeks of their outreach phase at YWAM Jinja in Uganda. They have been such a blessing to the base and to the local ministries that they have been working with. They will be missed!

What we will be up to…

In April we will start the outreach phase of our school. Outreach is an opportunity for students to practically apply what they’ve learned in lecture phase. They will get a taste for different ministries and what it is like for missionaries in the field by working alongside locals. We don’t know where we will take our class for outreach yet but we are praying about different locations. We will be leading and planning this time for our class.

We have 9 more weeks of lecture phase which is a busy schedule of group intercession, worship, lectures, devotional times, quite time and so many other activities that we are juggling and organizing. We mentor students one on one which is intense at times because of their difficult pasts.

Pray with us
  • We are still praying and thinking about where to take our class for outreach phase. Please pray with us that the staff would hear clearly from God about where to go and that the staff could make a unified decision.
  • Most of our students don’t have the money to pay for their DTS school fees. Please pray with us that they are all able to complete the program and that God provides for them. If you want to support the DTS students, you can buy things from the DTS Facebook page store. All of the proceeds go to the DTS scholarship fund.

A Trip To The Eastern Province

We just got back from an amazing trip to the Eastern Province of Rwanda. After three hours on a cramped bus winding through gorgeous hills, tea plantations and small villages we finally arrived in Mutara. We were here with our DTS staff team: Antoine, Gamariel and Margret for a few days of team building and exploring their YWAM project.

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On the bus

We were greeted at the bus stop by an amazing Canadian lady, Amanda, who lives and works with the poor and needy of the Mutara region. Amanda, her husband Mike and one and a half year old daughter, Beatrix, live in a small house on a gorgeous piece of land. They love the people of Rwanda and have big dreams for this area. We were so inspired by their big hearts, big vision and even bigger passion to “bring life” to the people of Mutara. They work here alongside a team of YWAMer’s who moved out there from Kigali to build a medical clinic, farm and medical garden as a YWAM outreach center. Unfortunately, we were unable to meet the entire team but we did get to stay with Amiss, a volunteer who is also working on the project with them.

They have a huge plot of land for the development center and it’s gorgeous. Mike has created a huge beautiful garden and orchard where he is growing all sorts of things; chia, corn, sunflowers, sorghum, beans, Irish potatoes, bananas, mangos, radishes, carrots, sweet potatoes, you name it! We walked through the huge garden as he described his vision behind growing so much chia. Chia grows easily year-round in Rwanda and is a nutrient rich superfood that he believes could help add much needed variety and nutrients to the diets of people in the area. He has also started a small medical garden where they are growing Atrimesia annua anamed, Moringa oleifera, Aloe Vera and Carica papaya. Atrimesia is a plant that treats malaria and easily grows there. They plan on sustaining the financial needs of the medical clinic through selling produce, pork and chia seeds.

They keep a few pigs too! Usually in Rwanda, people keep pigs in concrete pens but Mike has built a light-weight wooden pen that can be moved so that the pigs can dig and fertilize the soil for the garden.mutara3

We are inspired and excited about all of the wonderful things that they are doing. We plan on going back to stay with them longer. You’ll definitely be hearing more about the Mutara Development Center, hopefully soon! To support this project, check out their GoFundme page.

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Arise and Shine Elementary School and Loom International

A few years ago I visited Loom International’s office in Portland Oregon and I was so impressed by the incredible work that they do.

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One of Loom’s partners is Arise and Shine Elementary School which is on the YWAM Kigali Base. We will have the pleasure of working with them while we are in Rwanda and I am so very excited to see the other end of Loom’s work. Their volunteer teachers are taught their Celebrating Children Workshop which gives practical tools to people working with children at risk. “Through conversation and creativity, we continually look at how we can participate with God’s plans for restoring his intentions for children. The CCW blends biblical, scientific, social and cultural perspectives in order to provide a holistic approach to caring for the well being of a child.” – Loom International

  • An estimated 60% of projects serving at-risk children fail within the first two years.
  • The reasons are numerous, but we have found that it often boils down to a lack of funding, a lack of staff and organizational skills and too many times—serious burn-out. Serving vulnerable communities can be back-breaking and heart-breaking work and yet, every day, every where, Local Experts are choosing to keep at it.
  • This is where Loom comes in. The challenges are never simple, but we believe that many times the solutions can be. Our tools bring tangible, practical approaches, such as specialized training, workshops, retreats, ongoing relationship and more—all with one focus: empowering people and their projects to be sustainable longterm.
  • From training on how to work with children at risk, to coaching staff on the financial and logistical aspects of projects, to helping integrate personal wellbeing and life-skills into a ministry’s daily work, the Loom tools form a holistic framework for lasting change.

We will be working directly with people trained through Loom’s Celebrating Children Workshop and experience first-hand the success of Rise and Shine School.

What is Youth With a Mission?

In 2011 I did a DTS in Kenya and in 2013 Paul did a DTS in Oregon with Youth With a Mission (YWAM). These experiences changed our lives and are one of the reasons we have a heart to see the world. Since then we have been involved in several YWAM ministries, done schools with them and volunteered for them. Now we are joining their full time staff.

Here’s a 30 second promo video from YWAM Salem Oregon that might answer some questions about what a DTS is.

There are so many aspects of YWAM, different bases, schools and ministries that it gets confusing. So ask in the comments section below and we’ll be happy to write about your questions!