Monday, April 28, 2008
She is unassuming, incredibly compassionate church planter. And, like Jesus, you will find her most often hanging out in bars and in the company of prostitutes.
Her community, Remera is like any other red light district the world over – bars and brothels, drugs and crime, patrons and pimps. They are selling sex, numbing hurts, belittling others and creating a community rife with trouble and heartache. This one happens to be in Kigali , Rwanda
Jane leads a church ( Prayer Palace Church ) among bars in Remera. Her congregation, which has grown to over 1000 in just few years, is an eclectic mix of former prostitutes, former clients, former madames and brothel owners, addicts and pushers and those who have finally come clean.
When they worship they dance – not because they are particularly Pentecostal but because they are free – free from drugs, free from sexual addition, free from the slavery of prostitution. Transformation is happening in the lives of those most churches would consider untouchable.
Transformation has not only come to individual lives but it has started to come to the community as well. Jane tells the story of bars and brothels that have closed as the owners, workers and clients have come to faith. She tells of a radical reduction in crime and the hope that comes from job creation. And today the two biggest buildings in the area are churches and the biggest crowds gathered are those of the faith community. The red light district is changing!
What is most astounding is the compassion with which Jane speaks of her congregation and their community. There is no hint of condemnation.
Surely she has understood that Christ came not to condemn but to seek and save the lost. According to Jane, the Kingdom of God breaks addictions, prostitution and invades the Red-light District everyday.
Friday, April 25, 2008
“Malaria remains a major threat for 3.2 billion people in more than 107 countries throughout the world,” says the Red Cross. Malaria is the most important parasitic disease in the world. It kills 3,000 children every day and more than one million each year. The majority of these deaths occur among children under five years of age and pregnant women in sub-Saharan Africa. The clinical disease burden is especially high among these two groups as a result of immature and weakened immunity respectively.
HOW TO GET INVOLVED:
You can help us. $100 would pay for 20 long-lasting insecticidal nets for 20 pregnant women and their smallest children, providing protection for up to 4 years. Let us know if you are willing to become a partner to make a difference.
Thank you for caring!
Thursday, April 24, 2008
There is an old Celtic saying: "Anyone without a soul friend is a body without a head." There are not many Celtic sayings about what people without success are; the Celts didn't seem to be terribly interested in success. But they were pretty big on friendship.
I've been thinking about this because I just got back from a once-a-year weekend with four of my oldest friends. We've been friends for over thirty years.
Mark is the smartest of us. He does philosophy professionally. None of us argue with him, because we're afraid that if we did, he might prove we don't exist.
Tommy is the WD-40 of human relationships. He makes any group he's a part of better, more human, and deeper, because of his ability to draw out whatever is inside of you.
Kevin is a charmer. Girls were drawn to him enough in college that we used to hang around just hoping for a chance with some of his discards.
And Chuck is my oldest friend, whose sense of humor can be described only as demented (and I mean that in the most complimentary way); a doctor who drove an ancient car he named Waldo and begins each day in prayer at his practice and makes us laugh till we cry with the same stupid material he's been using for 30 years.
We meet each year at a cabin up in the hills. We have developed certain rituals: we walk certain paths; we grill a huge salmon dinner on Saturday night; we talk and pray for hours before a fire Sunday morning; we smoke cigars and watch the sun go down behind the Pacific; we laugh until we cry at things an eighth grader would find sophomoric and unsophisticated. We mark our lives by this annual meeting. We speak of our marriages, our families, our dreams, our scars, our depression, our therapy, our victories, our brokenness, our knowing God. We are a circle in which everyone matters, and we never know what will be said next.
I do not understand very much about friendship. I think one reason I value it so much is that I went a long time without it. I did not have a real friend my own age (outside my sister and my cousin Danny, and they were both more or less obligated by genetics) until my sophomore year in high school. I was lonely without even knowing it. It would have been beyond my self-awareness, or maybe pride, to name it.
And then one fall, I was in two classes with this kid named Chuck. One month I did not have a friend, and then I did. I don't know how it happened. I just know it changed my life and gave me a deep hunger for this thing called friendship that has never gone away. Then I went to college and again spent a lonely freshman year, and then a guy named Kevin opened a friendship gate and I was inside another circle.
Years ago I was wandering through a bookstore in Pasadena and picked up a book on spiritual friendship by a monk named Aelred who lived centuries ago. And I loved it, because here was someone who was enchanted by friendship and never got over it—who loved it so much that he said, "God is Friendship."
A friend, Aelred said, is someone to whom you can entrust the secrets of the heart. He said that sometimes you may think of someone as a friend but they are really only useful to you (like people in your pyramid sales group). I sometimes think that relationships between pastors and folks in their churches are like this. It's not that friendships cannot develop between pastors and attendees; they do, and I've enjoyed a few myself. But there are dynamics of role and confidentiality and the desire for success that often complicate them.
A friendship, like falling asleep, is something you cannot enter into by sheer willpower. I can open myself up to it. I can pray for it. I can look for people (Aelred actually recommends putting potential friends through a probationary period) and invite them out for coffee. Then maybe we find common ground. Maybe we make each other laugh, or find the same books interesting. Then we find that we are somehow loyal to each other, want good things for each other, are willing to speak difficult truth to each other.
But I cannot make this occur. Friendship happens, when it happens, as a gift. It comes like rain or sunshine or Cinnabons; a delight and joy and bonus that makes the world a better place. I think, maybe, that when you come right down to it, friendship is pretty much what the Church is about. And the human race, for that matter. And—this is beyond my theological competence—maybe the Trinity, too.
I need to work and grow and hone my abilities and add value to the world. But mostly, I think, I need friends. My friends are those people, those few and mysterious people, who love me for no reason at all. Which is the only really good reason to love.
John Ortberg is pastor of Menlo Park Presbyterian Church (California)
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
- make clothing to sell which will help them to make a living for their families;
- help in producing clothing for our orphan program who consist out of more than 500 kids;
- help with the training of others.
Monday, April 21, 2008
The washing machine itself. Make sure all the goodies are in place. Use washing powder that would be fit for a cold wash. Have plenty containers around. Make sure you have blocks under the wheels of your washing machine - you do not want to do "washing on the run"!
Start the process. Wishy washy. Make sure again that water levels are up for the task. You will see a wheel borrow on the side - important if you have to run with washing to the line. Basic rules still apply - whites with whites and coloured clothing separately.
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
ZIMBABWE - 2 minutes before sleeping (in the good old days!)
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
And the bride - Salena.
Could not place more than one honeymoon photo - lol! Congrats Nat & Salena - may God bless you both in a way that will leave you breathless. We all love ya dearly. By the way - all your Mozambiquean friens say "Parabem amigos .... parabem!"
Sunday, April 13, 2008
Wednesday, April 09, 2008
These 6 nurses from the University of Canada worked and served on the base for the last month. They stayed in tents and survived the bush! Here they are with Alta just before they left ..... heading back home!
Polokwana also visited for a few days and brought an awesome team to serve the communities and more specifically the churches in our area. The Women's Ministry was not overlooked as they made sure that Eunice (Women's Ministry National Coordinator) received a brand new bicycle for her work in the bush.
Offloading some of the goodies for the community. Simon (Pre-School teacher) watches as many toys were amongst the gifts. Our pre-schools seriously needed some toys. Johan Pieterse is a pastor in the Polokwane Congregation.
One of the Polokwane ladies pray for one of our widows in the community. After the team left the whole community said it as one: "Can they please return ... they have touched as like no one before." Many thanks to all who come from so far to be a blessing!
Rule 1: Life is not fair - get used to it!
Rule 2 : The world won't care about your self-esteem. The world will expect you to accomplish something BEFORE you feel good about yourself.
Rule 3 : You will NOT make $60,000 a year right out of high school. You won't be a vice-president with a car phone until you earn both.
Rule 4 : If you think your teacher is tough, wait till you get a boss.
Rule 5 : Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your Grandparents had a different word for burger flipping: they called it opportunity.
Rule 6: If you mess up, it's not your parents' fault, so don't whine about your mistakes, learn from them.
Rule 7: Before you were born, your parents weren't as boring as they are now. They got that way from paying your bills, cleaning your clothes and listening to you talk about how cool you thought you were. So before you save the rain forest from the parasites of your parent's generation, try delousing the closet in your own room.
Rule 8: Your school may have done away with winners and losers, but life HAS NOT. In some schools, they have abolished failing grades and they'll give you as MANY TIMES as you want to get the right answer. This doesn't bear the slightest resemblance to ANYTHING in real life.
Rule 9: Life is not divided into semesters. You don't get summers off and very few employers are interested in helping you FIND YOURSELF. Do that on your own time.
Rule 10: Television is NOT real life. In real life people actually have to leave the coffee shop and go to jobs.
Rule 11: Be nice to nerds. Chances are you'll end up working for one.
If you can read this - Thank a teacher!
Monday, April 07, 2008
Thanks to the help of so many good people it is possible for kids to enjoy a good day at school. The feeding and health program presented at the school already showed its fruits. Our school, as you already know by now has been shown as the school with the highest pass rate and highest percentage average in our area.
Our kids also participates in our meals by carrying water to the kitchen so that our chef, Fernando, can cook for them.
- Dwight and Lynn just left for a month heading to Brazil - all quiet;
- All our groups, nurses and co-workers left after a busy time on the base;
- By the way - Nat Zook - got married in March and we wish him and Salena just the best for the next 98 years!
- I am off to Rwanda soon - will keep you updated;
- New "more permanent" missionaries, Rick and Heather Neufield, will arrive in August.
- Crisis in Zimbabwe
- For wisdom with all the ministries and people involved
Bless ya all!