January 22, 2017 was a glorious day of celebration in a small village in the rolling hills of Rwanda – we dedicated Karwihura Church in the EPR Zinga Presbytery. The Karwihura congregation began in 1981 with only six families in a small mud church. Since then, the parish has grown to five congregations. In 2014 the Karwihura congregation started building this new church. The people in the village are very poor and have suffered through one drought after another. They are subsistence farmers, and you wonder how they can survive in this situation. They contributed labor, sand, stones, and stone fill to the construction project, and they also gave some money, really sacrificially. The women gathered sand and stones by hand daily. This was truly a labor of love and dedication especially considering that it is difficult for them to even find food for their families.
Some will know that Kristi and I have been in a “holding pattern” for several weeks, waiting word regarding our future and whether we can return to our home and ministry in Congo. The day after Thanksgiving, we received a text message that changed the trajectory of our current life situation and altered the plans made and later confirmed when we left Congo in early 2016. A few days after receiving the fateful text message, a Skype call confirmed this reality. We are not returning to Congo this month as planned. In short, due to the continued political trials faced by the people of the Democratic Republic of Congo, coupled with an ongoing church conflict which has lasted four years and longer, our mission leaders have been advised by our partner church, the Congolese Presbyterian Community, that Kristi and I and another colleague should not return to Congo until a more favorable time. When that “favorable time” pokes its head from the clouds of the current political and ecclesiastical impasse remains anyone’s guess.
Life began in a very difficult way for Gift. He was abandoned very shortly after birth and was brought to the House of Moses by the authorities in early 2016. After exhaustive investigations were carried out, none of Gift’s relatives were found and six months after his admittance to the House of Moses, he was cleared for adoption.
At the same time, Kevin and Mary Mabwe were dreaming of adding a son to their family. The devoted parents already had two daughters but longed to complete their family and had opened their hearts up to the idea of adoption. They were soon matched with Gift and began bonding with him at the House of Moses. Bonding progressed so well that Gift was permanently placed with the Mabwe family and was renamed Kevin Jr., after his new father.
Greetings in Jesus’ name from the Western Province of Zambia,
Praise be to God for his grace that is sufficient all the time. I would like to share my sincere gratitude to God Almighty for answering prayers concerning our general election, which went well despite some tension. In this report, I will focus on testimonies coming from the field where our trained evangelists are serving the Lord. I will also share with you some progress from our current Live School classes.
The first report comes from Obby, an Inyambo graduate who shares a story about one of the current Live School students. Lemmy Simataa is confined to a wheelchair. He is an amazing evangelist. He pushes his wheelchair in the sandy soil of Mwandi reaching out to lost souls, praying for people in their homes, and serving as a volunteer at an orphanage in the village.
Iran is a unique place in the Muslim world. Why? Because it’s on fire for Christ. This may sound antithetical, but the Holy Spirit is doing a mighty work there. In fact, more people have come to Christ in Iran in the last 14 years than in the previous 1,400 years combined!
God is working through Iranian men and women to share the Good News of Jesus in many unique ways. House churches have been springing up in unthinkable numbers with hundreds of thousands worshipping secretly. A vast array of internet and satellite programming is available – in a country where satellite dishes are illegal! The programming includes leadership training, theological training, model church services and much more. And Iranian ministries outside of Iran are providing leadership training to church leaders inside Iran.
We were five pastors and five lay leaders who came from Oregon, Indiana, Nebraska, California, Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama. As the team leader, I was the only person who had actually met everyone before we gathered in Lebanon and then headed into Syria for 10 days and 9 nights to meet with congregations and pastors of the National Evangelical (Presbyterian) Church. On either side of our time in Syria, we spent days in Lebanon meeting with Outreach Foundation partners who are doing ministry with Syrian refugees, or, as is the case with Near East School of Theology, training the next generation of leaders to serve the Church in Syria. The ten of us quickly became a family,