Posts in Africa
Scholarships for Presbyterian Students at the Protestant Institute of Arts and Social Sciences (PIASS) and Kay Day - September 2019 Update

Dear friends and family,

In August, I witnessed what God has been doing with your support through the Protestant Institute of Arts and Social Sciences (PIASS) for the ministry and the church here, and I was humbled by it.

Each August, the Presbyterian Church of Rwanda holds a church-wide-evangelism rally for four days, hosted by a different presbytery each year. The culmination of the rally is the annual ordination service on Sunday. This year the event was held in Zinga Presbytery, in the eastern region, about four hours from PIASS. Ten new pastors were ordained. Seven of them had been my students. I had preached at five of their weddings, baptized two of their children and been on the dissertation team of four of them as they completed the requirements for graduation. I was delighted to watch as they raised their right hands to pledge to serve Christ and the church and to see the presidents of their respective presbyteries place robes and stoles on them. Then all ordained pastors in the congregation were invited to come forward and lay hands on them as they were prayed for. What a joy to be a part of these bright young men and women accepting the call of Christ on their lives.

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The Presbyterian Church of Rwanda - Update

We received this letter from the Rev. Julie Kandema, who serves as vice-president of the Presbyterian Church of Rwanda (EPR) and is in charge of church growth for the denomination:

Dear friends,

Over the last five years, we have been teaching our people about decentralization within the Presbyterian Church of Rwanda. As a result of many training sessions, people have testified that they now understand the idea of taking responsibility for church operations in general and the development of its people in particular. The results have been positive, leading people to take charge of projects such as building new churches and renovating existing church buildings.

To accomplish these projects, the parishioners organize fundraising activities and collect tithes and contributions. When the church is blessed with a partner in support of these activities, it is truly an encouragement and means that the congregation is not alone.

Last year when the government decided to shut down churches which were not meeting standards, the EPR was not spared. Many of our congregations struggled and our members had to work hard to have their building reopened.

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Clean Drinking Water in Kenya - Update

The Outreach Foundation and the Presbyterian Church of East Africa (PCEA), along with various local churches, have been partnering to provide clean drinking water in Kenya. Much of this work has concentrated on Maasai households in the Loodokilani Mission Area. The work provides water tanks to families and boreholes in communities.

The PCEA Women’s Water Tank Project in Loodokilani Mission Area was initiated by Presbyterian women in 2015 in partnership with The Outreach Foundation. This project is a wonderful mission agent, bringing many Maasai to Christianity through the Presbyterian Church in Kajiado West Sub-County.

The focus of the project is to address the acute need for water in the Maasai community. Through this project, 441 water tanks have been distributed to Maasai households (88% of the targeted 500 households). The Presbyterian women, Maasai families (the beneficiaries of the project) and PCEA Loodokilani Mission Area thank Outreach and U.S. Presbyterians for the generous financial support that has led to the success of the initiative.

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Girls' Education and Rescue Centers/Linda's Libraries-August 2019 Update

Dear friends,

Several years ago, we partnered with Books for Development, a great organization in Houston that collects and sends books to needy schools and organizations. They have sent us two containers of books which have filled the shelves of two Linda’s Libraries and will fill two more we are constructing this year.

Thogoto Primary Library is one of our first primary school libraries and we are very happy with the outcome. We previously had a relationship with this school because we provided computers for their computer lab, which is now part of the new library. Our second primary school library is in Shalom Academy.

We have changed our library strategy slightly. We are still building Linda’s Libraries, two more this year, but we are also building smaller libraries at primary schools like Thogoto and Shalom.

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PCEA Church Construction in Kenya - August 2019 Update

Enjoy these joyful stories about church dedications from Stu and Annie Ross, Outreach East Africa Mission Consultants. They work in partnership with the Presbyterian Church of East Africa (PCEA) and U.S. congregations.

PCEA Karima Church
Located near the town of Maai-Mahiu, this church began in 1967 when a group of Christians from many denominations gathered to worship under a tree. In 1977, the PCEA sent an evangelist to gather the Presbyterians for worship in an elder’s house. By 1979 they raised enough funds to buy a plot of land and continued to raise funds to build a church in 1984. By 1995, there were 75 members! Unfortunately, the congregation began diminishing between 1995-2005 due to tribal clashes and the condition of the 1984 church, which was slowly falling apart. A decision was reached in 2016 to build a modern church, which we dedicated several weeks ago. This new church will allow the congregation to grow once again and provide ministries to the surrounding communities. At the dedication, the church was overflowing with visitors and friends. We had a good time with everyone on that day of celebration.

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Bob and Kristi Rice - Update

Embracing Hope: The Gift of Presence

Dear friends,

I looked over at the faces of the choir members, rigid with intensity and dripping with sweat as they sang and danced down the road. The drums beat loud, but the people sang even louder, lifting their hands in the air. I was humbled by their enthusiasm and energy. This was something of a “welcome parade” to greet the moderator and the team that accompanied him on a visit to Bentiu. We were walking (or dancing and marching, with the choir) through the large camp for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), ending with a celebration at the church. Being met by such an enthusiastic crowd was humbling, and then we were welcomed in traditional Nuer fashion by having our feet washed. I was overwhelmed by the welcome and realized how significant it was for this remote congregation to be visited by their leaders and feel connected to the church in other places.

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Home of Hope - Update

Christ is Our Light!!

“the people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death, a light has dawned.” Matthew 4:16 NIV

Dear friends,

No matter where we are or who we are, no matter if we live in darkness no matter how great it is…when Christ comes darkness flees. Much darkness is here in our land but all we can say is that God the Light of the world is amazing, his mercies and love know no bounds. No matter how many sins we committed or how we failed him, he calls on us to remind us that we are created in his image and therefore he loves us, and through his great love and mercy we can turn to him as he sent his One and Only Son Jesus to die for our sins. Whosoever believeth in him will have eternal life. That eternal life is a great light. It’s Heaven living inside us when Christ lives in us. Amazing. We rest in Jesus only for our salvation.

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Scholarships for Presbyterian Students at the Protestant Institute of Arts and Social Sciences (PIASS) and Kay Day - July 2019 Update

Dear family and friends,

Greetings from Rwanda. We are still rejoicing about the Protestant Institute of Arts and Social Sciences (PIASS) graduation held last month. Since we utilize a 12-month calendar for studies, graduation is usually held in late September or early October, but this year it was postponed until June so that we could hold it on the new campus of PIASS in Karongi, in the western province. The delay was so the new building could be finished and inaugurated. Although the building was not quite complete, the graduation was still held there. It was a major undertaking. Since most of our classes are held on the main campus in Huye, where I live, almost everyone and everything had to be transported to Karongi. Several of the staff went ahead of time to set up the venue. On graduation day, June 19, the rest of us followed in an elaborate caravan.

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Daniel and Elizabeth Turk - June 2019 Update

Dear friends,

The Ivato seminary campus is especially beautiful as the rains have turned the campus into a green haven. The four-story seminary building, pictured above, was constructed last year to commemorate the Church of Jesus Christ in Madagascar (FJKM’s) 50th year anniversary and the 200th year anniversary of the first missionaries’ arrival in Madagascar. It is an impressive reminder of FJKM’s commitment in preparing pastors to serve the growing church. The FJKM is the largest protestant denomination in Madagascar with over 6,000 churches but fewer than 2,000 pastors.

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PCEA Tumaini Children's Ministry - June 2019 Update

Dear friends of Tumaini children,

On behalf of Tumaini/Huruma children, we want to bring you this update concerning the current situation of the homes. The Outreach Foundation is very grateful for your generosity that allowed the PCEA Riamukurwe parish to start and operate Tumaini and Huruma homes. As we write, the Ministry is struggling to maintain high-quality care for the children who are served by the homes. As we work with other close partners to help the parish in Nyeri to carry on its witness for Christ by serving the needy in their midst, we have been actively engaging the local board, encouraging them to find solutions to several issues and challenges facing the homes.

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Dustin and Sherri Ellington - May 2019 Update

Dear friends,

I’d like to share a conversation with a student from Mozambique, José Bazima. Ever since meeting him, I had been encouraged by José’s thoughtful comments in class and in the Bible study group I facilitate, but I knew I wanted to ask him more questions when he shared a simple song in chapel that really touched my faith. My experience with African Christians has been rich, and their powerful motivation to be of one heart and mind in service to their communities really challenges me. But it seems that only now and then have I heard personal expressions about Jesus, such as loving and serving him who, in the apostle Paul’s words, “loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20). That’s something I want for my students as they prepare to be pastors, so their relationship with Jesus Christ inspires and sustains their life of service. Let me share with you some of my conversation with José.

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Girls' Education and Rescue Centers - May 2019 Update

Dear friends,

This verse describes Rev. Charles Maina, a servant of God who puts his life on the front line defending and rescuing girls by providing a place to increase knowledge and understanding and educating society to recognize the plight of the girl child. Rev. Maina is a pastor and missionary to PCEA Loodokilani, Kajiado Presbytery where Mother Esther’s School and Rescue Center is located.

A group from Outreach recently traveled to Kajiado, Kenya and visited Mother Esther’s. Our group included Ebralie Mwizerwa, Outreach Projects Coordinator, Dr. Jennifer L. Ellis, First Presbyterian Church Clarksville, TN, and Frank Dimmock, Outreach Africa Specialist. We were accompanied by Stu Ross, East Africa Mission Consultant for Outreach, and Rev. Lauren Scharstein, Antioch Partner (TAP) missionary who works with the Presbyterian Church of East Africa (PCEA).

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Namumu Orphanage Center - May 2019 Update

Dear friends and supporters of Namumu,

Greetings in the name of Christ our Lord. As we shared in our previous update, a team from Outreach traveled to Siavonga, Zambia where Namumu Orphanage is located in September 2018. The purpose of the trip was to visit the children and meet with the Namumu leadership. This picture shows the Outreach team and Namumu board members after a very productive meeting to map out strategies for care for the children.

We are pleased to share this message we recently received from the Namumu Orphanage coordinator, Mr. Siakwale:

“On behalf of the Namumu Orphanage Center management, board, and children, I would like to take this opportunity to thank The Outreach Foundation and local partners for continued support.

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Hola Church in Kenya - Building Churches in Hard Places

We recently received the following information from Stu and Annie Ross, please pray for Hola Church:

The transporters and workers met at our workshop early in the morning to load the ten ton lorry and transport all the materials needed to build Hola Church. They loaded mabati (corrugated steel sheets), J-bolts to attach the roof to the steel, paint, a welding machine and other supplies and were packed and ready to go by noon.

The trip to Hola was long and treacherous. They drove eight hours until they reached a town called Garissa. T

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Church Construction in Kenya - April 2019 Update

We recently received this joyful report from Stu and Annie Ross, The Outreach Foundation’s East Africa Mission Consultants:

PCEA Neema-Gilgil Church
On November 25, 2018, we dedicated a beautiful church, PCEA Neema-Gilgil. This church is located in Central Province about three hours north of Kikuyu and has an interesting history. The church was started in 2002 with just seven members. They came to us for help in 2005 and asked us to assist them in building a small mabati church. At the time, they had 25 members and were growing. In 2013 they started digging the foundation for their new, much larger church which will hold about 400 members. They will have to do some fishing to add to their current 75 members, and they will! This church now has the capacity to do outreach in the larger community in which they serve. They are also considering adding a nursery and primary school.

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The Presbyterian Church of Rwanda - April 2019 Update

Casting the Nets into Deep Waters: Story of the Fishermen

A group from First Presbyterian Church Nashville, TN led by Outreach Program and Project Coordinator Ebralie Mwizerwa, traveled to Rwanda in early March to visit the Presbyterian Church of Rwanda (EPR). Luke 5:1-11 was the theme of the trip. Other team members were Sara DeVries, Parish DeVries, Erika Shapiro, Ada Shapiro, Kendall Posey, Tinsley Sheppard, and Dr. Jennifer Ellis from FPC Clarksville, TN.

Sara DeVries described her first moments in Rwanda: “We stepped out of the airplane into the fresh, thick Rwandan air, the night sky was clear, and the lights twinkled in the distance. We were greeted by EPR Vice-President Rev. Julie Kandema, Kigali Presbytery Vice-President Rev. Julius Ngendahayo, Kanombe congregation pastor Rev. Denys Niyonsenga, and many youths…

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Daniel and Elizabeth Turk - March 2019 Update

Madagascar is one of the poorest nations in the world with over 90% of the population living in poverty. It has one of the highest rates of child stunting (impaired growth and development due to poor nutrition, etc.) in the world.

The FJKM (Church of Jesus Christ in Madagascar), the largest protestant church in Madagascar, feels strongly that the church’s ministry is to both share the Gospel and to help people meet their physical needs. Recognizing that fruit trees offer a way out of poverty, mission co-worker Dan Turk has been working for over 15 years with the FJKM, with help from The Outreach Foundation, to bring in some of the world’s best fruit tree varieties including over 60 varieties of mangos.

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Doug Tilton - March 2019 Update

Dear friends,

It is hard to believe that 2019 is already here, shouldering out what turned out to be a very full 2018. Thank you for your prayers, your notes of interest and encouragement, and your generous gifts that have enabled me to accompany the wonderful work being done by our partners and mission personnel in Southern Africa.

The past year has featured a significant amount of travel. It has been a joy to be able to spend time with colleagues at the Church of Jesus Christ in Madagascar (FJKM) on two occasions in 2018. In April I had the privilege of traveling part of the time with a group from Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church in New York City. Fifth Ave PC has a number of people of Malagasy heritage in the congregation and it has long been involved in supporting the work of the FJKM.

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