We have been blessed with a good harvest from the last planting season. From our 12 x 12 meter well watered corn garden we got 38 kilos of corn. From our 6 x 6 meter well watered gardens we got 4.5 kilos of beans from each garden and 4 kilos of peanuts. We are quite pleased with this result and hopeful of a good harvest from our bananas which ought to produce next year. Next month we will begin to prepare for the next planting in September.
I firmly believe that Rwanda can not only meet but exceed all its food needs by implementing better methods of farming such as ‘Farming God’s Way’. Details on this method of farming can be found on their website at www.farming-gods-way.org.
Vineyard Rwanda Church Planting Team
Over 2 weekends in February, eight leaders of the Muyange Vineyard and one from an independent group in Byumba, attended a Church Planting seminar run by Dynamic Church Planting International in Kigali. With one of these leaders already starting a new church in Mageregere and the group from Byumba looking at joining the Vineyard Family, it was a great time of learning and discussion. We are excited to see what more fruit will come from this time together.
With a wonderful Christmas season behind us, 2014 is promising to be a great and busy year for the Vineyard Church in Rwanda. Our kid’s party on Christmas day was a big success with lots of fun and laughter. The kids went home very happy with the treat bags they received.
On the leadership front, Apollinaire has started a 2 year diploma program in Biblical studies at a Bible school in our district. Silvere is taking a certificate course at the same college. Silvere and his family have moved to Mageregere and started a small group which he intends to develop as a church plant. The plan is to have a church in each of the 3 districts in Kigali city and the village of Mageregere is the second after our church in Muyange.
Our Farming God’s Way program continues to make progress and we are almost ready to harvest our corn from the first planting season. We have already begun preparing our 5th and much larger garden for the next planting season in February. We are also working on a garden where we will plant 12 banana trees. One of our neighbors has agreed to try a 12 x 12 meter well watered garden in February and we will be helping him with that.
The lack of progress with the church building continues to be a real concern. In July we will have our assessment to determine our eligibility for permanent registration, and while our community and social development programs are going well, the lack of progress with our building is going to be a major obstacle. Please pray for a breakthrough with funding to move the building forward.
Family wise we had such a wonderful Christmas all together, with Joel’s girlfriend Rachel joining us. We felt so blessed, and just having Joel with us was the best Christmas present ever. We spent 4 days at the Free Methodist mission compound near Lake Kivu and really enjoyed the peace and fun we had together.
Our church planting training that was postponed in November is now rescheduled for February and I look forward to reporting on some great things that we are expecting from that. Until my next news report I just want to say once again how blessed and grateful we are for all your prayers and support. Fond regards and blessings.
November was a tough month for us here in Kigali. Val was very ill for about 3 weeks and we still don’t know exactly what it is that she had. A South African doctor friend who has been here for decades believes it was Dengue Fever. We are very grateful that she is now better and back teaching at KICS.
Val added a few extra rehearsals to make up for her sick time for the ‘International Departures’ play that was performed this week. There were over 30 middle and high school kids in it and it was a huge success which sold out both nights. What a great community building event it was!! Brendan choreographed a stomp dance and sang a beautiful duet in the play. It was a lot of work but also a lot of fun.
The Ibyishimo Sewing Coop have been taken on by a social enterprise group Indigo from the US and they just got another big order which will be a nice extra boost for the 12 families in our church who are benefiting from this business. We sold 10 turkeys for US thanksgiving and the corn on our model farm is growing amazingly. We are looking forward to extending our ‘well watered gardens’ in January and adding bananas to the mix. An Irishman growing bananas in Rwanda; who would have thought?
The ESL training with our 20 sponsored students and 15 or so other local students is going great and we are now working on letters to all the sponsors. It has been such a lot of fun teaching these very bright young men and women who we hope will be the future leaders of the Rwandan Vineyard church.
We are so excited to be having Joel coming to visit us this Christmas and we are all looking forward to a well earned break and getting rested up for all that the new year has in store for us.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all our supporters for making it possible for us to continue God’s work here in Rwanda and allowing us to impact so many lives for God’s glory. We are indeed blessed. Our regular monthly support has been consistently about $1000 short each month which has been largely covered by one off donations. Please pray about making a one-time donation or becoming a monthly supporter and help us to continue to be a blessing for God’s Kingdom here in Rwanda. May the joy of this beautiful season bless each of you and your families this Christmas.
Having successfully completed the 40 hour online portion of my TESL course, I began this week putting my skills into practice. IJM were asked to provide an ESL teacher for a Rwandan legal professional and I offered to help. The first three evening lessons have gone very well and I hope to help this student improve her English significantly in the next 6 months.
In November and December I will be teaching our 14 Secondary School Sponsored Students English over a six week period during their school break. English is becoming a very important language in Rwanda since they joined the British Commonwealth and all lessons are being taught now in English instead of French. The last remaining traces of the Belgian colonialists are quickly disappearing as Rwanda becomes established as a strong independent nation
This is an example of Rwandan art. Typically this art form is made from cow dung which is spread on wood and the designs are then created in the ‘mud”. This series of images is a part of a wall hanging in the Nyungwe Lodge in the Rwandan rainforest.
We had a great day last Saturday of prayer, teaching, and planning with the leadership of the Vineyard Church in Rwanda. We are so blessed to be growing together in the Lord as we seek his direction for His church and the role that we are privileged to play.
Our church secretary Clemence had her first training session yesterday with two staff members from the Acacia Accounting firm. Now that we are legally registered as the Vineyard Church in Rwanda we will need to comply with all the necessary administrative rules and regulations. Antoine and Ambroise who is the church treasurer sat in on the session. Thanks to Valans and Sosthene for their help.
We had a fun little get together with some of our sponsored students after church last Sunday. Apollinaire who has agreed to connect with and follow up on the students on this end, joined us. We talked about doing an ‘English as a Second Language’ course during their school break in November and they were quite excited about it. We would like to get the students corresponding with their respective sponsors by the end of this year as part of the English class.
We have 14 students sponsored this year and if we can find new sponsors we would like to add another 6 next year. If you or anyone you know would like to sponsor a student to go to Secondary School, just reply through this website or to firstname.lastname@example.org and we can send the relevant information with no obligation. Many thanks to our present sponsors; your help is having a greater impact than you can imagine. Blessings.
It has been a good week in Kigali. We feel much more settled and a number of things have come together for us as a family. We bought a car that was within our budget on Thursday. It is a 1998 Toyota Rav 4 and it was in much better condition that the other three we had seen, which cost a lot more. We had the brakes done and it needs four new tires. Please God we will have more success with this one than previous vehicles.
I completed my TESL online course one day before the deadline and I am now a certified English as a Second Language teacher. I am looking forward to using my new skill to help our secondary school sponsored students improve their English. Ambroise and I met with a guy from the US with an agricultural background who has been working with Rwandans on a Farming God’s Way project and he has agreed to help us kick start our own project again in Muyange. The three of us will start on Wednesday and I am really excited to see what God will do with this. More to follow in the next few weeks!
Val and Brendan are enjoying life at KICS (Kigali International Community School). Brendan is in grade 10, doing some grade 11 courses. He loves his new teachers this year. Val is busy helping with the middle school English department, and middle and high-school drama. She is having a real hoot with the kids in drama. Joel starts University this week and we are missing him. We are already thinking about having him to visit at Christmas.
Church in Muyange this morning was very lively as usual. We presented the children with a big poster from the children at the Metro Vineyard which they were very excited about. We will have it mounted and hung in the Sunday school room. The church building continues to progress. Plastering the outside has already begun and is coming along nicely.
It is good to be back in Rwanda. We look forward to seeing what God will do and will keep you informed as it all unfolds. Blessings and many thanks for your prayers and support.