By Patrick Finnerty
Since our last newsletter there has been a rather unfortunate development for the Vineyard gathering in Kigali. The building we were renting for our Sunday meetings and other activities did not meet with regulations for a church gathering and we were obliged to vacate. So for the past 3 Sundays our meetings have been held outdoors on the church land which is just outside the village. We were hoping to begin developing the land later this year but this new situation has given us the incentive to begin sooner as there are no other suitable buildings available for rent in or around the village.
Work in progress on the land
According to Antoine attendance has dropped somewhat, with an average of 50 adults meeting for worship on Sundays. They have taken up special offerings and have collected the equivalent of $360 already. This is an amazing amount considering the economic status of the congregation. Building a toilet block is the first priority and they have begun by purchasing 8 bags of cement at a cost of $160. Yes, cement costs $20 per bag in Kigali. In Rwanda the last Saturday of every month is called Umuganda which is community service day. This means that everyone meets in their own neighbourhood and works together to do necessary maintenance of roads etc. Afterward they meet to discuss what is happening in their community. Our congregation has decided to meet on the other three Saturdays of the month to work on developing the church land.
Local church volunteers ready to get to work at the land
In other news we are pleased to tell you that Jocelyn has begun her sewing training and has not been in hospital since early December. Jocelyn has AIDS and she cares for her 2 year old daughter on her own with help from the church family. A small group from Valleygate Vineyard has sponsored Jocelyn’s maintenance and training as she learns the sewing trade. Odette completed her training in December and is heading up the sewing business that was initiated by the Almond Vineyard in Edinburgh.
Please continue to pray for the income generating projects that they will bring blessing to the lives of the poor in our church.
FINNERTY FAMILY NEWS
By Patrick Finnerty
On December 20th, 2009, Val’s Mom passed away peacefully in a nursing home in Halifax. She had been suffering from Alzheimer’s disease for 3 years and thankfully she did not have to linger too long in the final stages. We waited until after Christmas for the funeral and the service at St. Theresa’s church in Halifax was beautiful. The choir sang a hymn that was significant for Val in her calling to Africa. We were so blessed to have family and so many good friends around us at this time. Thanks to all for prayers and condolences.
It is hard to imagine a climate more different from Rwanda than winter in Nova Scotia. So far not too bad with just a few snow storms but the worst is probably yet to come. Our good friend Todd and his daughter Shauna took Pat and the boys for a day in the woods and they all had a blast. They did some tracking, lit a fire and cooked meat and potatoes. They learned how to set traps and had some target practice with a .22. A great day was had by all.
Joel and Brendan enjoying a great day in the Nova Scotia woods
We were blessed with a family membership at the local Sports Stadium and we are all enjoying the exercise. Joel is doing a course for his Red Cross bronze swimming medallion and going to the gym a couple of times a week. We were relieved to hear the Joel’s ACL will not require surgery and he is pretty much back to normal. Thanks for your prayers. Brendan is enjoying the swimming and the ice skating and we are hoping as a family to get at least one day on the ski slopes before winter ends. Val and I are getting to the gym regularly and Val is working on becoming fit and strong before her (please God) final surgery to reverse the colostomy, which is scheduled for March 11th. This is typically a straight forward procedure and we are praying that the peritonitis she suffered in South Africa has not caused any complications that could make the operation any more difficult than it should be.
This month I will be visiting Chilliwack in British Columbia to connect with Vineyard friends there and share with them what God is doing through the Vineyard movement in Rwanda.
Thanks again for all the love and support we have received as a family during our time on furlough. We feel thoroughly embraced by our Vineyard family here in Canada and by our partnering supporters in the US and the UK. Many blessings to you all.
1. Val’s surgery coming up on March 11th. That the bowel can be reconnected without complication.
2. Pat’s trip to Chilliwack Vineyard in BC on February 18th.
3. For our website manager Emlyn who is undergoing treatment for cancer.
4. For the people in the Kigali Vineyard who are working hard to develop the church land.
If you would like to support the efforts in Rwanda please contact our sending team leader, Sheryl Darrow at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are a donor and have questions or concerns please contact Sheryl as well. Lastly, if there is anything you would like to see in this newsletter in the coming months, please email Ron Hodder at email@example.com.