By Patrick Finnerty
The past few months have been significant for the Kigali Vineyard. In September Antoine Uwamungu who pastors the church in Kigali was able to join our Halifax Vineyard pastor Larry Levy at the PAVLN (Pan African Vineyard Leaders Network) meeting in South Africa. It was a great opportunity for Antoine to meet national leaders of Vineyard churches from around the continent. Thanks to Vern and Randy from the Chilliwack Vineyard in BC who sent a DVD that included Antoine addressing the PAVLN meeting.
On the way back to Rwanda, Larry and Antoine met up with Beth Wood who is also from the Halifax Metro Vineyard and had just arrived from visiting the Almond Vineyard in Edinburgh, Scotland who are partners in the Rwanda work. Beth returned to the Kigali Vineyard to follow up on the Kingdom development teaching she began last year. Here is a report from Beth.
“IT IS GOOD TO LEARN
By Beth Wood, Halifax Metro Vineyard
This was the message we hoped to get across to the 55 men and women from the Vineyard Church in Muyange village in Kigali, Rwanda. At the Kingdom Development workshop we were giving, Larry Levy, lead pastor of the Halifax Vineyard and I agreed to model the experience of learning new things. In a culture which focuses more on the past than on the future, where education levels are low overall, conformity is highly valued, fatalism still has a strong influence and most families are living on less than $2 a day, it’s not quite as simple as it may seem.
Church leaders participating in the Kingdom development seminar
So, I asked them to teach us how to dance — a bold move, I know, but it seemed right at the time. I think they picked one of their longest songs and away we went. I’m sure it was quite a sight but it was great fun for us and likely even more fun for our tutors. When four more Canadian visitors (Vern Tompke and Randy Cockrill from the Chilliwack Vineyard and Danica and Scott McKenzie from the Abbotsford Vineyard) joined us the next day, we all had another lesson. Then on the last day we ended our time together by dancing and rejoicing in the goodness of our God. These brothers and sisters have a great gift in being able to experience the joy of the Lord in the midst of deep suffering and we are thankful that they shared a taste of it with us. (And I’m sure it gave them some funny stories to share!)
We wanted to look at community health issues in the village but started by sharing some of what God had done in their midst over the past year. Each and every person in the room expressed thanks for a variety of significant experiences of God intervening in their lives. It was overwhelming and was another grace they brought to our lives.
Then we moved on to health issues in the village, exploring traditional remedies and new things they would like to learn about to help they and their neighbours to enjoy better health. This is when the idea of learning new things came back. By seeing us looking more than a bit awkward and confused, being humbled and enjoying ourselves at the same time, we were able to get to a place where learning new things seemed more like a fun adventure than a threat. With Danica leading, the other Canadians, including her husband Scott, were very cooperative in presenting some impromptu skits on basic health questions that really seemed to be meaningful to the participants — most of the visitors are hoping their bits weren’t caught on tape!
We hope to be able to continue this process whenever the door opens for a return trip. It is such a joy to be able to work in an integrated way, seeing how the natural and supernatural elements work together and inviting the Holy Spirit to lead in every area bringing holistic solutions and seeing God’s Kingdom move forward in all aspects of life in the village.
Antoine, Nathan Mugisha, Beth Wood and Florence
Antoine is doing a tremendous job pastoring the Kigali Vineyard and we had the joy of meeting his first son Nathan Mugisha who arrived prematurely in July but has now been able to go home with Antoine and Florence. In the midst of the many pressures of this year, Antoine has shown himself to be a man of integrity and wisdom and is well loved by the community he pastors. The church community continues to grow and develop in healthy ways and the church-based development projects are ongoing.
FINNERTY FAMILY NEWS
By Patrick Finnerty
It is wonderful to look back sometimes and see how God answers prayers. Looking at the 5 prayer requests at the end of our last update we can see how God has yet again exceeded our expectations. Many thanks for all your prayers.
Val had her surgery on October 19th and all went well. The anesthetist turned out to be the wife of Brendan’s soccer coach from Newfoundland and she was brilliant at putting Val as ease as she prepared for the operating theatre. We were blessed with a very positive hospital experience as a stark contrast to the nightmare in Durban in February. A word of thanks to all who have brought meals this week and to the ladies who have cleaned our home.
Joel and Brendan are doing well in school. Brendan is taking violin lessons and Joel is learning guitar. Joel had an accident while ‘dirt boarding’ and the doctor suspects a ruptured ACL in his knee. He is waiting for an MRI and praying that he will not need surgery.
September and October were busy and productive months for us. We gave many presentations on the work in Rwanda. We were at Saint John and St. Croix Vineyards in New Brunswick where we were well looked after and blessed with the interest shown. The folks at St. Croix pulled out all the stops to make it a memorable weekend. We had a ‘Rwandan Night’ on Saturday when their mission team led by Tom and Carol Anne Wiebe turned the entire meeting room into a Rwandan village, including live chickens! These presentations can be heard online at www.saintjohnvineyard.ca and www.scvine.com.
We also did a presentation at Mike and Becky Main’s monthly missions meeting in their home in Truro. The Smith’s home group from Valleygate Vineyard in Nova Scotia who have been a great encouragement to us in many ways, continue to bless us with their generous support.
On October 1 Val and I went to St. Louis to visit with friends from the Hope Vineyard who are partnering with the work in Rwanda. It was a wonderful time of reconnecting with some of the team of 7 who came to Rwanda in 2008. Four members of that team led by Chris and Christina Roberts have since gone to plant a church in Madison, Wisconsin who also partner with the Rwanda Mission. Hope Vineyard sponsored us to go to the annual US Missions Conference in Colorado Springs so, on Sunday after our presentation we flew to Colorado with Robert Stovall who is senior pastor at Hope. We had many significant encounters during our week at the conference. We were embraced and loved on by the US Missions folks and God met us in so many wonderful ways during worship and prayer times. The workshops were excellent.
November is a month of Sabbath rest for us. We began with a family debrief from Nov 2nd to 5th. Missionary care specialist, Beverly Richardson came to conduct the missionary debrief. There will be much for us to process from our years in Rwanda and this year of 2009 that began so badly for us. We are looking forward to better things in 2010 as our Lord continues to bring healing and restoration to us.
1. Continued healing for Val.
2. Healing and grace for Joel who is waiting for an MRI on his knee because he has likely torn the ACL.
3. Justice and restoration to come through the “gacaca” community courts in Rwanda and for those families who are separated at this time.
4. Registration of the Vineyard church in Rwanda.
5. Continued financial provision for the work in Rwanda. Specifically at this time, Patrick plans to spend some time in Kigali supporting the leaders of the church in early 2010. This will require a plane ticket for Patrick. The other urgent need will be a vehicle when the family returns to Kigali in 2010 and a vehicle fund has been started for this.
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. She or her team would be happy to help in any way they can. Finally, if there is anything you would like to see in this newsletter in the coming months, please let me know at email@example.com. Thanks to those who continue to invest in this ministry.