A note from Larry Levy: Pastor Metro Vineyard, Halifax, Nova Scotia
Many of you are aware that because of the land being sold where the Kigali Vineyard meets, they were in the position to look at other options for a future meeting location. This last month they were able to purchase land for future development with the help of many individuals and churches. Of the $8000 needed, we have raised $7000, with only $1000 needed to complete the purchase price and taxes. If you or your church would like to contribute to helping us with this final amount, you can contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org God has been so faithful in every part of this adventure, and we know we will see His goodness once again in this regard.”
The land purchase.
An update from Patrick Finnerty
The 2 nd quarter of this year has been marked by a great deal of activity here in Kigali.
In March we had a visit from Nick Sutton who is pastor of the Coventry Vineyard and Germain Ndaruhutse. They visited our farming projects and basket weaving business. Nick and Germain taught in one of our small group meetings and ministered to us on Sunday. We took time to visit some of the genocide memorial sites. Germain was an invaluable help to us being Rwandan. He gave us many insights into his culture and it was great to have a “visitor” who could speak to our people in their own language. We look forward to the continued developing of a relationship with the Vineyard in the UK .
Nick Sutton with the Kigali Vineyard. WOW!
After a visit from Nick and Germain we had Linda, Michael and Izzy Dempsey from the Metro Vineyard in Halifax. As Joel was home from school we took the Dempseys to Kibagora on Lake Kivu for a few days. We enjoyed the swimming and the natural beauty and returned to Kigali to prepare for a very busy few months.
A team of 7 arrived from St. Louis at the end of April and they came prepared for a full time of ministry (see Dan Freet’s piece). During their stay we moved out of the house we were renting for 2 years and as our new house was not yet ready, we stayed at the houses of 2 different families who are on furlough. It was a stressful time as the landlord of our old house made things very difficult and 2 weeks after we moved out we were finally finished. We moved into our new house on June 1 st but we still have the builders trying to finish things off with mid July as the estimated completion date.
Val was in Kenya in February for tests and it was discovered that she needed surgery for a prolapsed uterus. It was difficult to choose the right time to return to Kenya for the operation as every scenario seemed not to work for one reason or another so we decided on June 19 th. While Pat and Val went to Kenya on the 18 th, Brendan was taken care of by our good friends the Pomeroys who are in Rwanda with Send a Cow. The surgery was successful and Val was discharged on the 22 nd into the care of our friend Nancy Tate who is medical coordinator for the Southern Baptists for East Africa. Pat returned to Rwanda on the 23 rd to see Brendan through his final week at school and to enjoy their end of year performance. Brendan and I will leave for Nairobi on Monday to look after Val as she continues to recover. Joel will spend the weekend taking care of Val and he graduates from grade 7 at RVA on July 11 th. We will return to Rwanda together then.
Brendan has had a good year and graduated from grade 5. He really enjoyed performing in the Easter play that Val and a couple of friends put together. Sixteen missionary children acted in it and it was a great success. We’ve been blessed with a piano teacher this year and Brendan has made huge progress. Unfortunately, she’s leaving but we’re praying that someone else will come along.
Joel has also had a good school year and it looks like he’ll finish with straight A’s. He’s played soccer, basketball and rugby and has managed to come through without any injuries! The strong spiritual atmosphere has been good for him and we’ve seen a lot of growth. We have been so blessed with the amount of spiritual, emotional and material support that we have had from friends on 3 continents. God bless each one of you.
Still on the health front, Joel continues to be bothered with boils and Val had a severe case of them in March. Pat and Brendan have also had them so we would appreciate your prayers for an end of it. In February Val was diagnosed with Sero Negative Arthritis and IBD and has been on meds which seem to have helped a bit. What with living in 4 different houses, a bout of amobaes and a hysterectomy the meds have not been happening 3 times a day so when things settle down, please God her intestinal condition will improve.
While we have been busy trying to cope with the stresses of daily life in Rwanda, God has been busy growing the ministry. Innocent leads a class of 15 for baptism in July. This will be our third Baptism ceremony and we are looking forward to another fun day. We meet with between 80 and 100 people on Sundays and our extension is quickly getting too small. The plot of land that we bought near the village may have to become our meeting place sooner than we think if we can find the resources to build there. Our gratitude for the financial support to buy the land goes out to all in Canada, the US, Ireland, England and South Africa who helped with donations.
The new land
View from the land
Two new small groups have started in a village about 1 hours walk from Muyange where we meet. There are 6 folks who make the journey every Sunday for worship and on Thursday to build a fence around the land. The discipleship meeting at 8 o’clock on Sunday mornings for small group leaders continues to grow with attendance at about 12, mostly women. We are seeing leaders emerge who will be the pillars of the church.
Two women have come forward with a heart to serve the children and have been doing a short interactive teaching every Sunday morning. The children love to hear the bible stories and to act out what they’ve learnt for the rest of the church body. Several adults have commented that God has really spoken to them through these times with the children.
Having modeled a couple of fun days with different teams, Antoine has taken off with the idea. Saturday afternoon at the building has become a regular feature for the children of the church and the village. We average about 100 children a week. They play games, sing songs and learn bible stories. There’s a growing sense that ministry to the children needs to be priority if we’re to see a new generation that hears and loves God and seeks to do His will. Saturday is a busy day for the youth as well as volleyball practice and games happen every week on the clay court outside the building.
On the development side of things, our basket weaving business continues to produce many baskets and the quality of the workmanship is improving. We have not yet found a regular market but visiting teams have been buying our stock. The bean harvest was very good but unfortunately the tomatoes failed this time. A lot has been learned and some changes are being made for the next planting season in August. Some friends in England have asked if they could buy some goats and Antoine has identified 14 families in our church who would be blessed to have one. Those who already have goats bring the manure to the fields when they come to work so the more the merrier. A goat costs 20.000 Francs (about $35) and we hope that eventually everyone who needs one will get one.
On July 10 th David and Faith will be coming to visit for 2 weeks. They are teenagers from the UK who spent some time ministering with us last year. We have known them since birth and we are looking forward to seeing what God will do through them this time.
Looking ahead, it feels like September will be a fresh start. We hope to be settled in our new house by then and to see the boys starting a new school. Our seeds will be planted and growing in our farming projects and we will be considering how to develop the land for our ministry center. We are excited to see our support base expanding into the United States and look forward to a deeper and stronger friendship with the St. Louis Vineyard.
Please pray for us especially for good health and protection from illness, for continued spiritual and financial support for ourselves and the ministry. We are so very blessed with the sacrificial giving of those who are too numerous to mention here. You know who you are and God knows also. Bless you all. Have a great summer full of fun and blessings.
In His service,
The Kingdom of God is breaking through in the Kigali Vineyard. This vibrant, growing church is making connections globally. The sending team is pleased to report on two visits to the Rwandan Vineyard in Kigali.
A children’s story by the Saint Louis team.
From Saint Louis:
This is a short report from the Saint Louis, Missouri Vineyard team in the U.S. We spent time with Patrick and Val in Rwanda in late April of 2008. The team consisted of seven people, six of whom having prior experience in cross cultural travel and ministry. The one word summation would be WOW! But more on that later.
Our church had been praying for about a year and a half about where God would have us get involved cross culturally. Through a long series of events, it seemed that the Lord was pointing us toward Rwanda. We discovered that a Vineyard church was already there, so we made contact with Patrick and Val so as to conduct an exploratory trip. Our main question to be answered was whether our vision for church planting as a mission strategy matched the vision held by the church in Kigali.
Once there (after many delays in travel) we were allowed the privilege of getting to work right away with the people of the church. Much of our time was spent in a training mode. There was a workshop on preaching/teaching, there was training for small group leaders which centered on hearing God’s voice for prophetic ministry, there was worship training and children’s ministry training along with countless informal “team sharpening” times together with the Finnertys and Antione. Our team was able to see first hand the “Farming God’s Way” project and the basket weaving industry conducted by the church members. We enjoyed being a part of two weeks of Sunday worship as well as outside events such as a children’s fun time, a youth volley ball tournament and two small group meetings during the week. We were very tired by the end of the trip. Equally important, we spent time getting to know about the people and culture of Rwanda by touring significant sites tied to their history.
As we watched the week unfold, three things became apparent to us. Number one, we were indeed called to work in Rwanda. Number two, our church was a natural match relationally and vision wise with Patrick and Val. Maybe it was the teatime together on a regular basis. Our hearts were knit together and our desire to see indigenous leaders raised up to lead churches that plant new churches was as if we had all sat down together beforehand and formed a common vision. Very refreshing when it all comes together. The third thing we realized is that we have a desire to see a Vineyard Rwanda partnership formed in the United States so more churches can become involved in Rwanda while maintaining a unified focus on church planting.
We really appreciate the time and energy spent on us by Patrick and Val who were wonderful hosts. We are looking forward to a long-term relationship with them and their ministry. Thanks for the opportunity to be with you. See you soon.
If you would like to support the efforts in Rwanda please contact our sending leader, Sheryl Darrow at email@example.com . 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Africa, a land of hope.
Note: The Rwanda mission is a new mission and we as a sponsoring church are working to establish our policies. We now have a process for all visits to the Finnertys whether personal or mission oriented. We are working with the Finnerty’s to schedule and approve any visits . Please contact the Halifax Vineyard so that we may be able to guide you through this process.