February Newsletter – Rwanda
A Word from our the Finnerty Family-a fruitful season
On Saturday the 13 th of January we had our second Baptism ceremony and this time we decided to go to Lake Muhazi about 40 km outside Kigali. We hired 2 busses and pickup was at 9.00 am by our Church.
Some who wished to come were disappointed and we ended up with 47 people at the lake. We arrived at 10.30 and had to take a number of boats to the other side as there were fewer reeds and less chance of snails carrying bilharzias (one of the many less desirable tropical diseases in this area).
When we reached the other side the guys set up a makeshift changing room with some stakes and tarp. The ladies found a house on the hill to use. There were 17 people in all this time and the atmosphere was one of joy and celebration. We attracted quite a lot of attention on the way with the music coming from both busses with drums and voices.
After a time of prayer Innocent and Patrick did the baptisms while Hakiza led worship. A local young man who was watching asked if he too could be baptized and having talked to him and believing he understood what he was asking we baptized him also. He was given Antoine’s phone number for follow up.
When everyone was dried and dressed we had a sweet time of prayer before getting into the boats to return to the busses. The journey home was every bit as joyous as the one there with much singing and rejoicing.
On Sunday we dedicated the meeting to testimonies from those who were baptized the previous day. Again we heard stories of deliverance from addiction to alcohol, a soldier who survived the war in Congo who now recognizes where God’s hand was on him, a Muslim lady come to faith and many more. We are so grateful to God for what he is doing among us. We are a small community but the impact on people’s lives is huge and we are believing that the mustard seeds being sown in peoples lives will multiply in time and bear much fruit.
A Word from Sheryl Darrow-Sending Team Leader
“God loves it when the giver delights in giving”
2 Cor: 9:7
This was certainly the atmosphere surrounding the recent pledge drive we held for the Finnerty’s. The Finnerty family is largely supported by individuals and families who pledge a certain monthly amount and we are in the process of giving people the opportunity to give for 2008. No offering is too small and I was particularly touched when one of our young teens committed to giving $5.00 a month and handed over the cash to start the year. I am sure this is either her allowance or babysitting money and it reminded me of the widow who gave what she had and did it cheerfully. All who signed their pledge cards did it with joy, and I felt the Lord’s delight. To be able to give the Finnerty’s a regular income, while meeting their needs is truly a blessing. If you wish to participate in monthly pledging, please contact us at the Vineyard Church.
Sending Team Leader
A message of prayer from Mike and Becky Main- prayer support
There are many prayer needs for the Finnertys and the Kigali Vineyard, but we would like to highlight 3 areas:
- Pray for spiritual health for the growing body of believers in the Kigali Vineyard. It is exciting to see more people gathering, and to see new believers baptized. Pray that they will understand how broad and deep is God’s love, and be completely free in serving Him.
- Continue to pray for health for the family. We think there has been progress, and we need to keep holding the family up, especially Val and Joel.
- Pray for peace in Kenya. This is important not only for Kenyans but also for the whole region (including Rwanda), since most trading, banking, etc. is conducted through Kenya. Remember Joel at School in Kenya.
Joel and Brendan Finnerty-their newsletter- this month Brendan does the stuff!
Brendan prayed for a little girl at church today who was crying with the pain in her arm and she immediately stopped crying and seemed much happier which he was pleased about. He’s started taking copious notes on Pat’s sermons which is cool. I don’t know what he’ll do when Pat eventually starts preaching in Kinyarwandan. We’re all missing Joel today and feeling a bit blue but I’m sure we’ll settle back in to our “other” life this week
Joel presents us with a journal entry for a Sunday in Rwanda. Experience a day with the church plant in Kigali.
It is 9:45 and we are about to get in the car to go to church. We beep the horn and our worker comes and opens the gate. We pull out the drive way and down the cobbled road. We pass the little house where the carpenter lives and wave to his children. They are always smiling right up at us. We drive over the hill and to the intersection where we branch off on to the dirt road. It is full of pot holes and we are bouncing up and down. Dad quickly slams on the brakes as a stray chicken runs across the road and a small boy quickly grabs it and smiles up at us feeling very proud of himself. We continue down the road. I see a group of women walking down the road with baskets on their heads. They’re wearing gatengas, a wrap around piece of cloth that many women wear. We pass by big trees looming over us. We hear a fizzing noise and the car stops. Dad steps out of the car and looks at the tire; it is popped and a piece of glass is sticking out. Immediately, we are surrounded by people wanting to help. Dad steps back and lets a couple of young men boost the car up and put the spare on. He thanks them and gets back in the car. We start off again and on our way we meet some friends walking down the road to church and we let them in and ask them how they are. Dad talks in kinyarwandan for a little while until he has used up his words. We pass a little stream where a boy is filling up his Jerry Can. On his way up from the stream he meets some girls, not more than 7 years of age, with babies tied on their backs. He runs up to the road and meets a small boy, a friend of his, with a stick who is guarding his goat which is tied to a post. Then he comes to his parents who are digging in the field. They will probably be planting beans next month when the rains come. Finally we get there and a mud building comes into sight.
We pull in to the drive and we get surrounded by all of the little children. Our little friend, a 3-4 year old girl, comes and gives us a big hug. Some boys Brendan’s age help bring in the guitar and music books. We walk in the building and hear music. They are doing a little praise time and all dancing around, the children are on the benches singing and clapping their hands. The place we are in is an extension built out from the actual building. I walk into the building and hear some people in the back praying. In another room a baptism class is going on. I go out the back door and go round the side to get back to the front. On my way there I pass the garden where corn and beans are planted. I pass one of my friends who likes soccer and say hi. Then I arrive round the front and pass the little flower garden before heading inside. Dad has now started to lead worship and we are all singing and some are praying for each other. One of the women has rounded up the children and is getting them to all clap with the beat.
Worship finishes and the announcements are being said. Then we take the offering and we pray. Then dad goes up the pulpit and starts to preach. The one lady who was helping the kids now takes them off to do Sunday school, and Brendan and I go with her to play and sing with the kids who we love. The little ones love it when I pick them up and spin them around in circles. We go back to where mom is sitting and wait until dad finishes his sermon. Antoine and Mom get people praying for each other. We do one more song then we are dismissed. Lots of people want a ride so we pile as many in as many as we can and set off. We arrive home tired but happy it has been a good Sunday morning.
The youth children’s Sunday school keep track of the Finnerty’s mission through this bulletin board set up in their space.
If you would like to support the efforts in Rwanda please contact our sending 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 email@example.com. Also, if you have visited the Finnertys (they have had a number of visits this year alone), then we would love to hear your story (send it to the above address) and we would love to share it. God bless you and look for the next newsletter in early March.
Special Note: three members of our fellowship will be traveling to Kigali in March. Izzy Dempsey has agreed to journal her preparation to leave wintry Halifax and travel with her brother and mom to the church plant in Rwanda. Izzy’s entries should prove invaluable for any youth thinking of traveling abroad to serve God in the emerging kingdom.