From the heart of Africa we send you greetings and blessings. For one and a half years our family has served the Lord in this beautiful country of Rwanda. But beauty is only skin deep and below the surface lie the pain and fear of a people trying to put an ugly past behind them. Our mission here is to transform communities through the good news of Jesus and His kingdom among us. While we have seen many lives changed by the power of the Holy Spirit, God has also been changing our understanding of task ahead. We have been amazed at how the Lord has blessed our efforts to make a real difference in people’s lives. There are already 5 house groups and a youth group that meet weekly. On Sunday mornings about 50 adults and many children gather in our simple mud brick building for teaching and worship. On Saturdays the house group leaders meet for discipleship training and use material that we have had translated into Kinyarwanda. We recently started practice with an enthusiastic young worship team.
In March this year, with the help of a team from Canada, we planted a model garden using the ‘Farming God’s Way’ method and the success of this project has encouraged some of our people to consider doing it on a much bigger scale. The next planting season is in September and we are hoping to see this method adopted throughout the village.
There is a desperate need for clean water in the village and we have been working with an NGO called ‘Living Water’ and local people to get a well dug. At present, water is gathered from potholes in the rainy season and from the muddy river when there are no rains. The only decent water is carried many miles on foot and at 50 cents per jerry can it is too expensive for most people. As you can imagine the illness rate is quite high. Test drilling has begun and we are praying that water will be found soon.
We would like to express our gratitude to the people who are already supporting our mission. God has blessed our family’s tithe and offerings which cover about 95% of our mission’s budget. So far we have managed to make ends almost meet but a new and somewhat unexpected expense has come up. It has to do with school fees. As most of you know Joel and Brendan have been home schooled from kindergarten and we have always been able to cover the costs involved. We formed a home School Co-op with 4 other missionary families last year and are blessed to have two wonderful teachers from the Friends Church who volunteered to come from the US and run our little school. However, Joel has now reached the point where he is ready for secondary school and there is no real suitable option for him in Kigali. We first heard about Rift Valley Academy some years ago at Grace Chapel through the Adkins family and have become friends with many graduates and teachers from this school which is Africa’s oldest missionary boarding school. The reports have been very positive. Joel has become friends with some boys who are going there now and he is very excited at the prospect of going himself. We went to visit RVA last August when we were in Kenya and we were very impressed with the facility and the staff. We were a bit surprised when we found ourselves considering home schooling 9 years ago and are now surprised again that we have decided to send Joel to boarding school. But as we felt God leading us back then to home school, we now feel it is right for Joel to attend RVA. Our good friends and former teacher at RVA, Tim and Diane Bannister, who live in Kenya, have agreed to be Joel’s guardians and take care of him during mid-term breaks. Joel will spend 3 months at RVA and one month at home. We are looking for new supporters to come on board and help us in our mission to serve the poor by making it possible for Joel to continue his education. We need to raise $6000 each year. Brendan’s fees at the home school co-op are in the region of $1000. Our hope is to find about 100 sponsors who would be prepared to pledge about $70 per year to help us provide a good education for our boys.
Thank you for your consideration of this request and we pray that you will know the Lord’s leading as to whether you can join us in supporting our mission here in Rwanda.
Grace and Peace.
Patrick, Valerie, Joel and Brendan Finnerty