Joel McCall - Feb 3, 2019
Evidence of God’s Answers to Prayers: He Changed Lives
We completed the week today (Friday). After teaching these senior leaders of the DRC and Western Rwanda, we have been very encouraged over the strong presence of the Lord among the team and pastors. Conviction, wonder, excitement, and comprehension was demonstrated each day.
Pastor: The First Time I Understood...
By Friday at the conclusion of the entire book of Ephesians, one pastor said to Theophile, “This is the first time I have ever really really understood the Bible and God’s plan of salvation.” Imagine, after years of good ministry, a pastor rises to declare this transformation in his faith. How many other leaders and church members will be changed by this one man alone? But many were sharing their deep gratitude for a new understanding of the great work of the Trinity.
Ephesians is such a rich book. It soars into the lofty plan of God from eternity, into time, and back again to eternity. God took the intitiative to reach dead sinners from Israel and the Gentiles, and to reconcile them in the Cross. Clearly they had grasped the inclusion of Africans into the Father’s great plan and fellowship.
After focusing on Ephesians 5, we taught on husbands, wives and children. Theophile said this same pastor publicly “spoke to his wife and told her he now understood how God had made her and him. He said 'I will never accuse you again.'” This man had learned how to love and respect his wife. He not only apologized to her but he also declared to her “Now I also understand the issues with the children. I understand what I am to do for you and what you do for me.”
His wife said “I forgive you.”
How did we teach them?
Throughout the week each team member taught on specific passages, then the pastors broke into 4 groups as a rule, they discussed for 30 or more minutes, then a spokesperson would summarize the lesson. Without failure each group communicated a solid grasp of the book of Ephesians. They had made Ephesians their own. They celebrated, encouraged each other, and worshipped the Lord over these new truths now clear to them.
At the end of the week, they committed themselves to returning and teaching their peers and churches. I have no doubts that this will happen since the same group of 20 has done this for over 5 years.
What about a school?
We met with Theophile and Stephen (our translator) to discuss the meeting they had with ThirdMill and the situation with the government. The new Rwandan law stands, the pastors have 5 years to comply and receive education and degrees or they will not be allowed to pastor in Rwanda. Some other pastors have already left Rwanda for other countries. Whether we like the rules, this means that a school must begin.
We are continuing to discuss the necessary steps to begin. So please pray for wisdom in the coming months to begin this process through small steps that are realistic and doable. This is a God-sized task. I believe it will happen.
A SUMMARY AND CHALLENGE FROM THE PASTORS:
“It was good to have the courses translated into two languages: Kinyerwandan and Swahili (Congolese).” This allows both nations access to the instruction from Ephesians!
“Every time you have been been taught here, go home and read, study and be able to teach others.”
“By being taught Ephesians this is one way to be equipped to address false teachings in our countries."
Warning by Theo: “In Rwanda, many churches have been closed. Thank God, many are beginning to open...The Rwandan govt is requiring a formal knowledge of the Bible in order to continue as a pastor. This may also come to the Congo. A diploma will be required.”
Theophile extensively exhorted the pastors to go deeper, the necessity of greater education is now a reality. For ELI’S instruction in these two countries, God clearly has called us to step up the level of training and impact. By your sending this team, you have a direct hand in God’s plan for these great people.
IN WORSHIP TODAY
Richard Goswiller preached God’s Word at Stephen’s (our translator) church in Kigali and Dave Forbes at Theophile’s church. They both did an amazing job of delivering the message.
As a result of the shutdown of many churches, there are more choirs in Theophile’s church. Additionally, many pastors now attend here for the same reason. Theophile has a growing pastoral ministry to these pastors in their time of testing. He had them stand, encouraged them publicly in the assembly.
A man who is a deacon stood up to testify. First they sang a song in Swahili, singing holding a hymn book from Congo. Then two women testified - the mother spoke first, she is a survivor of the genocide who lost her husband and children who were killed, only one child survived. That child, her daughter was by her side up front and she began to cry.
This daughter was recently married and she testified before the church to thank God for her marriage which means a new beginning. This daughter who is 25 yrs old was just born when the genocide began! This was an emotional testimony. She said, “Others may have wedding and whole family - father, brothers and sisters would be there. I had no one who was left from my family. But the church was there, they have been my family!” (She shed tears over this).
How important the Body of Christ is!
Then another large group of women (around 30) stood and delcared that they are together to show love and unity to others. Their ministry is to love other people. Soince the church is always there when people have need in the community, they asked members to call them when see a need. These women are also committed to education though school too show people how to help to help others. They brought a stack of chairs in front to giver for the growth of the church. which they are giving to the church.
Another woman stood forward and told how this group helped her while she was sick. This group gives clothes, food, help in sickness.
Following this, the pastor spoke and said that the men also called a day of prayer, then moved by the Lord they gave more chairs to the church.
Everyone laughed, sang, and celebrated the opportunity to bless others.
What a joy to Worship Christ in the assembly of His people. This is how church should be!
Through Brick Lane Community Church in Elverson, PA and a gracious Sister at Christ Covenant, around 375 Kinyerwandan Study Bibles have been given to date! (NIV Study Bibles in their language)
We presented more Bibles and the joy was electric. It is an eternal matter at work here. These Study Bibles will allow these great pastors to study, prepare, teach and preach with resources that were unavailable until now. Imagine how many thousands of believers will be transformed because of this Spirit-filled investment into their lives and ministry. Thank you to the ones who gave! I would have never imagined such a great gift but longed for it over the years because I could feel the pain of lack of such resources.
Success in the team Instruction
African leaders in their organization of the conferences
The Lord to work in the hearts of the pastors as we teach
Praise the Father for all His provisions