January was a very busy month for Laura Lee as she and Jan Mills hosted 3 STMs (Short Term Mission teams) in a single moth. They each were quite different from one another.

One STM was a group of farmers and journalists connected with the Food Security projects that they support through CBM and two other partners. Another STM was a group of 11 women from across Canada who came to Rwanda as part of CBM’s “She Matters” 3-years initiative. Among other things, they spent time with some women from DRC and Rwanda who have experienced serious trauma. Through their loving presence, words of encouragement and small acts of kindness, they showed these women that they truly matter. The third STM was actually a family – husband, wife and grown son – who each specialize in a skill that gave great benefit to our Rwandan Baptist partner, the AEBR. Clarence is an electrical engineer, Christine helps organizations and companies set up financial management systems on their computers; and Scott installs computer servers for a living. The timing of their visit and the combination of their skills were exactly what AEBR needed. It’s so exciting to see how God brings together just the right pieces.

Even though having three STMs in one month is probably not something that wants to be repeated, the benefits and great variety of STMs continue to have a lasting impact both here in Rwanda as well as back in Canada. If that is an area in which you may be interested, please contact Adrian Gardner at the CBM office (agardner@cbmin.org) or visit the CBM website.

For me (Darrell), February and March have been a bit of a blur, especially with all of the travel I’ve been doing. Along with Pastor Japhet (Head of AEBR Dept. of Evangelism & Church Life), I have been able to complete 2-day trainings with pastors and church leaders in five different regions of the country – and one more is scheduled before the end of March. Through these seminars, churches are being equipped to run effective cell group and Sunday School ministries. By the end of 2017, this 3-year initiative will have provided leaders form basically every church in AEBR with this valueable training. During these two months, I have also participated in two different seminary graduations, one in Kigali and one in Goma, DRC. It is thrilling to see our partners continuing to invest in well-trained leadership for their churches. Finally, I have been able to contribute to The Timothy Project, a project through the Danish Baptists (another partner of AEBR). For the last two years, it has been training 90 pastors and lay church leaders in the southern part of the country. In March, the project concluded with a graduation – which featured much joy and celebration.

And, of course, March was also important for another milestone. I successfully defended by doctoral thesis, which was enthusiastically accepted by my examiners! I am currently working to finish up the final few technical revisions and look forward to becoming an official “Doctor” in May. Thanks to all of you who have prayed for me through this very long journey.

2017…What’s Still Ahead

Before looking ahead, perhaps we should look back for a moment. We want to say thank you to the many people and churches who contribute financially to our ministry. It goes without saying (though I’ll still say it) that we could not be serving here in Rwanda if it wasn’t for our faithful co-workers in Canada and elsewhere who stand beside us. 2016 was a difficult year financially for CBM. For us personally, our support was down slightly from last year (down 6.8%) but we are grateful that it still proved to be one of the strongest years we’ve ever had. We would encourage you to continue to be faithful. We can assure you that lives are being changed spiritually, physically, emotionally, financially and relationally through your gifts.

As we look ahead at what is coming up this year, the biggest thing is that we will be heading back to Canada for a home assignment! We will be in Canada from June until the end of November. During that time we will be visiting many churches and supporters, taking some vacation and also settling Caleb into Crandall University (where he will join Bronwyn). Of course, that means when we go back to Rwanda, it will just be two of us who return – the nest will be empty!

We are excited to think of the time we will have in Canada to see many of you who support us faithfully with your prayers, financial gifts, and words of encouragement. It will be great to get connected again. If you’re interested in having us visit your church, please feel free to contact Barb Keys in the CBM office (bkeys@cbmin.org). She’s our “home assignment agent” and would be happy to talk to you. Incidentally, if you have never contributed financially to our ministry but would be interested, she’s the one to help you out with that too.

The Power Centre: Connecting Thru Prayer

Prayers already answered:

  • It is so rewarding for the two of us as we see the impact of the STMs and church leadership training making a noticeable difference in the lives of many
  • We are praising God that Darrell’s doctoral thesis is finally finished! Phew!
  • Our hearts are full of thanksgiving for the strong financial support we received in 2016

Ongoing prayer items:

  • Pray for strength and safety in travel for Darrell’s remaining training opportunities
  • Caleb’s health has struggled this term. Pray for his body to recover so he can finish Grade 12 well
  • April 7th will mark the 23rd anniversary of the genocide in Rwanda. Pray for those who mourn and for ongoing healing and peace
  • Pray for our home assignment preparations – ministries in Rwanda we’ll be leaving and upcoming tasks in Canada

About Darrell & Laura Lee Bustin

The Bustins joined CBM in 2002 to teach at the Kalimantan Theological Seminary in Pontianak, Indonesia, where they helped to train and mentor future leaders for the local church. They moved to Rwanda in August 2012 to work with CBM’s church partner, the Association of Baptist Churches of Rwanda. Darrell’s primary focus is in pastoral training and church leadership development. He works both with pastors, as well as those studying to be pastors and church leaders. Laura Lee is responsible for overseeing the administrative details for the short-term mission teams that come to Rwanda.