In February, a team of eight people arrived in Kigali from Grande Prairie, Alberta.  They were to be in Rwanda for 19 days, but this was not a holiday.  They were a Short Term Ministry team (STM) whose members had travelled a long way from home in order to Serve and Learn.  They are from two churches—McLaurin Baptist Church and Webster Community Church—which have been in a STEP* partnership with Rwanda since 2006.  The team was a mixture of returnees (for two of them, this was their fifth visit) and first timers.

For the two of us, this STM represented a significant event.  Since returning from Home Assignment at the end of November 2017, Laura Lee spent a great deal of time in pulling together all of the organizational details, picking up from where Jan Mills had left off prior to her return to Canada.  All these unusual transitions made it a bit of a challenge, but everything came together just fine.  Once the team was here in Rwanda, Darrell journeyed with them for the sixteen days they were travelling outside of Kigali, serving as their host.

This STM had a dual focus while they were here in Rwanda.  There was a training focus as well as a “ministry of presence”.  It is easy for Canadians to understand the idea of training.  However the concept of “ministry of presence” is more of a challenge for those who are from a culture of tasks and doing rather than relationships and being.  As this team experienced, simply by spending time with people, hearing their stories, sharing a bit of life together, it communicates to them and others that they matter and have value, impacting their lives in many unexpected ways.

This was a wonderful STM team that was willing to engage fully with those they visited, even when it didn’t always feel comfortable or when events didn’t unfold as planned.  As they plugged into programs and projects which are already running out of the local Baptist churches here in Rwanda, they could return to Canada knowing that their impact was not just something that happened for a couple of weeks, but rather that it would last a long time into the future.

One final note:  The name of CBM’s STM program has recently been changed to SENT, communicating the understanding that, as followers of Jesus, we are a “sent” people no matter where we are or what we are doing.  If you would like to learn more about this or are interested in what SENT opportunities are on the horizon, visit the CBM website.

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.