On the Road Again
Since the beginning of 2021, like so many other affected by this global pandemic, we have lived through long periods of limited movement and even three weeks of full lockdown. But we are happy to finally be able to say – or even sing! – On the Road Again!! Since the middle of March, the COVID regulations in Rwanda have been sufficiently loosened to allow some travel to take place within the country. For me (Darrell), this has meant that I can once more resume some of the teaching seminars that are a part of my responsibilities. (Is that cheering I hear??)
Family Ministry Training
In late March, I spent a week in the southwestern part of the country, meeting with pastors and the family ministry coordinators from each church. Originally, we were supposed to have one seminar in each sub-region. However, since the Covid-19 protocols still limit meetings to a maximum of twenty people, we had to divide each group and have two seminars in each of the sub-regions. That turned a 4-day journey into a 6-day journey, doing four seminars back-to-back. It was tiring, but if that is what it took to see the trainings take place, it was worth it!
What a joy it was to spend time with these pastors and church leaders. They are so grateful to have the opportunity to learn how to make marriages and families stronger. This kind of support is not coming from anywhere else, despite the widespread struggles that families here face. They are always excited to take what we have discussed and try it out at home. And they are committed to passing on to others what they have learned and experienced.
Emerging Leaders Initiative
In mid-April, we were thrilled to be able to host the third module of Emerging Leaders Initiative (ELI) here in Kigali. The last time we were together, for module two, was in July 2019! That’s a long time ago! It seemed wise, then, that the opening session (which was the one I led) was a review of what we had learned together back in 2019. It helped get everyone’s heads back in the zone for ELI. We then proceeded to focus on several areas: The Heart of a Leader as an Encourager; Good Governance and Management (taught by Andre Sibomana); Working with Other Churches; and the practical skill of How to Lead a Church Service. The participants also had a chance to hear from the head of our Rwandan Baptist partner (AEBR), Rev. Emmanuel.
One of the difficult realities that we faced was that our numbers have dropped from the original 20 participants down to 15. In some ways, this was to be expected given the length of time since we were last together. A couple of people had new jobs and responsibilities which prevented them from further participation. However we were saddened because there were also a couple of former participants who can no longer be a part of ELI due to poor ethical decisions which they have made. That has to be one of the most difficult things to experience when working with young leaders. But it also provided a “teachable moment”, as I strongly urged the 15 men and women still in the program to guard their hearts, to stay true, and not to deviate from the God’s path.
A new experience took place in late April. Through the initiative of the Baptist Union of Denmark (BUD), a Partnership Roundtable was held involving AEBR, BUD and CBM. As three organizations committed to working together, the Roundtable provided an opportunity to get to know one another better. BUD and CBM are both partnered with AEBR, so the time together gave us the chance for some good, honest, at times even difficult, conversations, as we seek to be united in heart and mind for our common goals. May God’s blessing be felt here in Rwanda as these three different organizations seek to work together in harmony.
Helping Across the Miles
One part of CBM’s ministry which is not “On the Road Again” is the SENT teams (groups of Canadians who do short term ministry internationally). As the worldwide battle continues against COVID-19, it looks like it will still be awhile before SENT teams will be moving again. Since that was a significant part of Laura Lee’s responsibilities, she has had to find a new way to put her skills to work. And she has! She is now assisting CBM’s Content and Design Department by using her proofing abilities on the various publications that CBM produces. With online accessibility, it doesn’t matter at all that she is in Rwanda. In fact, it can be an advantage. She can proof a document and send it back so it is there waiting for them in Canada when they wake up. One of the main things she is helping with is CBM Responding, a new quarterly publication with news and updates from around the world.