We are back in Rwanda and ready to jump into the ministry here once more. The journey back began with an overnight in Toronto. This allowed us the opportunity to see some former colleagues. First we had supper with Johnny & Paige Byrne-Mamahit, with whom we worked for several years in Indonesia. Then we were able to spend several hours with Jonathan & Jan Mills who served with us for three years in Rwanda. They have just left CBM, so we’re grateful that we had a chance to connect once more. From Toronto, we passed through Brussels and Entebbe (Uganda). After a journey that had us in the air for about sixteen hours, we were welcomed at the airport by Ken & Wendy Derksen. It was great to be in our house again for the first time since June 1st.
As we look back on the last six months spent in Canada, we feel like we had a busy, but very rewarding, home assignment. Here are just a few interesting facts about our home assignment:
- In five months of ministry, we did presentations on 46 different occasions using six different PowerPoint programs. This included 19 Sunday morning services, 6 Sunday evening services and 9 midweek services, plus a number of women’s missionary groups, association meetings, etc.
- We were able to have 34 visits/meaningful conversations with current and former supporters. This was one of the goals that we had coming into our time in Canada.
- We launched a new blog in September. (You can find it at blogspot.ca .) We also had over 100 new people sign up to receive our quarterly newsletter.
- Believe it or not, in our 26 weeks in Canada we slept in 34 different beds! So, unsurprisingly, it is wonderful to be back in our own bed here in Kigali! And we are also very grateful to God that my (Darrell’s) back is still doing fine!
Our first two weeks back in Rwanda have been a bit of a whirlwind. We have enjoyed being reunited with our colleagues (both Canadian and Rwandan). We have needed some time to settle back into our house again and get caught up on what has happened here in the ministry while we were away. In addition, there have been many other things taking place. On the day that we landed back in Kigali, our night guard’s wife gave birth to a son and one of our Rwandan colleagues, Ernestine, ended up in the hospital. Another co-worker from the AEBR office was married on our third day back. On our first Sunday, we were able to bring greetings to our Baptist brothers and sisters, as well as sing the song we sang during our home assignment presentations.
It was a big hit! It has also been challenging being back, as there are so many people with needs. In just the first two weeks, these are some of the needs with which we were confronted (some of which we could help with and others we couldn’t):
- A man needing help in purchasing medicine for HIV.
- A young man whose family was being kicked out of their house because they had not paid their rent for several months.
- A man we know well who had an opportunity to purchase a house (so he wouldn’t have to keep renting), but had only secured about two-thirds of the money he needed.
- A family who didn’t have enough money for food.
As we approach Christmas, this has been a reminder to us of the contrast between the blessings we enjoy and the incredible difficulties faced by so many men, women and children in this world. CBM’s many partners around the world each day are seeking to bring about transformation in broken lives. This Christmas, as you go through the process of buying gifts for others, perhaps you might consider making use of CBM’s gift catalogue, Hopeful Gifts for Change (https://hopefulgifts.ca/). A card can go to a loved ones telling them that you have helped a child go to school, a pastor get training, or a family grow a kitchen garden, in honour of them. That certainly sounds like the “spirit of Christmas”, doesn’t it?
So, it is safe to say we are ready to go…again! Thank you to all the churches and individuals who take such a keen interest in what God is doing here in Rwanda. As we serve here, we are very much aware of all those who stand behind us in prayer, encouragement and financial support.
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.