What a great time we had in Rwanda! The nation is still in the rebuilding process from the horrific genocide in 1994.
God put together a great team which was led by Marvin Eggleston from ANLM, African New Life Ministries. He has been so instrumental in spearheading much of what is developing there in connection with the church, orphanage and school.
God’s hand was upon us. Amazingly, during our layover in Washington, D.C., the Lord timed our departure perfectly which allowed us to leave during a window in the big snow blizzard.
Marvin summarized the Pastors & Wives Conference held at the Africa New Life Ministries (ANLM) campus in Kigali, Rwanda as a resounding success. With 623 participants from six different African nations, we were informed that this was the largest gathering for pastors in Rwanda since the genocide that took place in 1994. The staff from ANLM and volunteers from New Life Bible Church did an outstanding job tending to housing, transportation and meals for the attendees of the conference. The team, that God put together from San Antonio to conduct the conference, touched the hearts of the pastors and their wives.
I presented leadership principles from the book of Nehemiah. Pastor Rander Draper, Senior Pastor from Maranatha Bible Church provided powerful messages through music, accompanied by Johnson Nantawubwa, and through his preaching. Connie Troxel and Stuart and Lee Anne Hendry, representing SSI, and Darlene Draper, from Maranatha Bible Church, provided insights into spiritual growth, strengthening of marriages, and team building.
We were approached by numerous pastors at each break telling us how much the conference meant to them and begging us to conduct similar conferences in their countries because it was something that was sorely needed for the pastors. The conference was a tremendous blessing to the team and attendees alike. Two other team members, Larry Amstutz and Skip Croncich, spent their time on work projects at the school and orphanage.
Lee Anne Hendry gives us her impressions as well: “Whenever you think of Rwanda the first thing that comes to your mind is the genocide in 1994 that murdered 800,000+ people in 100 days. You expect people to be devastated and without hope…but instead you are met with smiles which communicate a deep abiding joy in the Lord. To look out at over 600 pastors and wives from 5 different countries was overwhelming. They are hungry for the Word and they want to get as much information as they can to take back to their churches. Between Steve’s leadership principles in Nehemiah, Pastor Draper’s exhortation on false teachers, Connie’s fruits of the spirit and Darlene’s biblical intimacy…they got their money’s worth, so to speak.
Even more encouraging was the way the pastors were diligent about getting each other’s email addresses. These conferences produce a sense of unity between the pastors from various denominations, which is something that is lacking. We all enjoyed going with Florence into town to purchase the fabric for our African dress.
We were inspired by the orphanage and school provided by African New Life. We were humbled and broken to see the Genocide museum. I love Rwanda. I love the people. It is a beautiful country to look at and to see the people and the land restored speaks to the power of Jesus. What a privilege to be part of this great commission.” Stuart and Lee Anne also greatly impacted the attendees through their personal testimonies and sharing of Biblical principles on leadership. All of us felt that this was a huge investment in the Kingdom of God.
Next month Connie and I and Lannie and Melba Green will be flying to Lima, Peru, Lord willing, and conduct two separate conferences of shorter duration on the theme of my book, Going the Distance. We are excited about this trip as well. In August, we head back to Africa, this time Uganda, where the plan is to have 300 pastor couples with the same “Going the Distance” theme.
We want to thank each one of you for praying and giving to make these trips a reality. We at SSI are extremely grateful to God for each one of you!