Friday, September 21, 2018

Praying for Emerging Leaders in Africa


One of the great joys of serving with Canadian Baptist Ministries in Africa has been the privilege of investing in young leaders from across our Church partners and local community stakeholders. Over the last twelve years, we have witnessed an incredible shift in leadership in CBM's Africa programming that has largely moved from Canadians to national field staff.

Canadian Baptist churches are recognizing more and more the richness in perspective and expertise that comes from diverse teams serving to meet a common purpose.

We anticipate a great Autumn as we participate in the next round of the Africa Leadership Exchange that will be held in Rwanda in October, facilitate a group of Canadian volunteers sent to support the ministry of women pastors in Kenya, and work with our new deputy team leader in launching new partnerships and programming.

Here are a few prayer requests:

Changing leadership in our denominational partners
Please pray with us for the current shift in leadership among several of our local partners. In Rwanda, the AEBR will be officially installing Rev. Emmanuel Ngayhihembako as their new legal representative in late October. We pray for the success and well being of Rev. Emmanuel and his family.

In South Sudan, our denominational partner is also approaching the election of its executive leadership. We pray for the Lord's leading in the selection of their new general secretary and officers.

Lies, Rumours, and Curses
We continue to pray for the ongoing response to the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Our church partner is actively engaged in front-line prevention in the area where 97 people have already died from the virus.

One of the emerging challenges in this area has been documented by the Red Cross and Medecins Sans Frontieres, who are witnessing people "hiding symptoms, refusing vaccination, and performing unsafe burials." These healthcare workers are discovering that the reaction against the prevention of Ebola has been fueled by the spreading of lies, rumours, and fear of curses.

"Some think that the disease is a plot to kill opposition voters. Others believe it is a money-making scheme by foreign groups."  Through community surveys, the Red Cross has found community resistance is being fed by three main theories: "that it is a political strategy, that it is a business, and that it is a curse."

Please pray for medical workers and volunteers from humanitarian groups and our local partner churches as they seek to build trust and dispell myths that are harming their community. As our local partner works to share grace and truth, we pray with them that the spread of Ebola will be halted.

New Leadership
On September 17th, Canadian Baptist Ministries officially announced that national field staff, André Sibomana, has been named as our deputy team leader for the CBM team and partners across Africa. 

You can read the announcement here on the CBM website.

CBM Deputy Africa Team Leader: Rev. André Sibomana 

We are thrilled to be working more closely with André over the coming months as he joins us in supporting the mission of CBM and our partners. The Lord has used André's sincere love for others and servant heart to make a lasting impact upon churches and communities throughout Rwanda. We are confident that he will bring great integrity, experience, and energy to this role.

Over the past five years, we have witnessed God using André to influence and strengthen other leaders through programs like the Certificate of Integral Mission and the Africa Leadership Exchange. We are excited for all that God has in store for Andre and the CBM Africa team!

Please join us in praying for André and his family as he transitions into this new role, and assumes the wider responsibilities and travel demands throughout Africa.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Digging the South Shore of Nova Scotia

On the edge of the "Money Pit" -- Oak Island, Nova Scotia

South Shore Cove, Oak Island

Tomorrow wraps up our wonderful two-week vacation in Nova Scotia. It has been such a blessing to be here to share this time with Tristan and with new friends in Bridgewater. We are also grateful for the time we were able to enjoy with Aaron's parents who visited from Prince Edward Island.

One highlight for us was the opportunity to join a tour of the famous Oak Island in Mahone Bay. Although we had heard of treasure hunting stories on the island twenty-years ago when we first started to serve in Nova Scotia, we had never ventured onto the island. Now with the breakout success of the History Channel reality show, "The Curse of Oak Island", tours have been sold out all summer long.

We are very grateful to our friend Rick who was able to help us join today's group.

Erica and Tristan at the swamp

Whether you are a fan of the show or not, the tour is great fun and will no doubt have you hunting up past seasons. Oak Island is a beautiful place so the walk alone is worthwhile, but the mystery is captivating. As we crossed the island, we were able to see the main dig site, historic digs, ancient landmarks, the infamous swamp, and some secrets that will be revealed in the upcoming season of the show. There were no photographs allowed in these sensitive areas, but we will be tuning in for this new season.

Our tour guide, Charles Barkhouse

Friends here on the South Shore will recognize our guide and local historian, Charles Barkhouse. He is a fantastic storyteller and was a fun and engaging guide. Charles works with the Friends of Oak Island Society whose volunteers make the tours possible.

Fellow fan Catherine McKinnon leading us in "Farewell to Nova Scotia"

Growing up in the Maritimes, we were no stranger to singer and entertainer Catherine McKinnon, but it was a surprise to meet her on our walking tour of Oak Island and to discover that she is also a fan of the show. It did not take too much coaxing from Charles before she was leading us in song. Singing "Farewell to Nova Scotia" from the banks of Smith's Cove was incredible. 

Charles, Rick, and Gary

Before we left, we had the joy of meeting Rick Lagina and Gary Drayton from the show. What a fun experience. The entire Oak Island team seem to be genuine and kind people. 

With Tristan at The Knot

After the thrill of geeking out on Oak Island, we had a relaxing day with Tristan in Lunenburg and Bridgewater. We are so thankful for our new friends and gracious hosts Bill and Elizabeth Boutilier who have opened their home to us and treated us to such an incredible time. 

Cracking the safe in record time at the 
Bridgewater Think Tank Escape Rooms


Taco Night with the Bridgewater Baptist Youth Group

We have also had wonderful times with our family of faith at the Bridgewater Baptist Church. It has been such a rich two weeks with a special concert, church picnic, youth group events, and times of getting to know people.

We are truly blessed to have had this time together and we are excited to be back!



Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Praying with the Church in Africa

Praying with the African Christian Church and Schools 
congregation in Mai Mahui, Kenya.

Kenya
As we come to the end of August, we remember the hundreds of orphans and vulnerable children that our Kenyan partners are assisting with school fees and basic supplies as they prepare to start a new semester. Strengthening ministry with youth and children is a major prayer concern for our Kenyan partners as they realize that the majority of the Kenyan population is under the age of 19.

We are also grateful for a fantastic Kamp Tumaini with the Guardians of Hope groups of the ACC&S and with CBM's Urban Muslim Ministry program in Nairobi. We remember in prayer the team of eight Canadian volunteers as they begin their long journey home this evening.

The CBM SENT team on their way to the airport this afternoon

South Sudan
It is with great sadness that we lament with South Sudanese churches the failure of the leadership of the two warring groups to come to an agreement on ratifying the peace accord that was initiated last month in Ethiopia. We pray for peace and an end to the senseless violence that is destroying this country.

The Democratic Republic of Congo
We continue to pray for the emergency response to the Ebola outbreak in North Kivu, DRC. As of August 25th, a total of 111 cases have been reported including 72 deaths. We pray for the families of the victims and for an end to the spread of the virus. We also pray in solidarity with our partners serving with the Baptist Churches of Central Africa (CBCA).

We are thankful that the CBCA has been recognized as an important local part in the World Health Organization's coordinated response efforts. Through the support of Canadian Baptist Ministries, Tearfund Canada, and the United Evangelical Mission, the CBCA is carrying out vital prevention measures in and around Mangina and Beni. 

CBCA pastors and implementation team members preparing 
80 handwashing stations for distribution at the epicentre 
of the Ebola outbreak in DRC.