Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Training Leaders

Canadian Baptist Ministries and Carey Theological College
Masters Program Graduation, Kenya

Grassroots leadership formation is an important part of CBM’s ministry in Africa. From training self help group leaders and community facilitators in our empowerment projects, to training pastors and development staff on the the principles and practice of effective Integral Mission, we are involved in ongoing development of leaders in each of our partner churches.

Last Saturday, April 12, we participated in the convocation ceremony for the graduates (in Kenya they are called Graduands) from the CBM and Carey Masters of Arts program in Christian Education. The celebration was held with the diploma and certificate graduation of the Eastern Kenyan Integrated College (EKIC) of the Africa Brotherhood Church in Mitaboni.

A day of great celebration

The masters graduates were from several of our partner churches in Kenya, Rwanda and South Sudan. Brian Stelck, past president of Carey Theological College, addressed the graduates as the guest speaker, challenging them to take the education that has been entrusted to them to strengthen their church and community. 

In Prayer
Please join us in praying for the development of emerging leaders across our African partner churches. In particular, we pray for the executive leadership of the Africa Brotherhood Church, African Christian Church and Schools, Association of Baptist Churches of Rwanda, Central African Baptist Churches, and the Faith Evangelical Baptist Church of South Sudan. Many of these leaders are currently completing their doctorates within the CBM and Carey Theological Colleges Doctor of Ministry program in Kenya. Balancing academics and the daily responsibilities of leadership is a great challenge.

Please pray for the ministry of the Bible Schools for each of our African partners. In particular, we remember our colleagues Darrel Bustin, Wayne Morgan, Randy and Elizabeth Legassie who are each providing support as well as teaching with their respective partners.

We also pray for the effectiveness of key educational ministries including the teacher professional development program in Rwanda, the Guardians of Hope scholarship program for orphans and vulnerable children, the women’s training programs in Muslim Ministry, and the ongoing food security training in conservation agriculture. We pray for the leaders of these programs and for the strengthening of the participants and their communities.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Proud little Canadian!

Rosslyn Elementary School
Spring Concert

This past week was the annual Spring concert for the elementary school at Rosslyn Academy. It was a lot of fun to see the children sharing about God’s Gifts in music, dance and skits.

Ava singing in the Elementary School Choir

Ava showing her class where to find Canada

Along with her concert, Ava also had her grade one public speaking day where she and her class mates presented their countries, cultures and traditions. It was a colourful afternoon with first grade students sharing about their home cultures including: Kenya, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Goa, United States, India, Australia, the United Kingdom, and Canada. A part of the fun was a reception with foods from each of the countries represented.

Proudly Canadian!
Mommy’s Maple Syrup Cake

Ava showing mommy her Canada project

Miss Lane introducing students from around the world

Ava and her class mates showing parents their country posters

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Building Bridges

CBM  Ministry  with  Muslims 
Project Officer’s Meeting in Nairobi, Kenya
William, Josephine, Erica, Aaron, Laura, Geoffery, and Yattani

We had the joy of gathering this week with the key leaders in Canadian Baptist Ministries’ integral mission program in the Muslim majority communities of Kenya’s North Eastern Province and Eastern Nairobi. Together our team members are working to build bridges of healing, trust, and cooperation among Christians and Muslims. 

“We face many challenges,” shared our friend Yattani. “Continued insecurity and radicalization. And of course fear because of the terror attacks. But there are many successes that we have to celebrate. The cross and crescent conference was not only strategic, but it was timely, significant and appealed to the needs of the Christian communities in Garissa. The need for bridging Christian/Muslim relations and also understanding what the Muslims believe is paramount.

The feeding program has not only increased enrolment of the students in [the villages of] Bakuyu and Buula Pamoja, but has provided nutritious lunch for the students and has challenged the parents to own the need of educating their children.”

Over the past three years these ECD schools have had explosive growth. So much so, that the Buula Pamoja school has become a major feeder school for the Korakora primary school where this past year 20% of the children are now coming from Buula Pamoja. These are over one hundred children who had never had the opportunity to attend school before.

“We are building bridges through farming as well” shared our friend William, who has been mentoring Muslim and Christian farmers each week in the Farming God’s Way conservation agriculture project in Garissa District. Currently six of the local churches are meeting weekly with their Muslim neighbours in each other’s gardens and farms. “We don’t just sit and have tea together,” laughs William. “We are in the fields every day working together, talking together and sharing our hopes. This is integral mission."

Please join us in praying for this important ministry and for these young leaders who are serving in such practical and important ways.

“The great gift of Easter is hope - Christian hope which makes us have confidence in God, in his ultimate triumph, and in his goodness and love, which nothing can shake.” 
Basil Hume

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Prayers for Peace

Cattle herdsman in Juba, South Sudan

As we approach Palm Sunday, we are reminded of how Jesus was viewed by so many of his peers as a  potential military Messiah who would bring the “Kingdom of God” by sword. His triumphal entry into Jerusalem turned the expected political power-play on its head. Instead of leading a rebellion, Jesus’ path was set toward the self-sacrifice of the cross. In the Gospels, we read how the masses that lined the streets with Palm branches hailing the “king of the Jews” soon became the crowds who would turn against him. The path of following Jesus is not free of suffering, in fact it often directs us into the very centre of conflict and despair. Rather than meeting injustice and oppression with violence, the Church is called to a way of self-giving love, bold proclamation of truth, and courageous solidarity with the other.

This month is the twentieth anniversary of the Rwandan Genocide. During this week of mourning, our friends and colleagues living in Kigali have gathered with their neighbours in churches, public squares, schools and grave sites to prayer together, weep together and sing together. "Never again" is the common vow that can be heard throughout Rwanda. The Art of Remembering and Forgetting, by Peter Gwin is a great three part series on the Rwandan Genocide that is worth reading. In his article, he highlights the stories of dozens of Rwanda genocide survivors and chronicles the challenge of healing that the people of Rwanda have so bravely embrace. Among the many people Gwin interviews, he meets "Erine Nyirakarehe a 58-year-old ethnic Tutsi, [who] sits with former Hutu militiaman Ildephonse Twjiyezu, 33, who in 1994 led a group that burned down her family's home with her son inside. "It was very painful to kill the boy," says Twjiyezu, who was only 14 years old at the time. "It was like a stone in my heart." Through the organization As We Forgive, the two were brought together for reconciliation. "When I forgave Ildephonse, I felt like a whole person again," says Nyirakarehe. "It made me want to forgive more people.”      National Geographic Link

Our friend Reverend Gato Munyamasoko leads the Association of Rwandan Baptist Churches (AEBR) one of our partners in Rwanda. His passion has been helping the church and the communities where they serve to experience peace and reconciliation. Canadian Baptist Ministries has had the privilege of partnering with the AEBR in holistic mission that seeks to bring the transforming love of Christ into every aspect of peoples lives from improved agriculture and education, to deeper understanding and relationships with our neighbours. As the Church ministers in Rwanda, the heart of the healing that is happening is through forgiveness.

Our Canadian Baptist Ministries colleague and friend Laurena Zondo is the founder and president of  Peace of Life a dynamic ministry that is part of our wider peace building efforts in Rwanda. Each year young people come together for peace camps that are focused on personal healing and community transformation.

In Prayer:

- As we pray for continued healing from the scars of genocide in Rwanda, let us also pray for the people of South Sudan, the Central African Republic, Nigeria, and Kenya where violence and destruction continues along ethnic divisions. 

- Please prayer for our friends in Malakal, South Sudan, who are a part of the CBM/FEBAC relief efforts.

- Please remember our friends in the Central African Baptist Churches (CBCA) in Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo who are also working for sustained peace and healing among their people after decades of conflict and war in Eastern Congo.

CBCA Youth Drama on Conflict and Reconciliation
in Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo

“This is my commandment that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.”
John 15:12-13