Monday, April 30, 2018

Africa Leadership Exchange, Nyali

The CBM Africa Leadership Exchange

This past week, leaders from CBM and four of our African partner denominations gathered for the second Africa Leadership Exchange (ALE) focused on enhancing leadership and governance across our African partners.

The exchange of perspectives and ideas from Christian leaders serving in Rwanda, South Sudan, Kenya, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Canada has created a rich and dynamic community of learning and practice.

At each gathering, we are witnessing God's Spirit at work drawing together our group of twenty-one leaders, who represent five very different countries but are united in our common faith and commitment to serve God and others.

The Africa Leadership Exchange
Nyali, Kenya, April 2018

Each gathering has brought us to very different places where our partner churches are serving. The April 2018 ALE was held in the coastal community of Nyali not far from church planting ministries of the African Christian Church and Schools (ACC&S). 

This part of Kenya has a long tradition of "exchange" as early exploration and trade in East Africa was focused on the deep harbour of Mombasa and the small coastal villages that would become entry points into the interior of Africa. It was here that the trade language of Kiswahali was born and shaped. Landmarks from that early history of trade remain in stone towns that mark the East African coast where Omani Arab traders, Portuguese explorers, Europeans, and the Chinese have come to meet and benefit from the resources of Africa. 

Throughout the training, we enjoyed seeing the steady movement of ships passing the hotel on their way to Mombasa. From giant ocean-faring container ships to small hand built fishing dows, they were a constant reminder that here Africa was connecting with the world.

Camels still walk along the sandy shore in Nyali. Once caravans of these lanky beasts brought goods in and out of the horn of Africa, but today have been replaced by transfer trucks and trains. The strings of camels we saw are now mainly for tourists and visitors ready to brave the rocky ride. 

Dr. Jonathan R. Wilson lecturing on Wisdom and Character

An exchange is about giving and receiving. Throughout the ALE, we have participated in rich times of teaching, discussion, and practice. Together we have been wrestling with the structures of leadership and governance within our organizations and addressing practical ways of improving their health and effectiveness.

We are so grateful for our team of facilitators that served during this round of the ALE including Jonathan Mills, Aaron Kenny, Jonathan Wilson, and Soohwan Park. Each day was a combination of presentations, sharing, and prayer.

Jonathan Mills facilitating governance training during ALE

Aaron with Rev. Dr. Samuel Ngayihembako, president and legal 
representative of the Baptist Churches of Central Africa.

Along with organizing the logistics for ALE, Aaron has been teaching in the area of risk management. The complex challenges facing our church partners can at times feel overwhelming. It was such a gift to have this week to take time away to reflect together.

Rev. Julius Kimani, General Secretary of the 
African Christian Church and Schools.

Jonathan with Berthe Uwizeramariya, the director of administration 
of the Association of Rwandan Baptist Churches

Aaron with ACC&S moderator Rt. Rev. Jeremiah Ngumo

Sibomana, Beth, Samuel, and Andre at our closing banquet

Soohwan Park, who facilitated training on strengthening 
stakeholder credibility and human resource management, 
with women participants from ALE.

Please join us in praying for these leaders and their denominations. The Church in Africa faces many great challenges. We pray for leaders with humility and integrity to follow the guidance of God's Spirit to lead the Church to fulfill their mission to bring hope and healing in a broken world.

We pray for Jonathan Mills who is directing the ALE program. The next ALE gathering will be held in Rwanda this coming October.

Jeremiah and Berthe with Rev. Emmanuel Ndagijimana, 
the newly elected leader of the AEBR

Sunday, April 29, 2018

In the Heights

Rosslyn Academy's High School Theatre Department Present
In  the  Heights

Yesterday was the final show of this year's high school musical at Rosslyn Academy. Emma and her friends have worked hard and enjoyed the journey of bringing to stage this Tony Award-winning musical. All four performances received standing ovations as the students brought passion to the music and dance of this fantastic show.

Here are a few more photos of last nights finale

Friday, April 20, 2018

Update Video: Children's Ministry in Africa

In this month's prayer update video, join us in Karura Forest Nairobi as Erica shares about the ministry of CBM and our African partners with children. 

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

CBM Prayer Update: Urgent Requests from Africa

Mave Grace and her sister, Racahele-Ngabausi, survived an attack in their village of Tchee in the Ituri province of the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.
Photo credit: Goran Tomasevic/Reuters
Please join us in praying for three areas of urgent need with Canadian Baptist Ministries' African partners. We pray for these situations, but we also pray for the courageous men and women of faith who are responding to the needs of their neighbours.

We remember the words of Jesus, "Peace I leave you, my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid" (John 14:27). The turmoil of our world is real and present, but so is the power of Christ in us.

Ituri Province in the eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo is being torn apart by the ethnic conflict between Hema herders and Lendu farmers. Since the outbreak of violence earlier this year, tens of thousands of people have fled their land and are seeking help in Uganda and from churches in other parts of the country. These survivors are telling stories of an untold number of family members and friends that have been murdered in this brutal conflict.

The UNHCR expects 200,000 refugees will reach Uganda from Ituri before the end of this year. This is in addition to the tens of thousands already seeking refuge in internal camps within the Congo, like the camp in Bunia. The breakdown of the government authority is sparking conflict in other parts of the country as well. DRC desperately needs peace and stability.

Eleven-year-old Mave Grace and her two-year-old sister, Racahele-Ngabausi, walking to their home in the Bunia Internally Displaced Persons Camp (IDP). Both sisters carrying deep scars from the attack that killed their mother and left them both disfigured.
Photo credit: Goran Tomasevic/Reuters
Our local partner, the Community of Baptist Churches of Central Africa (CBCA) is engaged in primary health care and trauma support for victims of violence throughout the country. Please join us in praying for these churches as they demonstrate faith and hope in such dark times. We pray for stability in DRC, for reconciliation, and for lasting peace. We especially remember the survivors of this conflict and the caregivers serving this community.

To read more about the stories of survivors from this region, we recommend you use this link to a recent article by Reuters. Be warned that the content is very disturbing. "Horror and fear grip survivors of Congo's hidden war" (Thomson Reuters Foundation News, April 15, 2018).

Children playing in the ruins of Malakal, South Sudan
Photo Credit: Stefanie Glinski/IRIN
Malakal is the home area of our South Sudanese partner the Faith Evangelical Baptist Churches (FEBAC). This use to be the second largest city in all of South Sudan, but after four years of conflict, it has been largely deserted. 

More than a thousand kilometers to the south, tens of thousands of former residents are living in makeshift camps in and around the capital city of Juba. They are praying for peace and for the opportunity to return and rebuild their homes and farmers in the North. 

In two weeks time, Canadian Baptist Ministries and FEBAC will be providing food assistance in Mengaten, an IDP camp that is supporting 3000 families waiting to return. Please remember our colleague William who will be traveling from Kenya to participate in the food distribution. We also pray for the local FEBAC churches and relief team who are implementing this project.

We also pray for peace talks that will be happening next week on April 26 in Addis, Ethiopia. May this civil war come to an end!

The AEBR Nyangahinika Church
Photo Credit: Jonathan and Janice Mills/CBM
April is the annual month of mourning and commemoration of the Rwandan Genocide. It is a sober and tender period for the people of Rwanda. We pray for the Lord's healing and for the ongoing need of peace and reconciliation for Rwanda and this region of the world.

We also ask you to join us in prayer for the Association of Rwandan Baptists Churches (AEBR), who CBM partners with in Rwanda. The denomination will be electing new leadership tomorrow, April 19th, during a general assembly. 

We pray for this crucial time of decision and for wisdom as the Church seeks to reopen over a hundred churches which still remained chained and locked after last month's government closure of 714 churches and a mosque for being "noisy" and not meeting a list "modest standards" of building requirements. The AEBR is trying to develop a church rehabilitation plan that will address their government's new expectations and allow for the reopening of these churches.  

To learn more about the work of CBM in Africa and around the world, please visit our website at 

Friday, April 13, 2018

Easter in Canada

Ava and our friend Naomi Fagan, enjoying a snowy 
Palm Sunday weekend in Kentville, Nova Scotia.

We travelled back to Canada this year to celebrate Easter with our family and bring Emma on a tour of several universities in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.

Ava has been praying for snow, and the Lord answered! It was the first time for Emma to experience a Canadian winter since she was four years old, and it was Ava's first taste of real snow. Literally, she ate snow and had lots of fun playing in it too.

We are so thankful to our friends and family that showed us such warmth and hospitality.

So great to be back to visit in Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia!
A snowy day at Acadia University in Wolfville, Nova Scotia

During our two-week visit, Emma got to experience living in residence with her big brother at Acadia. She attended classes and got a feel of what life is like at a Canadian university. After her time at Acadia, we also brought her on tours of schools in Halifax and Moncton. 

In just over a year, Emma will be graduating from Rosslyn Academy and returning to Canada. We are so excited for this next chapter. She is such an amazing young woman. 

Here are a few more pictures from our time together.

Out for breakfast with Tristan and Shay.
Ava with our friend and Rosslyn alumni, Maria, at Acadia.
Ava and Emma at Mount Saint Vincent University, Halifax.
Visiting with our friends Caleb and Bronwyn Bustin 
at Crandall University, Moncton.
Emma hanging out with our friend Lauren Myers.
Cooper and Sookie post-Easter Dinner.
Visiting with Grammie, Auntie Autumn, and Arizona
Ava playing with her cousin, Emry, in Bridgewater, Nova Scotia.