AN UNEXPECTED OPPORTUNITY: RWANDA 2018
I’m on my way to Rwanda. Yes, in Africa. Yes, that country. In 1994, there was mass genocide that made headlines all over the world. Over 1 million people died. That’s probably most of what you know about this landlocked country. Yet there is more. In the last twenty years, its gone through a resurgence. Its capital, Kigali, is quickly becoming one of the major tech centers on the continent. In its national legislature, 64% are women. It’s come a far way in twenty years, and I will see it firsthand.
I know. How and why are the questions you have for me around this trip. I recently became Mission Director for the Progressive National Baptist Convention (PNBC), which was the denominational home of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and a clarion voice of social justice in the church today, with 2.5 million members across the globe. This past August, we were contacted by contacts in Rwanda, asking for assistance. We learned that a recent Church Law passed through their legistlature closed over 700 churches. The government took this action due to the need for better control over safety standards for church buildings. It also required churches to have trained clergy leading them in an effort to cut down on those motivated by greed in defrauding followers. After some conversations, we saw that we could best be helpful in assisting in training leaders in theological education. We also are in talks with a Bible college having national reach in the U.S. for partnership in this effort.
From December 3-8, there will be a leadership conference with over 200 pastors from across Rwanda, and I’ve been asked to be a keynote speaker. I’ll be responsible for teaching and preaching during this time. In the days preceeding the conference, I’ll be meeting with government officials and the local seminary, to see what a partnership with local pastors and churches in Rwanda concerning theological education could look like. Our purpose is to work with those in the country to expand, through online courses and week-long intensives, training for leaders who can then train their fellow citizens. In this way, we seek to empower those in Rwanda to eventually empower themselves.
During my time in Rwanda I’ll be blogging various developments. Depending on what’s available, I may also vlog. Regardless of which means I use, you will see the developments of this trip. Let me thank Dr. Karanja Ajanaku for giving me an opportunity to write blog entries on this trip through Memphis' African American newspaper, The New Tri State Defender. Thanks are also extended to PNBC, our president, Dr. Timothy Stewart, our General Secretary, Dr. Timothy Boddie, and our Mission Board chaired by Rev. Sam Nixon. You will also be able to follow right here various real time reflections.
When I return, a video chronicling the trip will be done. I hope through these means that you will travel to the Motherland with me through my words. Please pray for the ongoing success of this trip, and our potential work.
To God Be The Glory