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Partnership visit to Rwanda

It is always exciting to fellowship with Methodists at their Sunday services. This was no exception. Church service started at 9.30am and ended at 12.00noon.

After a wonderful time of singing hymns and choruses, the various choirs presented starting with Sunday school kids shown below.

Then the women choir and the energetic youth choir. Sure enough there was no time constraint, everyone was relaxed and I believe God was not complaining about the length of service too. I had the privilege of bringing greetings from MCB and I commended Rwanda for its peaceful election plus its 75th church anniversary attended by a team from Wolverhampton & Shrewsbury District.

Afterwards the drama team presented a wonderful choreography. This went on for about an hour followed by those who shared testimonies of God’s goodness. A boy who was in coma for eight days in the hospital came round after fervent prayers were being made in church. He is doing alright. Two other testimonies were shared by a newly married couple plus an undergraduate; both thanking God for divine intervention in their situations.

This was followed by offering time and then intercessory prayers from both a lady and a man. The sermon was based on John 8:13 – it is the truth you know that sets you free. The pastor shared on the importance of reading the word, meditating, researching, revising and remaining it so it could influence and guide our decisions. As the Word of God becomes the standard, influences from culture, emotions and habits would be curtailed in the light of Godly wisdom.

Psalm 119:97 – Oh how I love Your law, It is my meditation all the day … Thank you.

Shalom
Bunmi Olayisade
Africa Partnership Coordinator

Sent from my iPad

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Visit to Amizero Special Needs School, Rwanda

It was good to visit Rwanda again on a partnership visit after few years. My first port of call was at Amizero Special Needs school, owned and managed by the Free Methodist Church, Rwanda. Below is a very gifted autistic student of the school who is very skilled with computers and phones but with little funding support to progress. Beside him to the right was Bishop Samuel Kayinamura, the head of church and Rev Ernst to the left- the School Principal. His teacher stood behind watching him operating a smart phone.

Below were the pupils ready for morning assembly. They sang two hymns after which one of them led prayers. Then I was formally welcome.

Later in the day, the children reassembled for a short break. Each pupil received a cup of milk with a bun. This snack was funded by an international organisation which the school was very grateful for but it difficult to know how long the project would run for. As a result, FMC leaders proposed having a school farm for milk, vegetables and fruit supply for the pupils to promote self-reliance.

Thank you
Bunmi Olayisade
Africa Partnership Coordinator- MCB
Sent from my iPad

Freedom continues

We are still hard at work on religious freedom. It is a serious issue here and we have heard of discrimination and violence from our Muslim speakers. Ebe Joseph reminded us that diversity is God-given but that in many places there is movement from coexistence to confrontation and community to fragmentation rather than the reverse. He was challenging the conference, ‘it is not the shoes you wear, it is the steps you take.’ In a country where Christians make up only 7% of the 22m population he questioned whether we were speaking out sufficiently for all minorities.
Steve

Religious Freedom

After chairing the international partners meeting for two days in Colombo, I am now in Negombo for the religious freedom consultation.
We have an excellent array of speakers to help reflect on how the four major religions present in this country work together and are a force both for conflict and for peace.
The Anglican bishop in his opening words has challenged all participants to learn from this consultation in order to improve our cooperation as people of faith.
Ebenezer Joseph as General Secretary of the National Christian Council, described this as a crucial time for religious freedom and a time to search for the truth of religious freedom. Religion is not an innocent baby in Sri Lanka and links to people’s emotions and politics. So a search for truth and authenticity is vital. We will all be hearing some views with which we profoundly disagree! There are problems created by the way some Christians practice their faith and the divisions within the Christian Church make cooperation very difficult.

It promises to be an interesting time!
Steve

Colombo

Arrived in Colombo last night and wake to a beautiful sea view! Far too early, says my jet-lagged brain, but it’s a 7.30 start for the partners’ round table at the Christian Council…
Steve on Saturday

Visit to Asian Rural Institute

Below is Bunmi with Kathy at the Hikari no cafe at Tochigi managed by special needs staff in a rural location.

I also met with JB Hoover – the Executive Director of the American Friends of ARI based in the US. He works closely with the Board of Trustees and ARI staff to fundraise, connect with ARI graduates, potential donors and sending bodies. Below he sits with Oscar, an ARI 2006 graduate invited to serve as a Training Assistant for one year (2017). Oscars hails from Cameroon and highly recommended the ARI programme for African. He has a thriving piggery farm in addition to vegetables and other crops all organically farmed in North West Cameroon.

On Sunday, after the church service at the United Church of Japan; II was invited to the cultural centre and met with few senior citizens helping at the English language centre. Many of them had either lived in England or Africa and were of great help to ARI students and spouses learning Japanese or English. It was good to partake in the festive occasion where cultural dances were performed.

Thank you.

Shalom
Bunmi Olayisade
Africa Partnership Coordinator
MCB

Sent from my iPad

Visit to Asian Rural Institute

As part of addressing migration from rural to urban areas, participants are encouraged to promote employment in rural places to stem such migration. Below is an initiative by a Christian couple visited frequently by ARI officials.

The cafe is run by people with special skills and all proceeds made go towards their welfare and training. Meals, snacks and deserts are served to the public in the cafe as well as distributed for sale at various outlets around. Below is Kathy the Ecumenical relations officer at ARI, sitting with Bunmi. Kathy links participants with rural enterprises across Japan.
Bunmi Olayisade
Africa Partnership Coordinator
MCB

Sent from my iPad