‘As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.’ Genesis 50:20
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you! 2020 has been an unusual year for most of us. It has been very tiring and challenging. But these words of Joseph have been a great comfort to us. The global pandemic has brought too much pain and lots of disruptions. When the first case of COVID-19 in Rwanda were confirmed, we had to put almost all of our training events on hold, and the kids bible club and in-person gatherings with our apprentices. We were hoping that things would get back to normal sooner but now, here we are, still battling with this virus. It has not been easy to adjust.
But in all this, God has comforted us through his word. In our Genesis lesson series, the truth about our sufferings and God’s sovereign rule through them has been a great anchor to our weary souls. We are witnesses that indeed God always has good plans through all kinds of trials. We feel stronger because we believe that for those who love him all things work together for good.
Materials for families: We had plans to write materials to help parents teach the Bible to their children at home, but it wasn’t something we thought was very urgent. But when lockdown started and churches closed, we realised it was the only option left for us to help churches and parents keep discipling children under lockdown.
Our first series was on the meaning of death of Jesus Christ – five lessons in the gospel of Matthew for children aged between four and eleven and four lessons on different topics for pre-schoolers. Then we decided to go on and we wrote nine Lessons in Acts and 17 lessons in Genesis for older children and 24 lessons on different topic for pre-schoolers, and we have just finished three Christmas Lessons in Luke’s gospel!
When we started we had no idea how the materials would be received. To our surprise, the materials started circulating on social media and some churches and individuals around the country started using them. We know of a lady in the northern province who started using them to teach a few children from her neighbourhood in her home. A student and his friend at the University of Rwanda in the southern province began using them to teach a group of street kids. We have heard of a woman who got the materials through a ministry called ‘The root network’ in the eastern province who is teaching her kids and few others in her neighbourhood every Sunday. Gospel Community Church decided to print out the materials and send them to a community they are trying to reach with the gospel in a poor area in Kigali. One pastor in Kigali told us, ‘I have enjoyed using these materials with my children. The explanations of the passages and applications are very good. I love how each passage (especially the Old Testament passages) point to salvation in Jesus Christ. After using them a couple of times I realised that, even though they are designed for children, adults can benefit from them too. Since we are in lockdown, we decided to use them as our church family devotions every Sunday.’
Catechism series: We have started working on an exciting new series called New City Catechism. There are 52 questions and answers that seek to help parents understand and teach the core doctrines of the Christian faith, and help children to memorise them in our mother tongue. We hope that this will be a great tool that will help families know and articulate the foundational truths of our faith.
Partnership with Compassion: God has opened a door for us to reach many parents and children in the eastern province. During this time of COVID-19, we began a training programme with Compassion International in Rwanda. This training runs from January to June 2021. Around 40 people from Compassion projects and affiliated churches will be trained on basic principles of bible handling skills. Our prayer is that, after six months, the trainees will have a good foundation that will help them to know how best to study the Bible and to teach it faithfully and effectively to nearly 4,000 children under their care.
New resources: Covid-19 has proved to us that good gospel-centred resources are paramount for the discipleship of the Rwandan next generation. With the materials we wrote, and the response we got, we are trusting God that in the next year we will make all of them available in booklet form so that many parents who couldn’t access them electronically will be able to. We are hoping to finish translating The Big Picture Story Bible and hopefully at the end of 2021 we will make it available in our mother tongue. We are working on another project writing children’s bible stories. These are stories that go hand-in-hand with our lessons, which children can read for themselves. We hope that these kinds of bible stories will help children to love the Bible more.
Legal personality: Preach The Word has finally been able to be registered. It is registered under a new name though: Word Increase Ministries (WIM). DNG will be working under the legal cover of WIM and we will be accountable to the WIM board. Through this we will be able to work freely in our country and be able to give DNG staff all the benefits that employees are due.
Yes, this year has been challenging but God has been faithful. As a team, we are all doing well, though we feel physically tired. Emotionally and spiritually we are strong and very thankful for all that God has done in us this year, through our partnerships. We know you have been praying for us and we are deeply thankful. Despite COVID-19 you did not stopped giving and we have actually had a significant increase in our funding this year (more than any year since DNG started). We have lacked nothing financially due to your amazing generosity. May the Lord bless you for your sacrificial giving.
The DNG team eishes you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Pictured at top of page: Having fun after teaching my niece and nephew.
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