“Who can resist a . . .”

Posted by Garry Friesen September 24th, 2016

Family & Friends,

I have always wanted to change the culture especially in a literary direction.  I wanted to created a new word.  I tried in Decision Making and the Will of God.  The word was “marriagability” as in “Here are five excellent marriagability traits.”  So far Webster has not even sniffed at our offering.   Or even better, I’d like to create a new proverb.  One African told me that I had.  He said he heard someone quoting one of my talks.  “When God answers a prayer Yes, it shows His power.  When He answers No, it shows His wisdom.”  Maybe, just maybe, that big idea for prayer will make it.  But, nothing else has. I love decorating houses.  C.S. Lewis was my inspiration for 15 years at Aslan’s How.  Maybe that is my door to cultural history.  In Kigali, rental houses lack two things.  Actually, they lack dozens of things, but let me mention two.  First, there is no place to hang clothes.  This does not bother men, but it bothers the other half of the human race.  Second, there is no place to hang wet towels.  Whoa, That’s it!  I will influence Rwandan culture by introducing the towel rack.  I have already hung three in my bathroom and six more in the rest of the house. Who can resist a perfectly placed towel rack?

We leave tomorrow for East province in Rwanda for five days to teach 40 rural pastors the Old Testament.  Your prayers and gifts are making this possible.

Rwandan Rookie, G

To help Africa Bible in Community (ABC) with expenses for creating Matthew 4:4 meetings and ABC Pastor Training, Send check to “Imago Dei–Dr G for ABC”.   1302 SE Ankeny St, Portland, OR 97214  Or  on-line giving:  https://imagodei.webconnex.com/GFriesen     Questions? 503-231-5096

To contact me directly:     garryfriesen3335@gmail.com

Rwandan Debatable Issues

Posted by Garry Friesen September 17th, 2016

Family & Friends

At Africa College of Theology, I just had the joy of teaching the course Romans & Galatians for the first time.  When we hit Romans 14-15 we discussed “debatable” issues.  For the Romans it was probably an issue created by the Jews and Gentiles in the church.  Gentiles loved meat and the Jews were afraid that the Gentile meat was not prepared by Jewish standards and only ate vegetables.  I used the outline and definitions from my book for the notes (Decision Making and the Will of God).  During our discussion, I asked them for Rwandan debatable issues where the church has come to more than one conclusion.  The list was eye opening.  They listed: Polygamy, Proper attire for pastors, wearing jewelry, proper dress for women, political party membership, Sabbath, wedding for a pregnant woman, clubbing and generational curses.  The list will be different for every country and every age.  I left the classroom with more appreciation for the principles of Romans 14-15.  We summarized with a saying that has been in the Church for 500 years.  “In essentials, unity.  In non-essentials, freedom.  In all things, charity.”

Next week we travel to rural east Rwanda to teach 40 pastors.  The “Walk Thru” has been translated into Kinywanda and I will teach it in Kinyarwanda for the first time in the history of the universe – please pray.

Rwandan Rookie, G

To help Africa Bible in Community (ABC) with expenses for creating Matthew 4:4 meetings and ABC Pastor Training, Send check to “Imago Dei–Dr G for ABC”.   1302 SE Ankeny St, Portland, OR 97214  Or  on-line giving:  https://imagodei.webconnex.com/GFriesen     Questions? 503-231-5096

Fire from Heaven

Posted by Garry Friesen September 10th, 2016

Family & Friends,

In church recently, our pastor gave an illustration that was so African and so convicting.  Night clubs are one of the features of Western culture that Africa has welcomed.  One church had a night club select a location right next to them. (Be thankful for zoning laws).  Much of the evil and nuisance of the night club bothered the church.  So they prayed that God would burn the night club down.  They prayed as only Africans can pray. Owners of the club soon learned about the church’s heaven-ward petitions.  Then, according to insurance companies, “an act of God”, lightning, struck the night club and sure enough, it burned down.  The night club owner sued the church in court.  The believers who had been praying said that they did not cause the night club to burn down and they were innocent.  The owner said they were the cause of the fire by their fervent prayers for “fire”.

The judge was at a loss at how to decide.  But, before he gave a verdict he said, “One thing I am sure of.  The Christians don’t believe in prayer and the night club owner does!”  I will not be praying for any infernos, but I will be praying each morning.  Hopefully, it will be prayer with the faith of the night club owner.  Please join me. In two weeks, we will have ABC’s module 3 for rural pastors in the East province.  Your prayers for this five-day training will be appreciated.  I will be the main teacher and trying to teach the Walk Thru of the O.T. in Kinyarwanda – anything could happen!

Rwandan Rookie, G

To help Africa Bible in Community (ABC) with expenses for creating Matthew 4:4 meetings and ABC Pastor Training,  Send check to “Imago Dei–Dr G for ABC”.   1302 SE Ankeny St, Portland, OR 97214  Or  on-line giving:  https://imagodei.webconnex.com/GFriesen     Questions? 503-231-5096

To contact me directly:     garryfriesen3335@gmail.com

Curse of Singleness

Posted by Garry Friesen September 3rd, 2016

Family & Friends

Culture is so natural and simple.  You don’t think about your own culture any more than a fish thinks about water. It is when you change cultures that you are aware how complex and confusing it is.  One of our ABC leaders was away getting his education.  He returned to be with his sick mother.  I encouraged him to hold onto all the strengths of African culture, and be selective with accepting the strengths of American culture.  Every culture has features that promote Christian values and truths.  Every culture has features that fight against truth and godly values.  He left to be with his mother in a heart beat when she was having kidney failure.  It was in his African blood and Christian heart to treat parents in high honor. On the other hand, he had to fight the weaknesses of African culture as he cared for his mother. His mother believed that he was the reason she was dying.  Why?  He was single and so he was cursed.  His curse was causing her kidneys to fail.  She wanted him to stay, get married so she could be healed.  The gospel loves every culture and judges every culture.  All believers must investigate the cultural water in which they swim and let God do the surgery.

Rwandan Rookie, G

To help Africa Bible in Community (ABC) with expenses for creating Matthew 4:4 meetings and ABC Pastor Training,  Send check to “Imago Dei–Dr G for ABC”.   1302 SE Ankeny St, Portland, OR 97214  Or  on-line giving:  https://imagodei.webconnex.com/GFriesen     Questions? 503-231-5096

To contact me directly:     garryfriesen3335@gmail.com

Gridiron Mad Scientist

Posted by Garry Friesen August 27th, 2016

Family & Friends

One part of the culture background that I bring to Africa, is a work ethic.  This can lead to good things or the toxic workaholic mentality.  My current favorite football coach is one part guru and two parts mad scientist.  But, there is no doubt that coach Harbaugh is ready to work for making his Michigan Wolverines the best college football team in the country.  He screams a lot, but not at his quarterbacks.  He knows their psyche and their unique pressures from years of playing the position.  Last year, his quarterback threw three interceptions in the first game.  Fans were shouting for a new quarterback.  Coach Harbaugh calmly said, “He did everything that I asked him to do.  And, only one of the three interceptions was his fault.”  His quarterback came into game two with confidence and grew all year.  But, it does not matter which position you play for the mad scientist, you better be ready to work like the coach.  Harbaugh explains,  “Every morning in Africa a gazelle wakes up it knows it must outrun the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning in Africa, a lion wakes up it knows it must run faster than the slowest gazelle or it will starve. It doesn’t matter whether you’re the lion or a gazelle — when the sun comes up, you’d better be running.”  My Wolverines start running in September 3.  Meanwhile, when the sun comes up, I will be trying my best to get some ancient legs going at the speed of an African gazelle.

Rwandan Rookie, G

To help Africa Bible in Community (ABC) with expenses for creating Matthew 4:4 meetings and ABC Pastor Training,  Send check to “Imago Dei–Dr G for ABC”.   1302 SE Ankeny St, Portland, OR 97214  Or  on-line giving:  https://imagodei.webconnex.com/GFriesen     Questions? 503-231-5096

To contact me directly:     garryfriesen3335@gmail.com

Better than Matching Socks

Posted by Garry Friesen August 20th, 2016

Family & Friends

Matching socks are good.  Some of mine are not. Apparently, some socks disappear into a footwear black hole.  But, Matching Gifts are even better.  A “matching” gift, of course, means that a gift will be given if the same amount is raised by the recipient.  After a breakfast in Lake Oswego, two friends, slipped out of the room and returned after making a decision.   They said,  “We would like to give you a matching gift of $5,000 for Rwandan rural pastors”.  The $5,000 you raise must come from NEW supporting churches.”  This was a gift of generosity and wisdom.  It motivated me to look harder for regular supporting churches who would stand with ABC for the long run.  I only visit Portland once a year for a month or so.  So I hope to find $5,000 worth of churches who want to join the African adventure of training pastors and wiping out biblical illiteracy in Rwanda.  When I visit the Rose City, I am available for speaking.  If you know of a church that would be interested in hearing about Africa Bible in Community, let me know.  Because of some generous people, your support will double.  And, that is better than matching socks.

Rwandan Rookie, G

To help Africa Bible in Community (ABC) with expenses for creating Matthew 4:4 meetings and ABC Pastor Training,  Send check to “Imago Dei–Dr G for ABC”.   1302 SE Ankeny St, Portland, OR 97214  Or  on-line giving:  https://imagodei.webconnex.com/GFriesen     Questions? 503-231-5096

To contact me directly:     garryfriesen3335@gmail.com

Fire from Heaven?

Posted by Garry Friesen August 14th, 2016

Family & Friends

When I visit Portland, I go to visit any doctor or dentist that will see me. I was getting my annual physical when my doctor told me that it would be my last annual physical . . .  with him.  He was the best doctor for 50 years with trained skills and Christian faith.  But, his last prescription is making me look mad.  Not crazy mad, but red-hot angry mad.  My forehead now looks like I am blowing a fuse. My years of working as a greens’ keeper at Oakland Hills country club have returned to roost on my face.  I loved the job.  It kept me in great shape and between golf greens my Greek cards came out and prepared me for another year of seminary.   But, the sun did unknown future havoc to my peaked skin.  The medicine I have taken for 15 years suppressed any skin disease.  This new medicinal cream is going for the juggler.  In three to six months, it will kill any disease and leave my skin looking as smooth as a baby’s behind.  But, until then, it scares the children.  There is an indicator light to show it is working.  My doctor said it would turn the skin bright red.  The official medical description said “unsightly” and then more graphically:  “erthemia, usually followed by vesiculation, desquamation, erosion and reepitheliazation.”  And I thought it would just turn red!  If you see me, I’m not angry at you, I’m just following doctor’s orders.  And please, don’t run away.

Rwandan Rookie, G

To help Africa Bible in Community (ABC) with expenses for creating Matthew 4:4 meetings and ABC Pastor Training,  Send check to “Imago Dei–Dr G for ABC”.   1302 SE Ankeny St, Portland, OR 97214  Or  on-line giving:  https://imagodei.webconnex.com/GFriesen     Questions? 503-231-5096

To contact me directly:     garryfriesen3335@gmail.com

Mid-Life Crisis Convertible

Posted by Garry Friesen August 8th, 2016

Family & Friends

Just before returning to Rwanda on July 18, I sighed deeply with nostalgia. Sadly, I had driven my beloved red Mazda Miata for the last time.  It would be prepared for sale by a close friend after my departure.  The Miata sports a “Narnia” license plate and so gained the moniker, “Narnia-mobile.”  It was more fun to drive than anything that I have ever owned.  My friend did a great job of restoration to my 25 year old classic. He found expert repair people at great prices and soon the Miata looked pristine again.  His girl friend watched the restoration process.  Her long-time desire for a convertible reared its head.  She described what happened. “I just saw a great deal for a mid-life crisis and bought it!” She purchased the Miata, but with a condition.  Her proviso was that when I am in Portland, I would be required to use her Miata and enjoy the Narnia-mobile again – a welcomed serendipity.  The cherry on top of the serendipity was that the car helped bring $3,000 for Africa. This will go to support Andrew, an ABC leader, in his further education.  So the Final Scenario: Andrew will be blessed, she got her mid-life crisis convertible and the old guy will enjoy his classic wheels one more time.  God is good . . .  all the time, . . .  but some times, even more than others!

Rwandan Rookie, G

To help Africa Bible in Community (ABC) with expenses for creating Matthew 4:4 meetings and ABC Pastor Training,  Send check to “Imago Dei–Dr G for ABC”.   1302 SE Ankeny St, Portland, OR 97214  Or  on-line giving:  https://imagodei.webconnex.com/GFriesen     Questions? 503-231-5096

To contact me directly:     garryfriesen3335@gmail.com

African Class-B Miracle

Posted by Garry Friesen August 2nd, 2016

Family & Friends

We just finished the second module of pastor training in Kabarore, East Province, Rwanda. Forty of the forty pastors were there and arrived on time (8:30 am) each morning!  This was an African “class B” miracle.   The second module (5 days) was better than the first!  Our main speaker was the former “Africa Bishop” over a denomination. He brought 40 years of pastor and teacher experience with his luggage.  He was inspirational like, well, if you know him, David Needham, longtime Multnomah U. professor.  Our director Fred is what the Africans call “very serious”.  They love him and fear him just a bit.  Our speaker was amazed at the discipline of our 40 pastors and knew that Fred was part of the reason.  So Fred got the nickname “Umuporisi” or policeman.   The Bishop might say, “The policeman says that we have a ten minute break and must be back at 2:00 pm”.  Everyone would laugh, and be back at 2:00 pm.  The Bishop gave stirring stories from his 40 years of pastoral experience and often the pastors would respond with applause.  I should mention that our training sessions also have “worship dance breaks”.  The drums start, the voices raise and the dance begins.  For those who are sponsoring the cost of a pastor ($40 per month), your gift had a big bang for the buck.  Thank you.

Rwandan Rookie, G

To help Africa Bible in Community with expenses for creating Matthew 4:4 meetings and ABC Pastor Training,  Send check to “Imago Dei–Dr G for ABC”.   1302 SE Ankeny St, Portland, OR 97214  Or  on-line giving:  https://imagodei.webconnex.com/GFriesen     Questions? 503-231-5096

Garryfriesen3335@gmail.com

Cold Feet, but a Wedding

Posted by Garry Friesen July 23rd, 2016

Family & Friends

Once a month I tell a Bible story for the 7-9 year olds at New Life Bible Church.  I have been telling them the story of Ruth one chapter at a time.  As I prepared for Ruth 3, an idea hit me. I found a bedspread and two large towels.  In class, I started with a summary of Ruth 1-2.  Students filled in when I paused.  “A family of four left Bethlehem.  The father was named _________ and the mother _________  Then, I laid down the bed spread as a “threshing floor” and explained it.  Then I found a young man to be Boaz and a young lady to be Ruth.  The boy took off his sandals, laid down on the threshing floor and covered himself with the first towel.  Then I whispered to Ruth to go to Boaz and uncover only his bare feet.  She moved slowly and quietly and uncovered his feet.  To my surprise the whole class stood and surged forward to not miss anything.   40 kids were gazing at the threshing floor close up.  Why such a strange act by Ruth?  Naomi did not want Ruth to look like a prostitute when she asked Boaz a private question.  The cold night breezes that made winnowing possible would also freeze the feet of Boaz.  He in turn would wake up and start the conversation.  It worked, and before you know it, Jesus had a great, great, great, great . . .  grandmother.

Rwandan Rookie, G

UPDATE:                Rural pastors sponsored: 9

Future Pastor Training modules sponsored: 9

CS Lewis Sale for Africa earnings:                 $9,000 https://squareup.com/store/cs-lewis-for-africa/

To help Africa Bible in Community with expenses for creating Matthew 4:4 meetings and ABC Pastor Training,  Send check to “Imago Dei–Dr G for ABC”.   1302 SE Ankeny St, Portland, OR 97214  Or  on-line giving:  https://imagodei.webconnex.com/GFriesen     Questions? 503-231-5096

Garryfriesen3335@gmail.com