Boomerang Joke

Posted by Garry Friesen April 30th, 2016

Family & Friends

Rwandans have a deep appreciation for anyone trying to learn the Bantu language called Kinyarwanda.  And they should.  It is an extremely difficult language.  How difficult?  Don’t get me started!  So, if I use a Kinyarwandan term in a sermon it is met with visible appreciation.  It is unexpected and arrives like a serendipity.  I have only one Kinyarwandan joke.  I tell audiences that my students call me “Umusaza” (elder) not “Umusazi”!  The nearly identical word means “crazy person”.  It always gets a laugh. I was telling a congregation the story of Ruth and in chapter 3, used the word “Umucumuzi” for kinsman-redeemer.  It was well received.  Then in chapter 4, I wanted to vividly depict Boaz gathering ten elders at the gate of Bethlehem for the momentous decision.  I had Boaz point to a corner of congregation and summon an elder.  When I did, everyone spontaneously broke out in laughter.  It caught me by surprise.  Slowly it dawned on me that I had Boaz call out “Umusazi”—“Crazy person” come here.  My only Kinyawandan joke boomeranged me.  All I could do was join in with the laughter.  The only saving grace was that everyone was wide awake when we hit the climax of the story—God through Jesus is our Umucumuzi, our kinsman-redeemer

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

C.S. Lewis clock of doom

Posted by Garry Friesen April 23rd, 2016

Family & Friends,

My heart is breaking and it has not even happened yet.  But, my C.S. Lewis clock of doom is ticking down.  For years people came to my mentoring house, Aslan’s How, and toured the rooms that were decorated after C.S. Lewis and his Narnia Chronicles.  I cannot get these items to Rwanda.  I cannot keep them any longer in the house.  It is being prepared for rental.  I estimate that there is $15,000 worth of CSL stuff, extremely valuable stuff, in my prejudiced opinion.  There are: European wardrobes, a bevy of swords, 50 beautifully framed pictures of art related to CSL’s books.  It must all must go.  This menagerie is supplemented by Puddleglum’s flint box, Narnia movie posters, Bree’s saddle, Mr Tumnus’ table & tea set, Mr & Mrs Beaver’s fishing poles, sewing machine, stove and rocking chair, Lucy’s cordial and enough lions to fill the zoos of the world.  There are about 300 items and they all will find new owners.  But, my heart is mending, because . . . . . . .  All profits will go to Africa and for Africa theological training!

Saturday June 25 is the date of doom.  The Multnomah gym will be the venue.  Accomplices will be Multnomah University, Africa New Life Ministries and Imago Dei Community Church.  The Fortnightly will give details about how to preview the items as the date draws near.

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

Hurry up and Wait

Posted by Garry Friesen April 17th, 2016

Family & Friends,

“Hurry up and wait” is the motto for the Army and for Africa.  Recently, during a two-day period, I spent about 8 hours waiting in line.  That’s one working day of my life in a queue!  I tell those facing surgery, “You do not know the meaning ‘patience’, but you will.”  After a hip replacement, I had pain for 9 months.  The doc was sure the operation was necessary, but I concluded that the pain came from elsewhere.  However, nine months later, I woke up pain free and a bit more patient.  Recently in Kigali, I took a friend to get 40 sets of class notes bound (30 min. job).  We returned four hours later.  Our print shop moved to a new location.  We found another printer who said they could do the job in 30-60 minutes.  That was perfect – - – until he promptly left the shop on foot to go look for all the materials that he would need!  Once working on the project, he went slowly.  If it took two days to do it, that meant job security!  And who does not want job security?  For two hours, I tried to learn Kinyarwanda from the owner of a hole-in-the wall grocery store.  Then I walked to a restaurant to read some Greek New Testament.  My eyes feel on just the right words as I read in 1 Corinthians 13, “Love is patient.”  The right words at the perfect time for my impatient heart.

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

“Praying faster than an African is . . .”

Posted by Garry Friesen April 9th, 2016

Family & Friends,

We had about 25 people come on a Saturday for a recent Matthew 4:4 reading.  4:4 stands for “4 hours 4 feeding on God’s words.”  There were about ten new participants.  We read Mark 7-16 and then started Matthew.  Our last prayer time included response to Matthew 1-5.  I was primed to pray on the verse that inspired the name Matthew 4:4 meetings.  “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.”  I was going to thank God for his nourishing words and then pray he would multiply Matthew 4:4 reading groups across Africa.  Before, I could jump in a pastor read Matthew 4:4.  Praying faster than an African is impossible!  After praising God for revealing his words of life and health, he prayed that God would take this new Matthew 4:4 concept and multiply it from one African country to the next.  All I could do was say “Amen, amen.”  There was only one thing better than praying the verse.  It was hearing an African passionately praying the verse!

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

Kinyarwandan Day of Reckoning

Posted by Garry Friesen April 2nd, 2016

Family & Friends

My Kinyarwandan day of reckoning came earlier than expected.  I know about every fourth word in the Kinyarwandan Bible.  We had a Matthew 4:4 gathering.  Usually we split into English and Kinyarwandan reading groups.  But, all English speaking ACT students had another responsibility.  Our leader, Fred, said, “We will all read aloud in Kinyarwanda . . . . including Dr. G.”  This is arduous for me even when I know all the words!  So I took my turns reading five verses of the gospel of Luke aloud, but my head was spinning.  When I knew a word, there was a split second of relief.  But, I was pronouncing most of the words for the first time.  My mind was frantically reviewing:  “ry” is pronounced “dj”, “by” is said “bje”, “mw” is impossible for my tongue, but it has an “n” “g” and breathing through the nose at the same time, “bw” is “bg”, “nk” drops the “k” and adds a “ha” somewhere, and so on.  Even following in the text as someone else is reading is very difficult.  But, for the first time in my life, my eyes were able to stay on the right words while the fast readers were whizzing thru the Luke.  One of my friends summarized my traumatic effort perfectly when he said, “You will sleep well tonight”.  And I did.

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

Garryfriesen3335@gmail.com

Apocalyptic Date Arrives

Posted by Garry Friesen March 26th, 2016

Family & Friends

The apocalyptic date has arrived.  ABC – Africa Bible in Community created a six month test that ended on March 14.  Our goal was to train leaders and that ten of them would be able to sustain a Matthew 4:4 Bible reading group for six months.  We had two and half strikes against us since Rwanda is not a reading culture and not reading the Bible is part of this weakness.  Reading is so very unexciting compared to the exuberant worship.  Often the Rwandan worship will last two hours and the sermon will be non-biblical and much shorter.  Then, as John Madden would say, “Boom”– two denominations asked us to train all of their rural pastors.  So about 75 pastors learned how to start a Matayo kane kane Bible reading group.  The end result was that the test ended with biblical banners flying and about 50 Matayo 4:4 groups functioning.  What now?  ABC will register in Rwanda as an official religious organization and the “acting” volunteers will start for real.  The process will take some money, much work and about three months wait.  While ABC waits, Matthew 4:4 groups will continue to bring God’s dynamic truth to the big hearts of Rwandans.

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

God’s Currency

Posted by Garry Friesen March 20th, 2016

Family & Friends

Each early morning prayer time at our Kigali church includes a short devotional.  One week I was asked to bring two of them.  Both were about Jacob in Genesis 28 and 32.  Before speaking the moderator gave a short introduction that was simple and profound.  He was illustrating that without faith it is impossible to please God.  “If I go to the store in Kigali and do not have Rwandan francs they will not give me anything.  If I go to Uganda and do not have shillings they will not give me anything.  If I go to America and do not have dollars, they will not give me anything.  If I go to God and do not have faith, it is impossible to please him.  Faith is God’s currency”.  It costs nothing, but without it you have no standing with God.  We were urged to come to God in prayer with simple free faith and call upon His grace.  I am sure that the lesson from Jacob was helpful to the prayer warriors, but I will remember the introduction about God’s currency that encouraged me to pray in faith.

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

 

Lean Teaching Machine

Posted by Garry Friesen March 11th, 2016

Family & Friends,

I have called the ABC Pastor Training a “new paradigm” for training rural pastors.  Which is true, sort of.  Many good methods have preceded us and this is a “major wrinkle” in the earlier methods.  But “new paradigm” sounds much better than “new wrinkle.”  We want to be a lean, frugal teaching machine.  Our goal is to produce the education at 15% of the normal cost of a traditional school.  The wrinkle is the role of the rural pastors.  We say to a denomination, “If you provide 40 qualified pastors, food, housing and a teaching venue, we will bring you the biblical training at no cost.”  Their skin in the game is setting it all up.  They invite us to do what they cannot do – theological education.  So we save money because they recruit a full class, they provide a venue near the rural pastors and then feed and house them.  No buildings, no campus, no recruiting, no cafeteria, no dorms, no finance department.  The school is no where, but can go anywhere there is a need.  These pastors are all bi-vocational.  They do not get paid to shepherd the church.  They deserve a free education to help them effectively feed the Flock.  Now that I think about it, it is a “big wrinkle” in rural pastoral training, almost a new paradigm.

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

Next Apocalyptic Date

Posted by Garry Friesen March 4th, 2016

Family & Friends

March 14, 2016 is very close.  I know that is not profound, BUT it is a profound date for our “Acting” ABC and Matthew 4:4 team.  March 14 is the end of a six-month trial.  We promised to consider forming an official organization to “wipe out biblical illiteracy in Rwanda and then Africa” IF we passed the test.  The test?  “To train leaders to start ten Matthew 4:4 Bible reading groups and have those groups sustain their reading for six months.”  We knew that in Rwanda this is a goal of apocalyptic portions, if I may exaggerate slightly.  Each group has been recording attendance, times met and Scripture read.  These reports come in on March 14.  Mark that date on your apocalyptic calendar.  If you don’t have one, I’ll mark it twice on mine.  We have a problem.  We don’t have time to train all of those seeking it.  My business friend Dave says, “The best advertisement is, ‘You might not be able to get one’.”  We started out saying, “One church at a time.”  Now we say,  “One denomination at a time.”  Several bishops have said, “We want this in all of our churches.  I will gather all of the leaders.  When can you come?”

Rwandan Rookie,

G

To help Africa Bible in Community with expenses for creating Matthew 4:4 meetings,  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

“Mr Greek” Goodrick 2

Posted by Garry Friesen February 27th, 2016

Family & Friends

I got quite a few responses to my post about Ed ‘Mr Greek’ Goodrick.  Eric remembered his first day in Greek class.  “He had the entire class march around the gym in army-like formation reciting the Greek alphabet in step – Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, Epsilon …” Randy remembered catching an approach to Scriptures.  “Be a Biblicist above a theologian.”  “When you have finished your objective study, then remember you are obligated to believe what you found.”  Don remembered Ed’s unbelievable trek.  “He drove across Europe in a motorcycle.  Then he traded it for a donkey and walked the length of the holy land, from Dan to Beersheeba.”  Gail remembered as a young girl “the enthusiastic, energetic young pastor at Mossyrock Community Church”.  Ed baptized her and later performed the wedding for her and Lynn.  College professor Ken said, “I often wonder if I may have learned more about how to read the Bible from his side-comments in Intermediate Greek than in any other class I took in my life (anywhere).”  My final memory is the joy I had when I learned that he had selected me to be one of the pallbearers at his funeral.  We were not ready to lose him, but he lived well and was ready to go.

Rwandan Rookie,

G

To help Africa Bible in Community with expenses for creating Matthew 4:4 meetings,  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