Delighting in the Trinity

Posted by Garry Friesen January 30th, 2016

Family & Friends,

My visit to Imago Dei church last summer included a visit with our lead pastor, Rick.  Our discussion, of course, included books.  I left with a list of suggestions.  I just finished one on the list – Delighting in the Trinity by Michael Reeves.  As I read, I was delighted!  Most good books on the trinity make my head spin and litter the page with Latin terms.  This book made my heart leap and was littered with quotes that brought out the highlighter.  Reeves quoted from theologians and church history, but that only illuminated the discussion rather than complicating it.  God is Father and by nature He is love.  He has been pouring out love to the Son and created many sons and daughters so they could get caught under the delightful deluge.  God does not have love and justice.  He is love and His justice is an expression of that love to stop evil forever.

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

“Uncle John is Pointing at Me!”

Posted by Garry Friesen January 23rd, 2016

Family & Friends,

All my students know that I’m trying to teach as long as my mentor, Dr. John Mitchell, founder of Multnomah Bible College.  I team-taught with him when he was 97 years old. I called him “Uncle John.”   When he got tired and frustrated, I reminded him, “Remember Uncle John, you’re not 85 any more.”  He motivated me to read and know the Scriptures like no one else.  His reading moved him to love the Savior. He is now looking down at me.  I don’t mean just looking down from heaven.  I mean looking down from my wall.  I was going through old papers and found a student pen & ink drawing of Dr. Mitchell that somehow survived all my moves.  He is pointing his finger at the observer like Uncle Sam in the famous poster.  I imagine him saying, “I want you, to read your Bible!” I put the drawing on my wall over my reading desk and look at it often.  I plan to hang up the theology books when I’m 100 years old, whether I’m tired or not.  Until then I will often look at the piercing eyes of the old Scot and pull out his favorite book one more time.

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

Kissing at the Bible College

Posted by Garry Friesen January 16th, 2016

Family & Friends,

Learning a new language takes humility and persistence.  Learning Kinyarwanda takes humility, persistence and a class B miracle.  I have been laughed at for my pronunciation (enter humility), but now I have been laughed at for communicating clearly.  During the Christmas break I worked on the language as hard as the Michigan football team under its new coach, and mad scientist, Jim Harbaugh.  Part of my language workout was dropping the vocabulary cards and talking with James my teacher.  I make up a sentence and he tries to understand.  I was attempting to say, “I drive my car to school to read together with students.”  Read is “soma”.  I was trying to figure out how to say “read together”.  I remembered that “ana” at the end of a word does that.  Vuga is speak, vugana is speak together.  So I said “somana” and then the laugh came.  James said, “I don’t think there is a Kinyarwanda word for ‘read together’, but somana does have a clear meaning”.  He reminded me that “soma” can mean “read” or “kiss”.  My sentence was clear! The old guy is driving his car to school to do some “kissing together”.  Thankfully, only James heard it.  Wait a minute . . . . . . . .  I just told you!  Oh, no.

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

Fred’s Head

Posted by Garry Friesen January 9th, 2016

Family & Friends,

One day I taught my interns about finding skilled staff.  I called it “head hunting.”  A few weeks later, Emmanuel brought a friend to our meeting.  I knew within minutes that this friend was highly educated and theological.  After an hour, I realized that he was most theologically astute and well-read person that I had met in Africa.  I asked Emmanuel, “Where did you find him?”  He gave a Cheshire cat grin and casually quipped, “I was head hunting.”

I asked this “head” whose name was Fred, and quite well read, to teach theology at ACT.  I learned he had a full master’s degree scholarship waiting for him in South Africa.  But, currently there is a diplomatic tiff between Rwanda and S.A. No visas are being given by either country to the afore-mentioned other country.  Fred and his head are sovereignly stuck in Rwanda.  Guess who we asked to be coordinator for ABC – Africa Bible in Community?  That’s right.  We asked Fred, his head and the rest of his body.  He is passionate for Rwanda to learn the Scriptures.  So we are in the ambivalent position of praying that Fred will get his visa to S.A. and hoping that God answers “no”.  In the meantime, God has provided skilled leaders for ABC and its explosion of Matthew 4:4 groups . . . . at least, until two countries decide to kiss and make up.

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

Ed “Mr. Greek” Goodrick

Posted by Garry Friesen January 1st, 2016

Family & Friends,

I finished 2015 in a “scramble”.  In Africa that usually refers to the colonial “scramble for Africa” to steal land before someone else did.  My scramble was more literary. While teaching at Multnomah, I took about ten MU classes.  Most of them were with the iconic Dr. Edward Goodrick.  He taught Greek like no one else on the linguistic planet.  I learned more in a semester with Ed than I did in two years at seminary.  We read 50 verses every class period.  Then we practiced “sight reading” for another 40 verses or so.  So, I prepared to read 90 verses three times a week.  In second year Greek we would read the whole N.T.

That challenge stuck to my bones.  My goal for many years has been to read through the Greek N.T. twice a year.  This year I got way behind and so the “scramble” began.   You must read 5 pages a day to finish the N.T. in six months and I was about 150 pages behind.  The December reading “scramble” went into full gear.  Our Christmas break came to the rescue. I finished Revelation 22:21 by December 31, 2015.  I now pause to thank the iconoclastic Ed “Mr Greek” Goodrick for creating in many of us, his students, a love for the Greek N.T. that will never die.

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

Bovine Art in Kigali

Posted by Garry Friesen December 26th, 2015

Family & Friends,

One Saturday before Christmas I sat at my desk with a pen and paper.  I was trying to draw symbols of the Christmas story for teaching a group of kids at New Life Bible Church’s Christmas service.  Three pictures had animals—a snake, a dove and a cow.  Probably, 99% could recognize my snake and my dove, but who knows if anyone would decipher my bovine art.  My angel was not bad since anyone can draw wings, even though angels rarely are described with wings.  Their main characteristic is saying, “Be not afraid!”  The kids will help me tell the story.  Other pictures: angel & sheep, map of Israel, Egypt & a sword, a group of numbers, star of David, baby & a grave stone (I love Simeon!).  My favorite picture was a dove coming down upon a young girl.  A dove came down on Jesus at His baptism, but before that a dove (Holy Spirit) came upon Mary to conceive the Christ child.  I don’t think the kids will guess the role of the snake.  It is Genesis 3:15 where the Messiah crushes the head of the snake while receiving a wound to his heel.  The presentation went well, but like everything in Africa, nothing went according to plan.  Thankfully, God’s plan went perfectly.  “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us . . . full of grace and truth.”

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

Matthew 4:4 in the East

Posted by Garry Friesen December 19th, 2015

Family & Friends,

Three of us left at 7am to meet 35 pastors at 10am in east province of Rwanda.  These were leaders who were trying to create Matthew 4:4 groups in their churches.  Some of these churches have three different groups going.  Their denominational leader received their Matthew 4:4 meeting charts which showed who was in their group, how many meetings and what Scripture they had read.  Every report looked beautiful to me.  Each represented a group of 8-12 believers reading and praying through the New Testament.  They gave individual reports.  One said that they were not at our first training, but were trained by one who was trained. One lady has a husband who is not a believer.  He listened to them as they read and heard that God would meet all of our needs.  He kidded his wife later, “If God provides our needs, I should think about becoming a believer.”  He joined her that Sunday at church and heard the gospel.  One group does not have enough Bibles and they are each donating small amounts each meeting until they have enough to buy another Bible.  We practiced what we preached that day.  We read through Colossians as a group and then, our acting board member, spoke on Colossians 3:16 “Let the word of Christ dwell richly in you.”

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

Weeping at Matthew 25

Posted by Garry Friesen December 12th, 2015

Family & Friends,

Today we had a Matthew 4:4 meeting known here as “Matayo Kane Kane”.  One of the participants leads his own Matayo Kane Kane group.  He shared what happened when their group read Matthew 25.  For most it was probably the first time they heard the famous passage of  “the least of these”.  One by one as they read, they began crying.  They said, “Jesus is in the poor in the streets.  He is in the hospitals with the sick.  He is in the prisons with the prisoners.”  They stopped and decided that their church must do something for the poor.  Ironically, they are very poor by the world’s standards, but they knew of those who were desperately poor.  They must go help those in the hospitals where you only have food and medicine if someone outside brings it to you.  They must go to help the prisoners.  Next, week they are making their plans.  In their words, “We must go to  the hospitals and the prisons to visit Jesus.”  Africans have big hearts.  When those hearts are exposed to the Scriptures, anything can happen and it is usually very good.  A Matthew 4:4 meeting is a hard sell in a non-reading culture.  But, once Africans read the words of Jesus, their strong faith responds with tears and faith.

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

“Keep your powder dry”

Posted by Garry Friesen December 5th, 2015

Family & Friends,

I am a victim of my own theology.  I’m praying to be able to teach until I’m 100 years old.  So I must take care of my body better than the majority of humans.  The book Younger Next Year got me on an exercise program.  This is 45 minutes, 6 days a week at 70% of maximum heart rate.  This is actually easier than I have done in the past playing basketball or on an exercise bike.  My health theology is two-pronged.  “Trust God 100% for health.  Be 100% faithful to take care of your body.”  So I consciously say as I wash my hands, “I don’t trust the soap, but God for health.  I use soap as part of faithfulness to fight disease.”  It works with insurance too.  “I don’t trust my insurance, but God for health.  I consider insurance the best way to faithfully get medical support for my health.”

So despite a busy schedule, it is 8 hours of sleep per night with one nap per day (plus one “Sabbath” day per week).  The nap was recommended by a long-term African missionary.  And eating.  It is easier in Africa where I have a full-time cook who can do healthy American meals!  Then add bottled water to circumvent parasites and you are ready to try for an even century! Praise God and pass the vitamins. Oliver Cromwell would be pleased. As he led his army across a dangerous river, he said, “Trust in Providence, and keep your powder dry.”

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

Old dog, New tricks?

Posted by Garry Friesen November 28th, 2015

Family & Friends

For millenniums people have asked, “Can you teach an old dog new tricks”.  Power-point presentations were coming in as I was going out of Multnomah.  I was adept at overheads, but not all classrooms were set up for the new power-point technology.  I came to Africa and there were no overhead projectors.  Enter Power-Point.  Ready or not, here it comes.  A friend showed me the basics and introduced me to Google images.  My initial tryout was in three chapel messages on “Faith”.  They were fun to produce. The new technology did not detract from my speaking and often gave a symbolic visual that stirred interest and enhanced the words spoken. I was hooked.  Now I am trying to create a presentation for each topic in my Bible classes.  I just finished teaching “Theology of Decision Making.”  Students were begging to get the power-point presentations that I used.  I especially love artistic renditions of Bible events.  Now I know the answer to the ancient question.  Sometimes, you can teach an old dog new tricks.

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