Repair Roulette

Posted by Garry Friesen November 25th, 2016

Family & Friends,

 

In Rwanda, as in America, transportation is the name of the game.  Your wheels matter.  Kigali buses are cheap, but they don’t move until the bus is full.  Moto drivers are thick like gnats, but you risk using your body as a fender.  Taxis are available, but will drain your back pocket.  So I praise God every day (or should) for my imodoka (car). Learning to drive in the Kigali chaos is an acquired taste.  But learning how to get your car repaired takes the wisdom of Solomon.  In Rwanda, cars are not really repaired, they are massaged to run for another month.  Finding a trustworthy mechanic is like finding a needle in a haystack.  Finding a trustworthy one who can actually fix your car is like looking for the eye of the needle in a haystack.  Mechanics will repair your car and then un-repair another part so you are forced to return.  Or they will repair one thing and then remove a good part and replace it with a defective one.  When you must return to fix the new issue, they will take your former part and put it back on your car! – and of course, charge you for the repair and the “new” part.  But I’d rather play repair roulette then wait for the bus to fill up.  So I am still praising God for my imodoka!

We leave for rural Rwanda to teach 40 pastors the Walk Thru the New Testament in Kinyarwada on Sunday.  Please pray for a great five days.

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

Sovereignly Stuck

Posted by Garry Friesen November 19th, 2016

Family & Friends,

The volunteer group we call ABC has two of the best young leaders in Rwanda.  They are in Rwanda because they are both “sovereignly stuck”.  Both Fred and Andrew are passionate about Rwandans personally reading the Scriptures and about training rural pastors.  They are perfect for ABC.  We tried to get rid of them, but God sovereignly said, “Not now”.  By this I mean that both are excellent theologians and have won full scholarships to excellent seminaries.  But here is where the “stuck” part comes in.  Both are not able to get a visa to leave and use their scholarships.  Recently the US embassy turned down Andrew twice without giving a reason.  His scholarship at Dallas Seminary cannot be used.  Until this changes, we are trusting God’s wise sovereignty.  Until this changes, we are trying to educate them here through an expensive process of on-line courses.  When the door opens, they will have made progress toward their degrees.  I don’t know God’s sovereign reasons, but I know Rwanda needs these theologians trained.  Would you consider, supporting them through my ministry fund?  If so just add a “2” to your gift and I will make sure it gets to the “2″ of them.  Example $102.  Giving instructions below.

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

“Semi-Omniscient”

Posted by Garry Friesen November 13th, 2016

Family & Friends,

I told a friend recently that I have studied more for teaching classes in the last two years than I have for the previous 20 years.  My classes are new and the context makes old classes new.  The Africans are shocked to hear that I need to prepare.  They assume that I can teach any biblical or theological subject off the top of my gray head.  It is nice to be thought of as semi-omniscient.  But, I have never taught ecclesiology (church) before, and I have serious work to do.  I am preparing about 30 pages of notes for each course since it is impossible to get textbooks into students’ hands.  The first time I teach a course, I feel mainly stress.  On the third time teaching it, the fun begins.  I have not yet arrived at the full “fun” stage for any course in Africa.  That stage comes when I have decided what will fit into the class and how to best teach it.  Then my creativity moves to the front of the bus and the stress takes a back seat.  I’ve taught about a dozen different courses so far.  I am hoping they run out of new classes soon.  I am enjoying it now, but the real fun is still coming.  I am preparing to teach New Testament Survey to our 40 rural pastors in two weeks.  I will be creating another “Walk Thru” for translation into Kinyarwanda.  Your prayers for my memorizing it in this new language are needed.

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

Big Problem

Posted by Garry Friesen November 5th, 2016

Family & Friends,

Our umuzamu (night guard) knocked on the window and used his favorite English word “Problem”.  Actually, he said “Big problem.”  I was crawling into bed but went to investigate.  On the parallel street below us a house was on fire. The owners were in Europe so it was probably an electrical problem.  We got up on our balcony to watch.   No fire truck, no rescue van, just spectators.  Flames leaped 30 feet in the black night and the heat 100 feet away was almost unbearable.  I wondered if they had a gas tank for cooking.  The answer was a huge explosion that sent debris raining down on our umudugudu (neighborhood).  I know that everything temporal will burn some day, but the fire still took my breath away and forced a flashback.  In my C.S. Lewis class, I was passing around a first edition of A Grief Observed.  “Be very careful with this valuable book,” I warned.  One student piped up, “Dr. G, someday it is all going to burn up anyway.” He was right.  “That is true,” I replied, “but until it burns, be very careful with this first edition book!”  The book has since been donated and stored up in heaven where nothing burns.

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

Can you help me find the kitty?

Posted by Garry Friesen October 29th, 2016

Family & Friends,

My Portland mentoring house of 15 years, Aslan’s How, has been left behind.  But, this month it felt like Aslan’s How moved 10,000 miles and set up shop in Kigali, Rwanda.  I have named our house, “The African Aslan’s How.”  Currently there are eight visitors in our house for a mob of ten.  Three of these “people” are children.  They are taking all the traditional African musical instruments on display and making them shake, rattle and boom.  They love the six traditional drums and fill the house with rhythm if not melody.  A family of five is here for six weeks and their 3-year old daughter Chloe has adapted well. But, our cat Kibbie has not.  Chloe knocked on my bedroom door about 9 pm with an urgent question, “Can you help me find the kitty?”  How could I say, “The kitty has gone into hiding, probably in Uganda, to escape you”?  One night she woke up at midnight and walked outside to sit next to the night guard and keep him company.  She is often naughty, but I melt and forgive her when out of the blue she says, “Dr G, I love you.”  She also “loves” our dog Molly, but Molly does not consider her love as torture and they are now incuti (friends).   The chaos in the kitchen and in the bathrooms feels like home.  We are trying to live up to the African proverb, “There is always room for one more.”

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

From a pot of gold to a fanta

Posted by Garry Friesen October 23rd, 2016

Family & Friends,

It is easy to pinch pennies in Rwanda.  But, I find myself tossing them.  In a needy culture there is always an empty hand reaching toward you.  My rule: “If you ask me for money, the answer is ‘No’”.   So, I look for excuses to pay people.  I park the car to shop and a one-legged lady always looks my way.  I point to her, my eyes and then my car.  She will watch my car and I will pay her.  After driving on a gutted Kigali mud road, an idea hit me.  Not hard enough to leave a mark, but worth considering.  Why not hire a few young men to repair roads near my house.  Our first foray was bumpy, but after finding bags, filling them with dirt and rocks, placing them strategically, we ran the car over them a dozen times and presto – our voluntary road repair team was created.  The second try was on a road that went thru the apocalypse and lost.  A man had extra dirt and rocks that he would sell us for a pot of gold.  After ten minutes of negotiation, he was willing to give it all to us for a fanta (a bottle of pop).  We agreed and 50 bags of dirt later, the series of deep ruts almost appeared to be a Kigali road near my house!

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

Ratchet Wrench at Sunday School

Posted by Garry Friesen October 15th, 2016

Family & Friends,

I was preparing to teach John 9 to 7-8 year olds one Sunday morning.   An hour before departure an idea hit me.  Why not give the students a “blind” experience like the man born blind in the story.  I began to look for things that made a sound which the kids would have to identify without sight.  My criteria were that it must be small so I could put it into a box and loud enough for 40 kids to hear.  I would tell a portion of the story, stop, and they would close their eyes and listen carefully.  My box was soon packed with a drum, toothbrush, clock, ratchet wrench, two traditional musical instruments, spray can, nail clipper, and a partridge in a pear tree.  Most of the audio clues were too easy, but they loved the exercise.  Kids can handle careful listening for about 5 minutes so the periodic breaks for sound testing were perfect.  By the way, when they test sound systems in Rwanda, they don’t say, “Testing, 1, 2, 3.”  They say “Praise the Lord, Praise the Lord.”  We ended our class saying in unison, ‘Jesus said, “I am the light of the world.’”  Then one of our young ladies offered a strong prayer thanking the Father for sending the light of the world to us.

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

Mosquito Nets

Posted by Garry Friesen October 8th, 2016

Family & Friends,

Rwandan Required Equipment: Water purifier, Cockroach spray, night guard, worm medicine and mosquito nets.  The final item is crucial.  Each night the mosquito net is let down and tucked into any place tuckable.  The worse scenario is a mosquito getting inside the net.  Now you have a caged monster and you are in the same cage.  Solomon warned the naïve man about the woman of the streets.  He should have mentioned mosquitoes. The carrier of malaria is the female Anopheles mosquito.  The buzz in your ear?  Female mosquito looking for a mate. Its bite introduces parasites through the mosquito’s saliva into the victim’s blood.  The parasites search until they find the liver where they mature and have babies.  Now the liver can only hold so many misbehaving infants and the malaria symptoms begin.

If you are going to the tropical regions near the equator, bring your mosquito net and if Africa, bring two.  90% of the 438,000 deaths a year from malaria are in Africa.  Putting up a mosquito net sounds easy, but it is as frustrating as that buzz in the ear.  No matter how you hang the net, it is too short or too narrow or has holes.  Murphy knew this.  His second African law was “A mosquito net hung perfectly will be too short.”  I just hung three more nets for guests.  I would tell you about it, but I might use words that caused my mother to reach for some soap.

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

Kinyarwanda Walk Thru

Posted by Garry Friesen October 3rd, 2016

Family & Friends,

The Walk thru the Old Testament is a creative way to follow the O.T. story by memorizing key locations, events and persons.  I have been teaching “walk thru”s for 40 years.  But, never, never did I teach one when the “walk” was in another language.  I just spent a week with rural pastors teaching a Kinyarwanda Walk Thru the O.T.  We made Kinyarwandan history.  Angels rejoiced even if the BBC and Fox ignored it.  In George Will’s book on baseball, he found just the right word for how to excel at hitting a small round ball with a round bat.  That same word is perfect for giving a long Kinyarwandan Walk Thru–“equipoise”.  It is counterbalance or equilibrium of forces. Somehow, you must be both energetic and relaxed at the same time.  Otherwise, all those Kinyarwandan words will disappear from your gray matter at the moment you need them! I gave the 7 minute summary of the O.T. in Kinyarwanda.  We filmed. It was the first Kinyarwandan giving the O.T. Walk Thru in the history of Rwanda, and Africa and the universe!  I had trouble pronouncing “Amajyaruguru” and “Ihema ry’Iboniro”, but otherwise history happened.  It was followed by applause which sounded like it was from heaven, but may have been only from pastors in Kabarore, East Province, Rwanda.  They loved the “Walk Thru” and the “Draw Thru” the O.T. adapted for Kinyarwanda.  They won’t be saying, “Creation, Fall, Flood …”, but rather “Kurema, Kugwa, Umwuzure”.

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

“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