Praise in the Dreaded Outhouse

Posted by Garry Friesen May 27th, 2017

Family & Friends,

We just finished the first 5-day module for a new group of 34 rural pastors.  It went very well, but one of my graphic memories was the dreaded outhouse.  Behind our church venue, is a six-seat latrine.  But, in Rwanda they don’t have seats.  It is a “restroom” but no rest for the user.  It is“a water closet”, as the Brits say, but no water.  A bathroom, but no bath.  An out house which is “out”, but hardly a house.  It is a toilet, but no toilet and no toilet paper. But when you have Montezuma’s revenge, your choices are few.  In the hour before I was teaching, I made three “runs” to the dreaded facility.  The Africans wonder why I take a backpack.  It is my latrine kit.  Our latrine door will not stay closed.  You must be ambidextrous.  One hand is holding the door shut and the other hand must do all other duties.  While in there I was praying that I would be able to teach for two hours without making a nature run.  The teaching went very well without interruption.  I returned to the dreaded facility after teaching and praised God.  I pray with hands raised, but this time only one hand was raised.       Rwandan Rookie, G

To contact me directly:     garryfriesen3335@gmail.com

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

Graduation Super-Gift

Posted by Garry Friesen May 20th, 2017

Family & Friends,

Last week I described our graduation for 38 rural pastors.  I must add some of my favorite moments.  ABC provides all the education at no cost.  The Africans, however, do most of the work.  They must select 40 pastors, provide a teaching venue, provide food and housing for the pastors for six modules of 5-days each.  ABC teaches and provides seven text books.  The seventh waits until graduation.  The beautiful NIV Study Bible in Kinyarwana is the graduation gift from ABC to each graduate.  The graduate’s name was called.  They came forward, shake hands with two ABC leaders, then I handed them the graduation certificate as photos were taken.  Next they shake hands with a denominational leader and finally shake hands with their bishop who joyfully fills their hands with the gift of the NIV Study Bible.  There are very few pastors in the whole nation of Rwanda who have read the whole Bible.  That number just jumped dramatically as every rural pastor in our program was required to read all the words of Scripture during the one-year program.  Watch out Rwanda these 38 pastors are spiritually armed with a biblical Sword and they are dangerous.  Next 40 pastors start on Monday!

Rwandan Rookie, G

To contact me directly:     garryfriesen3335@gmail.com

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

Graduation Frenzy

Posted by Garry Friesen May 13th, 2017

Family & Friends,

In ABC, our 38 pastors finished their one-year pastoral training.  On May 6 was their graduation in Kabarore, east Rwanda.  It was the best of all “graduation” worlds.  It had as much ceremony as the Brits, as much rejoicing as the Italians, as much food as the French.  It had a precision budget of the Germans and water for everyone like Zambia*.  It had a bounty of gifts like the North Pole.  And it had the precision timing of the Africans.  It started late and ended very, very late.  But, everyone was so happy they didn’t notice. There were more speakers than relatives at the reading of a rich man’s will.  Cameramen were as thick as thieves catching every second of the 300-minute ceremony.   It ended with a gift-giving frenzy.  For nearly an hour, graduates and leaders were called up front and then several came with gifts (one graduate got a cow!). In a greedy, chaotic world, it was beautiful to see exuberant rejoicing over 38 pastors who were trained to shepherd God’s forever family.  I suspect the angels in heaven joined our jubilation.  More next time on the graduation.                                  * Zambian proverb: once you have tasted the waters of Zambia, you will always return.

Rwandan Rookie, G

To contact me directly:     garryfriesen3335@gmail.com

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

African Back Pocket

Posted by Garry Friesen May 5th, 2017

Family & Friends,

When I left for Rwanda in 2013, I brought a container filled with stuff that is hard to find in Africa.  More importantly, I brought an idea.  In Portland, I called the idea “Bible Marathon”.  The name has changed to Matthew 4:4 (Bible reading groups), but the oral Bible reading in community did not change.  Soon 30 of my college students were adding Saturday “Bible Marathon” to their schedule.  They started to say, “I must take this back to my country!”  It was not idle chatter.  Enter Brian to Africa College of Theology (ACT).  Exit Brian to Uganda with the “Bible Marathon” in his African back pocket.   In February 2015 he and two friends met twice a month and read large portions of Scripture for 6 hours each meeting.  They continued for seven months.  Then the three of them planned to let it grow.  They invited others.  Now, they have 40 reading together.  They lack space, lack chairs, but not enthusiasm.  Now 20 meet in a small building and the other 20 in a tent next door.  To their surprise unbelievers joined them, read the gospel, and became believers – ten of them.  We have changed our goal of “wiping out biblical illiteracy in Rwanda” to include the rest of “Africa”.  Please join us in this venture (see below).

Rwandan Rookie, G

To contact me directly:     garryfriesen3335@gmail.com

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

Wild Fiji Fulfillment

Posted by Garry Friesen April 29th, 2017

Family & Friends,

Before returning to Rwanda, I enjoyed a powerful time at Multnomah’s “alumni chapel” featuring Seth Coleman.  He lived in my second mentoring house so I could not miss the “Fiji” report.  Seth shared a story that was hidden in him for the last ten years.  A Fiji pastor pressed on him that he would share the gospel with all of his friends.  Back in Utah he was at a loss how to do it, but his first thought was “call Ben”.  Before he did, Ben called him.  Seth’s best friend, Ben, led the charge into sports, drinking, and drugs.  He was Mr. Popular on campus, but a car crash left him shattered and friendless.  The accident destroyed half of his face and reconstructive surgery failed.  As Ben’s friends slipped away, despair & drugs crept in.  As Seth knocked on the door, he feared to look at him. When he did, he could not find Ben in the new warped visage.  Seth shared his story of coming to Christ and finding a ministry in Fiji.  Ben took it in and then responded, “I believe”.  Seth promised to walk with him through the new life back to wholeness.

Another mutual friend was crazed on drugs and believed he should kill both of them.  When the three were together the druggie attacked both of them.  Seth eluded him, but his newly saved friend received a lethal blow.  Ben’s parents asked Seth to speak at the funeral.  He hated public speaking, but agreed.  In his nervous fear, he stepped up to speak.  And then he saw it.  All of his past friends were there.  ALL of them.  He shared the gospel with “all of his friends” like the Fiji pastor said.  Ben was like the thief on the cross where death quickly followed life.  And that death opened the door for the gospel fulfillment of the Fiji pastor’s wild beautiful prediction.

Rwandan Rookie, G

To contact me directly:     garryfriesen3335@gmail.com

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

 

Still Macho Man

Posted by Garry Friesen April 22nd, 2017

Family & Friends,

ABC Fund Drive update.  $43,000 of $100,000 in as of this week!

Some things should be reported by the Oregonian.  A mother of six children wakes up and everyone is dry.  Get a reporter on the scene to catch the veteran mom’s whoop for joy.  Not as impressive, but newsworthy is the first time a hip replacement patient can put on their own socks and cut their own toe nails.  I waited in vain for this day to arrive.  Then I made the inconceivable vow that if I could not do both by April 21, I was going for a pedicure!  My research revealed more “nail” places in Gresham, OR than churches.  I pondered Nirvana Nails, Snazzy Nails, Nail La Belle, and Rosy Nails.  I finally settled on Nail Emporium. They got a 4 ½ out of 5 star rating.  I worried about that missing half star – - – did someone lose a toe during a pedicure?  For my toe nail polish, I picked out “passion pink” as the best fit for my outfit and the coming spring equinox.  Then, on April 21, I doubled my physical therapy stretching, soaked my feet in hot water, offered up a short prayer, and made one final assault on my toe nails.  Call the Oregonian!  On April 21 at 9:30 am Pacific Standard time, I, the bionic biped, was able to cut my own toe nails and then cover them with socks!  No Nail Emporium for this macho man.

Rwandan Rookie, G

To contact me directly:     garryfriesen3335@gmail.com

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

Christ’s Resistance Movement

Posted by Garry Friesen April 15th, 2017

Family & Friends,

Good Friday service I was asked to give a “Homily” at Imago Dei on the Temptation.

The Temptation is where Jesus starts a Resistance movement.  Do you remember the movie trailer for The Passion?  The scene where a serpent is slowly slithering.  It no sooner captured my attention, then, Crash.  From above a foot and sandal crush the head of the serpent.  I thought “I know who is wearing that sandal.”  This dramatic symbol comes from the first temptation.  Eve falls.  Adam falls.  Judgment comes, but with a promise called the proto-evangelium, the “first gospel”. God said to Satan, “I will put enmity between you and the woman.  Between your seed and her seed.  He, Messiah, will crush your head and you, Satan, will wound his heel.”  The Messiah, the “seed of woman”, would resist Satan until He crushed him.

Messiah came.  But, before he healed a paralytic, before he spoke a parable, He was led by the Spirit into battle with Satan to be tempted for 40 days.  He resisted and He makes it possible for all of his disciples to resist.  In Rwanda I wrote a walk through the New Testament for rural pastors in the Kinyarwanda language.  They loved this overview with words and motions.  Their favorite part was the Temptation.  Satan, Satani, attacks Christ 3 times. “Sa-ta-ni” Christ resists, “Handitswe, Handistswe, It is written, it is written.  Genda Satani.”  “Go Satan.”  The pastors wanted to cheer every time they said “Genda Satani”.

The Bible is long, but be sure you get to the end where it says, “The great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old, who is called the Devil and Satan”  And “I heard a loud voice saying ‘Now the salvation, and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Messiah have come’”  and “the saints overcame Satan because of the blood of the Lamb.” .  Imago Dei, You in the authority of Christ have the power to resist and say, ”Father, not my will but yours.” And then “Genda Satani”.  Christ is our Resistance.

Rwandan Rookie, G

To contact me directly:     garryfriesen3335@gmail.com

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

Bible Marathon Alert

Posted by Garry Friesen April 13th, 2017

It is late notice, but we are having a mini-marathon on the book of Ephesians this Saturday 7-9pm in Gresham, OR.  If interested contact me for details.  garryfriesen3335@gmail.com

Google to the Rescue

Posted by Garry Friesen April 9th, 2017

Family & Friends,

Here is actual conflict situation we faced last week in Gresham, OR.  For privacy sake I will call the two A & B.  The relationship between A & B is hurting both.  Worse, A & B are stuck in such a way that neither can do their jobs properly.  Pressure from friends to change their situation is futile.  Those helping are afraid that their intervention might cause one or the other to break.  Some oil of encouragement was added.  No effect.  More pressure on both for a change.  Nothing.  When everything else fails, try Google.  We entered our question and Eureka!  Four sites claimed a solution.  Their strategy: try to cool A down while concurrently trying to heat B up.  Two friends applied this scenario.  Amazing.  Quickly, A was able to cool down and B was able to heat up.  We held our collective breath. The point of “stuckness” was finally released!  Neither suffered damage and both were free up to return to productive lives.

You might have guessed. We separated two glass pans that were tightly stuck together!  Put ice in A and put B in hot water.  One contracts.  One expands.  Unstuck.  Let the lasagna celebration begin.

Rwandan Rookie, G

To contact me directly:     garryfriesen3335@gmail.com

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

What would an African do?

Posted by Garry Friesen April 1st, 2017

Family & Friends,

I forgot how hard it is to send out a prayer letter by snail mail!  Did you get it?  This letter might be the start of the most important ministry that I have helped to create.  We are determined “to wipe out biblical illiteracy in Rwanda and then Africa.”  Last week I explained why the Matthew 4:4 Bible reading groups are so effective in Rwanda.  This week I sent out letters to announce the official beginning of ABC which creates these Matthew 4:4 groups.  This led to rural pastor training for those committed to the Matthew 4:4 Bible groups.  We need $100,000 for the start up and first year of ABC – Africa Bible in Community.  It must start!  We already have 70 Matthew 4:4 groups to support.  We just finished the pastoral training for 40 pastors and the next 40 are already registered.  This is huge.  I ponder, “What would an African do?”  Pray, of course!  On Monday April 3, we will have a day of prayer asking God to raise up ABC and “wipe out biblical illiteracy in Rwanda and Africa.”  I will be praying 10,000 miles from our African leaders, but this will not stop the Almighty from doing something almighty. The venue is the Imago Dei Church prayer space (6am-4pm).  The triune God will be filling the room, but there will still be room for others.

If you did not get this prayer letter, DON’T HIT “RETURN”, but click the email below and send your name and address.  Rwandan Rookie, G

To contact me directly:     garryfriesen3335@gmail.com

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