Beauty in the Ghetto

Posted by Garry Friesen May 21st, 2016

Family & Friends

I am on the prowl for African art for my new digs.  Downtown, I ducked into a temporary tent with small shops.  I met an artist who goes by “Jilo”.  On the spot I gravitated toward two of his paintings with their distinctive style and skillful color shading.  One had drummers and the other dancers. They seemed to be destined for the same wall.  They now hang in tandem in the new house.  I wanted more.  Jilo paints out of his house.  I asked to come and see everything he had.  Soon I was on a road going through Nyamirambo, better known as the “Ghetto” of Kigali.  Deeper and deeper into the crowded Ghetto. My artist was a starving artist.  Dirt floor, littered with half finished paintings and a project on the easel.

I looked at finished paintings and dozens of pictures of past works.  I needed a book on decision making and the will of God.  I told him “I like too many of your paintings to choose” and then thought, “That was a bad thing to say before the negotiation begins.”  But, my sales resistance was wandering into the dense Ghetto.  I purchased four paintings– two finished and two commissioned.  They insisted we stay for a meal and I asked to pray for the food.  At the end of the prayer, the Muslim family heard the name of Jesus.  Before leaving, my friend James asked to pray a blessing over the house. They asked us to return and we took pictures of the family and the two finished paintings in front of my car before leaving.  Aslan’s How is relocating to a new continent and morphing into the African How.

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

Quit looking and you shall find

Posted by Garry Friesen May 14th, 2016

Family & Friends

I am initiating a new proverb, “Quit looking and you shall find.”  After six months in Kigali I looked for my own rental house.  I had no interest in living in any of the many that I surveyed.  They were dysfunctional and priced for a Muzungu and that is a very bad combination.  So I found a room to rent in the house of my new friend Dan. I am one of the few with the privilege of having a car – in Kigali an “imodoka” is a great blessing.  I have sought to thank the Lord by being ready to be a taxi driver for others.  Recently I was so helping two ladies look for a rental house.  I looked at houses with them.  At one house they said it would not work. I starting falling in love at first sight with this house.  I revisited and the infatuation grew.  I got some counsel and they said, “Good house, good price and ten minute walk from ACT college.”  I asked my housemate, “Dan, want to move?”  He was in the US, but said he would join me and trust my choice on the house.  The price was slightly higher than my one room rental.  The view of Kigali from our perch is calendar quality and it has five bedrooms.  I pulled the trigger.  Last Saturday we hired six workers and worked for 16 hours to move in.  I now hurt all over, but love my new digs.  Praise God, and with the Lord, sometimes it is, “Quit looking and you shall find!”

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

“Great in counsel, mighty in deed”

Posted by Garry Friesen May 10th, 2016

Family & Friends

Nothing has encouraged my prayer life more than 5:30 am morning prayers with Africans.  As James said, the poor are often “rich in faith” and I am hoping some of it rubs off on me.  I always start the same way.  I walk back and forth along the back of the church.  Then I stop to pray a verse from Jeremiah.  “Ah, LORD God, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm.  Nothing is too difficult for you.”  This encourages me to pray BIG.  The next phrase reminds me that God’s wisdom knows when to say ‘yes’ and when to say ‘no’.  Jeremiah adds, “Great in counsel, mighty in deed.” (Jeremiah 32)  His power is directed by great wisdom.  Daniel’s prays the same truth – “Power and wisdom belong to you.” (Daniel 2:20)  These simple words help my faith to expect great answers and to accept it when God, in His wisdom, is silent.  A “Yes” answer shows God’s power and a “No” answer shows His wisdom.  Before I die, I am hoping to learn to pray like an African.

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

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