Nocturnal Prayer Adventure

Posted by Garry Friesen February 25th, 2017

Family & Friends,

I miss the African prayer times while I’m in Portland.  Each morning in Kigali before the sun comes up a group of us church members pray.  After an hour there is a short devotional.  Recently, the devotional was a dramatic true story.  Pastor Emma encouraged us with his nocturnal adventure.  He was home sleeping at 3 am when someone climbed over the wall around his house.  He heard pounding on his door and someone desperately calling “Pastor, Pastor”.  He got up to find a man he did not know begging him to come and help a woman in his family.  Pastor Emma picked up another church member and headed with him to the hospital.  He asked the man, “How did you know me, and find me?”  The man said, “I know your church has people praying all the time.  So, at 3 am I drove to the church.  At the gate the night guard helped me to find your house.”  Pastor Emma told us, “Not only is God listening to our prayers, but even unbelievers in the area know you are praying and making a difference.”   If you want to learn to pray, hang around Africans!

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

Armed and Dangerous

Posted by Garry Friesen February 20th, 2017

Sent Feb. 19, 2017  “Armed and Dangerous”

Family & Friends,

The 40 rural pastors in our ABC pastor training each returned with a piece of paper that was often dirty and crumpled.  But, it looked beautiful to us.  None of them has ever read through the entire Bible.  That is about to change.  In the 2 months between modules, they have a huge assignment.  They are reading through the full Bible.  They write down on a reporting sheet what they read and on which date.  This unruly pile of reports represents thousands of chapters of Scripture read by the pastors.  Their Bishop was very proud of them and so were we.   They have only 3rd grade formal education, but now they are working day and night to read through all of God’s Word and pass it on.  And you should hear them.  Each module they are given a Bible story that they must retell in a small group without notes.  They are born storytellers.  And they are telling the stories that God said every human should know.  Each of the six small groups picks the best presentation and then that pastor gives their story again to the whole group. Watch out Rwanda.  These pastors are armed with Scripture and dangerous!

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

Good to see anyone

Posted by Garry Friesen February 12th, 2017

Family & Friends,

The 50th Reunion of my high school Kimball took place in 2015.  They sent pictures of those “Located”, those “Missing” and sadly, those “Deceased”.  I had a buzz cut in 1965, but most people had hair, really big hair!  I watched the 50th reunion video.  I did not recognize anyone.  We are old.  Actually, we are right at the norm for lifespan – “Three score and ten or if due to strength 80 years, but soon it is gone and we fly away.”  (Psalm 90:10).   I looked carefully through all of the “Deceased”.  The 1965 photos looked so “young” with no thought of death!  I saw Ron, my atheist friend, who let me teach him the book of Daniel in homeroom.  “Very interesting” he said.  “I didn’t believe a word of it, but very interesting.”  I also saw John who was so captivated by evolution.  Tom who was faithful in our Christian club.  Ron whom I led to the Lord.  Tall Bob with the great looks.  Craig, the big invincible football player.  John my friend from Cub Scouts.  And Ron from across the street on Prairie Ave.  Psalm 90:10 leads to 90:12 “So teach us to number our days.”  I remember my dad at age 92 entering church.  The greeter said, “Good to see you Bill.”  He responded, “Good to see anyone.”  If I look happy to see you tomorrow, don’t be surprised!

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

Grief & God’s Goodness?

Posted by Garry Friesen February 5th, 2017

Family & Friends,

Sunday morning I was in the Imago Dei Church prayer “space” praying for the 9:00 am service.  In walked the man that I had prayed for minutes earlier!  Pastor Jeff has been down in Medford caring for his father who had a stroke and was slowly dying.  He was honoring his Father by honoring his father.  His father died and he had returned to Portland.  He tried to join our service, but his great grief just overcame him.  So, he came to the prayer space.  I received a snapshot of his father.  Willard was a strong man who used all of his strength to help others for Christ.  Jeff described the godliness and goodness of his father.  Then he thoughtfully observed, “I have never doubted the goodness of God.  I think that the reason is the goodness of my own father.”  I asked how I should pray for him in the coming week.  “Pray that I will grieve in faith.”  Along with that request, I will also pray that every father in our church will imitate the heavenly Father so that their sons and daughters will be fully confident of the goodness of God.

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

An Ancient Sandal

Posted by Garry Friesen January 28th, 2017

Family & Friends,

Before returning to Portland, my Sunday class of 7-8 year olds at New Life Bible Church in Kigali helped me at the gate of Bethlehem for a story on Ruth 4.  I was Boaz and got to the gate of Bethlehem before workers left for the field.  My friend Jash became the “closer redeemer”.  Boaz picked ten kids to come and be the elders who would witness the legal transaction.  Ten more came forward to be the people who stopped to watch.  I told the elders, “You must listen and remember.”  The “elder” kids promised.  “People of Bethlehem, you are also witnesses.”  They agreed.  Jash posed a thoughtful face when asked if he would redeem Naomi’s land.  We hid a sandal so he could bend down and hand it to Boaz to confirm the deal.  Boaz thrust the sandal high and declared to the elders, “You are witnesses.”  They responded, “We are witnesses.”  Our closing was powerful.  We asked for a young man to volunteer to pray that we would all be “very kind like Boaz.”  We asked for a young lady to pray that we would “have strong faith like Ruth.”  Two hands went up and God witnessed the sincere prayers of His children responding to the ancient beautiful story of Ruth.

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

The Bionic Biped

Posted by Garry Friesen January 21st, 2017

Family & Friends,

Fifteen years ago I had a dark night of the soul.  For two years I had been in pain.  No pain killers would work. I had a back operation and when pain continued, another back operation.  The pain worsened.  Finally, a hip x-ray.  The doc said, “You are bone on bone. You are an immediate candidate for double hip replacement.”  My first thought was not “Oh, no,” but rather “I knew that pain was not in my head.”  I reminded him that I only had pain on the right side.  He said, “The x-ray of both of your hips looks really bad.”  I responded, “Treat the patient, not the x-ray.”  He was surprised and said, “That is exactly what they told us in medical school.”  I know, I know.  When I first heard this medical wisdom, I thought it should be a proverb.  Well, 15 years later, there is (1) another bad hip x-ray plus (2) pain in the left hip.  This constitutes the 2-3 witnesses required by Moses.  My short visit to Portland will extend to the end of March to allow time for a hip operation and recovery.    The bionic biped will then return home to Kigali as the bionic man with a smoother metallic gait.

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

A First for our Galaxy

Posted by Garry Friesen January 14th, 2017

Family & Friends,

We have just finished the historic “Walk Thru” the New Testament in Kinyarwanda. It was the first in the history of the galaxy.  It was taught to 40 rural pastors.  I was harassed by the pronunciation of “Mirongine” and “Yiyerekana”, but we all learned the “Walk”.  Their favorite part of the “Walk” was The Temptation of Jesus.  It was symbolized by a hand up for Jesus.  Then the fist of the other hand hit the “Jesus” hand 3 times for the 3 temptations.  At each hit, we said a syllable:  Sa – ta – ni (Satan).  Then Jesus responds and hits back three times, “Handitswe, Handitswe, Genda Satani” (It is written, It is written, Depart Satan).  The rural pastors wanted to cheer every time they said, “Genda Satani”.  I reminded them that the Spirit “led” Jesus into the wilderness to be tempted.  In contrast we pray, “Lead us not into temptation.”  From the start, God was determined to show that the Messiah would be a moral victor over Satan.  Israel the “Son” failed during the 40 years of wandering and testing, but the greater “Son” would defeat the old Serpent during 40 days of intense testing.  He was the victor by quoting and believing Scripture.  “Genda Satani” And he 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

To contact me directly:     garryfriesen3335@gmail.com

“Whirlwind of hope and goodness”

Posted by Garry Friesen January 7th, 2017

Family & Friends,

Clark Blakeman, 1962-2016.  On the darkest day of the year, Dec. 21, we lost him. Why? As I prayed for the Blakeman family in the Imago Dei prayer space, I read a verse on the wall.  Jesus prays, “Father, I desire that those you have given me might be with me.” (John 17:24)  Jesus wanted his friend with him.  A large service linked by the friendship and love of Clark remembered him.  His father thanked God that we had him so long.  Clark needed a liver transplant at 22 years old.  God gave him 32 more years with us.  Clark’s early wild life took a 180 when he met Christ.  Once he turned to Jesus, he “took hold and never let go”.  He was described as a “tireless worker” for God’s kingdom, and “a whirlwind of hope and goodness.”  His love of Christ “animated” him.  Because he loved people he chose “downward mobility” to care for the “least of these”.   His wife Cathy said the last two years were full of pain.  But, this suffering “drew us closer to each other and to God.”  He started many ministries, but we at Imago Dei thank him most for starting “Refuge”, a ministry to those in need.  It was fitting that the food left over from the reception, stayed in the gym.  A few hours later the gym became a homeless “refuge” shelter and the needy enjoyed Clark’s food.  Clark smiled from heaven when he saw it.

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

Revere & Resemble

Posted by Garry Friesen January 1st, 2017

Family & Friends,

I have the joy of giving the New Year’s service “call to worship”. Sneak preview below:

One of my former classmates has written what might become an instant scholarly classic on idolatry.  Greg Beale’s book is called, We Become What We Worship. His big idea is, “We resemble what we revere, either for ruin or restoration”. “We resemble what we revere, either for ruin or restoration”. Psalm 115  likens idols who cannot hear or see to the people of Israel who hear, but do not really hear or perceive.  They see, but do not really see or perceive. The Psalmist summarizes, “Those who make [idols] will become like them.” (115:8).

How could nations around Israel cruelly burn their babies to death? They became cruel like their god Chemosh or their god Moloch whom they worshiped by sacrificing their babies.  If you worship Chemosh you will become cruel.  If you worship power, you will become oppressive.  But, the reverse is equally and wonderfully true.  Worship Christ and you will slowly resemble Jesus.  In Paul’s words, You will be conformed to the image of God’s Son (Rom. 8:29).  You will be transformed into the same image from glory to glory. (2 Cor. 3:18)  “We resemble what we revere, either for ruin or restoration.”  Imago Dei, Let us Choose this new year, this day, this service to worship and resemble One who is worthy.  We choose to worship Jesus, we choose to resemble Jesus.

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

“You will not die until . . .”

Posted by Garry Friesen December 24th, 2016

Family & Friends,

On Christmas I have the joy of giving the “call to worship” at Imago Dei church, my sending church.  Here is a sneak preview.  May you join us in worship.

A few years ago I walked a long way across Oxford, England for the Sunday morning service at Holy Trinity Church, the parish church of C.S. Lewis.  I got there late.  Very un-British-like.  A back row was filled except one seat in the center which I took.  I learned the row was all occupied by one family with the father manning one end and the mother the other as they corralled their kids.   During the service the father passed his baby down the row to his wife. Now When the baby arrived in the center I decided to make friends, and held him in my arms for a while.  A sideways glance in each direction showed that neither Mum nor Dad were concerned.  An old dude holding a baby that did not belong to him. One of my favorite Christmas story images is just that – the old guy is Simeon and the baby is of course Jesus.

Mary and Joseph enter the temple area for the first time since the miraculous birth.  Old Simeon makes a prophetic bee-line toward them.  He knows something.  And he wants to see that 40 day-old baby and hold him in his arms.  The shy couple don’t know the back story.  This man is righteous and has been waiting a long time for God’s Messiah.  The Spirit revealed to him that he would not die, WOULD NOT DIE, until he had seen the Lord’s Messiah.  Now, his ancient eyes are dancing with delight.  He reaches out two old arms to receive the baby.  The awkward newly weds were amazed as Simeon blessed God.  Then, his eyes leave the baby and lift to heaven.  “Now Lord, you can let your servant depart.  My eyes have seen your salvation.”  Simeon goes on to say that the baby Messiah is for everyone.  A “light for the Gentiles” and the “glory of Israel.”  The kingdom of God is at hand.  There is a reason for living.  The kingdom of God is in Simeon’s hands.  He can die in peace for his Messiah will rule and He won’t stop until the last enemy, death itself, is defeated.

Hold out your arms in faith Imago Dei.  Your eyes have seen God’s salvation.  You are ready to live.  You are ready to die.  You, like Simeon, have reason to worship.   Come, come let us adore Him!

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