We got a late start today. It was election day 2016 in Rwanda and everything got off to a late start.  We had planned to start at noon due to the elections, but make use of the time by going to the main market before to give Jerry a jump start on souvenirs.  But alas, even the market was closed. When its closed, things really are slow.

But when we did get started it was sweet.  Just to refresh my memory and to give Jerry a good first sense, we had all of the pastors tell us where they served, how long they had been pastoring, and about their families.  The vast, vast majority to them had at least 5 kids, and the highest number we heard was 11.  The most remarkable thing to me was that several of them, despite having 5, 6, or 7 kids of their own had taken in 2 or 3 orphans to raise them up since no one else would.  I thought to myself: “Supposedly I am here to teach them, but I really should be learning from them.”

The hit of the day was John with his foldable solar panel and bright, bright LED lights.  When we pointed it out to them as it lay outside charging the battery, they all gathered around it 3 deep and were amazed as John folded it up to bring it in out of the rain.  And when he got the lights attached, the smiles reached ear to ear.  Some of their response was certainly based on its potential usefulness, but much of it was just being amaze at new technology.  I know the feeling.  As it turned out, we needed the lights later as it turned very dark.

We did launch the 1 John study today.  It was apparent that most had never taught from it in a substantial way, so the study will prove fruitful.  And as in the past, they were full of questions.  But as we have noted in the past, their questions get better, deeper, more insightful with each passing year. God is good.  The rejoicing was tempered, however, by a conversation at lunch.  One of the regional directors told us, that although the Pastors have a new found confidence due to their increased knowledge, and some new clothes that help them look the part, they are still insecure when it comes to thinking they could serve in the sophisticated city.  Still work to do.

Please keep praying.  We are still struggling to have a good sense of traction in terms of which direction to take the teaching on leadership.  We want to scratch where they are itching, and we are not confident we have found the itch well.

Personally, it has been great to have John and Jerry here.  They are great to travel with, have good senses of humor which is essential in putting up with me, and their love for God and for these Pastors is worn on their sleeves.  And remember its Africa….Jerry was picking out cloth for his African shirt with a flashlight as the power had gone out in the already dimly lit market.  Staying flexible and taking it all in stride is an essential skill set, and they are both doing it perfectly.

Blessings, Neal


Elijah, who is 79 and been pastoring since 1954, gets his new hat


The Pastors Sing






Hope Chapel

35 Chocksett Rd

Sterling, MA 01564