The staff fundraiser went VERY well. Mike spent 2 days in the kitchen with various helpers, and despite my concerns about not having enough, we had about twice as much food as we needed! (There were around 110 people, including about 30 from the base!)
We showed a video created by one of the staff that shows the effects of various ministries on the base. I shared, challenging the local people to support missionaries in Rwanda and from Rwanda.
Each staff member shared at their table about the ministry that they personally are involved with, and we were all very supported by the work of other staff members, DTS students, and a team that is here from South Africa.
Etienne shares about his ministry.
This kind of event has rewards that are beyond measuring, like publicity, relationship building, and the staff feeling supported by a community. But for the 11 staff members that participated there were some really amazing measurable effects:
- One staff member alone collected donations that evening that could cover about 2 months living expenses, and was about twice as much as we spent to make the evening happen
- one of the attendees decided to take a Discipleship Training School
- 5 staff members received new specific pledges of monthly support
- one staff member who has been rebuffed by churches in the past recieved the promise from the pastor of the church she attends that they will work towards supporting her
- one staff member was discouraged before the event: a wedding at her church meant that several people could not come, however, those that did come promised to help spread the word about what she was doing to raise funds
- although the people she invited did not know each other prior to the evening, one staff member’s table stayed about half an hour after everyone else left. They organized themselves into a support team, complete with a plan for financial support, a chairperson, a plan to speak to others, and to meet regularly for prayer and updates!
Peace shares about her work.
Now, we continue to encourage the staff to communicate, to pursue relationships, and to be intentional about raising support. My favourite outcome of the evening is that many of the staff who were feeling hopeless about their personal support are now encouraged, and have a place to start raising funds so that they can continue the amazing work they do!
We have a goal to help develop the YWAM staff while we are here. We are hoping to train/resource them to be better at what they do. Raising personal support is a huge challenge for many of the staff here, for several reasons. It is hard to talk about money. It is difficult to try to communicate to people that you are doing ministry that it is worth investing in. These are universal struggles for those of us who raise our own support. But in Rwanda, there is the added challenge of being a country that has traditionally received missionaries; that has traditionally received financial support from (white) missionaries. So the idea that you could be a Rwandan missionary takes a lot of education. Many of our colleagues, when they have discussed support with those they know, have been told, “Come and pastor at our church, and we will give you a salary,” or “Why don’t you just get a job?”
Mike and I have set out to try to help some of the long-term staff raise their personal support. This began with some discussion about what it means to raise your own support, why YWAM works this way, and sharing our own story of being missionaries in Canada (and facing many of the same questions and struggles that they face). We did role-playing to practice answering some of the hard questions. We have helped staff work on newsletters, vision statements, and prayer cards. And we planned an event to help kick-start discussions and understanding among people who may be interested in supporting them. (And hopefully to kickstart the donations, too: most of the staff here don’t have enough support to buy food and pay their rent, even though it is very cheap to live.)
The event is on Sunday. We have asked each staff who wants to participate to invite 12 people to sit at a table with them for the evening (with the expectation that about 6 will come). We will make some food from different countries and serve the meal. People here are used to very standard food: it doesn’t vary outside of about 6 or 7 different dishes, so this will be quite an experience for many. We are trying to keep it simple, both accounting for local taste/unadventurousness, and for the simple kitchen – curry, beef stew, chili, etc. (I am so thankful for Mike who will oversee the cooking!) We will speak a bit about YWAM and missions in general, and individually affirm the value of each staff member. I have had a few cultural lessons along the way, and am probably in for a few more as the day comes (hoping that I don’t bungle anything too badly). I am going to speak a little about it being time for the church in Rwanda to grow up and begin sending/supporting missionaries, about it being necessary that people from this country work to heal the damage that has been done in the past – physical, spiritual, and emotional.
We’ll post some pictures and let you know how it went next week!
We have made some good friends while being here. There are a few in particular that have been a great encouragement to us! About once a week, we get to hang out with Hope, Godfrey, Fred & Teresa at their house (which is about a 10 minute walk from us). Hope is an American married to Godfrey (a Rwandan who does the administration for YWAM). Fred and Teresa are from Kenya. Hope, Fred, & Teresa run a ministry out of their home working with prostitutes and their families. We usually cook a western-ish meal while we hang out: it is fun to hang out with people we don’t work with every day, and to cook and eat some familiar food. A few weeks ago Hope asked if we would be willing to teach some of the ladies a cooking lesson about once a month. It could be a chance for them to learn a bit, to hang out in a positive environment, and be stretched out of their culture a bit (the food is VERY uniform here; its hard for us to imagine coming from such a multicultural home country). So, we tried to think of something with cheap ingredients, that would be reasonable for them to cook at home, and fairly simple to teach to a group. We agreed on a simple stirfry! Here are some pictures:
Mike demonstrates slicing
Mike supervises slicing
Mike “It doesn’t matter to me how you measure the water for the rice. How do you usually do it?”
They were a little skeptical of the teriyaki sauce. “Where’s the sauce tomate?” (EVERYTHING here is cooked in tomato sauce.)
They got into a discussion about compost, so Mike explained how to start a compost heap. (And helped Teresa start one.)
Explaining how they would cook the vegetables & meat
teaching “stirring” and “frying”
I don’t have any pictures of the finished product: we were too busy serving and eating. But it was delicious, and some of the ladies even said they were planning to make it for their families. We’ll see.