Monday, May 12, 2014

Rwanda Partnership Team 2014

This year's eight-person Rwanda Team is the fifth team to travel to Rwanda on behalf of Church of the Apostles. We'll be there July 4-15. We go to encourage the church there, and to be encouraged by them to faithfully spread the gospel.

One of the most important aspects of this year's team is that we will leave Hillary Dotson! She plans to stay for the year to serve the Lord there. You can read more about her plans below. As our team of eight prepares to go, here is a brief bio on each of us. We would appreciate your prayers!

Eric Bolash
Kids wearing sandals, shorts and t-shirts often chase our van as it bounces down dirt roads in Rwanda. As they run, they wave wildly and shout, "Komera! Komera!" It means, "Stand strong! Stand strong!" The Lord has called me and our whole team back to Rwanda again this year so that we can encourage the Rwandan Church and they can encourage us to "stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord." (1 Corinthians 15:58) We are also called by the Lord to go on your behalf, as ambassadors from Apostles. So, please pray for us! May the Lord strengthen his Church as we continue this Partnership.

Carrie Alspagh
Rwanda- in my heart for 20 years
. I have been drawn to go to the Land of a Thousand Hills for many years. My family became dear friends with a Rwandan couple who emigrated to the US in the mid-1990s after the civil war. Through their eyes, we came to see the sadness and resilience of the people of this country. Also, I have friends who have been medical missionaries in Rwanda for 10 years. Each time our church has sent a team to visit our brothers and sisters in Gikomero, I have prayed whether it was the right time for me to actually go. This time, I felt peace and excitement about joining the Apostles Rwanda Team. I hope to be able to serve medically and to learn much from our friends there.  Hopefully, I will be able to engage with the ladies in the Mother’s Union too.   Psalm 32:8  I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.

Curt Blazier
It’s been almost twenty years since my last overseas missions trip, but recently have sensed the Lord nudging me more in this direction.  At the same time, I’ve been excited and encouraged about our Gikomero sister church partnership over the years.  I’ve always looked forward to attending our past summer trip debrief dinners to hear about the Lord’s work in our church partnership.  We are separated by thousands of miles, but we are connected in Spirit and purpose as we love and serve Jesus Christ and “strive together as one for the faith of the gospel” (Philippians 1:27).  As part of the Apostles team to Rwanda this summer, I look forward to developing new relationships, learning more about the lives and faith of our brothers and sisters in Christ, and worshipping our Savior with them.

Hillary Dotson
Yes, I shed a few tears the first time our plane landed in Rwanda. July 2012, my first time on the African continent. Simply the youngest member of the Apostles team 2 years ago, little did I know this was a place I’d soon come to call home. Thrilled to be going back with our partnership team for trip number 3, and excited to say that I will be staying on for a year to teach english at The Sonrise School in Musanze, Rwanda. Thus far, the Lord has used this beautiful country to open my eyes and my heart to His fullness and my place as His Beloved. My brothers and sisters there have truly awakened me to see the lovegoodnessnew lifehealing, and faithfulness that flows from our Heavenly Father. Last summer we shared the song, “My Beloved,” with our sister church and sang it often during team devotions. The lyrics below capture the light, the joy, and the life that Rwanda has brought me:
My Beloved bring me awake, Take me up to your resurrection place
My Beloved bring me awake, ‘Cause I want to feel Your light upon my face.

Jim Dotson
Having been a member of Apostles for the past 12 years, it has been exciting to see the Apostles - Rwanda partnership grow.  I am amazed, blessed, and inspired by the courage and strength of our Rwandan brothers and sisters.  While we certainly have much temporally to give, seeing their relationship with the Lord shows me how much we can learn from them.  I often thought is would be great to “go and experience” first-hand, but our daughter Hillary has gone the past two summers and this was “her ministry.”  Needless to say, when Hillary and Ann shared one night at dinner that they thought I should consider going this year, that was all the encouragement I needed.   What a privilege to go on your behalf and see what God has in store.

Lee Garrett
It is my pleasure and honor to make my second trip to Rwanda.  Since my first trip I have felt the pull of God to return with the sense that I had more to do there.  I don’t know what that will be, Patient Care, Teaching, or something totally unexpected.  I am looking forward to the trip and adding to the blessings that I have received from the people of Gikomero already.

Teresa Kincaid
"Imana ishimwe!"  These are the first words we hear as we greet our brothers and sisters with hugs.  They mean "Praise God!"  Through the power of the Holy Spirit, as in Acts 2, we join together and "Praise God" in our own native language, as we worship and share time together.  Also, I long to embrace, hold hands and jump rope with our children we sponsor with Compassion International.  Ndishimiye gukunda (I am happy we love each other) as brothers and sisters in Christ.  Please pray for our team and our Rwanda family.  Murakoze cyane gos. (Thank you very much.)

Sue Koehler
I went to Rwanda in 2011 with a team from Church of the Apostles.  The highlight of that trip for me was time spent with women from the church.  We talked about how we came to Christ and the difference it’s made in our lives.  It is that connection with women from Church of the Apostles, Gikomero that draws me back this summer.  I want to learn how they live out the Gospel in their church, community and families and bring their stories back to women in our church.  I want to help deepen the connection between women of Church of the Apostles, Gikomero and Raleigh.

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