Fifteen days, seventeen sermons, two thousand sites, and thousands of dedicated, ordinary people inspired by their love for God and passion for His people. That is how the Gospel transformed every corner of Rwanda and the Holy spirit was poured out in abundance. During the month of May, the General Conference led a very unique mission in the small country of Rwanda. The goal was to reach the people with the gospel through total membership involvement. The results were astonishing, and through the combined efforts of the local churches, laymen, pastors and missionaries from abroad we were able to see more than 95,000 souls come to Christ.
I had the privilege of witnessing some of the work God was doing through the site where I was preaching. Arriving at my site the first evening, I was nervous and very dependent on my PowerPoint slides for the message. As I began to preach, however, the electricity went out and my perfectly operating laptop refused to turn on. Panicking, I flipped through my Bible hoping a verse would pop out at me, at the moment the one light bulb at the site burnt out. It was then that I realized I would have to speak from my heart. I prayed asking God to completely take over, and He did just that. I preached a thought I had studied in my devotional that morning from John 9 where Jesus stops for the man born blind and heals him. In that moment, I realized that Jesus had once again stopped at our hill and desired to heal each and everyone of us throughout the next 2 weeks. Little did I know just how much healing would take place at that site.
Throughout the first weekend, my heart began to soften and fill with love for those attending every night. The faces became familiar and the shy smiles were soon replaced by warm hugs. Night after night after the meetings, those with special requests or burdens would line up for prayers, and as I held them and prayed for them I was amazed by their faith. They believed that God would hear and answer their prayers and so they prayed the impossible and they prayed with earnestness and transparency. In their prayers my faith was strengthened. Yet God had more in store. As we began the second week, they began to share how God had already begun to answer their prayers. Broken families were somehow being mended, and the Great Physician had visited the sick and given children to the barren. But the ones that truly touched me were those who received hope for the first time—those that realized that heaven was a reality and that sin did not have to overcome them forever.
There was a bar nearby that played a lot of throwback music. Their music was so loud at times that when I paused for emphasis in my sermons, the music would overpower. Unfortunately, in my “Before Christ” days, one of my greatest struggles was music, so I not only recognized the music but also knew the lyrics. I cannot describe the feeling – it was one of joy as I realized that God had not only saved me from my past but had also given me something better. But yet in the midst of the joy there was a vivid reminder of the reason why I could not continue to entertain that music and serve Christ, because in that moment I realized that they served two opposing forces.
Rwanda is an experience that I cannot even begin to describe, the miracles were many and God truly revealed Himself more clearly to me. As I watched many walk away from all they had as they stood for Jesus in baptism, I recommitted myself to Christ.
Despite the painful history that I often connect with Rwanda, God rewrote the story. It was in Rwanda that I saw ordinary church members give all they had to the gospel and it is here that I saw the extraordinary, transformative power of the plain word of God. It was in Rwanda that Christ revealed His love not only for me, but also for humanity, and leaving Rwanda I am inspired.
Lastly, the Total Membership Involvement model really left an impact on me. It was amazing to see how God works through the dedicated and combined forces of church members. Every effort is noted in the books of heaven, and coming home I am inspired to make sure that the miracles don’t end in Rwanda. The gospel is not an African remedy – it has the power to transform lives in my local church, my campus, my home, and everywhere else I go. God took me to Rwanda to teach me His unconditional love and impress upon my heart the urgency of His soon return.
Coming home I am inspired. I see the importance of my local church and the role each member has to play in the commission of spreading the gospel. Many times I was tempted to wonder, where are the miracles nowadays? Where are the great manifestations the Bible describes? I realized that I was not seeing miracles because I was not actively engaging in God’s work; I had not taken a risk big enough to necessitate a divine intervention. I appeal to everyone to take part in the exciting work of winning souls for Christ, take an active role in your local church, and make goals that require divine aid and you will see God’s mighty power daily and experience His amazing love.