When one door closes, another opens.
We know God often works that way in our lives. But it rarely happens on a large scale during Ripe4Life crusade trips. Our recent visit to Rwanda was different, however-much to our amazement and to His glory!
You are going to love this story. For me, it is so encouraging to share this with you because it was a direct confirmation from the Lord that we are called to this ministry. Originally, our plans and your prayers for this late October to early November trip had focused on a holding a training conference and evangelistic festival in the town of Rwabutaza, Rwanda, Africa. But shortly after our arrival, we learned that due to local complications - circumstances beyond our control - we weren't going to be able conduct ministry there.
I remember thinking, "Ok God, I believe You sent us here. What do You want us to do? Are you still with us? Did I hear You correctly? Am I still in Your will?" He didn't take long to answer those questions emphatically. My friend Augustine, our translator, and I set out for the village ofKageyo, which was accessible only by dirt-covered, bumpy roads. There are so many needs in Kageyo, which at one time was part of Akagera National Park on the border of Tanzania and Rwanda. There is no running water or electricity, and people typically travel by foot or bicycle-if they can afford one.
Another evangelist was supposed to have been holding an evangelistic festival in Kageyo, but that fell through. As a result, a door flung wide open for us! Preparations already had been made for the other evangelist, so all we had to do was show up, be faithful to our duties and let God show off.
How unusual! The norm is that we plan where we are going and work with local pastors to get everything ready so we can fulfill our evangelistic call to preach the Gospel and pray for the sick. That way always seems to work out. People get saved and healed, and the pastors are full of joy!
But this was more of a Macedonian call, an Acts 16 assignment from the Lord. In Acts 16:6-10, Paul and his companions were prohibited by the Holy Spirit from preaching in Asia. Then they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit again wouldn't allow it. God later spoke to Paul in a night vision and directed him to Macedonia for his true ministry assignment.Our Macedonia was Kageyo.
On Oct. 31, we began a three-day training conference. Around 120 people attended that first day, some of them pastors. After the meeting, something happened that was one of the most meaningful events in the history of our ministry. As we were preparing to drive away, a woman named Anastasia ran up to our car and spoke to us through a window. She had miraculously survived the horrible Rwandan genocide in 1994, but lost her entire family in the mass killings. She loves Jesus and told us that we were an answer to the prayer of villagers in Kageyo who were hungry to hear the Word of God preached and had asked the Lord to send someone to minister to them.
Anastastia's words were a deep, deep confirmation to me of what God is doing in my life and in our whole ministry. It was just what I needed to hear and what followed was just what I needed to see. By the count of local pastors, more than 5,000 people attended the three nights of our evangelistic festival in Kageyo, including 202 adults and 420 children who made public professions of faith to receive Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. On the second night of the festival, Nov. 2, a lady came forward and testified to the crowd that God had opened her blind eyes when I prayed the night before.
What a mighty God! What a mighty harvest!