James and Joanna Martin

Joy to the World!

As I write our final newsletter of 2016 Joanna is packing our cases as we prepare for our afternoon flight. We are also soaking up the last few rays of the equator sun. We are both very excited to be coming home this year for Christmas.

This month we finished our Freedom in Christ course in the city centre church. We were both really pleased with how this course was received. In our final session we gave an opportunity for the youth to share how the course had impacted them. A girl called Jane shared how her view of God and sin had changed. Before she had been fearful thinking that God wanted to punish her for sinning. Now she had come to understand that God is faithful and merciful and that God doesn’t want us to sin because it destroys us and keeps us in bondage.

A boy called Benjamin said the course had changed his spiritual life. He told us that he had grown up thinking that certain animals could bring curses to him. For example he thought that if he saw a monkey it would bring him bad luck for the day. In the steps to freedom part of the course he repented and turned from this lie. Pastor Juve (our translator and co-worker) shared that in the forgiveness lesson he had realised he still had unforgiveness in his heart towards his parents who are now in their 70s. They used to beat him badly when he was a child. He told us that he thought he had forgiven them but really there was still bitterness in his heart. We thank God for they way this course has helped the youth to move forward in their walk with Him.

We also finished our Youth Alpha course with 35 youth in Kimisagara church on the outskirts of the city. We were very impressed with their commitment to and engagement in the teaching series. We are planning to take the same group through the Freedom in Christ course next year.

We consistently hear feedback from the youth thanking us for providing an environment where they can learn and ask questions. Never before have the youth of Inkuru Nziza churches had the opportunity to learn the Bible in an environment like this where they are able to discuss, think and ask questions. A girl called Louise testified to now understanding the significance of Christ’s death on the cross and that she had been saved through this act and not through her efforts. Another youth member called Etsian said that he liked that the teachers came on time and had prepared their notes well (this is rare here!)

On Wednesday we travelled to Kibungo which is one of my favourite areas in Rwanda. Here we met with 57 youth from 50 different churches. We taught on forgiveness as we saw this was one of the most powerful lessons from the Freedom in Christ course.

A boy called Emmanuel had clearly been impacted during the ministry time and afterward he shared his story. One day he was accused of stealing a watch which he did not take and three other boys interrogated him and beat him seriously for three hours. It had happened a few years ago but up until then he had not forgiven them for what they did to him. He chose to forgive them that day and thanked God for preparing this message for him to hear.

Thanks to Elim missions we were able to take part in their global Christmas party initiative. This saw them raise money from Elim churches so that Elim missionaries from across the world would be able to hold a Christmas party for children in their country. We had an amazing time with over 300 children attending. We shared the Christmas story through drama, played some games, watched a Mr Bean Christmas special, fed them all and also gave each child a gift. We are so grateful to be able to bring such joy to these children this Christmas time and all for only £500!

Have a wonderful Christmas and a blessed New Year.

James and Joanna

Prayer Points

Please stand in prayer with us this month on the following:

  • For Youth Alpha, that we would see more youth saved and coming into the reality of a relationship with Jesus over religion.
  • We would continue to see religious mindsets broken.
  • Pray for Kevin & Teresa as they embark on more French language courses in St.Croix.
  • That we would see God move in power in Rwanda.
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