Seems like yesterday, yet seems like a long time ago!
On May 4 I left Canada and journeyed to Kigali Rwanda where I stayed for 16 full and exciting days.
There were so many surprises with my time there. If you know me at all, you know that I am flexible with schedules etc, I’ve told everyone who ever went on a missions trip with me prior to this one, ‘my middle name is Flex, so don’t let your expectations ruin this experience, we must be flexible with where we are and what we are expecting to happen’.
True to form and past experience, things happened that totally took me by surprise (in a good way)
The main purpose of the trip was to connect with Stephen Brown and Duane Bradley who were coming to Rwanda to video and picture the people and places of Kugana 10-40 Leadership Society.
I was so impressed with their ability to jump off the plane in Kigali at 7AM and basically start doing the shoots/interviews almost immediately, and lasting the whole day! I had them for four days and kept them pretty busy I think. We interviewed about 10 individuals as well as took a bunch of ‘B’shots to be able to communicate the stories of Kugana.
That doesn’t even speak of their gift of capturing the essence of the work that Kugana does.
I loved their passion for people and willingness to travel great distances to tell the stories.
The second purpose was to connect with one group for a prolonged period of time to cement in the roundtable process into the hearts and minds of the participants, so that upon my departure, there would be a continued work of transformation taking place.
We found that place to be King David Academy, a residential school that Pastor Norman connected me with many trips ago, but we never seemed to be able to get traction in. This time we with our commitment to be there consistently for five days in a row working with about 57 students that wanted to learn leadership principles. It was so refreshing and hopeful to see these future leaders grab a hold of these lessons and personalize them. A special moment for me was when three students from the neighboring nation of Burundi cornered me and told me of the need for Kugana to come to Burundi and teach there as well. They committed to take what they are learning and go home upon graduation this fall (they have a different school schedule than we here in North America have) to bring transformation to their communities through the simple lessons they were learning in our time together.
In the midst of working with King David Academy, I had reconnected with a young lady who had come out of Gisimba Memorial Center where our son Jackson grew up. Denise Kayitesi shadowed Pastor Norman and myself at various presentations as well as my daily time at King David. She was very familiar with the roundtables having experienced it from my previous trips there so she would be an easy fit I thought to myself.
As time progressed, I realized that I could create a win/win situation because Kugana needed a full-time person and she needed work.
I was so impressed with her sharp administrative giftings and ability to communicate the lessons and systems of the Global Priority material. She is exactly what we are looking for and it was a great fit to have her come on board as the administrator there in Rwanda. This was totally unexpected and a huge bonus for Kugana as we were meeting during my time there, influencers that could literally open doors to thousands of people who are hungry for the lessons that we teach. After each such meeting, I would say to Denise, ‘are you ready for this? You are going to be busy!’ Don’t forget that we have Pastor Norman Paul Desire who is our national coordinator and has been with us from the beginning six years ago. Pastor Norman volunteers, so Denise is our first full-time staff person.
This is where it goes above and beyond the purposes of the trip, after the video/photography guys left, we met with at least another eleven different individuals, over and above the King David commitment, all of whom Pastor Norman has relationship with, who are leaders of their respective ministries, schools, and businesses. They all had expressed great interest in understanding more as to how we could partner together to develop leaders in each of their spheres of influence. It was so exciting and refreshing to meet with each of these, to hear their heart for the nation and to work together to bring a transformation to Rwanda!
One quick story of how effective the lessons are, Denise and I trained a company (Excel Media) with about 7 employees on the Friday afternoon. The lesson we use a lot is the lesson on ‘Dependability’. The following day we had a meeting scheduled at 11:30 AM with our team in Rwanda. The owner of Excel Media, Stephen Mugisha, is part of our national team there and was coming to the meeting.
Three of us were at the meeting place waiting for Stephen to join, at 11:28 my cell phone exploded with texts, ‘where are you, I am outside in the parking lot and I don’t see you, where are you, I don’t want to be late!’
When we all got together one minute later, we all had a good chuckle, but Stephen said, ‘that lesson you taught to my staff yesterday is still ringing in my head, I don’t want to steal anybody’s time anymore!’
I was impressed with the quickness of his application to what he was learning! This is the type of reaction that always occurs. It was so cool to witness it first hand like that, with the other team members too.
Another highlight was our meeting with the new Vice Mayor of Kigali, Patricia Muhongerwa.
Her executive assistant, who we have worked extensively with, Bella, had spoken of our previous working relationship. The vice-mayor was very receptive to continuing to implement the trainings in the co-operatives as well as rolling it out into a ‘leadership club’ concept at the local public schools in the city. Denise and Norman will be very busy there as well, creating and following up with the various opportunities provided through the city. We are praying that we would be able to be part of the budget for the services we can provide. There was talk about that, so we can only continue to pray into that!
So, to sum it all up, I stand amazed at what God wants to do with people like you and I. He is looking for willing vessels that are not afraid to step out in faith and obedience.
You can assist us in praying for the team here in Canada, (Karen and I, Florence and Casey Drent, and Michelle Ironmonger) as well as the growing team in Rwanda (Pastor Norman Paul Desire, Denise Kayitesi, and Stephen Mugisha).
You also can donate at Kugana.com to help support Denise in Rwanda, Florence here in Canada, or the administration of all of this, to keep it growing and going!