Short-Term Missionary Assignment – Rwanda, AFRICA
By Lisa Niel
My most recent missionary assignment took me back to Rwanda, Africa in March of this year, where I was invited as the main speaker to a two-day women’s conference held at the Assemblies of God Global Missions Church in the Capital city of Kigali. God gave me a message on “Discovering Who You Are in Christ,” which was the conference theme and brought women of all ages and all walks of life: pastors, deaconesses, leaders, professionals, marrieds, singles, grandmothers, mothers, daughters, and college students. As unprecedented and extraordinary as the conference was, so were the events leading up to and after the conference.
The first day was spent visiting families in the impoverished villages of Kigali, Rwanda and hearing life transforming testimonies from men who gave testimonies of how they learned to love their wives, save money, tithe, give back to their communities, acquire land, build homes, and so much more - all in a biblical context! This fruitful work is the result of God’s empowering and redeeming love through World Relief (www.worldrelief.org) and their partnership with local churches. Their stories were incredible and so moving. At first, most of the women were silent and expressionless, but when I looked in the eyes of each one of them, a smile would break forth and their eyes lit up! Before parting, the women were hugging me, and wanted to have pictures taken!
The next day, I was interviewed at a widely known Christian radio station which had been promoting the women’s conference of which at least 500 women were expected. I had so much fun listening to the radio announcer and speaking live on air about the conference theme “Discovering Your True Identity!” People were calling in and saying that they would be traveling long distances to attend! After the broadcast, the announcer said to me, “I have learned so much from you. I want to be called your son, because I have no parents.” I was overwhelmed, humbled, and honored. What an amazing opportunity to speak into this young man’s life (who has the public’s ear daily) about who he is in the eyes of God, and the amazing plans God has for his life!
The Women’s Conference was a huge success! Women came from all over the region. Most of the women sitting on the front row were leaders representing their cities in Rwanda and Uganda in various roles through the church, the government and the community. I must say, I was intimidating as I stood up to approach the stage...but then a bold, confident, vibrant fire within my spirit rose up with unspeakable joy! What an experience it was! I have never felt so liberated with so much joy, speaking connecting, and engaging with so many amazing women; doing what I know God created me to do! These women talk back to you when you speak, clapping and shouting in Kinyarwanda, “Yesu Ashimwe!” (Praise the Lord!) The music and singing were incredible, and that was just Day One!
On Day Two of the conference, Pastor Christine Gatabazi Kaligirwa and I dovetailed each other in tag-team presenting part two of Knowing Your True Identity. Christine has served along with her husband since 1992 as pastor and pioneer of Assemblies of God Global Missions Church in Kigali. She is also the visionary of Women of Purpose Ministries, and thought leader in her community, government and nation. What an incredible partnership it was in “Discovering Your True Identity Part 2,”as I spoke about “detecting and rejecting the lies” and she spoke about the impact of those lies in the heart and lives of Rwandan women. I don’t even have words to describe that experience of speaking prophetically in their lives through the power of God’s Word! The pictures don’t even do it justice.
A woman came up to me after hearing my testimony and threw her arms around me saying “We have similar stories.” She looked in my eyes and said “See, I am smiling now! Your message has given me so much hope and joy!” So many women came up to me and spoke of similar experiences in their lives with renewed faith, hope, and intentionality. It was astounding!
If that wasn’t enough to leave me speechless, I was invited to come back to Rwanda and Uganda in October of this year as a keynote speaker in a collaborative effort of both countries for a national women’s program entailing two women’s conferences over two weeks. Somebody pinch me!
With every encounter, God’s powerful hand was orchestrating a divine appointment, from a fellow passenger on the plane to the hotel counter in Kigali; and from bumping into people in a restaurant to having breakfast with a journalist and magazine editor. God was speaking, encouraging, touching and wooing people to Himself. It’s amazing what happens when our spirit partners with the Holy Spirit within us, responding and moving in collaboration with Him. I could literally see and feel the supernatural effect of it!
I used to think that big impacts were made from big assignments or main events that took much work, planning and preparation, a point of focus, and perseverance. However, what God has been showing me with every missionary trip is that He alone is the one orchestrating. I am His vessel, His ambassador, collaborating and co-participating with Him, as I carry for His glory what He wants to give or impart to those we encounter. Now that I knowwhat I carry (love, authority, peace, and light), I can literally see how God uses all of it to profoundly touch and impact the lives of others. Yet, every time I go on a mission trip, God shows me another facet of His power, grace, and amazing love towards me; and the blessing I receive far outweighs what I could give to others.
The fruit of this journey is continually sprouting, and great things are in store! Thank you for your prayers and support. Each one of you was with me in spirit as a part of Lifestreams, stretching its arm across the globe to Kigali, Rwanda, Africa!