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Discipleship in Rwanda ……. according to Doug

September 3, 2011

The following is a guest blog from our deep friend and mentor Doug Clayton a Youth and Family Minister from Grand Junction, Colorado.

How do missionaries move to a country so recently wounded by genocide and hope to infuse the kingdom of God into a culture now deeply suspicious of “church” and who view religion and God, at best, as silent bystanders as their families were slaughtered?  As a guest of the Koonce family in Kigali, Rwanda for the past couple weeks God has blessed me to witness how He is using this family and their team to climb this seemingly insurmountable spiritual mountain. I warn you though, God’s amazing plan in most foreign mission fields and specifically in Rwanda, has little to do with an Americanized version of church with familiar signs and comfortable traditions. Instead, it a testimony to the intricate workings of the unexplainable, relentless God of love who will stop at nothing to redeem an entire country recovering from massacre as they search for truth and hope.

What God is doing to bring the gospel to the Rwandan people is natural, wise, culturally sensitive, simple, very patient, and divinely powerful. God is allowing genuine, trusting relationships to be built day by day as the Koonces live among the people. In sharing their lives with their neighbors they help rebuild and inspire a spirit of community, creating jobs, and ministering to the genocide orphans. One example of God using all things great and small to infiltrate and win over the hearts of the Rwandans is how Marty, as coach of Rwanda’s Olympic Tae kwon do team, has been placed at a level of national influence. As I write this Marty is at an invitation only dinner meeting with Rwanda’s President and the president of the International Olympic committee. How Cool is that? God is using this to make disciples. Becoming personally invested in the daily lives and community of the Rwandan people, the Koonces have become accepted and trusted not because they are Christian missionaries, but in spite of that often tainted tag and because of their consistent and genuine expressions of Christ-like love and service.

The result of such a patient, wise, slow, divine process is the great commission being lived out not as religious agenda corrupted by personal doctrine and church traditions but as a natural consequence of living and loving the people of Rwanda. Disciples are slowly and gently being mentored and taught. These Jesus seekers, at very different places on their faith journey, are learning about God and making regular commitments to be obedient to His love. As these disciples gradually become disciple makers and spiritual birthing grows exponentially, the kingdom of God is being spread to Rwandans, by Rwandans, for Rwandans, to the glory of God.

As a word of blessing and encouragement to the Koonces: May God grant you endurance and a continued spirit of love and service as you very patiently live among the Rwandans. And, may Jesus kiss you daily as you behold the glorious and subtle fruits of redemption that He is producing as you give your lives to Him in this culture.
To the churches and people who support this work: May we be divinely patient and spiritually wise as we allow God to work according to His time table to bring Christianity in its purest and simplest form to the Rwandan people.
A personal “Thank you” to Marty, Louise, Tucker, Tanner, Taylor and Trevor for their generous hospitality and love over the past couple weeks. May the God of hope fill each of you with joy and peace as you trust in Him.
Doug Clayton
Grand Junction, CO.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Anna Koonce permalink
    September 5, 2011 1:59 am

    Thank you Doug for a beautiful testimony to our youngest son and his family. We will treasure this in our hearts! Kelly and Anna Koonce

  2. Doug Clayton permalink
    September 11, 2011 11:41 am

    Anna, It was such a blessing to be with Marty and his sweet family. I enjoyed many special moments and conversations as well as a fair amount of humorous stories of Marty’s growing up years in the Colonel’s house ;-). I know you are very proud of them all! doug

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