I rarely get excited over email messages that come with documents attached; it is a large part of my job as an administrative assistant at International Ministries (IM) to read and respond to emails. But, in this particular document, in a language unknown to me, my eyes focused on the one thing I understood: “Seira Community Church…100%”.
And, my heart leapt for joy, because I knew what this meant.
This meant that God answered our prayers.
Our God answered the prayers of those in Rwanda, those of our partner Seira Community Church (SCC), whose steadfast faith over years had led to this moment. God answered the prayers of those in the United States, who love the people of Rwanda, who know the SCC and its ministries, who knew how many obstacles had to be moved to get to this point.
Now, finally, our partner SCC officially owns the land in Kigali on which its headquarters and main church is located.
This story began in December 2016 when SCC put down a deposit on land and a building and started using it as its convention headquarters and main church. New governmental regulations for churches required expensive upgrades, and money earmarked to complete the purchase was instead used to keep the church open. The landowner graciously allowed extra time for SCC to pay off the debt, but this situation could not continue indefinitely.
This story continued in the fall of 2019, when SCC leaders visited the United States and spoke of their dilemma. IM’s Africa Desk, which includes me, suggested writing a grant to acquire some of the funds, with other American Baptist partners agreeing to raise the rest of the money. The grant application was submitted, and the approval was eagerly anticipated in March, 2020. However, the grant committee questioned whether the application met its guidelines. IM staff advocated, provided past examples of approved grants, and prayed. Frankly, oh me of little faith, I worried, a lot. COVID-19 hit in the US, and we heard nothing for several months. It was SCC leaders who encouraged me to keep the faith and to believe that for God, nothing is impossible. And then, on May 1, 2020, in God’s timing, an email announced that the grant had been awarded to SCC.
SCC had to clear a few more hurdles, like how to get a deed signed by the landowner in another country while international travel was not possible due to the pandemic. But here we stand, in May 2021, in faith and in prayer, humbled by God’s faithfulness, with SCC legal owners of the land. Will you join me in thanking God for God’s provision, and for God’s faithfulness, 100% of the time—even when we ourselves experience a lack of faith?