Rwanda Blog 1: Dean LeAnn Snow Flesher
Education Doesn’t Get Any Better Than This. . .
On July 3, 2017 six students and one professor traveled from ABSW to Gahini, Rwanda, for a 10 day mission trip. While in Rwanda the group attended, as special guests of the Anglican Bishop, a provincial peace keeping service, met with the Minister of Gender and Family (one of the President’s Cabinet members), implemented a 2 day ministers conference for 220 Rwandan pastors, traveled to local villages to visit pastors in their homes and preach in their pulpits on Sunday morning, visited the Genocide Memorial in Kigali, visited local villages to celebrate the giving of the cows ceremony, met the governor of the eastern province and went on a one day safari. As you can tell the experience was rich.
As the leader/professor/and Academic Dean I write today to introduce the group to you, to share one of my most meaningful moments and to present the first of 7 blogs from the mission team. Each team member has been required to write a blog about one meaningful event/moment and each of these will be presented on the ABSW Facebook page; follow along!
On Friday and Saturday, July 7-8, the team led a pastor’s conference. Friday morning was spent presenting an overview of the prophets, Friday afternoon an overview of the book of Jeremiah. On Saturday morning the 220 pastors were divided into 8 groups to do in depth study on Jeremiah led by the ABSW MDiv and DMin students. At the close of Saturday I preached from passages of Jeremiah that we all had just studied together, after which the entire group of 220 pastors broke out into song, dance and worship.
As professor and leader of the group I was thrilled to see our students leading Bible studies in Rwanda through translation to hundreds of pastors that rarely have opportunity for such training. Later that day I watched as each student boarded a bus or a car with an overnight bag to travel with a pastor to their village, where they would spend the night with the pastor’s family and rise early the next morning to preach in that pastor’s church. Some travelled for several hours to get to their village, some had to transfer from bus to bus, and one had to be delivered to church on Sunday morning via motorcycle. Each then preached the next morning through an interpreter in the local congregation. The team travelled back to the Anglican Dioceses on Sunday afternoon –all arrived back safely, filled with enthusiasm and exhausted from their travels. As a seminary Dean I am mindful of the many levels of education that were occurring simultaneously; I found myself saying several times throughout the weekend “education doesn’t get any better than this.”
LeAnn Snow Flesher, PhD
VP of Academics and Professor of Old Testament