There is something powerful about gender-specific groups meeting together. I have witnessed the fruit of men’s ministry in my own life for almost three decades—especially during my 20 years as a US Air Force chaplain. I have also seen the incredible influence of other women in Kimberly’s life during the 25 years we have been married. We are made to journey together! The impact is deep when we allow ourselves to authentically share life with others who face the same struggles and opportunities.
As a friend reminded us this week during our morning devotions at Hope Haven Rwanda,“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up…A cord of three strands is not quickly broken”(Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, 12).
With these central truths in mind, almost a year ago, we specifically targeted Rwandan men with a new program. More than 60 men attended our inaugural Men’s Ministry outreach event. Twenty of these men stood up to indicate that they had never walked through the gates of Hope Haven before this event, and we welcomed them with open arms. Chaplain Shema led a breathtaking competition with four football/soccer teams playing each against other and then shared a brilliant 10-minute devotional.
This event served as the foundation for our “Men of Hope” outreach program, which is changing the lives of men throughout our community. This club is reaching men in the community who attended discipleship meetings, received entrepreneurship training, created a savings group and worked together to eventually earn their own bicycles to use for taxi businesses in the village. Today, they meet each week for accountability, continuing education and spiritual formation.
The Men of Hope savings group developed policies to govern their group and a financial tracking system to monitor their participation. They also committed to visiting the home and family of one member each week to encourage and support. What a beautiful picture of the Body of Christ serving one another!
This week, along with Lynn Fisher, a member of our Board of Trustees, we visited three “Men of Hope” and their families. We wanted to audit the program, to assess the impact, and we were so pleased with the results.
We don’t have space to share everything we learned, but there were several special moments. We heard several testimonies of God’s provision for these dear families, as we met with each member, his wife and their children. These men are stepping up to be better men!
In one mud home, Rajab picked up a large brown envelope containing important records for his family. He gently reached inside and pulled out one of his treasured possessions: a photo from the day that he was awarded his very own bicycle! This was the culmination of discipleship training, accountability, saving and learning how to start his own bicycle taxi business. Rajab then proceeded to share that when he began the program, his wife was a follower of Jesus but he was not. During the training, he began to see his own need for a Savior and chose to follow Jesus himself. Rajab now has his own Bible and reads it regularly—the trajectory of this family has been changed for eternity!
These men are allowing God to transform their families by meeting regularly together, spurring one another on spiritually. Is there a friend, or a small group, you can meet with this week? Are you willing to be vulnerable about your struggles so that you can authentically share life together? “A cord of three strands…”