After this lesson, each girl should be able to
* Tell five facts about Rwanda.
* Briefly describe Patrick and Jeanne Collins' work in Rwanda and why it is important.
* Suggest a way she can assist Patrick and Jeanne in their ministry.
BEFORE THE MEETING
* Bring materials to make Fancy Flowers and play Gutera Uriziga.
* Prepare isombe and ugali to serve at the meeting.
Let the girls show the Fancy Flowers they made and provide supplies for those who did not bring any from home. Talk about the Rwandan sayings before playing a round of Gutera Uriziga. Afterward let the girls sample isombe and ugali.
Patrick and Jeanne Collins
Patrick and Jeanne Collins love being around children. And although their three children-Alicia, Ashley, and Patrick IV-are grown, they find themselves surrounded by children most of the time.
Since 1989, Patrick and Jeanne have been missionaries to children in Africa. When they first arrived in Kenya, their twin daughters, Alicia and Ashley, were only five months old. Patrick IV was born in Kenya in 1992. The family served in Kenya 18 years before transferring to Rwanda in 2007.
While in Kenya, the Collins family lived in Nairobi, the nation's capital, but they often traveled to other parts of the country to help church workers learn how to teach children about Jesus. One of those trips took them to a remote area where the Maasai, a nomadic people group, lives.
"Going to the town of Narok was like stepping back in time," Jeanne says. "There are few vehicles, and the people live as herdsmen, much as their ancestors did. You can readily see Maasai dressed in red blankets and holding spears, herding donkeys, cattle, goats, and sheep in the streets. Except for the main highway, the area consisted of rocky dirt roads that can only be traveled with a four-wheel-drive vehicle.
"We held a seminar in this area and spoke for two days about children's ministry. Most of the people were shocked to hear what the Bible says about children and their importance to the Lord. They were open and receptive and promised to practice what we taught them. When we ministered in the Sunday School, 30 children received Jesus into their hearts!"
In 2007, Patrick and Jeanne took a trip to Rwanda. While they were there, they told church leaders that the Lord was calling them to come to Rwanda as missionaries. The church leaders told them they had been praying for someone to come and lead the children's ministry for the national church. Patrick and Jeanne felt this was God's way of confirming that He wanted them to move from Kenya to Rwanda.
During the 18 years Patrick and Jeanne were in Kenya, they started a national children's ministries department for the Kenya Assemblies of God. They also trained Kenyan men and women to lead children's ministries in every district of the nation and wrote training materials for them to use.
"We worked our way out of a job!" say Patrick and Jeanne.
In Rwanda, they found plenty of open doors for their ministry.
"We have enjoyed getting to know people as we teach and train them in how to lead children in the ways of the Lord," Patrick and Jeanne wrote soon after their arrival. "However, the best part of our ministry here is when we get to spend time with the children. They are so responsive, so loving, and have such open hearts toward us. We can't think of anything we'd rather do! Whether we are preaching to children of government leaders or shaking the sticky hands of street children, they are all the Lord's children!"
Patrick and Jeanne began working with Global Mission Church in Kigali, the nation's capital, to organize a children's ministry that would serve as a pattern for other churches in the nation. In addition to activities for young children, they organized a ministry for boys and girls ages 10 to 16.
"These children are most at risk of leaving church since they feel too old for children's church and have no way to meet with children their own age," Jeanne explains.
Now known as King's Kids, this group has become an important part of Global Missions Church. The children have many opportunities to use their talents. Whether through puppetry, drama, a bell choir, or a banner team, these children are involved in worship during children's church and the adult services.
Patrick and Jeanne are convinced that children have the potential to make a huge difference in their world for Jesus. Everywhere they go, they meet boys and girls who are eager to accept Jesus as their Savior when they have the opportunity to hear the message.
Jeanne remembers one of these occasions when she and Patrick went to Rwanda's Umutara District to teach a seminar.
"Following the seminar, we preached to the children during the Sunday service. As we were preaching, we kept catching a glimpse of a boy standing outside one of the windows.
"We were preaching about the door to heaven, and we held up a large cardboard door with an obviously large padlock on it. We mentioned that we can ‘want' to go to heaven, but to do so we need the right key. We held up different keys that were attached to pictures representing a church building, someone praying, a good person, and Christian parents. Again and again, the various keys were unable to open the padlock and allow us into heaven. As we spoke, the boy outside tried to lean closer, looking very interested.
"Finally, we showed a picture of a heart and explained how the heart belonged to a sinner who could not make it to heaven without the gift of God's Son, Jesus. We tried the key representing Jesus, and the lock opened to reveal a scene of heaven. Many children prayed with us that day to make Jesus the King of their lives.
"After the service, we spoke to the pastor about the boy standing outside the window. He told us he had seen this street boy before and was trying to befriend him. The pastor slipped outside and returned a few minutes later with the boy.
" ‘I asked him why he didn't come into the church with the rest of the children,' the pastor said. ‘He told me he would like to come inside and be saved like the other children, but he thought he was too dirty.'
"Patrick and I spoke to the street boy, and with the pastor's help he prayed to make Jesus the Lord of his life, dirty clothes and all. Heaven rejoiced that day because of all the children who were saved, but I think the angels were especially excited over a boy with dirty clothes who found his way to Jesus."
Patrick and Jeanne are eager to teach others how to share the message of Jesus so every child in Rwanda can hear the good news. They know this message can change lives today and for eternity.
End this lesson by praying for Patrick and Jeanne and their ministry in Rwanda. Discuss ways your club can assist in their children's ministry.
(For more information about Patrick and Jeanne's ministry, check out collinscall.yolasite.com.)