On Sunday 5 June we welcomed Rev Emmanuel Murangira from Tearfund Rwanda and Derek Hall from Tearfund in NI to Bloomfield Presbyterian Church. Although Emmanuel has been to Northern Ireland many times before, this was his first time in Bloomfield, and his visit marked an important milestone in our partnership with Tearfund Rwanda and Gilgal Church in Kigali. During the service Emmanuel and Derek, along with Bloomfield's Minister, Rev Frank Sellar signed a Memorandum of Understanding that will underpin our relationship over the next three years.
Emmanuel also opened up God's word for us, preaching from Matthew 25:3-40:
"For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me."
He reminded us of Christ's instruction to help those who are vulnerable and in need, and through stories about some of the people our partnership will impact encouraged us as we take this first steps in our parallel project.
Following the service Emmanuel got to know us a little better as he shared lunch with representatives of the ministry team, the mission action team, the small group overseeing the partnership project, and some other church members and their families. Plans are already underway for a trip to Gilgal Church in October/November to explore how the partnership might be progressed and to lay some firm foundations for our work together over the next few years. Please continue to pray for us as we continue to seek God's wisdom and guidance as our partnership progresses.