May 13 , 2004

Hello Prayer Partners,

God is great! It's been a good and busy last 2 weeks and I would like to give thanks to God and all of you for your prayers. I'm doing pretty good. My health is doing better as I think I got some type of stomach virus during my time in Kericho, Kenya for the youth leaders conference. I am doing much better now as I was able to visit a doctor here and get some medicine that has helped me to get rid of it for the most part. It's kinda' funny to travel to Kenya and have a problem with getting sick as I've been here in Rwanda for 2 1/2 months and really haven't had any problems here. Though I do have to battle the mosquitoes here so as to keep my bites to a minimum. I really have to watch this in my room as they are able to get in throughout the day from the windows and doors.

Here in Rwanda it is now the "dry season" as opposed to it being the "rainy season" for the last couple months. I have noticed that it's not raining as much each day and it seems to be getting hotter here. About 2 weeks ago I was able to go to a soccer match for one of the teams here in Kigali that was playing in the President's Cup Tournament. It's a soccer tournament setup and sponsored by the President of Rwanda - Paul Kagame. He's a big soccer fan and there are teams from all over this part of East Central Africa that come to play in it for about 2 weeks. It was interesting! The game I went to was just OK and ended in a 0-0 tie. Some of the other games were a little more exciting as you could here some of the cheering and fan noise all over the city on certain days for a couple of the games.

For the last two weeks the ministry here with Esron and the Youth Advocacy Program has been very fruitful and busy. We have had the opportunity to continue to build and seek God's vision for the various projects and programs we are working on.

Last week I had the opportunity to share God's provision and blessing for a need of one of the workers at the ALARM, Inc. Farm Project. This is a project that helps to raise animals for the purpose of providing food and income to widows and those in need of assistance. There is a veterinarian that works at the project land to take care of the animals and make sure they are healthy. He lives in the town several miles from the Farm Project land and has to walk or take a bicycle taxi to get to and from the land. This takes him about an hour each way and this doesn't include extra trips that he has to make for supplies or medicine when they're needed. Thanks to a contribution from my brothers and sister in Christ at 121 Community Church we were able to by him a bicycle that he will be able to use to get him to and from his home in Rwamagan. He was so thankful and joyful for having this bicycle that he was speechless! He was very appreciative of the bicycle and for what it will allow him to continue to do and devote more time to his work and ministry with the Farm Project! This will be a real blessing to him as it's very rural dirt roads that are very rough and hilly! Thanks 121Community Church!!!

We have also been busy with a project in Kabuga where we are working with about 17 teens/youth and 27 of their younger brother and sisters. There are 3 youth who are currently being trained at a metal and welding shop in the town they are street kids in. The 3 youth are training in this so they have a job skill and an opportunity for employment in the future after learning how to do this type of work. They never finished school and are now to old to be allowed back in so this is an incredible opportunity for them. It's incredible to see the change in them just over the last couple weeks since starting the job skills training. They are 3 very motivated and Godly young men who are very thankful for the opportunity that they have. They are excited about the skills they are learning and have completely devoted and changed their way of life in order to progress through this program of training. They really see that this is a blessing from God and that it gives them a purpose, a hope and a future away from the influences and way of life of most street kids here in Rwanda!

I also asked you to pray for Esron and I as we have started our traveling around the country in order to have meetings with youth leaders in order to introduce and share with them the Youth Advocacy Program that is being led by my co-worker, Esron Maniragaba. We have already had several meetings with about 60 youth leaders. It's been really exciting to share with them the vision and objectives of the youth program. There has been a great response and many of them have a lot of interest in the programs future opportunities for training and youth ministry development within their churches. We will be traveling this next week for 3 more youth leader meetings in various parts of the country and we again would appreciate your prayers for safety while traveling and the sharing of the vision of the program with the youth leaders. There is such a great need for the development and training of youth leaders here in Rwanda in order for them to be trained and equipped to minister to the huge need of the many youth in Rwanda. About 65% of the population here in Rwanda is considered youth and there is not much happening in the churches here to reach and minister to the needs of those youth.

Along with the youth leader meetings Esron has been starting the programs emphasis on the issue of HIV/AIDS training and awareness among the youth in churches and schools. There is also an emphasis on training and equipping youth leaders in this area so they are prepared to handle the need for this type of training and knowledge for ministry among youth. I did write in my last email that the internet cafe that is nearby was closed down for a while and that I needed to find another one. God has answered my prayer in that same week I saw an advertisement for a restaurant that is only a few more minutes away just started FREE wireless internet for its customers. It's been a real blessing as I brought my wireless card with me just in case!! The free internet is for customers who either eat a meal or get a drink, but it's worth it because it's (FREE) wireless and I can download all my emails to my own computer and I don't have to wait in the sometimes long lines as I can use my own laptop! God has really provided in this area. The only issue that I have sometimes is that the internet connection and the power here in the city of Kigali is always going down. But it's definitely a blessing and I would even say "unusual" even for those of you in the US to be able to access free wireless internet. You must understand that in Africa they are anywhere from 5-10 years behind for technology/computer related services and products, and cost.

I'm thankful to God for all of your prayers and interest in my ministry here in Rwanda. I am currently in the process of figuring out what I will be doing for my trip back to the US in the next month or so. I am trying to fit a lot of things in a short amount of time that is left in the month of May and my plane tickets were purchased with an anticipated survey trip time for me being here for 3 months. I will be letting everyone know what my future/next plans are and I would ask that you would begin to pray for me in this area.

Serving Him,
Eric Sundene <{{{><
Matthew 4:19


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