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Finding Shalom Seminars

We praise the Lord for all He is doing through His people during these challenging times!  Recently, our ministry had the opportunity to host 5 seminars on our new Bible study materials- Finding Shalom, a journey from addiction to new life.  Read through the testimonies following and see the photos for a glimpse! 

Brief: DR Congo September 17-19


Equip Disciples USA and DRC led a virtual and in-person seminar in the city of Goma, DRC for 32 Bible Study leaders. Due to Covid outbreak, we held three one day seminars, dividing up the number of participants into three groups. Here in the USA, we made several instructional videos along with testimony videos to share during the seminar time. The DRC staff also taught and trained the Bible study participants in using the new Bible study materials. 

Brief: Rwanda September 18 and 20

We held two seminars in Rwanda, one for 77 Bible Study leaders, and one for 33 deaf Bible study members. In these seminars we used USA made videos along with in-person teaching using our partners on the ground in Rwanda to train and lead the sessions. 

Full Reports of the seminars are written below. 

 

Congolese Seminars, Goma, DRC
One of Three Congolese Seminars

The participants are holding bags with Bible study booklets for their groups. 
Testimonies from Congo...
 
"I am MBALIBUKIRA. I thank Almighty God very much for his spiritual strength. I am a man, today I learn a lot from the Bible lessons that I did not know. I use alcohol a lot with my colleagues, when I get paid my money I call my friends to go drink together with them, I sacrificed my money unnecessarily, I thought I was a good man who has a lot of friends. I even took the money from my house to meet the alcohol needs of my friends. I was spending money unnecessarily on giving drink to others. One day I had given 300000Fc ($154) to my wife for a development project. After 30 minutes my friends called, "Where you are, without you we are all empty, help us drink." Because we were all in stresses, I quickly ask my wife 100,000Fc ($51) and go to drink. Arriving there, I gave drinks to all my friends. One of the friends started hurting his colleague, we were all already drunk. The Police Department came and locked me up in jail . In the morning the police asked me to pay 500000Fc ($256). so that I was released. I asked them to go to my house with them to take the money. When I got home my wife and kids all screamed. Ohhhh, ohhhh are you arrested again because of alcohol? What a pity? The police explained to my family all the story by asking for 500000Fc ($256). My wife and child had to borrow money to pay the fine. After listening to the HOW TO FIND SHOLOM lessons, I think Equip USA worked hard on these lessons to help others because the lessons touch me a lot. I'm a leader but when I find the money I take all the money in silence to go drink. I struggle in my relationships. I make my family impoverished. As of today, I refuse addiction, and I will ask my wife for forgiveness. I am so touched, I say thank you very much to Equip Disciples who gave these lessons to the Congolese. God bless them!"

"Good morning all. I am MARKO biblical leader of Equip Disciples of USA in the Democratic Republic of Congo. I highly commend the Bible teaching on addiction. For my part I thought that to have peace it is in alcohol, but today I found it is not peace. I am in a Christian family. When I started to make an engagement with a girl also from the Christian family, I was addiction free. We were well with my fiancee and we all follow Jesus Christ. But when I lost the relationship with the girl, I was too too disappointed. I missed who can help me comfort myself while I was in stress. I began to drink wines and beers so that I could find peace inside. While drinking wine I feel good and sleep well without thinking about my sorrows. Everyday it was like medicine for me to console me. When my parents saw that I was learning to drink alcohol, they chased me out of the house. I had spent a year away from my family's house. Eating and sleeping was difficult for me. I was starting to create a friendship with a young person in the neighborhood. This gentleman was a student of the Equip Disciples Bible study. While we are eating at his house he will invite me to come to his Bible study group. I had to come because I ate at his place. After 90 days of Bible studies, I started to stop drinking alcohol. After 150 days my parents were informed that I no longer drink, they accepted me and welcomed me with joy. But even though I was accepted and welcomed by my parents, I continued to cheat on drinking to reduce my anxious thoughts. I was separated from my parents once again because of addiction. From today I decide to give up the addiction because it makes me bad against my parents and God. I am well understanding the teaching on finding shalom. It is in GOD alone that one can find shalom. I thank Equip Disciples USA and the teachers very much for the lessons. God bless you."

"I am Faida one of the Equip Disciples DRC Bible Study Group Leaders. I'm so happy to follow the teachings on HOW TO FIND SHOLOM that Equip Disciples USA has prepared. First of all, I say thank you very much again thank you very much to mom Tammie for her Bible research she did. Today I am no longer in confusion. While I was a high school student in general education, my colleagues had led me to alcohol. There came a time when I ran out of money to buy it, I would go to hotels to look for a man who can help me with money to buy alcohol. I was in a virgin girl but lost my virginity to get alcohol. I even took the money my parents gave me to pay for high school fees. My heart has remained in addiction. At school, there was a student who was doing Bible studies in Equip Disciples RDC here in Goma. This student was interested in me every time and wanted to teach me, but I was suspicious of her ideas. One day she interested me to participate in her studies in her Bible study group, I excepted her invitation. She had invited me for the second time and third time, I was now interested. I will go to school but when I need alcohol and I run out of money I would go to my old boyfriends to give me money. I did not know the destruction of addiction, I thought it was prestigious, but today I understand well and problems of addiction at home and with God, today I know that addiction and drunkenness are a sin against God. I ask forgiveness from God and my fellow leaders. In front of MANDELA and BERTIN and in front of you and in front of God I reassure you that I abandon the total addiction as of today. I will teach others that addiction is a sin against God. Even I ask MANDELA and BERTIN to go and teach the pastors of our church because they say that drunkenness is not a sin against God. I say and thank you and may God be with you Mama TAMMIE for the bible Study and MANDELA and BERTIN for the teachings."
Printing Bible study materials is very expensive in Congo. So we purchased our own printer and bookbinder and made our own books. It is still costly as all materials are imported and taxed. But, it does keep the cost down by making them ourselves. This year, we made 10 booklets for each of the participants who attended the Finding Shalom seminar. In addition, we have 15 new Bible study groups. For the new groups, we also provided a Bible. Thanks to our staff for preparing all of the details for the seminar. They printed over 600 booklets in four languages, organized for food, cleaned and prepared the office meeting space, prepared their teachings, went through trainings with Equip Disciples USA, invited their Bible study leaders, purchased supplies, and taught for three days! 
 
All six of our staff members took part in leading Bible Study sessions. Jeannine, one of our women staff members, leads one of the study sessions pictured above. Women are not frequently in teaching positions in churches or ministries, so we are very happy to empower women through teaching and training for leadership. The women are outstanding teachers and have both women's Bible study groups and mixed groups they teach and supervise in Goma and beyond. Our deaf staff member also taught a session with the help of other staff members to interpret. 
Our seminars were comprised of both pre-recorded teaching sessions and live teaching from our staff. On the wall, you can see a tv monitor and Joe teaching a Bible Study session. We had seven staff and former team members from Equip Disciples USA lead sessions. Some of the sessions were biblical teachings and some were testimonies of how God brought former team members out of addictions. Here is a testimony about the testimonies! "The testimonies encouraged others who were like, 'How can I serve God after coming out of addictions'?' Sometimes they were ashamed and have a fear to share their testimonies of what they went through in life. They fear to share it with others, like their students in Bible study class and others. These videos from the USA have encouraged all to have no fear and shame. Much thanks to all of them who took the time to: prepare, organize, and speak to us through these videos."
Each day the staff served a small breakfast and lunch for participants. 
Isembo, our minister to the deaf, greeted each participant as they registered for the seminar, and gave them their Bible Study manual, a little notebook, and a pen. 

Prayer Requests and Needs
 
Masisi Finding Shalom Seminar- Oct. 22, 2020
Thank you for financially supporting us so that we could add another remote seminar for our Bible study leaders who live a distance from Goma. This is the first time we have sent the whole staff to the Masisi area. They are so excited!  So please be in prayer for our whole Congo staff, who will be traveling by motorcycle to the large village of Masisi in North Kivu, DRC. Three tents will be sent up to house remote Bible study leaders traveling to Masisi from other places,. In addition, we will rent a projector, speakers, and microphone so our staff can show our pre-recorded virtual teachings and also teach their sessions. Some members of our staff will be traveling there on Monday, Oct. 19 to make preparations. The rest of the staff will follow on Wednesday, Oct. 21. Pray for their safety and good health, and for lasting fruit from this seminar. There are 12 group leaders from Masisi attending the seminar, and leaders coming from Kinigi, Kibabi, Muyange, Kibarizo, Gasenyi, Rwandanda, Bukobati, Kashebere, Katale, Nyabindo, Remeka, Sake, Kitchanga, Kabaya, and Ruki villages in North Kivu. Thank you for your prayers!

There are still other Bible study groups operating in other provinces which are too far and expensive to attend our seminars. We plan to send booklets to them and links to some videos.  Along with new groups forming, we have a need for printing costs and mailing costs to these regions. Booklets are $4 each, and mailing can cost up to $400 total to reach all of the areas. Donations may be sent to the address at the bottom of this newsletter or given online at our website. 
Rwandan Bible Study Seminars
Testimonies from Rwanda

Patrick- "Today, because of the COVID-19 Pandemic in Rwanda, 80% of the Churches are not opening doors for Sunday services, even in those 20% churches who are opening kids under 12 years and old people are not allowed to enter in the church. This has increased the thirst for the Word of God. Also, those who were not strong in faith have turned back to old ways and habits. Kids and youth are not going to school, to church, or even playing each other. Bad habits like drunkenness, drug dealing, and even sexual immorality are multiplying in the community. We hear of divorces, and also unplanned pregnancy- mostly for unmarried youth. The Bible study groups are a good solution as we can meet in small groups and people can meet to talk about their lives and share a Word from God to comfort each other. Especially in these pandemic times, it is needed more than ever. After hosting two (one for the youth and for the Deaf ) successful conferences we are planning to visit both our existing and new Bible study groups to strengthen them and help them in preparing a successful Bible study as they continue leading and sharing the Good News from the Finding Shalom booklet they have received from the Conference. They can also reach those in the community who are not saved."
 
Martin- "Greetings In the Name of Jesus Christ! We miss you! I want to Thank Equip Disciples Leadership for Preparing these wonderful Training. We have many Peoples in our Community that are struggling with Addictions including drugs. These Teachings will help us reach out them as we help them turn to God by sharing to them the Good News from the Bible and the saving grace of Jesus Christ."
 
Basabose- "Thank you for the teachings we have been given since 2008, most especially this one of 2020 which talks about finding the fullness of peace in relationship with Jesus. We are going to share it  with our friends and Families without discriminating Denominations but reaching all with the Gospel. We are also grateful for the help and attention we continue to receive from Equip Disciples; especially during Corona Pandemic: we received “Chickens, Rice, Soap, etc. We are very grateful. Shalom!!"
 
Martha- "I am fascinated by the teachings we have been taught this year 2020 that teach us finding fullness of peace in relationship with Jesus Christ and how to help people turn to God for help in their journey from addiction to freedom. I have a sibling who is addicted to drugs for years. His family is poor because of it. They have been running for natural medicine from a witchdoctor, thinking poison is the reason for his illnesses. Yet it is drug addiction that Satan tied him with. I am hoping that with the Help of the Holy Spirit these teachings will help me reach out him and others in my community as I help them find the fullness of peace in relationship with Jesus Christ. Thank you for praying for us, Keep up the good work. Shalom!!"

Providence- "I Am very happy to see you again on the video, we missed you so much! But at least we have seen your faces again. Though the pandemic has stopped many things from happening, thanks to God for enabling you share these wonderful teachings about finding shalom. hey have come in the right time. We are going to be sharing them to our Bible study groups. We Hope to See you Next Year. Shalom!!"
 
Alphonse- "Shalom! Thank you Equip Disciples Leadership, friends, and extended family for extending your love and care by sharing us with these wonderful teachings!  The Finding Shalom study plus the video testimonies of what a life of addictions was like before accepting Christ as Lord And Savior, and now we know them as good servants of Christ! It helped us understand that there are a lot of people out here who are struggling with addiction and drugs now yet they are born servants of God's Kingdom. So now people here in addictions need us to reach them. Using these Booklets we are going to reach out to addicted peoples in our communities as we share these experiences and Bible study with them. We can help them understand the Love of God upon their life and how He can turn their history and set them free. We pray for protection upon you brothers and sisters from the United States Of America. Thank you for praying for us, too. Shalom Shalom!!"
 
John Bosco- "Greetings I want to thank you for the testimonies, Finding Shalom Booklets, and Tammie's teachings! Thank you for standing with us too during the pandemic times. You have not forsaken us, but helped us in various ways. Today we are thankful for the amazing support of the booklet  "Finding Shalom,"  which talks about helping people turn to God for help in their journey from addiction to freedom. These teachings will help us in many ways in building the Kingdom of God because there are so many people in our families and communities who are addicted to drugs and alcohol. We thank our Lord for using you to prepare this amazing booklets and thanking the leadership here in Rwanda for good coordination of the conference."
Blaise, who participated in the deaf seminar, shows his Bible study booklet, Finding Shalom, and raises the peace sign. 
Youth and Deaf were served both breakfast and lunch for the one day seminar. 
Photo on the Upper Left: Photos from the Deaf Seminar. We had 33 deaf participants. You can see they are quite excited to answer the Bible study questions!

Photo on the Upper Right: We had 77 youth Bible study leaders attend our seminar. With this number, they were divided into two groups and put in different rooms. Half way through the day, they switched rooms. This allowed our teachers to present their materials two times and allowed for safe spacing between participants. In this photo, they are watching the video portion of the seminar from the USA and someone is translating. You can see the screen at the front of the room
Pay careful attention, then, to how you walk--not as unwise people but as wise--making the most of the time, because the days are evil. So don't be foolish, but understand what the Lord's will is. And don't get drunk with wine, which leads to reckless actions, but be filled with the Spirit." Ephesians 5:15-18
COVID Safety 

Rwanda and Congo are both still under various lockdown rules and safety protocols. So for our seminars, each participant had to bring their mask, visit the temperature-taking station, and hand sanitizing station before entering the building. Participants were to sit at least 6 feet away from each other unless they were from the same family. without thermometers or hand sanitation, and the ability to space properly, churches cannot meet together. 
Youth and young adults line up to register for our Rwanda seminar. 
Pray for Patrick (Equip Disciples General Manager in Rwanda, and Minister to the Deaf) as he seeks to reach this young man for the Gospel. This man's name is Mbarusha, and has been addicted to alcohol for many years. He often awakes and does not know who has injured him. 

Music Video Project
Check out a recent music video project our Sunday School class and Equip Disciples Board did with our friends in Rwanda to the song, Here I am to Worship. Patrick, pictured on the left above, did some of the vocals and instrumentals from Rwanda. And Joe and Tammie, and Brandon (board member) played violin. Our daughter, Jessica also did vocals from the USA. We mixed them all together. Hope you enjoy it! Follow this LINK. 
Other Seminars- Malawi
Though we had no formal seminars in Malawi, Bishop Tonnie, who has worked with our ministry for a number of years, translated the Finding Shalom booklet into Chichewa and has led training for leaders in Malawi on his own. Praise God for fruit that is growing beyond and beyond!  
Current Needs

Photos above: face masks for sale to benefit Equip Disciples Bible Study groups!
Send a check to the address below, and indicate how many you want to order. They are $5 each, and the shipping cost is $4. If you live nearby, you can come to pick one up from Tammie and Joe. Text us at 682 556 2156 for our address and to arrange pick up. Thank you for supporting us! 
Our mailing address is:
Equip Disciples
2126 Belmont Park Drive
Arlington, TX 76017-4534



Bible study booklets for remote Bible Study groups and evangelism.
There are many, many groups in Rwanda and Congo that do not have enough booklets for their classes. The booklets are $4 each for us to print there. Our groups are continuing to grow and new Bible Study groups are forming along the way. Right now, we have 7 groups in Rwanda that need booklets. And we have about 60 groups in Congo without booklets. Recently, we have had some facemasks donated to our ministry. They are full face, plastic shields- washable and reusable. We are selling them for $5 each, plus $4 for shipping. Online, these masks can cost up to $30 each! We are selling these masks to raise funds for printing booklets, while supplies last. If you are wanting to receive a face mask with your donation, please send us a mailing address from your check and the quantity you are requesting. These masks are great for casual short conversations and for general use in social distancing. They do cover the eyes, fit over glasses, and you can breathe better, and hear better than with traditional masks.  See mailing address above.

Amazon Smile and Amazon Prime Day- Oct. 13-14, 2020
Another way to help us is through buying through Amazon Smile. When you buy items from your regular Amazon account, a small percentage will be sent to our ministry. If a lot of our supporters do this, it all adds up to a good amount of donations. And if you have Amazon Prime, on Oct. 13-14, you will have the opportunity to buy many things on sale. Remember us during the holiday season by setting your charity as Equip Disciples.! It will help us to provide more Bibles and Bible Study booklets to people in remote areas who need them.

$4 Bible study booklets (booklets are $4 each, we are always in need of more). Since COVID prevents many Bible study groups from meeting, we designed our booklets this year to include the Scriptures inside of the booklet. Since many do not have Bibles, and especially those who might receive a booklet as an evangelistic outreach, we thought it would be good to add the Scriptures in along with questions so that people can either use them at home or in small groups. 

$15 Bibles (new Bible study groups are always forming and we need Bibles for leaders).

$400 Motorcycle renewal license for the coming year.

Thank you all for your continued support and prayers for us!  God's Kingdom continues to grow through the prayers, support, and diligent work of God's people together!
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Abundant Peace belongs to those who love Your instruction;
nothing makes them stumble.
Psalm 119:165


Copyright © *|October_2020|* *|LIST:Equip Disciples|*, All rights reserved.



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