by Ron & Sharon Wooten
To use the words of the apostle Paul in Philippians 3: “We thank our God every time we remember you. When we pray, we pray for you.” You all are a lifeline to us through your financial support, your communications to us, and especially your prayers that are lifted up for us by so many. We have been back in the States for only a few weeks and we have had so many people tell us that they pray for us on a regular basis. It really is overwhelming to us when this happens. Sharon and I have been overseas now for over 18 years, and we have some people who have been faithful to us for all those years. Thank you so, so much and God bless you all.
We are excited to give you a report since the last newsletter we sent out. We do try to give updates regularly on Facebook and we encourage all of you to follow us there. Just look up my name (this is Ron writing), and you will be able to pick me out.
Sharon and I made several trips in the first part of the year. Our first trip was to Rwanda. We were accompanied by Dr. Harold Dalton, Rev. Gailya List and Rev. Michael McRae. We met Michael and Leslie Tignor when we arrived. We went there to host a Pastors’ Conference, and the ladies did a Women’s Ministry Training for National WM leaders. It was a really good trip and the Lord helped us train more than 60 leaders in total. We have just over 50 churches in Rwanda.
After that, I accompanied Dr. Dalton to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. We were met by Tim Eades from Ohio, a dear brother who has partnered with us and the work in Ethiopia. We went to do a leadership training for 100 of our top leaders. When we were met by our Bishop, he told me that instead of 100, we had over 200 leaders who had come for the training. Our only church in Addis is very small and even 100 people would have been crowded, but he assured me they would work it out. We dug deep in our pockets to try and accommodate the extra pastors and the food that would be needed. Tim provided notebooks and pens for every leader and Dr. Dalton and I taught the leaders for four days. We stayed over and had a Sunday service with the local IPHC congregation.
We then traveled to Bujumbura, Burundi in late March. Burundi has had a lot of political issues in the past few years, which made it difficult for us to visit the churches on a regular basis. Our leader, Bishop Nkeshimana Seth, asked me to please come again and go to the interior to visit the pastors and to bring Sharon and other women to teach the Women’s Ministry. This trip was also used to introduce Michael and Leslie Tignor to the leadership in Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
We traveled and were able to go to the interior area of Gitega (about three hours out of Bujumbura). We had a glorious time with more than 30 pastors and 30-40 women; thankfully, we encountered no issues of unrest. We closed the meetings out with a wonderful communion service. Our churches have really struggled there for the past few years because of the political unrest. Please keep them in your prayers. We have about 24 churches in Burundi.
I traveled from there directly to Uvira, DR Congo with Michael McRae and the Tignors. Sharon and Mrs. List had to go back to Nairobi to prepare for a visit from the Director of Women’s Ministries, Samantha Snipes. We made the short but rough trip from Bujumbura across the border to Uvira. We were met by a group of pastors, women’s ministry leaders and IPHC members – close to 200 people. We had several days of teaching, held the election for National Leaders for our Conference, and were able to license and ordain pastors. We were received graciously and had a great time of fellowship; we also ate lots of fresh fish right from Lake Tanganyika.
This letter is getting too long but before I close, let me update you on the building we are constructing in memory of Rev. Philip List and in honor of Rev. Gailya List. The work has been going more slowly than I had hoped, but we are making progress. We have closed the building in on both floors and have put windows, electricity points, and lights in on the second floor. The church/auditorium is on the second floor. We just need to put the flooring in and paint the walls to have it ready for use. If you can help in the project and would like to honor Rev. and Mrs. List, we can really use the help.
God bless you, and we hope to get to see you while we are home. Our phone numbers are: (Ron) 864-238-4461; (Sharon) 919-807-9081. We would love to come to your church if possible for a service and would also come to men’s and women’s meetings, special meals, and other times of fellowship where we can share what God is doing in East Africa.