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Umuryango Boys’ Home, Rwanda

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As I mentioned in my last post, I’ll be traveling to Rwanda, Africa on August 18th with my brother Don Creasy, who is Director of Missions for Memorial Park Presbyterian Church in Pittsburgh. The mission team consists of: Don Creasy, Betsy and Roger Rumer, Lori Hoffman, Kevin Steele, Laura Roy, Terry McKaveney, Corky Semler and me.

I’m the lone Roman Catholic of the bunch!

We will spend most of our time at the Umuryango Boys’ Home in Kilgili, a ministry of Dr. Yohani Kayinamura and his family. The above video tells the story of Unuryango, a home founded to care for the desperately poor street boys orphaned in the wake of the 1994 Rwandan genocide.

We will all need a great deal of prayer to support us on our journey.

Here are specific requests, day by day:

Sunday, 8/17 Please pray for me as I fly from San Diego to Washington, D.C., where I’ll have dinner with one of my Logos students, Capt. Dipak Nadkarni, USN. Dipak lost his wife, Capt. Lorraine Nadkarni, USN, to cancer earlier this year, so please pray for him, as well; Lorraine was buried a few months ago with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery. I’ll overnight in D.C., meeting the rest of the team on Monday morning at the airport.


Monday, 8/18 Please pray for safe travel as the team makes its way to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and from there onward to Kigli, Rwanda—a VERY long flight!


Tuesday, 8/19 Please pray for the team and our hosts as we spend our first day together. Today we meet the boys, so pray that we begin to build friendships and trust with them.

Wednesday thru
Friday, 8/21 – 8/22 Please pray for the team as we meet boys from the neighborhood, students at Umuryango. We’ll be telling stories, doing arts and crafts and generally fooling around. Pray that friendships and faith deepen as a result.  Sometime during the week we’ll also be visiting the National Genocide Memorial. Please pray that we learn from it and pray for the victims and survivors of the genocide.


Saturday, 8/23 Please pray for Betsy as she preaches on Rwandan National Radio Saturday evening.


Sunday, 8/24 Please pray for me as I preach on Rwandan National Radio Sunday morning. Pray also for Betsy, Don and me, as we preach later in the day at three different churches in the capital city of Kigali.


Monday, 8/26 Please offer prayers of thanksgiving for the past week, thanksgiving for ministry opportunities, for new friendships and for continued good health.


Tuesday, 8/27 Please pray for the families in the neighborhood, 1,200 desperately poor people who struggle to get by on next to nothing.


Wednesday, 8/28 Please offer prayers of thanksgiving for the opportunity God has given us to share our time, talent and lives with the families and children of the Umuryango Boys’ Home. May we learn as much from them as they learn from us.

Thursday, 8/29 Please pray for our safe travel from Africa back home.

Bill’s Off to Rwanda

Rwanda

On August 17th I’m off to Rwanda, Africa.

Immediately, scenes from Hotel Rwanda, the 2004 film directed by Terry George that chronicles the brutal Rwandan genocide of 1994, spring to mind. From April to July—a brief 100 days—members of the Hutu ethnic majority murdered as many as 800,000 people, mostly of the Tutsi minority. Begun by Hutu nationalists in response to the assassination of Rwandan President Juvenal Habyarimana, the slaughter began in the Rwandan capital of Kigali and spread like wildfire throughout the countryside, fueled by local officials and government-sponsored radio stations urging Rwandans to murder their neighbors and butcher their neighbors’ women, children and infants, “cleansing” the nation.

As the slaughter gained momentum, the international community—including the United Nations, the United States, Great Britain and France—stood by passively, doing nothing.

2014 marks the 20th anniversary of the genocide, with efforts being made toward reconciliation during that time.

Today the Hutus comprise about 84% of the population of Rwanda; the Tutsis about 14%; and the Twa, a Pygmy group that were the indigenous population of Rwanda, make up the rest.

My brother Don Creasy is involved in missionary work in Rwanda, and I will be traveling with him and his team.

Stay tuned for updates!

***

Here is a timeline leading up to the genocide:

1858      British explorer, Hanning Speke, is the first European to visit Rwanda
1890      Rwanda becomes part of German East Africa
1916      Belgian forces occupy Rwanda
1923      League of Nations grants Belgian mandate to rule Rwanda indirectly through Tutsi kings.
1957      Hutus issue manifesto calling for a greater political voice commensurate with their numbers
1959      Interethnic violence forces Tutsi King Kigeri V into exile in Uganda
1961      Rwanda proclaimed a republic
1962      Rwanda gains independence with a Hutu, Gregoire Kayibanda, as president; Tutsis flee the country
1963      Some 20,000 Tutsis killed following an incursion by Tutsi rebels based in Burindi
1973      Gregoire Kayibanda ousted in a military coup led by aristocratic Hutu, Juvenal Habyarimana
1978      New constitution ratified and Habyarimana elected president; he quickly becomes a totalitarian dictator with a small circle of Hutu supporters

1990     Tutsi rebels invade Rwanda from Uganda

1993     Hutu President Habyarimana signs a power-sharing agreement wit Tutsis

1994     President Habyarimana killed when his airplane is shot down over Kilgali International Airport, almost certainly by Hutu extremists; Tutsis blamed

April 1994     Rwandan genocide begins

 

The Gospel according to Mark–Register NOW!

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Lindisfarne Gospels (Cotton MS Nero D. IV), c. A.D. 700.
London: British Library.

The Gospel according to Mark is the most dramatic of the four Gospels. Exploding from the starting blocks with a proclamation–“Beginning the Gospel of Jesus Christ, Son of God . . .”–Mark sprints forward with breathless action, gripping tension and shattering speed, skidding to a stop when the women who witness Jesus’ resurrection “do nothing, for they were terrified!”

This is REALLY good material, and I hope you can join us in the live classes, September 22-December 16, 2014.

REGISTER HERE!  

If not, you can follow along online at logosbiblestudy.com.

As I teach through the Bible, verse-by-verse, you can catch up on what you miss by downloading previous lessons.

Few people on earth have read through the entire Bible, and fewer still have studied the entire Bible, verse-by-verse.  Now you can be one of them.

Join us for this great adventure!

Exodus Lessons Completed!

I mentioned in my last post that I just finished the spring quarter Exodus lessons, which include:

1) Comprehensive Exodus Syllabus (54 pages!);

2) 20 PowerPoint Exodus Presentations;

3) 20 Exodus Audio Lectures (50-60 minutes each).

A big “thank you” to all my students who made the journey with me!

In the past, all of my classes were eligible for lower-division undergraduate credit at both UCLA and USD. For this new journey through the entire Bible, I’ve deliberately upped the bar to graduate school-level content.

This is the “Revised 3rd Edition” of The Bible, and my final time teaching verse-by-verse through this magnificent material.

For an overview of the complete course, watch the Introductory Video:

Black Logos

All of the Exodus material will be available for FREE on my web site, until the end of August.  Just click on the Mt. Sinai Photo below!

Mt. Sinai Profile

Mt. Sinai, Egypt

Photography by Ana Maria Vargas

If you would like to download Genesis and Matthew (the two “revised 3rd edition” studies I completed during the fall and winter quarters, 2013-2014)–or any of my previous courses–just click here.

I would appreciate your reviewing the new Exodus material and posting your comments here on my blog.  It would be very helpful as I tackle the remaining 70 books of the Bible!

Thank you all.

Summer Vacation!

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Logos Bible Study classes ended this week, and now I’m on summer break until September 22—two months off! I’ve been in academia all my life, but this is the first summer vacation I’ve had since I was 14 years old.

I’ll be heading off to Rwanda, Africa with my brother Don on August 17-28. Don is director of missions for his church in Pittsburgh, and I’ll be traveling with his “short-term” missionary team. I was in Africa in 2000 to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro, but this trip will be considerably different from that adventure! I’ll take photos and write a couple of blogs as the journey progresses.

Otherwise, I plan to relax.

I just reread Stephen Mitchell’s brilliant rendering of the Epic of Gilgamesh, written in Mesopotamia around 1,700 B.C. Sir Austin Layard excavated Nineveh in the mid-19th century, and in 1851 he discovered the Royal Library of Ashurbanipal, the last great king of the Neo-Assyrian Empire (c. 668-627 B.C.). The library contained thousands of clay tablets, including the tablets of the Epic of Gilgamesh, the text itself dating from the 18th century B.C.

Gilgamesh Tablet

One of twelve tablets of the Epic of Gilgamesh,

discovered in the Royal Library of Ashurbanipal (c. 668-627 B.C.)

Gilgamesh was an historical king who reigned in the Mesopotamian city of Uruk around 2750 B.C. In the story, Gilgamesh and his companion, Enkidu, a naked wild man civilized through the erotic arts of a temple priestess, set out on a journey to battle monsters. In the process Enkidu dies and Gilgamesh, inconsolable, continues onward in a desperate quest to learn how to escape death himself and to attain eternal life. As Stephen Mitchell writes: “”Gilgamesh is a work that in the intensity of its imagination stands beside the great stories of Homer and the Bible.” Upon reading Gilgamesh for the first time, the poet Rainer Maria Rilke gushed: “Gilgamesh is stupendous! . . . I consider it to be among the greatest things that can happen to a person.”

As so many stories do, Gilgamesh tells of a hero’s journey, of a quest involving mythic presences peopling a fantastic dreamscape. But it also tells the story of how a man becomes civilized, of how he learns to rule himself and his people, and of how to act with temperance, wisdom and piety. Ultimately, it tells the story of what it means to be fully human, to love, to mourn and to seek eternity with an aching heart.

Gilgamesh is great summer reading—and Stephen Mitchell’s rendering is dazzling.

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Camino de Santiago, “The Way”

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Dr. Creasy and fellow “Peregrinos” in Sarria, Spain.

We walked the Camino de Santiago once again this year, following the last segment of the “French” route across Galicia, northern Spain.  I posted a blog on our adventure on May 17, “Camino de Santiago, Redeux.”  Just this past week we finished the Camino DVD, so here it is for you to watch!  As usual, Ana did a great job with the photography, and Andrew put it all together.  

Next week I’ll get back to “Egyptian Myth Busters.”  

By the way, on June 28th we had an excellent day-long Saturday Seminar on “Egypt, the Cradle of Christianity” with our good friend and colleague, Emad Samir.  Emad is an Egyptologist and Scholar in Residence with Logos Bible Study.  He and his family currently live in Orange County.  I audio recorded all four seminar sessions, and I’ll post them this coming week on my web site, logosbiblestudy.com.

 

Join Dr. Creasy in his weekly verse-by-verse study of Exodus!

 

 

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