Faith in action in Rwanda

By Covid-19, Rwanda

In Rwanda, heavy rain and landslides have made life even more challenging for rural communities already struggling through one of Africa’s stricter Covid-19 lockdowns. Revd Mutagoma Japhet from the small rural Eglise Evangélique de la Bonne Volonté au Rwanda (EEBVR) network of churches shares his experience of helping communities affected by both lockdown and landslide.

“The Covid-19 pandemic lockdown has been a real challenge here in Rwanda. People have been suffering from hunger, the failure of their businesses and the loss of their jobs. Already we were seeing increasing malnutrition especially in younger children. This disastrous torrent has only worsened the situation.

“The Bible says, “Do not be afraid, for I am with you. Do not be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand” (Isaiah 41:10). This verse reminds us that God remains faithful even in tough periods.

“This is our experience. With funding from APF, we donated significant grants that helped our communities fight against Covid-19. We provide soap and hygiene stations in four different communities.

“Using the bicycles we received from APF in 2018, we transported clean water from long distances to people living with disabilities during the lockdown.

“Following the flooding, we led displaced people to safety, sheltering them in churches and schools. We provided basic items like cooking pans, blankets, food and clothing. Overall, we supported 73 displaced families in two camps in Musanze District with 200 kg of maize, and also provided fruit and toys for 63 children. But the effects of the landslides have made worse the devastating impacts of the lockdown in one of the poorest parts of Rwanda where people live hand-to-mouth and face extremes of hunger and poverty.

“After receiving food for her children, one parent, who had lost her home to flooding, said she now understood that you cannot separate your faith from your deeds. One comes out from the other like the crops from the soil.”

Please pray

For marginalised communities in DRC, Rwanda, and Uganda that have seen crops, property and goods destroyed by torrential rain, floods and landslips

Give thanks for the local responses being initiated by APF partners that have received Covid-19 Relief Fund grants, especially Pastor Japhet Mutagoma, Revd Charles Munyamahoro and Revd Emmanuel Gatera, all in Rwanda

As the lockdown begins to ease in Rwanda, pray for life to normalise with churches being able to gather safely, training conferences resuming before long and communities to remember the help they received from Christian neighbours

For Pastor Victor, the new Legal Representative of Eglise Evangélique de la Bonne Volonté au Rwanda, as he combines teaching, ministry and academic study

Spotlight on Rwanda

By Rwanda

Rwanda is a landlocked country in east-central Africa. With breathtaking scenery, it’s known as the land of a thousand hills. Read on to find out about some of APF’s partnerships in this small but densely populated corner of Africa.

Victor Turikumwe

Eglise Evangélique de la Bonne Volonté

In 2018, new government regulation for faith-based organisations came into effect. This was very difficult for Eglise Evangélique de la Bonne Volonté au Rwanda as none in the small church network had sufficient qualifications. Victor explains: “We were not even able to pay for one pastor to study theology to degree level. Then APF intervened, paying for my theological studies at the Rwanda Institute of Evangelical Theology. I have recently completed the first of the three-year course. I have studied church leadership, discipleship, youth ministry and foundational Bible teachings. I am enjoying studying and eVitabu has given me access to many books to support my learning. Many African churches forget about preparing young people for leadership. During my internship I have gone through different schools in Musanze District, starting youth Bible clubs in ten schools. The children regularly meet at break time, lunchtime and at home as well. When we were studying Genesis, I enjoyed visiting pastors and talking about Christian attitudes towards creation. I prepared training material for pastors and the community showing how the Bible teaches that we have a responsibility to look after the world God gave us.”

Emmanuel Gatera

Word of Life Church

Rev Emmanuel Gatera from Kamembe heads-up Word of Life church network. Based near the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo, Emmanuel is a highly respected and qualified theology lecturer and APF have been supporting his teaching ministry by funding a bee-keeping project. Selling honey provides a sustainable income for his family and means Emmanuel can focus on teaching. “We got a harvest of 20kg,” he reported recently. “We sold it and got 90,000 Rwandan Francs (about £75).”

APF also helped Jane Niyonsaba from Word of Life run training for children and youth leaders in Kamembe, Western Region. Teachers came from 15 different local churches to learn new ways to make the Bible come to life and appeal to the youngest generations.

Charles Munyamahoro

Wisdom Bible School

As churches struggle to fulfil government regulations, APF have allocated £15,000 over three years to Wisdom Bible School. WBS was started by Free Methodist pastor Rev Charles Munyamahoro and runs extension learning courses from Gekenke and Rulindo Districts, Northern Region. It gives poorer rural pastors access to vital training so they can keep their churches open. Around 50 leaders from Methodist, Baptist and Anglican churches are currently enrolled at WBS on certificate and diploma courses.

About 10 years ago, the Rwandan government switched the language used for education from French to English. Many older people, however, speak only French and Kinyarwanda which makes accessing education very hard. As part of the WBS curriculum, basic English lessons are offered so no-one misses out.

Please pray

For Word of Life church delivering training for pastors and youth leaders.
For Victor Turikumwe, studying for a Theology Degree and preparing to become Legal Representative of Eglise Evangélique de la Bonne Volonté.
For Revd Charles Munyamahoro, pioneering Wisdom Bible School and delivering certified theology training.
For Bishop Assiel and Kigeme Diocese continuing to implement Let There Be Light in remote village parishes.
For Revd Andrew North, APF Trustee, overseeing activity in Rwanda.