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By Victor Turikumwe
(Eglise Evangélique de la Bonne Volonté au Rwanda)
Rwanda is a landlocked country in east-central Africa. With breathtaking scenery, this small but densely populated corner of Africa is known as the land of a thousand hills. .
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 our small church network had sufficient qualifications. 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. As some leaders told me that Christians have no need to protect the environment, 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.
Income generation projects
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).”
Children and youth leader training
APF 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.
Kigeme Diocese is in the south of Rwanda. The Anglican Bishop Assiel Musabyimana is working with APF to provide solar power for rural pastors. Finding good quality batteries has been a challenge but good progress is being made.
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.
- Victor Turikumwe, studying for a Theology Degree and preparing to become Legal Representative of Eglise Evangélique de la Bonne Volonté.
- Revd Charles Munyamahoro, pioneering Wisdom Bible School and delivering certified theology training.
- Bishop Assiel and Kigeme Diocese continuing to implement Let There Be Light in remote village parishes.
- Revd Andrew North, APF Trustee, overseeing activity in Rwanda.