Rwanda is a small nation in both geographical size and population, and the most densely populated mainland African nation. Located in central Africa, it shares borders with Burundi, DRC, Tanzania and Uganda. The capital of Rwanda is Kigali, which is the location of the AE team office, under AE Team Leader John Kalenzi. It has a history of deep ethnic tension between the Hutu and Tutsi people groups, which culminated in the 1994 Genocide, and widespread ethnic cleansing of nearly 1 million Tutsi and Hutu. In the decades following the conflict, reconciliation and peacebuilding have been key foci for the government. Many are working hard to address the ethnic tensions, and find healing from the effects of the genocide twenty years ago. Rwanda is repairing itself and improving rapidly in terms of governance, community development and economy. The rapidity of these changes have meant Rwanda has been cited as one of the great success stories for the African continent. Nonetheless, Rwandans need Jesus to heal them completely.
The Mission to Kicuriko in Kigali District in Rwanda has just wrapped up! 10,109 people made commitments for Christ, while the Gospel was proclaimed to 62,987 people.
AE in Rwanda
In Rwanda, AE works to make the name of Jesus know through both large scale ‘Missions for Jesus’, and working with care and compassion, to improve the lives of the young population. Over 40 percent of Rwandans are under the age of 15 (CIA World Factbook 2017) in a population of nearly 13 million, and the average age is just 19. AE Rwanda saw that these many young people needed guidance. The AE Rwanda Team began work in 1985, and has established numerous social action ventures alongside official AE Missions in order to empower households to take charge of their own lives once more by the grace of Jesus. Under the guidance of John Kalenzi and his Team, there have been remarkable successes in Rwanda, especially in the last four years – AE Missions, large and small have taken place each year to regions including Musanze, Muhanga, Rubavu, the Eastern Provinces, Masaka and Gasabo. The Centre for Champions (Centre for Champions) is another remarkable project. In 2007, the CFC it was established to support vulnerable students through equipping with vocational training skills, and the knowledge of the Gospel.
TEAM LEADER: John Kalenzi
John has been the dynamic AE Rwanda Team Leader since 2008, having served on the Team before that since 2000. Having grown up in a refugee camp in Western Uganda, John has long been aware of the struggles of the marginalised and poverty stricken, and works through AE to bring peace, equality and reconciliation to Rwanda, especially given the recent past of genocide and civil strife. He dreams of Rwanda being a God-centred nation, with its people blessed by the provision of their basic needs and peace. John is a zealous spokesman for AE, raising funds on the global stage for projects in the nation, including the Centre for Champions to equip disadvantaged youth with the skills to establish themselves, and Self-Help Groups for Women to promote equality and small business ownership.
PROJECT 1: Centre for Champions (CFC)
The Rwandan Genocide of 1994, in which nearly 1 million people were killed in ethnic conflicts over just one month has had long lasting impacts on Rwanda. In 2007 AE Rwanda established the CFC was established in response to poor education and few opportunities for employment. The CFC provides vocational training to young people who need help. Over 12 months, each pupil goes through 3 months of theoretical training in language and entrepreneurial skills, and then 7 months of practical workshops. Students elect one practical course that they will focus on. There are five course options:
Students stay onsite, with their food, uniform, training and other skills-related expenses paid for through generous funding from AE supporters. Mostly importantly, these vulnerable young people are taught the Gospel through Christian based education, so that they may know the God who created them and trust in his plan for their lives. Equipped with new skills after a year of training, students are given a government certificate of completion that will enable them to find gainful employment and therefore give back to the communities that they have come from, to facilitate widespread social change.
PROJECT 2: Women’s Self-Help Empowerment Groups
Acute malnutrition, persistent violence, and vulnerability of women and children are national issues for Rwanda.
AE Rwanda started the programme from an understating that every human being has God given potential. Even the most vulnerable and neglected. Women learn from each other, and support one another. They learn business skills, like financial literacy and book keeping, learn about their worth in Christ and improve their self-esteem, learn how to properly plan their families, and about their rights and those of their children, despite what men may tell them. Youth groups and groups to teach men about the importance of women also form part of the scheme.
AE’s ‘Self-Help Group’ approach is designed to retrain a nation. Each week, 200,000 women meet as part of an extraordinary programme. In this approach, women join an SHG, which will have around 20 members. 10 SHGs form a cluster (CLA), and cluster groups can band together to form Federations (FED). These FED groups are particularly powerful, because they lobby the government for social reforms, on behalf of their groups and wider communities.
Right now there are over 8,000 SHGs meeting every week in Rwanda. Please pray for many more!
AE Rwanda has been dynamic in proclaiming the Gospel throughout their nation. From 2013 – 2016, major missions occurred each year, along with a number of smaller – scale outreaches. In 2017, AE Rwanda looks forward to proclaiming Christ through a mission to Kigali in June.
In 2013: ‘Musanze Mission for Jesus’ reached 78,500 people with the Gospel and 8,900 were saved. Later, ‘Muhanga for Jesus’ reached 23,000, and saved 5,300.
In 2014: the ‘Celebrating Life Campaign’ reached 22,924 people, and 1,158 made commitments for Christ. A smaller outreach to Rubavu community saw 357 reached, and 68 saved.
In 2015: a mission to the Eastern Province saw 41,597 people hear the Gospel preached, and 7,050 turned to Christ. An ‘Evangelistic Outreach to Masaka Community’ also saw 500 reached, and 65 people saved.
In 2016: the major city wide mission to Rwanda was to Gasabo. 78,721 people received the Gospel, and 6,902 put their faith in Jesus.
We praise God for his mighty work in the nation of Rwanda!
March 2017 (prayer points provided by AE Rwanda Team Leader John Kalenzi)
- A peaceful and successful presidential election in August 2017.
- Annual Evangelistic Outreach scheduled in June 4th – 11th, 2017. We are in the initial stages and preliminary work is in progress. Pray for different churches’ participation and commitment.
- Sufficient funds to enable AEE accomplish the planned activities, including rental coverage for AEE Office. NB. The Government has required all NGOs and other institutions to move out of the residential areas, which is the reason we now have a rental office within Kigali city (located in Gasabo district).
- AEE staff and their respective family members to be healthy.
- Believers’ spiritual maturity and ability to be prayerful and supportive to Pastors and Church leaders.
- Good collaboration between churches and that Churches become self-driven.
- Reliable rains and suitable climate for increased agriculture production. Rwandan community needs to have sufficient food for their respective household members.
- God to grant AEE new funding opportunities.
- AEE to continue having good/health relationship with its donors and stakeholders.
- Churches to have renewed/transformed Pastor and Church leaders.
- Amidst rapid socio-economic changes in Rwanda, Church to strive to excel in building the church while actively and honestly evangelizing Rwandan Community.
Please contact us here if you would like to support the AE Rwanda team.