My Long Journey- From the Streets to New Life

On August 20th 1994, NSHIMIYIMANA BOSCO was born in Kigali city. He’s an orphan of one parent; his other parent died when he was twelve years old. Having lost his parent who provided support and care including education, Nshimiyimana left home and became a street boy for many years. While wiping tears away during his testimony, Bosco couldn’t believe he survived such an unpleasant situation.

Seeking God, Bosco said “I met Mr. Alexis RUHUMURIZA, the unbelievable man in my life who took me to his home and provided all I was lacking from my family.  For sure, Alexis is the forgotten parent in my life and my future.  May God bless him.  I now have hope for my future and am working hard to bring this same hope for those who need it.  I will always remember all the support I received from Alexis.“

“After leaving my family, I didn’t expect to return to school. Despite the fact that I felt hopeless, Alexis took me to school and provided everything needed including fees to catch me up to high school.  I completed my high school diploma, so I am now hoping to attend the university.”

“I want to thank Mr. Alexis very much for all his support, prayer and encouragement that has changed my entire life   God bless him and his family.”

“I remember the day I met Alexis.  He was preaching that night at SODOMA. It was around 2 am. I was doing my job serving prostitutes condoms to use for sex.  The next day, Alexis came to ‘ Sodom;’ he took us (6 children) from this very bad life to live with him.  I respect him for working so hard to change my behavior and my life.  Imagine the behavior of people who are separated from parents (drugs, alcoholism, prostitution and so many other dangerous behaviors) that threatened my whole life. Thank you so much, Alexis, for now, I know that the future is better. The good news is that I am a good man.  My dream is to bring hope to others by sharing my story, equipping the younger generation and encouraging them through the story of my life.  God bless all who have contributed to Alexis’ boys’ home:  Jean McAllister and Ali Bloom.”

 

If you haven’t had the joy of meeting Pastor Alexis Ruhumuriza, come worship with the New Hope Revival.  Services are  Sundays at 10:00am in UC-105

Prayer is Not a Waste of Time

A recent attendee at New Hope Revival Church is Muhizi, a young man with a wife and child, living in Tacoma. He had a job in Kent, but no car and no driver’s license. Alexis learned that Muhizi was taking the bus to work and his commute was about 4 hours each way. His wife is pregnant and this schedule was taking its toll on the family.

On a recent Sunday night, Alexis asked Muhizi to come up for prayer and the community prayed for this situation to be resolved somehow, trusting that God has many ways. Then, Alexis learned that member Olive was planning to sell her older car, which was still in good condition, to buy a newer one. He approached Olive and asked if she would be willing to sell her car to Muhizi, even though Muhizi couldn’t pay her all at once and not even right away. Olive immediately responded that she has found Alexis to be trustworthy and if he thought this would be a good thing to do, she was ready. She gave Alexis her car and keys.

Alexis called Muhizi, not telling him anything about the arrangement and asking if he could see him at his workplace. Muhizi agreed. Member Etienne and Alexis met with Muhizi, and Alexis gave Muhizi the keys to Olive’s car explaining that it was now his. Muhizi was overwhelmed and broke down in tears. When he told his wife, who is expecting their second child in August, she also cried.

You might wonder how having a car could help Muhizi since he didn’t have a driver’s license. Alexis had already been giving Muhizi driving lessons encouraging him to get his license, because “You never know when you are going to need it.”  The day before he received the car, Muhizi had passed his test and obtained his license. The prayers of the people were not a waste of time.

 

In Rwanda, there is a large evangelical church called Mt. Zion Temple. Many Rwandans have experience with that church and its many good works. Recently, it had been in the news because of serious divisions threatening the unity of that congregation. New Hope Revival meets every Sunday evening at BelPres for a two hour prayer service. A few weeks ago, Alexis brought up this serious impending split in Mt. Zion Temple, and shared, “We need to pray about this.”  They did. Within a couple of weeks, Alexis got news that the church was reconciling their differences. The prayers of the people were not a waste of time.

 

Perusi, an older woman in the New Hope Revival Church has four grown children (also members) of which two (Patrick and Etienne) are active worship team members. Perusi has been living with her children in a one-bedroom apartment. On a recent Sunday night, Alexis invited people to pray for Perusi’s housing needs. Within a week, a nonprofit housing organization provided a two-bedroom apartment with all new furnishings at no cost to Perusi and her children for as long as she needs it. Perusi was so overwhelmed when she arrived at her new home that she could only kneel beside the new bed and say, “This can’t be mine!”  In church the following Sunday, she was dancing joyfully before the Lord. The prayers of the people were not a waste of time.

These prayers were not a waste of time. Prayer is an investment of time.

 

To contact Pastor Alexis Ruhumuriza, please email:  aruhumuriza@belpres.org

Joy in the midst of grief

By Jean McAllister

Alexis Ruhumuriza, the dynamic young pastor of Belpres’  “new worshiping community” called New Hope Revival Church, lost his mother last week. After suffering a stroke, she was being transported in a litter carried on the shoulders of four men for an anticipated two-day journey to an airplane. She was to be flown out of the Congo to Rwanda for medical help. But she never reached the plane; her suffering was mercifully brief.

It is the cultural norm in Africa that when a death occurs, all family members, friends, and the entire community, come to the home of the bereaved person to bring comfort and practical help. When I arrived at Alexis’ home, several people were there, and many more came during my brief stay. Alexis himself greeted me with his customary cheerfulness, though a bit quieter than usual. But it was evident he was not overwhelmed by his grief. I asked him to help me understand how the culture of visiting contributed to his wellbeing and peace.

Alexis told me that from the moment his mom (called Sifa) died, the steady flow of visitors had not ceased, day and night. People came that first night simply to be by his side in vigil, to pray and be present with him. Visitors came with food and drink, as well as with the practical help of childcare and household chores, such as cooking meals for the family.  As the constant stream of friends continues, Alexis is helped by being able to share details about his mom—how she died, what he most remembered and loved about her—and in turn, they share their own stories of loss and grief. In doing so, they find their own pain easing. Sharing in this way is a mutual comfort, which builds up the community in faith and hope.

Following his mom’s passing, Alexis did not plan to preach on this Sunday—I was scheduled to do that—but he decided the Holy Spirit was telling him he had a powerful message to bring, springing from this true and joyful awareness of God’s presence and power in the midst of his grief. He told me he must be a role model for the congregation. They know him and what he is suffering, so they can be helped substantially in their own ongoing pain and grief still unresolved from their losses during the 1994 genocide in Rwanda as they witness this servant of God proclaiming the power of faith in every trial.

I hope we can all be encouraged by this testimony of faith and hope from our new Belpres member.

If you would like to hear Alexis preach, you are welcome to worship with the New Hope Revival Church during their Sunday Service at 11am, UC-106.

New Hope at New Hope Revival

God is doing many things in my life. He is keeping me strong and teaching me to trust him every day. My family has great hope every day. We have many blessings and have made many friends. We already have a big family in the US. People have come from Texas, Maine, and Utah—for various reasons like climate or the need to connect with other East Africans. And then, they connect with me and have started coming to New Hope Revival. Others have come because they know the earlier arrivals. Often when such people come, they stay in my home until we can connect them with others in same situations, or find them places to stay. I am problem solving, helping new people find jobs, places to live—this is an everyday ministry, to do whatever people need. So my East Africa “family” is becoming connected in the Seattle area through New Hope Revival Church.

At New Hope Revival, God is doing many things. People are more regular in their attendance. People used to come at 11:30 for an 11am start, but now they have learned that it is important to be on time. The church is the connection point for people as far apart as Tukwila, Shoreline, Auburn, Kent, and Everett. We have been blessed with a van from Auto Angels. One of our members keeps the car for her use unless it is needed for transport for the New Hope Revival. On Sundays, our new driver Guillaume picks up members to bring them to church. We are so thankful to BelPres and Auto Angels for this gift!

When we started the church, we were in one small room. While the worship team practiced, I kept the children in our new space and we had problems with children behaving poorly.  Our children had discipline issues because they were not used to the Sunday School schedule. With the help of BelPres Family Life Ministry team, this problem is solved. Now we have been given a beautiful new space for our services, UC 106, and we got really good advice and help from teachers Lisa and Laura, so the children now go to Sunday school happy every week.

New Hope Revival is a “baby church” within BelPres church. So we are blessed to have encouragement and participation our “parents”. They have welcomed us from the beginning, and they are watching over us to see what God is doing to grow our ministry. We have our own executive committee which helps plan and guide the church’s activities, we have a strong worship team, and we have involved many members with special responsibilities, so they feel they are a part of the church.

Since our beginning, every week we see new changes. We have a gifted team leader, Edgard, who came from Texas to help us with our music program. We were blessed by Seattle Presbytery to buy instruments. And, most importantly, the team has moved from a performance attitude to a worship attitude. They are taking time to practice, before and after services, even with many family commitments.

The people who attend NHR include not only Rwandese, but some from Kenya, Congo, and Burundi. Also, we often welcome people from BelPres. Our Executive Pastor, Annie Duncan, blessed us last month with a good retelling of the story of the two births from the Gospel of Luke. Several people came to ask me afterward to invite her to come again.

In November, our preaching focused on the importance of giving, and not on money as a goal in itself. People are beginning to look around to see how they can help meet each other’s needs. Also, people are bringing their used items to donate to Jubilee Reach.

I am still involved with Hope for Children Ministries in Rwanda, and have developed a US-based advisory team. We changed the name for this project in the US to Rwanda Faith Academy(RFA). All funds we collect through RFA will be wired directly to Hope for Children in Rwanda, to help build necessary classrooms and pay teachers’ salaries. I have put in place a strong board to oversee the work there.  They are in regular contact with me and report on everything the ministry is doing.

I am so blessed to have Mom Jean in my life. She helps in different ways, for many things:  in ministry, church, and my life each and every day. She explains, gives me clarity, and I am glad to be with her.

To contact Pastor Alexis Ruhumuriza, please email:  aruhumuriza@belpres.org