Joseph Nyamutera brings reconciliation and healing in Rwanda

Joseph Nyamutera is a large man with an equally large heart for the Lord who has used his gifts to bring fellow Rwandans out of an unthinkably dark time, leading them to reconciliation into healing and forgiveness; his greatest challenge! What has made this mission and ministry uniquely insurmountable is the fact of who Joseph is: a Hutu among an evangelical team of Tutsis in the Kigali offices of African Evangelical Enterprises (AEE) that was re-established after the Genocide of 1994 when over a million Rwandans were killed.

The genocide began when the then Rwandan President, a moderate Hutu, and the Burundi President’s plane was shot down over Kigali with no survivors. The Rwandan President was returning after signing an agreement for the creation of a transitional government. This angered the Hutu extremists so within hours of downing the airplane, they set up roadblocks and went out on foot to begin killing Tutsis. The killings lasted 100 days and over one million Rwandans were killed. In April 1994, the AEE team leader, Israel Havugimana, was killed along with most of his team. In July 1994, the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) liberated the country. The AEE was inactive until August 1994 when the new team Leader Antione Rutayisire (a Tutsis survivor) and a new team were installed.  Following God’s nudge, Antione courageously chose Joseph to head up the reconciliation and healing, a bold and risky move considering the deep wounds at that time.

The required ethnic identity cards of the genocide are now abolished and it is important to understand and appreciate the depth of the work involved. Joseph led the AEE Healing and Reconciliation team to help a country and its people heal from the untold carnage. Often, the perpetrators killed people that they knew.  Joseph brought the perpetrators in front of the families of the victims they killed to walk through three days of reconciliation, healing and ultimately to forgiveness. My husband Frank and I had the honor of witnessing his work while in Rwanda in 2006 and 2008.

After leaving AEE in 2010, Joseph along with his wife Esther founded Mercy Ministries, continuing the work of healing and reconciliation. They work in the Great Lakes region of Rwanda and in the greater Kigali area serving the entire community, both young and old.   They have added education and vocational training to the ministry helping Rwandans to find forgiveness and a hope for the future. Mercy Ministries has been and continues to be supported by BelPres.

In January of this year, Joseph and Esther’s attentions turned fully to Education. Rabagirana Bible College has now opened and registered its first class of students. With this school, they are raising up Rwandans, providing degree programs in Reconciliation, Applied Technology, Bible Courses, General Composition, English, and Computers.

Imana Inguhe Umugieshu! (May God Bless You!)

Janvier: “Impossible is Nothing”

A Story of Renewal after the Rwandan Genocide
The 1994 Genocide in Rwanda left many women & children injured, traumatized, and without family. Orphaned during the genocide, Janvier was left to fend for himself as a child. He acquired HIV/AIDS when sexually assaulted by adults. He had lost family, faith and his health and livelihood.

In July of 2013, we had the opportunity to meet Janvier. On our visit to his ministry, we were struck by how he didn’t stop smiling, preaching, and insisting on his thankfulness to God. Due to his participation in a women’s co-op (yes a male member of the co-op!) he has a future and a hope. He repairs sewing machines for a women’s sewing co-op. He also operates a farm of beans and tomatoes along with his family. The land is situated on a steep, rocky slope, where he waters the acre of plants by hand, carrying jugs from a swampy area up a long, rocky path. He rides his bicycle many miles back and forth from the co-op to the farm over rutted, bumpy, dusty roads. Yet, Janvier was nothing but thankful.

javier

Thank you Janvier for modeling thankfulness in all circumstances and for reminding us in the Hope we have in Jesus power to transform lives. “Impossible is Nothing…”

To hear more stories like this one and to learn about some of the ministries that BelPres is connected to in Rwanda please join us this Tuesday evening at Bellevue Presbyterian Church.

Rwanda Prayer & Interest Group
March 31, 2015, 7PM
Welcome Room @ BelPres