Honoring Teachers in Rwanda

Every month Rwanda Faith Academy (RFA) hosts a community meeting for the staff to talk about different subject matters to strengthen families and the community. The October meeting was led by Emmanuel, School Head Master, conducting a conversation and asking the attendees to participate in a discussion regarding resolving family conflict. A lively discussion occurred in hopes that put an end would to families coming apart at the seams and to turn around the numbers of children leaving home and living on the streets. Thank-you Teachers, and staff for caring for our students in and out of the classroom.

International Teacher Day was celebrated at Rwanda Faith Academy on October 5th. The teachers were honored with new uniforms. RFA school administration arranged the sector level celebration to commend the teachers’ hard work and dedication to their students to raise up the dignity of all teachers. We are proud of our Teachers and staff in their total caring for the student body that attends RFA. That care does not stop with the student alone but extends to their family and community at large. The success of the family/community education program bares this out. And the program would not exist or be possible without our dedicated teachers and staff. And this speaks to the continued success of RFA overall program bringing commendations to the school

Classroom work continues to prepare the students for their National Exams next month. Midterm exams were executed over three days to evaluate student skill levels and direct the revision classes to prepare for the critical National Exams. RFA teachers and staff work together to review the midterms and put down the curriculum for their students every success. Our past National Exam scores show our 95-98% passing, and we strive to see 100% of our students passing this year. In Rwanda, students must pass the National Exam to move on to the next grade level.

RFA teachers and staff want to express their gratefulness to the USA team and USA partners for your prayers and resources. The unity in the teamwork has made the vision of the school to provide excellence in the delivery of quality education a reality. The teachers and staff share much joy and peace as they are confident in God’s leading for the next stage, and they are excited to see what God is doing at Rwanda Faith Academy. So Thank-you!

Prayer Requests:
Preparations for the National Exams
A community center on the RFA campus for multipurpose use
As the school wines down the 2019 school year, good rest for Teachers, Staff, and Students during the Holiday Break

God is on full display in Rwanda

It has been nearly a year and a half since my two-week stay in Rwanda. There’s no doubt it was transformative and life-changing. When time allows distance from an impactful experience, I can discern more keenly what God was doing with me and the lasting transformation He has brought into my life through that experience.

Reflecting on what it meant to join BelPres’ mission team to Rwanda, three primary emphases struck me. First, top of mind, are the people I developed friendships within Rwanda. As an example, Jado – our cook at the AEE guest house – caringly provided delicious food daily and authentically was interested and concerned for what we did and who we are.

Along with so many others, Jado embodies the second emphasis – the relentless commitment of hospitality displayed by our hosts. Sharing a meal in a community leader’s home, being welcomed into a traditional village celebration, we were always esteemed with respect and honor. At times, I was a bit uncomfortable, perhaps feeling not deserving. It reflected the open hearts of a people whose chief commitment is to love God and all neighbors.

My final reflection about my mission experience: God is on full display in Rwanda. Everywhere you turn, people demonstrate their obvious affection for Jesus. All ages dance in joy, sing with strength, and live their commitments to Christ publicly – a stark contrast to a passive reserve that shrouds our faith in America. Forever changed by Rwanda, I continuously pray that God will provide more: more sustainable support for the youth of Rwanda, more hospitality and expressiveness in my faith, and more opportunities for our community to travel to Rwanda to experience firsthand the love of God through the global mission.

The Gift of Milk

Since returning to Rwanda after the 1994 Genocide, First Lady Jeannette Kagame has become devoted to uplifting the lives of the vulnerable population in Rwanda, particularly those of widows, orphans and impoverished families. Because of this work, she helped to establish the Imbuto Foundation, which means “seed” in Kinyarwanda. Among the many areas of need in Rwanda, the foundation has focused on motivating girls to excel in school, providing scholarships to disadvantaged youth, promoting a reading culture, and mentoring and equipping youth with entrepreneurial and leadership skills.

First Lady Jeanette Kagame has also received many awards and appointments for this vital work. In 2009, Mrs. Kagame received the prestigious UNICEF Children’s Champions Award in recognition of her efforts to improve the lives of children in Rwanda. This hardworking and well-loved First Lady of Rwanda also appreciates and recognizes those in Rwanda who are partnering in this effort to uplift impoverished children and families.

In November of 2018, Rwanda Faith Academy received a letter from the office of Jeanette Kagame thanking them for all they are doing to support the next generation of Rwandans. RFA has been diligent in their reporting to the Ministry of Education the number of students enrolled, the consistency of the high scores on the National Exams received by RFA students, and their developing curriculum on practical life skills and good home practices to strengthen the families of RFA students. The teaching staff received recognition this year for excellence in teaching on World Teacher Day. All of these remarkable efforts came to the First Lady’s attention, and she awarded a monthly gift of milk to 444 of the most vulnerable RFA students.

On November 11, 2018, the first gift of milk arrived. The day was festive with much celebration and thanksgiving as the gifted students received and drank the milk. For many of them, it was the first time to drink milk. And the children cheered with glee when told this gift of milk from the First Lady would continue to come each month for the next year. For First Lady Jeanette Kagame, milk has a very special place in her heart; you see, she met her husband, President Paul Kagame, over a glass of milk.

The students, Teachers, staff, and advisory board praise our God for his provision and blessings over Rwanda Faith Academy. We look forward to the start of the 2019 school year and know God will meet all of us on that first day.

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