Many of us remember the 100-day Rwandan genocide in 1994. The mass slaughter resulted in a death count of somewhere between 500,000 and 1 million Rwandans.
Today, Rwanda is thriving. The fact genocide devastated this nation just 25 years ago is hard to believe–until you visit the genocide museum in Kigali, which captures the dark drama of those days.
Where one day kids living next door to one another were playing together, the next their families found themselves on opposing sides. It’s hard to imagine, but families were annihilating each other. It’s a horrific image, but unfortunately the reality of this point in Rwanda’s national history.
In the years since, the Church has been instrumental in bringing reconciliation throughout Rwanda. ICM has seen enemies now working together to build the Kingdom. This is a true testimony of reconciliation and what God can do when people allow Him to heal their hearts and to set them free from their past.
Currently, ICM has 53 projects in Rwanda.
One of our partners is located in a district called Cyangugu, in the Western part of Rwanda bordering Democratic Republic of Congo. He has a wonderful heart for the Kingdom, for the Church, and a love for seeing people discipled in Scripture. His organization also does a lot of work with children.
One particular testimony comes from an island project in Lake Kivu, where an ICM Hope Center has been constructed, a place where malnourished children are fed nutritious meals through partnership with another ministry.
When we visited our partner Nathan, we saw and heard his vision for the Church. The churches he partners with us to build are very strong. His very thorough process of approving new applications ensures they are built correctly. They are also using the Mini Bible College effectively, so not only are the churches growing in number, but the congregations are growing spiritually.
Here’s a recent message he emailed our team:
Greetings from Rwanda especially here in Cyangugu in Jesus name…I felt I cannot resist sharing our yesteryear’s experience with few detailed words down here [and] these great photos of what happened yesterday while we opened one of our biggest forest churches.
It is indeed “the talk of the village or the forest.”
We had not less than 10,000 people come to attend, both young and old. It is one of the most deprived areas, but oh how they love their church!!
We had all local government employees come to witness the great church in their village and it was me and the Mayor of the area who joined hands in official opening of the Church.
…Church service was magical indeed filled with testimonies, music dance and drama.
…As soon as we sat down, we were surrounded by the whole village cheering, dancing, singing and praising God for the great miracle of a perfect building they had in their village.
The whole village also sat to eat and drink since we had provided enough to feed everybody who would come.
The place where we had our lunch was set up by an American Charity called Kagano, this charity works with communities who live in the forest places and helps them to appreciate nature by looking after well deserving places and animals for future generations to enjoy too (tourism). And they teach the village good farming practices, this has helped the village to know how to avoid malnutrition diseases which used to rampage the whole village.
We started the journey early morning at 8am and arriving at the ‘D’ Church at 11am since going through the forest winding roads even in a dry season can be a challenge.
We arrived a little tired and spent a lot of time with my driver Jimmy chasing and running after a mob of village kids who were climbing on our moving vehicle and Jimmy would stop run after the multitude of kids and then come to drive few minutes before kids again are climbing.
Anyway, when we entered the gates of the village since it has only one entrance, the whole village went craze in singing, dancing and chanting how good God has been to their village for a long time.
On arriving at the Church where a sea of people had had an over night prayer so that their can be blessed, it was something you can not describe in my Rwandan English.
They stop our car from moving forward so we were forced out as if we are being abducted by a holy mob of more than 10 different choirs from different forest Churches that had walked many miles to come and joining their friends in celebrations upon completion of their Church building.
So all of us got out of the vehicles and walked with the clouds of people till we entered the Church building amidst a lot of Rwandan dancing, clapping, shouts of joy with traditional drums doing wonderful job and we immediately forgot how tired we were and put on the mood of the day by joined in dancing and celebrations.
I can not describe very well for you the presence of the Holy Spirit and the anointing that filled that place but I have attached a few photos for you to see, so that you can imagine how it was.
May the God of our forefathers be praised for this amazing testimony, and may we each continue to pray for reconciliation, salvation, and worship to spread in this nation.