An Update on Churches in Rwanda

Hello. I trust this letter finds you doing well. I am most certainly grateful to you and for the way God has used you in prayer and support of ministry here in Rwanda.60042019_507195503149801_5508346044460564480_n

Just over one year ago, I wrote to inform you of the drastic changes that had taken place here, with the government closing well over 6,000 churches. Some of you compassionately responded to assist the churches here. Last year we were able to see two churches we work with opened after minor upgrades. Then came the patience and perseverance of trusting and waiting.

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In February, God blessed us with a partnership with a set of 3 churches in a sparse mountain region. Pastor Uzziel originally had 10 churches. We visited these churches in 2017 and held a Sunday school training. We returned in early 2018 for an area-wide children’s outreach. Then came the closures, and all 10 churches were closed. With God’s blessing, a few of the churches were slowly opened. Between February and April of this year, God enabled us to open 3 more of these churches.60060841_1370652849753184_4249440440798937088_n

One of these churches had only been opened for one year when the closures came, but already had over 100 members. Another church had been opened for years, and was where many of the congregants had come to know Christ, where they had married, and dedicated their children. By the grace of God, all three churches have now reopened and these congregants are once again worshiping in their churches.

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Last year, our dear partner Patrick, whose congregation was meeting under a canopy, was  among the churches closed. Patrick has remained an example of steadfast perseverance, patience and long-suffering as he continued to faithfully shepherd his congregation. In the immediate aftermath of the closures, he would notify his congregation of a local church where they would all meet. He later secured 3 different locations to hold services as one-by-one, each location would fall through.  His congregation has been walking several miles each week to meet together.

A church in the States graciously provided the funding for Patrick’s church to be built. As they began seeking the building permit, he was first advised that they must purchase additional land. God again graciously provided as another group of Christians provided the funds for the land. Then there were land negotiations, surveys, more surveys, and finally the notice that it was no longer permitted to build in this area due to rezoning! I’m highlighting only a few of the challenges he faced in the 14 months of waiting. On the Thursday before Easter, God miraculously and graciously provided the building permit. The construction is well underway as you can see.

Thank you to each of you who has taken part in the reopening of these churches. For those interested in assisting churches here, we continue with a list of churches we would like to help.

Building a church from the ground up costs $15,000-$20,000.

Upgrading a church so that it can open is generally $2,000. This generally includes cement floors, paint, water tanks, and metal windows and doors.

To assist a church through our ACTS ministry, click here: ACTS

God bless you all for being an important part of all God is doing here.

With Immense Gratitude,

Laura Yockey

Love Alive International

Agape Church Construction Under Way!

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I thank you for your prayers on behalf of the churches here, specifically those with whom we continue to work.

We are rejoicing that God allowed us to see the third church needing renovation reopened. We also praise God that after 14 months of perseverance, patience, and prayer, the building permit for a fourth church, Agape with Pastor Patrick was granted. The construction of that church is well-under way.   This is nothing less than miraculous.

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Thank you for choosing to partner with us in this ministry. God bless you!

Churches are Beginning to Open!

Because of the continued giving of friends like you, this past month we were able to see one church re-opened, and 2 set to open within the next month.

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We began a vocational short-course of 3 months to assist women who had previously studied with Love Alive, but we found were not working. The purpose of this short course is to help them improve skills where they lack confidence, and be able to begin working as intended. Our ongoing Scarlet Cord students will graduate at the end of this month. Just last week, many of the women began sharing testimonies of what God is doing in their lives.

Our Bible clubs for students are going very well. We praise God.

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Thank you again for partnering with us in ministry!

6,315 Churches Closed. What Can We Do?

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In mid-February of this year, the Rwandan government brought about a list of new laws for all churches siting safety and hygiene as concerns. By March 20th, in this tiny country, the government had shut down 6,315 churches.

As you can imagine this has greatly impacted the body of Christ here in Rwanda. While there are still churches open, the majority of churches we have worked with and in are closed until they can meet the new safety standards.

Of our Acts churches, 4 of the 5 have been closed.

Of the 10 churches where we most recently held Sunday school trainings, and saw 7 new Sunday schools emerge totaling 250 children reached, all 10 have closed.

Churches where we have held trainings, vacation Bible schools, Bible clubs, youth conferences, all have been shut down.

One dear pastor friend was the lead pastor shepherding 30 rural churches. All 30 were closed.

However, we can help. First, we can pray for the body of Christ here in Rwanda. I am personally praying that the believers would be strengthened in their faith, that they would become more determined to share the Gospel in legal manner, that they would trust God and give sacrificially to further the church and meet the new guidelines, and that among like-faith churches, there would be unity of pastors and leaders, that there would be more potential for churches to work together to build and meet the new regulations and open their doors.

We can help these churches build. The government has promised that as soon as the churches that were closed are able to meet the new building regulations enforced, they can reopen. The difficulty is that most village congregations have little or no capacity to do so, but we can help. I have had the privilege to come to know well several pastors and their churches. I know that they are solid in their doctrine and passionate about sharing the gospel. I know that these pastors are dedicated, selfless, and self-sacrificing to carry out their gospel mission.

It is deeply impressed upon my heart, that we be part of helping churches build.

A brick church, meeting the new regulations can be built from between $10,000 and $15,000. This would include foundation, cement flooring, metal roofing and reinforcement, and metal doors and windows. The price varies due to location and size. Two of the specific churches we are working with already have land on which to build.

Will you please pray with me for the church in Rwanda, and specifically whether God would have you and your church assist these churches prayerfully or financially.

In Christ,

Laura Y,

To support the building of a local church, you can donate here:

Support a Church or here Donate for Churches

Summer Update, 2017 Love Alive International

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Hello! I’m always surprised to see how much time has passed since my last update! Forgive me as I try to cram the highlights of the past few months into one letter. God continues to be at work in many ways and in many lives here.

MAY: On May 15, we began a ministry that is dear to my heart, and was certainly a leap of faith to begin. We opened the doors to The Scarlet Cord, a one-year program to rehabilitate women of the sex trade industry. In this program we teach vocational skills to give these women an appropriate source of income generation. As they study, we give biblical counseling and teaching. Already we have seen many make decisions for Christ. We have seen answers to their prayers, and have seen God working in their lives. We also opened a baby nursery on site to provide safe and suitable care for the babies of our students._SAM5031

 

JUNE: In June, we had a team of 5 ladies from my home church, Stevens Street Baptist in Cookeville, TN visit for two weeks. Together we traveled the country ministering in almost all areas Love Alive is involved in.

In mid June, we opened a Beauty Salon Vocational Center providing vocational training to 40 students in Cyangugu, Rwanda. This project is a partnership with a local organization Rwanda Christian Action Ministries. We are excited about using this avenue to provide opportunities and daily guidance to students who include orphans, widows, AIDS victims and single mothers. The month ended with a 3-day conference on Salvation with 7 persons choosing to follow Christ.

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During this month we also launched our ACTS ministry whereby we are partnering with local churches with which we have worked and know these churches to be sound and actively striving to reach their communities for Christ. Through the ACTS ministry we wish to Assist Churches Through Stewardship I by linking individuals, small groups or churches in the USA who can offer support to local pastors here in Rwanda. This can help local pastors have the resources they need to continue steadfast in the work they are doing for the Kingdom.

JULY: This month began with a Sunday school training of teachers from 9 different churches coming together to learn how to reach children with the Gospel. Due to a children’s offering from Washington Avenue Baptist Church, we were able to provide a young church with Bibles for all members. This church is one of the churches highlighted in our ACTS ministry . We look forward to being with them again next month to hold a children’s Bible school.

A new baby boy arrived at the hospital needing care through our Baby Love ministry. I am happy to report that his mother has recovered well enough to have returned to the same hospital as her son. She is still recovering, but after a month of separation is able to see him and be near him._SAM5226

I offer special thanks to all of you who pray for and support this ministry. It is only through the Holy Spirit that lives are change and we can make an impact.

With Gratitude,

Laura Y.

Pastor Damour, Byumba, Ruzizi Rwanda Church of the Living

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Pastor Damour and his wife and ministry partner, Gloria.

 

Pastor Damour’s testimony is one of amazing grace and a life surrendered to God’s work in the far regions of Rwanda.

“I was born into and raised in a family of non-Christians. As I grew I was a terrible sinner. I was a drunkard for 17 years,” Damour shares of his history. Later, Damour began reading the Bible. “I read that the righteous would go to heaven forever, but sinners would be in Hell. I was very afraid of Hell,” he says. “I continued reading, and read Mathew chapter 7 on prayer. I decided I would begin praying. I began praying, and I prayed that God would grant me salvation, that God would keep me from dying without salvation.” Damour continued studying the Bible, and realized that Heaven could be his. “I believed, I repented of my sins, leaving them all behind me, and asked God for forgiveness of my sins. I then believed I should become an evangelist.”

After receiving Christ as his Savior, Damour began attending church, he was baptized, and began sharing about his salvation with others. “This was a very difficult time,” Damour shares. Due to his past, many did not believe he could have truly been saved. Many assumed within weeks or months, he would return to alcoholism, but as time continued, and he stayed faithful to his relationship in Christ, they began to realize real change had taken place in his life.

“As I continued to grow in my faith and pray about what God would have me do, I felt God leading me to begin a church,” he says. Damour began his first church in the same village where he was born, raised, and married to his wife Gloria. Many laughed at his efforts believing it would never be possible for him to build a church congregation let alone a building. As the years passed, a small group meeting in Damour’s home grew to a number large enough to meet on a plot of land he owned. They then built a small building, but soon outgrew this building.

In 2014 Love Alive met Pastor Damour, his family, and their growing congregation. Upon seeing this humble servant of God so dedicated in his faithful walk to witness in his community and disciple others for Christ, we chose to partner with this church. In the years since, we have seen God build a large physical church building to house the current membership. As this facility was being built, the previous shelter collapsed. The church membership has continued to grow with new believers, and Pastor Damour and his wife have continued in their mission to carry forth the gospel. They began two more churches in 2016 and 2017.

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The church still under construction.

 

If you were to visit Pastor Damour’s church, during the time of offering, you would notice that very few coins are given, but the church parishioners bring in their offerings of a sack of beans, a few avocados, a small bundle of maize. They are bringing the first fruits of their harvest to God. One of the ways the church has worked to raise funding on their own is by the entire church coming together to farm a field and give the proceeds to the church.

What a privilege it is to come along side a humble pastor who, saved by God’s grace, continues faithfully to share the message of salvation throughout his region. Pastor Damour’s family subsists off of their own farming. One of the needs of his family is the provision of yearly school fees for his children, especially his oldest daughter Sarah who is already a great asset in their ministry in evangelism, music, and teaching the children in Sunday School. While the church facility is now near completion, additional funding would assist the church in obtaining proper seating, making a kitchen area and a children’s teaching area, and assisting the poorest in the church with physical necessities.

Please pray for Pastor Damour, his wife, Gloria, their children Sarah, Abraham, Rebecca, and Elizabeth, and their church congregation. As you pray consider whether the Holy Spirit may lead you to assist this church through stewardship, which would provide them rich encouragement in the ministry God has led them to continue the past 10 years.

 

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Pastor Damour’s daughter Sarah teaching the children Sunday school.

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The church congregation gathered together in their new building.

ACTS: Pastor Emmanuel Gatera, Word of Life Church, Kamembe, Rwanda

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Pastor Emmanuel Gatera  

WORD OF LIFE CHURCH (WOLC)

Africa:Rwanda, Western Province, Rusizi District, Kamembe Sector

Pastor Emmanuel Gatera is the pastor of Word of Life Church, and is married to his wife Jane Niyonsaba. Together they have three children.

Emmanuel's family

BACKGROUND AND TESTIMONY

Pastor Gatera was born in on December 25, 1972, and born again in Christ on August 21, 1982.

Born into a Catholic family, it was his brother’s radical freeing from demon possession that led to Gatera’s entire family coming to faith in Jesus Christ. As he says, “My older brother was possessed by the sickness of demons. My parents took him to different hospitals, but he didn’t get the healing because they didn’t know his sickness. After long time they went in Pentecostal Church. There intercessors prayed for him, and received total healing. At that time, my family of 4 people including me discovered the supernatural power of healing, and decided to repent and accept Jesus Christ as our Saviour.”   After his salvation, Pastor Gatera was baptized, and continued to grow in the church, and was active in the worship team.

In 1992, at the age of 20, Gatera felt God calling him to serve God as evangelist. The same year I went to Bible college. He finished 6 years full-time at Bible school in Democratic Republic of Congo, 2 years full-time at Bible College in Kigali, Rwanda, 2 years full-time at Bible College in Kenya, and 4 years at Word of Life Bible College of Canada through online courses. He holds a BS Bible Studies and Doctorate in Practical Ministries.

As a Pastor of WOLC in Kamembe, Rwanda Pastor Gatera continues to minister to orphans, elders, sick, the poor, and widows. He teaches Bible school students every Saturday. He has assisted in the planting of churches in Rwanda and the Congo. He is blessed with his wife and family who stand by and support his visions in the ministry.

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WORD OF LIFE CHURCH

OUR MISSION:

Word of Life is a church intent on connecting people to Jesus and His church through our lives, our words, and our deeds.

OUR VISION:

Making disciples by providing them efficient Christian education that will help them to grow spiritually (Matthew 28:19-20), and to build local churches that will transform cities and nations.

OUR SLOGANS:

Love God! Love People! Love Life! Everyone needs JESUS,

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At the link below, you can see an interview of Gatera discussing his experience during the Rwandan genocide, his testimony, achievements in the ministry, and goals in the ministry.

Video Testimony

Our current prayer items and visions for the Church:

  1. Financial miracle to purchase land and build their church in order to meet with government requirements in order to open their church. They currently share facilities with other churches.
  2. God’s continued provision for my family and our needs.
  3. School fees and materials for school of Orphans and Vulnerable Children we have in the church.
  4. Financial sponsorship for teachers of Bible school. Pastor Gatera currently teaches classes every Saturday voluntarily, but with other teachers or funding, the students could obtain more resources and further studies.
  5. Paying Health Insurance of those in need in our church and community.
  6. Financial miracles for helping church members who live with HIV/AIDS.20170312_111253

 

ACTS Ministry Pastor Profile: Pastor Patrick, Agape Church, Rugende Rwanda

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Pastor Patrick’s Personal Testimony:

I received Jesus as my Savior at the age nine, and from then I continued to attend church services. However, at the age of fifteen, I was left the only living member of our family of five, the rest of my two older brothers and my parents having died. I started to be discouraged. Later on I came to my senses and recognized that whatever case it may be, God is good all the time. So i started going to church again, and in 2002 I was sent to Kenya to attend Bible school. There I met men of God who heard my testimony, prayed for me, and I really found deliverance. From the Bible School I served the Lord with all my heart until I committed myself to be ordained as a Pastor in 2017. I am leading the local church branch of AGAPE AEPC in Rugende not far from the capital city of Kigali. This local church came into existence after we saw that most of the people living in this area were vulnerable, some are orphans, widows, HIV/AIDS victims to mention but a few and according to my calling, I am very much concerned with such kind of people. I believe I have an experience so my strong desire is to see such people being delivered through the Word of God. I started work there while I was still an associate pastor, but now I am full pastor and God is using me.

Introduction to AEPC-Rugende

Agape AEPC- Rugende is a local church which began on 5th September 2014 in Nyakariro sector, Rwamagana district, Eastern Province, Rwanda. Its head quarter is in Kanombe, Kigali-Rwanda. This church is responsible for carrying the message of purpose, potential and leadership to the nations.

Vision

Our vision is to declare, effectively communicate, and apply the Biblical message of the good news of the kingdom of God in its present and future dispensation to our society with the views to impact the present and future generation with the ministry of reconciliation to our creator God.

It is a vision of AEPC-Rugende to establish a network of ministries, agencies, projects and opportunities to provide for the declaration, and effective communication of the good news of the kingdom of God and the restoration, development, training and release of Christian leaders and worshippers to impact every sphere of human existence.

Mission

The mission of AEPC-Rugende is to exalt Jesus Christ as Lord, obey his Word, and encourage, equip each believer for the work of ministry. We are called to build the church from house to house, city to city, nation to nation through small groups. This local church is built through prayers, reaching the lost and making disciples. Our mission includes reaching adults, youth and children for Christ.

Purpose

The purpose of AEPC-Rugende is to provide for the recruiting, restoration, development, training and release of mature, intelligent, refined, skillful, principled, spirit filled, free individuals within Rwanda to take their rightful place of excellence and responsibilities in their communities and generation through embracing a personal relationship with God the father through redemptive work of the Lord Jesus Christ and application of biblical principles of the kingdom of God.

Prayer needs

  • Church building
  • Sound equipment
  • Materials and Bibles
  • Pastors’ support
  • God’s provision for children and widows who are homeless in Rwanda
  • Care for orphans
  • Peace of God to prevail in every nation
  • Students financing

Join us in destiny

I strongly believe that AEPC-Rugende is raised by God to provide millions of effective people like you, with opportunity to impact their generation and unborn generation with the life changing good news of the kingdom of God. You are most welcome as you join us on this great adventure into destiny as we fulfill God’s appointed mandate for us.

Support

AEPC-Rugende is totally dependent on God to anoint, lead, protect and provide for all that it needs. All support that is received whether it is prayers, financial help or a practical commitment is extremely valued. You are welcome to support the work of God.

The joy of serving God

As co-workers with Christ, we are not serving alone. God has been very careful to see that we continue serving together with him. The field is ripe but the laborers are still few. Jesus said when we serve through his Word; He comes and confirms it with signs and wonders. When the fruits are ripe, very soon we shall stand before Him and the work we did for Him shall follow us. It is our responsibility as believers to find a position to serve Him.

Witnessing about his kingdom and his love is a basic responsibility for every believer. People will never hear about Him unless there is some body to tell them. The result of our total commitment in serving Him is joy now and eternally. He is ready to use you, just surrender yourself to Him and you will really enjoy serving with Him.

Pastor Patrick in Rugende, Rwanda

If you would like more information or photos of Pastor Patrick’s church in Rugende, Rwanda, Please contact us at lovealive4africa@gmail.com