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!

April

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Each year, on April 7th, the Country of Rwanda takes time to stop and reflect on the atrocities that sought to destroy this country over a hundred-day period in 1994. This year marks 25 years of growing peace, restoration and advancement for this country that continues to heal post genocide. Memorials, walks, vigils and various methods of reflection will continue throughout the next 100 days. We thank God for the peace and security that is present today.

As we ended the month of March, our Scarlet Cord held a graduation of 28 women successfully completing the program. The majority of these women came from lives of prostitution, were taught of the redemption in Christ Jesus, and learned new skills to enable them to leave their former manner of obtaining money. We saw more than half of these women come to know Christ, some baptized, and most leave prostitution, work through addictions, and form relationships with Jesus. We continue to pray for them as they launch into their sewing that they will continue to follow the path of Christ.

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Please continue to pray for the churches desiring to reopen here. While we rejoice in two churches we were able to help restore and see re-opened in March, we continue to face various obstacles regarding the building and restoration of other churches. Our weekly Bible Clubs with our sponsored children continue very well with at least 300 attending weekly.

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We praise God for all He continues to do, and allow us to be a part of. We further thank Him that you have chosen to join us in this work. God bless you!

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

The Scarlet Cord

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Let me tell you about the Scarlet Cord!

We have established our vocational training center for women this year in Kagugu, Rwanda. This area is particularly known for women in the sex trade. The objective of our center this year is to provide a place for counseling, Bible teaching, healing, friendship and community support for these women. Not only will they be learning to sew, in order to have a fair trade by which to improve the lives of them and their children, but they will be learning to work through the traumas and difficulties of their pasts which have led them into prostitution as a way of survival.

“She tied the Scarlet Cord to the window.” Joshua 2:22

The name The Scarlet Cord, of course, comes from the Bible story of Rahab. Rahab did not know the one true God, She also was a sex trade worker. Yet her scarlet cord was a symbol of her faith. She had seen the power of God, and was keen enough to fear Him and put her faith in His power to save her and her family. This cord represents that faith.

Like Rahab, many of the women joining our center, do not know God; they have not seen His power in their lives; they have not encountered the salvation He so freely offers. Yet, in their willingness to come to our center, they too hang their scarlet cord in the window, with the smallest bit of faith and hope.

No doubt these women have faced unbelievable hardship in their lives, and have reached a place of moral destitution and shame in society. At Love Alive, we are honored to be able to wrap arms of love around these women, and show them the hope found in Jesus. I dream of them finding forgiveness, restoration, and their true beauty in Jesus Christ, and watching them walk in dignity as daughters of the King.

I beg you to join us in prayer for each of these women. Most of them have not even an elementary education. A dozen can neither read nor write. The majority have no living parents. None have husbands. Almost all have children for whom they want to provide a better situation in life.

We are blessed to have a skilled seamstress as our teacher who loves each student as her own child, and pours guidance and counsel into them daily. She begins each day in a time of prayer and Bible reading. I will be heavily involved in Bible teaching, individual and group therapy, and assisting these women in their individual needs physically and materially as they see change in their lives.

The Scarlet Cord is woven in threads of hope and faith that each of these women can see their lives drastically changed through Christ. We need the Holy Spirit’s involvement and your intercession on their behalves. If you wish to assist one of these women or this center financially, you may do so at the link below.

https://lovealiveinternational.com/donate/sewing-machines/

Take Heart

It wasn’t the first time since I have lived here that I wished I had a medical background, and for a split second, I considered becoming a cardiac surgeon. A split-second later, I recalled that I am only one person, and can only do so much, that besides not actually being good around blood, bile, exposed body tissues, and various other bodily fluids, it would also cost me at least six years. Six years in which I couldn’t continue in what I am already doing, and 6 years of patients dying for lack of care. heart pic

We had already waited with Delisia, a 2 month old baby girl, in the hospital for 6 weeks before meeting the first cardiologist. Though we had known for a month she had a serious heart condition, this was the first available appointment with a specialist. I knew our resources were limited. I anticipated open-heart surgery. I was prepared to beg for a transfer to the country’s best hospital so that Delisia could obtain the best care available to her. But I wasn’t prepared for what came next.

“We have no cardiac surgeon in this country.”

None? Not one? “Well, aren’t we working to obtain one? Can’t we hire someone from a more developed country?”

“It’s not a priority.”

Not a priority? I see. Only a matter of life and death.

The doctor went on to explain that as we continue to have citizens dying daily due to malaria, higher priorities in other health care matters, take precedent over the need of a team of cardiac surgeons to perform life-saving surgeries.

I was dumbfounded. I know I live in a developing country. I know that there are various procedures considered fairly routine in other places, that are not available here. The fortunate ones, fly out to other countries for treatment. The less fortunate remain hospitalized for months, even years, just waiting. But waiting for what? A miracle, or death?

While my first concern was for Delisia, I walked back to the pediatric cardiology unit, where there were no more beds available. Scanning the children filling up the ward, I wondered how many were waiting for their miracle, for a life-saving surgery that may not come in time.

There is a waiting list, the doctors told me. Anyone needing a heart surgery is put on this waiting list. When foreign doctors visit for a week each year, those who are still alive will be put on the list for treatment. …

I’ve pondered this plight ever since I walked out of that doctor’s office. I wonder why we don’t have the physicians we need here. In my home country, I know that I could have my choice of heart surgeons, that there would have been no month-long wait to see a cardiologist, that when I did see him, he could refer me immediately to a surgeon, that If I didn’t feel comfortable with that surgeon, I could seek out another professional with higher qualifications or greater experience.

I believe that God knows and provides for everything we need. I believe he often has answered our prayers long before we ask. I also believe that often the provisions he has put in place do not come about, because we fail to follow His plan. For example we pray that others would know Christ, yet we fail to tell them. We pray for the poor and needy, but we fail to give. We pray for God to meet the needs in under-developed and developing countries, but we are not willing to allow Him to send us.

I wonder if He has asked someone to take their education and the skills He has given them and come to a less-fortunate part of the world to save lives, and they have not followed His call.

What about you? Has He asked you to come?