Jun 8, 2010

Gospel to Rwanda & Malawi

God has placed before us a tremendous opportunity this summer. Starting from August 20-29, we will be working with Rwandan Churches in fellowship with the Lausanne Conference 2010 to proclaim the message of Salvation in Rwanda’s Southern Province of Huye.

Sammy proclaims the message of hope to several thousands of Rwandan people at Huye Stadium in Butare during a SWIM Festival of Hope in 2006
We will hold three days of evangelistic Festival in the local Soccer stadium, conduct a Leadership Seminar for pastors, businessmen, politicians and other community leaders, reach out to students at Rwanda’s main University that is located in the city, as well as hold a special outreach to the genocide prisoners.

Sixteen years ago, Rwanda went through the darkest period of its political and social life. In one hundred days, nearly a million people were killed in the genocide brought about by ethnic animosity. That is ten thousand people being killed per day. The city of Huye was the ground zero of the conflict. For a country smaller than the state of Minnesota, dead bodies were literally everywhere.

(Pictured: Rwandan genocide prisoners worship God through singing during a SWIM ministry outreach to a Rwandan prison in 2007)
Rwandan Prisoners participate in a worship Service led by our team in 2007. Those wearing pink are genocide prisoners.  At this service, more than 500 prisoners prayed to receive Jesus Christ into their lives as Lord.
When the war ended in the 90’s the majority of adult survivors either fled as refugees to other countries, or were arrested by the new government and placed in prisons. Today, many of those people are still locked up in prisons all across Rwanda. Although this was a just move, it left Rwanda as a wounded society of children and women, as most of the men were dead or imprisoned.

Sixteen years later, Rwandans are still finding and burying their dead and healing from the political, social, economic and especially spiritual wounds left by genocide.

Sammy with Rwandan pastors ready to proclaim the gospel to several thousands of Rwandan people at a past Festival of Hope in the city of Butare.  Once again we look forward to a great harvest of souls in Rwanda in 2010.
In 2006 we held our first evangelistic and leadership events in the city of Huye. I recall during our second evening of the Festival of Hope as I stood to proclaim the gospel (pictured above), the audience quietly listened and silently wept while I answered the question, “Where was God when the genocide was happening?”

At the conclusion of my message, several hundreds of people poured at the altar to make commitments to follow Christ. It was an unbelievable response yet a critical one. For Christ is truly the healer of a wounded and broken society. Once again we are looking forward to a great harvest of souls in Rwanda.

Following the events in Rwanda, we will proceed to Malawi for similar work. Unlike Rwanda, Malawi doesn’t have a history of political violence. It has steady leadership and well entrenched democratic processes. It does, however, suffer from chronic levels of poverty and the devastating effects of HIV and AIDS. Moreover, an oppressive worldview lingers in rural Malawi where people live under the constant fear of witchcraft.

SWIM Advisory Board Member Dan Dye interacts with Rwandan kids in rural Rwanda during our mission in 2007
In 2007, I visited Malawi as part of a team from Westwood Community Church to facilitate a pastor’s leadership seminar. It was clear to me that the gospel of Jesus Christ is what the people of Malawi needed the most, (as equally as aid, schools, hospitals, trade, etc) in order to shake themselves free from the oppression of Satan.

I prayed a simple prayer that at some point, God will make it possible for me to visit and proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ to its’ people. I thank God that He is answering that prayer through this invitation.

We are eager to partner with more than 100 churches in Malawi’s capital city, Lilongwe, for week-long outreach events during the week of September 1-8. The events will target the poorest neighborhood in Lilongwe, Area 25, which has a population of 75,000 people. Activities will include four days of evangelistic festival, speaking in schools, work places, businessmen’s prayer breakfast, as well as a pastor’s conference.

Once again we are looking forward to a great harvest of souls in Rwanda and Malawi. Will you pray with us and support us financially to help reach the people of these two nations of Africa this summer?

Rwandan leaders, among them members of Rwandan Parliament, attend a previous SWIM leadership conference at Serena Hotel, Kigali, Rwanda

By God’s help, the local churches in both countries are raising one third of the overall costs associated with the events. Another third is coming from the Lausanne World Evangelization Movement who are our key partners in this efforts to both Rwanda and Malawi. We, however, are working to raise the other third toward the events.

Already, God is moving and we have some individuals and churches that have made some pledges. We appeal to you to consider a generous financial gift to help us fulfill this mission to Rwanda and Malawi. Just click on the donate button to the right of this screen and you will be navigated to our secure site.  Till all come to know Christ!