Updated: Oct 19
An Unexpected Journey
In the busy world we live in, where the noise of daily life, social media and negativity in the press, often drowns out good news, there are stories of hope that stand out. Bishop Nathan’s is one such story – a remarkable journey from a refugee to Bishop, a humble cattle keeper to a visionary leader whose impact on countless lives has brought great glory to God.
In August we received a surprise email telling us Bishop Nathan from Rwanda, was planning a visit to the UK and wanted to spend a few days with Christian Hope International to discuss our ongoing work. With just a few weeks' notice, a flurry of events was put together to allow our supporters to hear first-hand the incredible difference they are making in people’s lives.
As Bishop Nathan shared his story, it was clear that his life had been a testament to resilience and faith. Born into a family of cattle keeper, he, too, was destined for a life tending to livestock. His family, unaware of Jesus and Christianity, thought Christians were just another tribe!
But God had other plans for young Nathan. At the tender age of eight, his life was forever changed when three missionaries arrived at his homestead, singing hymns that carried with them a message of joy and peace. Instantly, Nathan knew he wanted what they had – a relationship with Jesus.
Despite his family's resistance, Nathan decided to give his life to Christ. He knew early on that he wanted to be a preacher, but his ambitions seemed beyond reach. Undeterred, he became an active member of his local church, though his pastor was dismissive of his aspirations.
One Sunday, his pastor, prompted by the Holy Spirit, asked for someone to come forward and preach. Nathan leapt up and began speaking passionately from the Bible, much to the pastor’s disbelief. Again prompted by the Holy Spirit, a missionary was at the service and felt compelled to offer to sponsor him through seminary school.
This decision didn't go down well with his family, who effectively disowned him. Nevertheless, Nathan was unwavering in his determination to become a preacher of God’s word and went off to Bible College in Uganda.
Answering the Call
In 1994, Rwanda experienced a devastating genocide that left the country in ruins. A call went out to Rwandans abroad to return and help rebuild their homeland, and Nathan answered that call. He found himself working in the Archbishop's office in Kigali, overseeing development projects.
In 2012, his ability to successfully transform entire communities led him to of be promoted as Bishop of Cyangugu in southwestern Rwanda. He was then transferred back to Kigali in 2019 where he still serves.
Vision: To Enable Students To Succeed, Regardless Of The Circumstances Into Which They Were Born
Whilst working as the Archbishop's assistant, Nathan had a vision to build a school on a remote hill near Kigali. In 2007, with the assistance of Mission Possible UK, he acquired the land and started the construction of the Star School.
Starting with just 45 children, it has since grown into a prestigious day and boarding school with over 1,400 students from nursery to senior school.
Education and Faith Hand in Hand: The Star School
The Star School isn't just any school; it's a place where education and faith go hand in hand. Here, students gain knowledge not only about the world but, more importantly, about the God who created it. The school embraces students from all backgrounds, including those who can afford the fees and those who depend on sponsorship.
Among these sponsored students are some of the most vulnerable and needy. They receive not only an excellent education but also meals, clothing, healthcare, and the warmth of Christian friendship. At Star School, there is no discrimination based on wealth or poverty.
Imagine being able to pick the poorest kid from the roughest council estate and sending them to Eton? That may not be the best analogy because the kid from the estate may not appreciate the opportunity but these kids really do see education as a privilege and an opportunity to be grasped with both hands, because it is the only way for them to break out of the poverty trap.
Changing Lives, One Student at a Time
The impact of education is profound, and Bishop Nathan shared numerous success stories from students who have gone on to work in the Embassy and the Supreme Court of Rwanda. Some students have more humble ambitions, seeking jobs in the city to earn enough money to buy land, build a home, and start farming the land. There are many others. These stories serve as a testament to the life-changing power of education, faith, and sponsorship.
Bishop Nathan himself is a living example of the incredible influence one person can have. His sponsor may not have been aware of the profound effect her help had on his life, leading him to become a Bishop, a tireless worker for the kingdom, a builder of schools, and a helper of thousands of children on their journey to know Jesus and lift themselves out of poverty.
The Mustard Seed of Sponsorship
Some people rightly ask: Is it worth it? Can I make a difference? Does sponsoring one child really make a difference? As we listened to Bishop Nathan's story, it became evident that the impact of sponsorship extends far beyond what meets the eye. We can never fully comprehend the far-reaching effects of our support. Without the help of his sponsor, Bishop Nathan would still be herding cattle...
A Journey of Hope and Inspiration
Bishop Nathan's journey from a refugee to a Bishop is not just one of personal success; it is a source of inspiration for us all. It serves as a reminder that each of us has the power to change lives, to offer hope, and to make a lasting impact on the world, even if we don’t see it in our lifetime.
You can watch the full interview here: