In August 2023, our partners in Kibungo, in the east of Rwanda, distributed 58 goats to lay pastors. This gift was made possible by the generous giving of Christian Hope International’s supporters.
The distribution of goats is a significant step in improving the lives of these lay pastors and their families. Goats provide the three “M’s”: milk, meat, and manure, which can be used for food, income, and fertilizer.
The lay pastors were overjoyed to receive the goats. They expressed their gratitude to CHI for their generosity and support. They also thanked the Church for its commitment to the well-being of its lay clergy.
Lay pastors in Rwanda play a vital role in their communities, providing spiritual guidance, education, and support to those in need. Their lives are typically very humble, but they are also deeply rewarding.
A typical day for a rural lay pastor begins early, with prayers and Bible study. They then spend the day visiting parishioners, providing counselling and support, as well as tending their own land and preparing the teaching on Sunday. They may also be involved in community development projects, such as building schools or clinics.
The life of these lay pastors is not without its challenges. They often live in extreme poverty as they are unpaid, have a lot of responsibility as a community leader, yet still have to find time to provide for their families. However, they are motivated by their deep faith and their desire to serve.
Despite these challenges, lay pastors continue to play a vital role in their communities:
Providing spiritual guidance and support to their parishioners. They help people to grow in their faith and to cope with the challenges of life (of which there are many in the rural villages).
Teaching the bible and providing other forms of education to children and adults. They help people to grow in their faith and to develop the skills they need to succeed in life.
Promoting reconciliation in their communities. They teach their parishioners about forgiveness and help those being released from prison following the genocide to integrate back into their communities.
Supporting community development projects, such as building schools or clinics, helping to improve the lives of people in those communities.
MUKANTABANA Elen, is a lay pastor from Mahama church in the Kibungo area. She has been a lay pastor since 2012 and was one of those given a goat recently. She said:
“I am happy, I really see that serving Jesus is better than anything else. I thank the church that trusted me with this gift and for God’s provision of it. With the goat I will be able to grow more food and have extra income which will allow me to buy clothes and other essentials. This will help my ministry and enable me to support others.”
The distribution of goats in Kigina is a story of hope and how generosity and compassion can make a real difference in the lives of others.