Today was a day of heart-warming encounters as we visited Mugina Parish in the Byumba diocese. Our journey began at Gashuru sub-parish, where the impact of your support was evident in the church renovations, as well as the provision of hens, and Bibles. The warm welcome we received from church elders and congregation members, complete with dancing and singing, set the tone for a day filled with testimonies of positive change.
The hens, a seemingly simple addition, have made a significant difference in the health and nutrition of the children in the community. With gratitude, the congregation shared that the church, once attended by 40 Christians, now hosts over 100 since the renovations. There's a desire for further progress, with prayer request for electricity, and music equipment to draw the youth back to the church.
Pastor Celestine's gratitude was palpable as he shared how the gift of a motorcycle transformed his arduous 4-hour walk to Ruhango church into a 30-minute journey. The impact has been invaluable in being able to disciple each of the sub-parishes more. He also told us how it has also impacted his waistline!
It’s an hour and a half walk for most of the children to get to the local primary school. We were passing on our way Ruhango and so we decided to stop by to cause some havoc! Two children sponsored by CHI attend the school, one of whom Joff’s home group sponsor so he was thrilled to meet her in person.
Ruhango, is perched on the side of a hill, and we could hear the drums and singing as we climbed up to greet the congregation and heard more stories of positive change. The possibility of a traditional beehive as an income generation project sparked interest, offering the potential for sustainable development in the community.
The journey continued to Mugina Church, with Carmen, taking a spin on the pastor's motorbike along the narrow dirt track halfway up a mountain, much to the surprise of the locals. Women don’t drive motorcycles in Rwanda, and certainly not ‘muzungu’ women.
On arrival at Mugina Church, Catechists and Christian leaders gathered, shared testimonies and asked us to pray for a milling machine to support an income-generating project.
Our visit to Kagamba highlighted the extraordinary faith of the community, who started building a church fit for 300 people where only 43 attended. They managed to get the walls up seven years ago but not much else. Now, after running out of money, the walls have suffered from exposure to the elements and are themselves in need of repair. Despite setbacks, their trust in God was inspiring, and has been rewarded with over 60 people being baptised in the parish.
On the way home, we stopped by the home of Theophile, whose sponsor repaired the home of after it was damaged in a storm.
His family’s gratitude was evident as they sang and danced to welcome us. His mother, proudly wearing her new mothers union uniform was holding back the emotion as she told us just what it meant to them.
Today, we witnessed the power of the gospel in the lives of individuals and communities. The day was filled with song, dance, introductions, and testimonies, culminating in the presentation of beautiful gifts. Each story shared, every smile exchanged, every tear shed, and the gratitude expressed serve as a testament to God’s provision in their lives. A joyful day indeed, celebrating the work of God with our brothers and sisters.