Shouts of Joy Ministries and Wellspring at the Cross hosted a short-term Missions trip to Rwanda, Africa this past March. It has been twenty years since the devastating Tutsi Genocide in 1994, where over a million Tutsi and moderate Hutu were hacked to death in the streets of Rwanda. Shouts of Joy Ministries has been traveling to Rwanda since 2005 and ministering to the orphans caused by that massacre.
This year was such a productive trip that I wanted to take some time to share with you some of what happened. We took six Americans, Joie and Douglas Pirkey, Brenda and Elvin Blair, Craig Doriot, and Dan Kunde in addition to Mydear Eugenie, a Rwandan orphan who has been living with us here in Wisconsin, to Kigali, Rwanda on March 6th.
Christian Life Assembly
Ministry began the day after we arrived. On Sunday, March 9 the entire gang headed out to ‘Christian Life Assembly Church’ in Umatara. Umutara is a Province 2.5 hours drive north east of Kigali. Pastor Richard Gasana set up a makeshift movie theater with large sheets and blankets over the open sections of their meeting room to create as much darkness as he could because we brought a handheld projector to show “The Jesus Film” in the native language, Kinyarwanda. We chose to show the children’s version because of the large number of kids in attendance and we didn’t want to cause anyone distress seeing a more graphic crucifixion being that everyone over 20 had been through the genocide.
The response was amazing! Watching the kids faces as many of them were mesmerized by their first movie, and for it to be in their own language, was really something to see. During the parts of the movie when Jesus multiplied the loaves and fishes everyone gasped and clapped. When Jesus raised the young girl from the dead people yelled out and stomped their feet and cheered. It was so much fun to be a part of and to watch it all unfold. We were able to leave SIM Memory cards for their phones with the Kinyarwanda audio Bible on it, along with both Jesus Films and with English and Kinyarwanda digital Bibles. I saw numerous people gathered around the phones listening to the Word of God in their native language.
Gospel Goes Viral Using Modern Technology
I am so excited about this memory card, CD, flash drives, and Bluetooth project that I could just shout!! We brought 100’s of them and dispersed them to many places, including two very large Kigali churches, who then can transfer the data through Bluetooth into everyone’s phones in their churches. We also gave them to churches in remote villages in different provinces in Rwanda. All of the devices have the ability to very easily transfer the information so the potential of it spreading is infinite. Prior to this technology the only (very expensive) way to spread the written Word of God was in books, which are very difficult to get into Rwanda being that it is a land-locked country. This ability to bring the Bible on a technical device that they can use in their phones is revolutionary! 80% of Rwandans have small cell phones so the ability to reach even remote villages is now possible! With pastor Richard, we left numerous Memory cards but purchased his remote church a much-needed, heavy duty generator as well.
Restoration Church Kimisagara Corruption Testimony
So many awesome things happened on our trip, but there is one particular evening I want to share about. On our last night, we preached at Restoration Church Kimisagara in Kigali. The entire trip had been developing around a testimony from a prophecy that the Lord gave to me in 2001 that we were able to share that night.
The prophecy that birthed the testimony was that people from the Fox Valley area would go to Rwanda bringing with them the ability to trust, specifically for the business community and it would help strengthen the Rwandan economy. Also in this prophecy was that Rwandans would be used to help teach the church in the Fox Valley freedom in their worship. Included in this original prophecy was a word that a relatively unknown woman at that time, named Gaby Kimanzi, who had recently just joined the Restoration Church choir, would become a renowned worshiper. Somehow Gaby would be involved in bringing this freedom of worship to the Valley. Since then, Gaby’s worship has become well-known in Rwanda. She won a sort of Gospel Singer of the Year 2013 this past March. You can read about this prophecy in the book by Eric Irivuzumugabe, entitled “My Father Maker of the Trees” published in 2009.
The testimony that spoke to trust in business, that we shared at Restoration Church that night, was in three parts. I began by sharing the prophecy again; I had first shared it in April in 2005 at this same church. Then Dan Kunde spoke about corruption in the local church here in the Valley and how God brought him through, personally facing that corruption. Craig Doriot spoke next about corruption in the business world and how trusting God was the only answer to his business being stolen from him. Then Douglas followed shared his testimony of going through the chaos of the demise of Fodey Security, whom he worked for while we lived in Rwanda.
These three men found themselves in similar circumstances with surprisingly corrupt leaders who were attempting to force them into their corrupt ways. In the heat of their situations, another prophecy came that said if they would continue to follow Christ through their circumstances and trust Him, God would uphold and vindicate them in the end, and that they would receive compensation that was being unfairly held from them: $4,000 for Dan, $40,000 for Douglas, and $4 million for Craig, and that the money would come in that specific order. This prophecy was given at one of our prayer meetings and many people heard it and agreed in prayer that God would have His way in these situations. Less than 2 years later and after much difficulty, they each continued to follow the Lord against very difficult circumstances and ridicule and received what was promised in those exact amounts and in that exact order.
Fodey Security is Closed by the Rwandan Government
Douglas’ testimony had been causing a stir in Rwanda at the time we spoke. He was overseeing a company of 1,400 security guards at Fodey Security, whose Muslim ownership was engaging in horrific forms of greed, corruption and abuse of employees and many knew of them. After forcing Douglas out of the company in 2010 the government began to investigate and soon found the deep levels of corruption and shut the entire company down this past December. His testimony really caught the attention of the Rwandan people because the news of Fodey being shut down was in the news just the month before. Together the testimonies had a huge impact in the minds and hearts of the people at Restoration Church that evening. There was a palpable move of the Holy Spirit and many voiced this impact after the service.
We recorded the testimonies and they are posted on Craig’s blog called Stuff About God. I strongly suggest you take an hour one evening and snuggle in and listen to them entirely. The message is deeply profound and we believe that God is doing something very special with Rwanda and the Fox Valley and that it will include many in our area. We are also in the process of bringing Gaby Kimanzi here this fall to do worship seminars and to work with our worship team.
Some Memorable Moments
Following the sermon at Christian Life Assembly, 3 men came forward to give their lives to Christ and a fourth man repented of alcoholism and came forward to re-dedicate himself. This is Douglas and Pastor Richard and Mary the worship leader praying for the three new believers.
Dan Kunde singing worship songs with Rwanda’s Entertainer of the year DJ Pius Rukabuza and Entertainer Host Ange Umulisa the day after their wedding. News articles about their work and wedding were all over the media while we were in Rwanda. Pius is one of the orphans that we periodically assisted through his education in law school and he has graduated just two months ago.
To the left: Blowing bubbles at the land that we assisted in purchasing. We brought cases of schools supplies, clothing, Beenie Babies and treats for the local children but the bubbles were the biggest hit. We met with the pastor there to find out what upcoming needs the church has and to plan an event for the future trip. To the Right: Dan and Brenda handing out items to the kids who met us on the land. Notice the Browns Baseball hat on Elvin’s favorite little guy! He loves him up every year we go.