Skip Navigation Links
News
Entertainment
Marketplace
Directories
Faith
Church
Mission
Education
Connections
Family
International
Help
Seeking God?
 

Visit this room to learn how to advance Christ's mission in Canada and abroad

P.E.A.C.E. for Rwanda
What comes to mind when you think of the country of Rwanda? Genocide? Poverty? HIV/AIDS? Hopelessness? In this seemingly forgotten land there is a powerful stirring of God's Spirit.


I have just returned from a visit to Rwanda, a small, landlocked East African nation. At the invitation of Rick Warren, pastor and author of Purpose Driven Life, I was invited to participate in launch of a national P.E.A.C.E. plan. This initiative came about through a remarkable set of circumstances.

P.E.A.C.E. for Rwanda
Kay Warren, Ndaba Mazabane, Rick Warren, and Geoff Tunnicliffe

President Kigami, the current leader of Rwanda, read Purpose Driven Life about a year ago and was deeply impacted by the biblical concepts presented by Warren. The president decided to write pastor Warren, which lead to his visiting Saddleback Church in California and a team from Saddleback visiting Rwanda.

"We want our country to become a "purpose driven" nation the president boldly declared requesting help from Rick and his team.

It just so happened that Rick had been developing a deeper a heart for the poor and had a growing commitment to impact the world. In response to the "giant" issues in the world, Rick and Saddleback have been formulating a strategy for local churches to engage on the frontline of mission. This P.E.A.C.E. plan calls upon local congregations to:

  1. Plant Churches in response to spiritual emptiness

  2. Equip servant leaders

  3. Assist the poor

  4. Care for the Sick (Particularly those impacted by HIV/AIDS)

  5. Educate the illiterate

In seeking to help Rwanda become the first purpose driven nation in the world, Saddleback sent "listening" teams to connect with church, business and government leaders. These teams are working with Rwandanese leaders to determine an appropriate strategy to respond to the most pressing needs of the country.

During the official launch of this national PEACE plan, in which I had the privilege to participate, key events were held to explain this strategy. These included:

P.E.A.C.E. for Rwanda
  1. Meetings with the top business leaders in the country

  2. A gathering at the president's home with his cabinet

  3. A training conference for over 500 pastors

  4. A banquet attended by at least one third of parliament

To launch this national PEACE plan, a rally (broadcast on national radio) was held at the Peace Stadium. The 20,000 attendees heard inspiring speeches from the president, Rick Warren and key Christian leaders.

One of the most poignant moments for me was to hear the story of reconciliation between a Hutu and Tutsi. I was moved to tears to learn about the forgiveness that had been extended by the young Tutsi man to Hutu who had killed a number of people in his family. Not only had forgiveness been extended but a friendship had been developed. I was thrilled to hear that this is not an isolated situation but rather a part of the emerging story in this land so decimated by human tragedy.

Stories like this one demonstrate God's grace and give me a great sense of hope for the people of Rwanda.

I am also hopeful for the P.E.A.C.E plan in Rwanda because it is based upon an understanding that the local church is God's instrument for community transformation. While governments, business and NGO's all play a significant role, the missing ingredient has so often been the local church. This particular strategy seems to correct this shortcoming.

To make a real impact on the nation of Rwanda, the PEACE plan will have to overcome some significant challenges and obstacles including:

P.E.A.C.E. for Rwanda
  1. The possibility that this might be another short-lived foreign plan.

  2. The ability for the national churches in Rwanda to contextualize the plan so that it reflects their cultural reality.

  3. The need to develop mutually beneficial partnerships between interdependent African and American churches.

  4. To need to be seen as a non-partisan initiative that is not tied to any one political party.

  5. The effective engagement of Christian mission agencies/relief and development organizations who have many years of experience in the African context.

  6. The need to create new maps where government, business and churches can work together in bringing national transformation.

These and other challenges are significant. However, if God's primary instrument for transformation in the world is the local church, then through the power of His Spirit large faith based initiatives like the P.E.A.C.E plan must be embraced and attempted.

May God's will be done, and may PEACE come to the nation of Rwanda and other nations.

Geoff Tunnicliffe is the international coordinator for the World Evangelical Alliance, and director of global initiatives with the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada.

 

 
 
 
 

Advertisers

  • Redeemer University - Christian university changes everything. Starting with you.

Visit our Marketplace

Support the EFC ministry by using our Amazon links