On landing at the Bujumbura International Airport at 7:30 p.m., we were met by Remy Nsengiyumva and two gentlemen who had come with a taxi to take us to the Hotel in Buganda. On the way we picked up Fabien Semivumbi from Rwanda, who has been very helpful in translating our messages from English into the local language. On June 8, we held a Bible study, with a question-and-answer session following. I have been visiting with the group for four years now, and those who had been counseling for baptism were eager to resume. A total of about 10 individuals were counseled for baptism, and the following morning before Sabbath services I was able to baptize Remy Nsengiyumva. It was a delight to welcome a new member into the Body of Christ. He is the local contact person in that group.
During services we sang from UCG hymnals that have been translated into the Kirundi language with the help of Charles Nizigiyimana, a musician. He lives in the capital city of Bujumbura.
The group overall is growing in knowledge, and, although there exists a challenge in that while most of the individuals can only understand the local language, most of them are progressing well in the faith. Only a few can understand either some English or French.
After Sabbath services we traveled to Kirundo, Burundi, so that we could travel on to Rwanda the following morning and enter Rwanda on June 10. We have a Bible study group at Nzangwa, just 20 minutes from the border in Rwanda. We visited with this group for Bible study and a question-and-answer session. They were delighted because I was not able to visit with them during my last visit in February 2018. One need this group has is Bibles. Last year a donation was divided in two, for a total of 34 Bibles for use in Burundi and Rwanda. The number of Bibles were not enough as there are more requests.
From Nzangwa, our translator Fabien, Kevin and I traveled to Musanze town on the northern side of Rwanda, where we spent the night. On June 11, we rested until the afternoon when we had a board meeting with the officials who are working in having the Church registered in Rwanda. At the board meeting we discussed the progress of the five Bible study groups in Rwanda, located at Musanze, Rubavu, Kabatwa, Nzangwa and Mukamira. I am happy to report that there has been much progress through the years. Registration of the Church is at advanced stages and is necessary so that those whom God is calling can worship without any legal issues. After the board meeting I conducted a seminar on leadership/mentoring from the notes on “Teach as You Have Taught“ by John Elliott. The Relevant verses are 2 Timothy 2:2-7; Ephesians 4:11-15; Titus 1:5-11; 1 Corinthians 14:26,33; Titus 3:10-11 and 2 Timothy 2:15, 24-25.
On June 12 we visited a Bible study group in Rubavu. On June 13 we visited a Bible study group in Mukamira. Not many were in attendance, as there were three burial ceremonies in the area, which most of the people in this group were attending. On June 14 we visited another group in Kabatwa. On June 15 we rested and prepared for the Sabbath. We met with the Musanze congregation on June 16. This congregation is dynamic and comprised of five committed families. Weekly Sabbath attendance is between 23 to 30 people. The Sabbath services are like those held at any other UCG congregations around the world. Services were conducted in English with translation into Rwandese language by Fabien Semivumbi and Michael Zilimwabagabo.
Three booklets, Transforming Your Life, God’s Holy Day Plan, and Fundamental Beliefs of the United Church of God, have been translated into the Rwandese language and are very helpful to those individuals being called to understand God’s truth today. On June 17 Kevin and I traveled to Kigali where we caught a flight back home to Nairobi, Kenya. It was a delight to be accompanied by Kevin, a young adult serving in the Nairobi congregation, as we help mentor the next generation of servants in God’s Church.