Westview sent its second team to Rwanda in November 2023. The purpose of the trip was to re-familiarize the church with our organizational ministry partners (CBM and AEBR) and further develop the relationships and initiatives begun between us in 2019. This was a necessary step coming out of a time of numerous leadership changes at Westview and AEBR, along with the general disruptions of COVID-19 to ministry plans in Rwanda.
The team visited multiple churches and initiatives in the Bugesera region of Rwanda. The main church of the region is located in Nyabagendwa, an area that continues to grow due to its proximity to the new Bugersera International Airport. The team met with regional pastors there and hosted a 2-day workshop on leadership and work-life balance for pastors, other church leaders, and their spouses. The team members attended a special regional church service for worship at Nyabagendwa, with Pastor Garry sharing a message alongside other leaders from the 20 or so churches who gathered to ordain new pastors into the AEBR, and celebrated with songs and dancing led by 21 different regional choirs.
The church site is also the location of the Karera Primary School. The Westview team engaged with teachers and administrators there while touring the completed washroom and water storage construction project that was aided by funding from Westview in 2020. At the Karera school, the team discussed various needs and possibilities for future development work, including the potential for a technology hub that might serve the region in numerous ways.
Other visits included the site of a food security initiative led by the Canadian Foodgrains Bank, spending time in fellowship with various families connected to the Nyabagendwa Church, and participating in the construction of a new church building with local workers and volunteers in the village of Ruyenzi. Bugesera is the location of two significant memorials of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsis in Rwanda and our team spent an afternoon with one of the guides at the memorial in Nyamata reflecting on the church’s role in those events and God’s presence.
The team also visited areas in the capital city of Kigali where they met with AEBR leaders and staff, visited the national genocide memorial in Kigali, and worshipped at the Kacyiru Church.
Westview's 2023 trip to Rwanda was very successful. They made significant connections with key leaders in the AEBR denomination, deepened understanding of the region and its churches and discussed future goals. These relationships will help Westview continue a long-term commitment in Rwanda.