Westview is pursuing an intentional mission engagement in the Great Lakes region of Africa, focussed in Rwanda. Westview has a number of long-term connections to Rwanda and the region. Canadian Foodgrains Bank has a number of local initiatives. Canadian Baptist Ministries has a presence. A number of Westview members have connections, experience and relationships that will help determine our investment and involvement.
We sent a team in August 2019 to learn about the region, make connections and investigate the possibilities for shared ministry. This team will work with the Ministry Beyond Ourselves committee to create a proposal for Westview of how we can be engaged in mission in Africa going forward. The church will then plan accordingly, and develop long-term relationships and opportunities for Westview members to serve in mission.
Great Lakes Region of Africa
This is a region of East Africa encompassing Lake Tanganyika, Lake Victoria, Lake Kivu, Lake Alberta and Lake Edward. It includes the countries of Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Kenya and Tanzania. These countries have been the focus of conflict, and political and economic challenges associated with post-colonial nation-building. Poverty, development and human rights concerns create the context for positive engagement on the part of international relief and development groups to come alongside local initiatives.
Rwanda is a small landlocked country in East Africa. The country struggles through a legacy of ethnic tension that culminated in the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi. During a 100-day period, more than 800,000 people were killed.
Development and reconciliation are underway following the 1994 genocide. While great progress has been made, tremendous relief and development efforts are still needed, particularly in rural Rwanda.
Bugesera is a dry and arid region of Southern Rwanda. More than half the population of Bugesera was killed in the genocide. Among other initiatives in Rwanda, the Westview team will visit a number of initiatives in Bugesera established to pursue healing and reconciliation, address areas of extreme poverty, and equip local church leaders and congregations.
Canadian Baptist Ministries partners with local churches to bring hope, healing and reconciliation through word and deed. Canadian Foodgrains Bank supports food security initiatives in Rwanda, working to support local agricultural production.
Westview - August 2019
The Westview trip to Rwanda was very successful in meeting the leadership of CBM in Rwanda and CBM's partner denomination, AEBR (Association of Baptist Churches of Rwanda). We visited local churches and initiatives in the sub-region of Bugesera. Local churches serve 11 villages in the area, run schools and support numerous initiatives focused on fostering community and reconciliation.
We are currently developing an agreement with CBM and discerning our future ongoing engagement in the area.