Half a million impacted by Easter message in Rwanda
The gospel’s healing in an embattled nation
When the Eternity writers first heard about the tremendous success of the Jesus. All About Life campaign in Rwanda, each of us independently noted that we should follow up the story.
The campaign, funded by Bible Society Australia and organised by African Enterprise, brought the message of Jesus’ sacrifice to Rwanda over the Easter period. Mehretab Tekie, who manages the project from African Enterprise’s Australian office, explains why this campaign was particularly fruitful in Rwanda.
The Scars of Rwanda’s Past
In 1994, Rwanda was nine-tenths Christian.
But after decades of bloody ethnic conflict between the majority tribe of Hutus and the minority Tutsis, an airplane carrying the Hutu presidents of Rwanda and Burundi was shot down on 6th April 1994.
Genocidal killings began the following day. In a few short months, more than half a million Rwandans were killed, and about two million more became refugees.
“There is a lot of trauma,” Tekie reflects. Rwandans were naturally disillusioned with the church, although the vast majority remain at least nominally Christian.
Jesus. All About Life
Because of this history, Tekie explains, “the message of Easter, sacrifice and crucifixion is a universal Christian theme, but in Rwanda it has a specific impact. They have suffered the genocide; they know what sacrifice means.”
Tekie hopes that the Jesus. All About Life campaign will help Rwanda on its way to being “a God-fearing country”, believing that this will promote lasting harmony and peace.
The preparatory phase involved identifying evangelists and institutions who would participate, organising the required materials and translating campaign materials into Kinyarwanda, the national language.
“The message of Easter, sacrifice and crucifixion is a universal Christian theme, but in Rwanda it has a specific impact.” – Mehretab Tekie
Since beginning in April, the campaign has reached about 400,000 people in schools, universities, public spaces, churches, sports evangelism, radio and television. In just two months, 10,000 Rwandans have committed to accept Jesus Christ as their Lord!
Follow up is coordinated through churches and community leaders. New believers are supported with Bibles and resources, and encouraged to participate in Bible studies and church services.
Along with the Easter campaign, Bible Society have funded government-instituted literacy programs based on reconciliation.
“It’s a double objective,” Tekie explains. “They improve literacy, and at the same time they learn about reconciliation – how to live in peace with each other and in harmony.”
In just two months, 10,000 Rwandans have committed to accept Jesus Christ as their Lord!
Looking to the Future
Having endured the trauma of genocide, new Christians in Rwanda are extremely committed, says Tekie.
He expects the Rwandan Jesus. All About Life campaign to go from strength to strength. “I’m very confident that we will keep reaching more and more, because Rwanda has been a very experienced and excellent partner.”
Many evangelists and churches have now been trained for future campaigns. The next steps are following up these thousands of new Christians and encouraging future participation among Catholic churches, who make up the majority of Rwandan Christians.
“I’m very confident that we will keep reaching more and more.”
“We are non-denominational Christian,” Tekie proudly explains. “Anyone willing to hear the word of God is welcome.”
As well as praying for the campaign and for new Christians, Tekie asks that we pray for the country’s leadership and for peace between Rwandan tribes.
Beyond Rwanda, Jesus. All About Life has reached over two million people worldwide with the message of Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection, with almost 900 churches involved in the Easter campaign!