Africa New Life ministry in Kayonza

Here is news from Kayonza, the community in which most of the children sponsored by individuals in Harbor Baptist Church live. It is great to see the impact of our ministry in lives there in Africa!

Transformation one life at a time

Our prayer for every student in our programs is that they would not only be equipped to escape the cycle of poverty but would be able to thrive in every area of their lives. Often we have the opportunity to see examples of such thriving in the young men and women who have grown up in our programs and begin giving back. Emmanuel Nteziryayo is a perfect example.

Now 20 years old and in Senior 4 (10th grade), Emmanuel can look back over the past few years of his life and see the true transformation that has taken place. As a boy, Emmanuel experienced deep poverty. Every aspect of life was challenging. Once, he went three full days without food. Unable to afford school fees, he missed several years of education. When the boy was only nine years old, his mother passed away. A few years later, to cope with the weight of all these challenges, Emmanuel began taking drugs. Life was lonely, painful, and full of hunger and loss.

But then one day, Emmanuel was registered for sponsorship through Africa New Life. He was matched with a sponsor and moved onto the New Life Christian Academy campus in Kayonza, Rwanda. There, he had the opportunity to build meaningful friendships, grow under the mentorship of compassionate and faith-filled teachers and leaders, and eat consistently for the first time in years. Under these conditions, Emmanuel began to flourish.

Photos © Esther Havens Photography

Today Emmanuel is an academically gifted, hard-working young man with a passion for his faith and his community. He serves as the lead student pastor at New Life Christian Academy, has organized student groups to serve within the Kayonza community, and has had the opportunity to preach in local churches. His smile is contagious and life-giving.

Emmanuel’s story is an encouraging reminder of the hope and transformation God is working in lives across Rwanda through your partnership and prayers. Thank you for being a part of stories like these! Sponsorship is the boost up that encourages courageous young people like Emmanuel to dream.

Growing faith in Kayonza

If you traveled with us to the small town of Kayonza, Rwanda, you would encounter there a community filled with vibrant faith and hope. Students at New Life Christian Academy and High School, one of the highest performing schools in Rwanda, look healthy and appear to be thriving as they walk between classes together, study in the library, or play football (soccer) in the fields nearby. On Sundays and on chapel days, there is even more life in the air, as many students, their families, and other local community members join together in the school’s cafeteria space for jubilant worship.

One of the shepherds behind this community’s well-being is Pastor Sam, the current chaplain at New Life Christian Academy and High School and the pastor of Kayonza’s New Life Bible Church. Before coming to Kayonza, Sam had a heart for ministry but also a clear conviction that he needed more to be able to pastor well. “I could pray, I could read the Bible, I could read spiritual books, but still I felt I needed to learn something more. I had a calling and this calling needed to be trained.”

Eventually, Sam had the opportunity to attend Africa College of Theology in Kigali. There he received the training he had hoped for and came away with a variety of new skills. He also learned two lessons that remain with him today. First, he learned that God’s word is enough—it does not need human additions, emotional interpretations, etc. God’s word is life-changing and powerful in itself, and needs only to be faithfully taught and followed by God’s servants. Second, he learned that as a servant of God, “your character matters most.” Biblical leaders must demonstrate great character as well as great skill to lead their communities well in Christ.

Today, Pastor Sam leads a church of well over 400 members, plus many students from New Life Christian, and has baptized hundreds. For years, the church met in a tent, which was sufficient in colder seasons but uncomfortable and unhealthy in warmer weather. Pastor Sam and his congregation prayed fervently for a proper building for many years. Today, they are watching their prayers get answered, as thanks to a partnership with Builders Without Borders and to Africa New Life supporters, a new church building will be completed this summer! It isn’t the building that makes the church, but for Pastor Sam and his faithful church family, the new building will make ministry to their neighbors all the more accessible.

Photos © Esther Havens Photography

Please join us in praying for God to continue to move through Pastor Sam and his church in Kayonza, to transform the lives of students at New Life Christian Academy and High School, and to grow the faith of the nation!

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