Churches growing in Rwanda in the wake of the 1994 genocide

By April 20, 2004

Rwanda (MNN) — About one-million people died. It was tribalism at its worst. This month the world is commemorating 10 years since the genocide in Rwanda. The tribalism pitted Hutus against Tutsis. The result? About one million people killed and scores fled the small African nation.

However, the church has played an incredible part in the healing process. Wendy Ryan is with the Baptist World Alliance . Ryan says the healing isn’t over, but progress is being made. “One of the first things we did was to provide some people, through Baptist World Aid to bring together groups for reconciliation and healing because that is the big miracle. They particularly emphasized the need for repentance and the encouragement of their leaders who realize that this is a spiritual problem,” says Ryan.

Ryan says, however, as reconciliation has taken place, they church is seeing results. She says, “Among both groups the church is growing. And, it is growing because the genocide brought people to the need for a much more of a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. A lot of the Christian faith before was nominal, but now there is a real need to know the change that Christ brings.”

Many Rwandans are turning to Christ. Ryan says that’s causing a problem. “There’s so much growth now that there’s a really challenge that they do not have enough theological leaders. Churches are growing so fast we do not have enough trained people to deal with the number of people who are really coming to know the Lord Jesus Christ,” she says.

Funding is needed to help this program grow.

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