The effect of the COVID-19 pandemic has been felt worldwide, economically, socially and spiritually. Like many around the world, people in Rwanda were caught unprepared when the government decided to go on a total lockdown which took almost 3 months staying home. Those permitted to works were healthcare workers and business people with food shops. However, the notion of “falling back on savings” – financially or otherwise- is not a feasible possibility for most people in Rwanda. All the social gatherings were forbidden, including churches; people had no option but to do home fellowship with the family members. Due to these reactions many pastors are facing many challenges in terms of adjusting to the program and means of providing for the family.
It’s during this period that many pastors who have gone through TLAfrica pastoral training have been calling the leadership of TLAfrica calling for help and requesting prayer and guidance on how to manage this challenge season. On June 19, 2020 TLAfrica’s Rwanda office got an opportunity to share a gift of love that was donated by CrossBridge Community Church in San Antonio, USA with the pastors who live in the Musanze area. Each person who had gone through TLAfrica trainings and lives in Musanze was called to come to the office to collect food donation packages. The pack was composed with Maize flour, sugar, beans and bar soaps. They were so moved by the fact that the organization still remembers them even in this period when everyone is struggling to survive by themselves. It was a blessed opportunity to reconnect with some of them.
Testimonies of the people who received the donation
Sibomana Martin, from ECMI church
My name is Sibomana Martin; I attend Evangelical Church Ministries International (ECMI) Church. I have a family of twelve (12) people. First and foremost, I thank TLAfrica from the bottom of my heart, for supporting my family with food, good relationship and love that TLAfrica shows to the graduates who went through its trainings. I was not expecting this; it just surprised me. May God bless the work of TLAfrica!
The situation we are in is so complicated; COVID-19 Pandemic came and blew up our minds and everything went in a mess. From that time life has become too hard. When the schools closed, all of my children came back home which made things even harder. I was wondering how we were all going to survive as a big family. But through it all, I thank God for we never slept hungry; God kept on using good Samaritans around us when my food stock was getting almost finished. God used to send other people to help with more food in my house just as he has used TLAfrica today. I’ve really seen God’s hand in this hard season.
Spiritually, this hard time was the best for me in terms of getting closer and having good relationship with God. Before it was hard for me to give enough time to my family because I work far away from my home. But this time I had enough time to share the word of God daily with my family. I realized that I have much work to do in my family; teaching them about the Bible, because my children do not know much about it – which I never minded about before. As I was sharing with them the word of God, their mind was open and they started asking me a lot of questions which helped them understand more about it. It made them become well disciplined. My wife used to make handcrafted items, but it was hard for her to find markets for the products since tourism to Rwanda has stopped. Later, she changed her career into tailoring. This has been the only way we have as family to earn an income.
We are happy and we really thank and appreciate your support. Thank you, TLAfrica, for the lessons we learned through your trainings about the book of Daniel and Revelation. This is the right time we are seeing the use of those lessons from the two books. All what I learned is all that keeps on pushing me and puts hope in me, because this situation is not a surprise according to the Bible. This is one of the signs of the last days of the world and reminds us about Jesus Christ’s return. This is thus an encouragement and best opportunity to all pastors to spread the word of God to many, especially to those who have never received Jesus Christ as their Lord and savior.
Senzoga Theogene, from ADEPR church
My name is Senzoga Theogene, I fellowship at Pentecostal Church (ADEPR) in Musanze. I am a family man, married to one wife blessed with four children. I pastor a church and I got a chance to go through TLAfrica’s bible trainings. The key focus of the training was on the book of Daniel. I learned that during this end time many prophets shall come up and how to deal with it. I received a cow upon my graduation, which changed so many things for us. I get manure for my farming, milk for my children and sometimes I can sell surplus and get little money for upkeep.
During this pandemic of COVID-19, my family has faced difficulty in getting food for my family. Due to the government measures in controlling the spread of the virus we no longer meet. Getting these gifts of food from TLAfrica is a blessing and an answered prayer. Personally, I am very thankful to TLAfrica for having thought of us during this difficult time. My family and I will continue praying for everyone who has been part of this noble act. May our rich God add more for everyone who contributed. God bless TLAfrica and all the partners.
Bihoyiki Christine, from ADEPR church
My name is BIHOYIKI Christine; I am a Christian attending ADEPR church. I am married and have 5 children. I thank God for the good relationship between TLAfrica and their graduates who went through their trainings. I thank them for the food they have provided to my family in this difficult period- God bless them! In fact, this is not the first time to be helped by TLAfrica. There is time we were given cows, and this shows how much they care about us. May God bless you!
As a Christian this is the time we need to exercise faith. We need to pray together, so that God continues to strengthen us because there is nothing else to do apart from praying and believing in the Almighty God. We have really suffered due to this lockdown, where all businesses were closed, thus making life very hard.
I thank you again and I will continue to pray for you and ask God to bless you more. I will keep praying together with my family and ask God to stop Coronavirus in the whole world so we may be safe again. We have seen that having faith over fear is key to overcoming challenges. As we receive this food, I just remember how God uses his people to help each other. This was a surprise to me and I am so excited that my family has what to eat now. I wish this period can be a lesson to everyone to know that the love of God to his people will never end. This teaches us that we should also learn to share with others in times like this and keep believing in God until the return of Jesus Christ.
“I go by the name Muhimpundu Assumpter; I am married and blessed with seven (7) children. I am always grateful to TLAfrica for the impact they have had on my life. I went through many life transforming teachings through TLAfrica’s training program. As a woman, I was encouraged to support my husband in his ministry, for the expansion of God’s Kingdom. I also learned how to be creative, pro-active and develop an entrepreneurial mindset.
After my graduation, I received a cow. This gift served my home miraculously. I was able to pay for my kids school fees from the sales I got from the milk. In addition, I created my own job and become self-employed. I started my own bridal gown shop.
During this period, with the pandemic of COVID-19, my business has stopped, but still we see God’s mercies as he keeps providing for us as a family.
I am so thankful to TLAfrica for remembering us, for allowing God to use them in meeting our needs. To be honest, I was worried asking myself where to get food, but God has reminded me not to worry about tomorrow for he knows what the best is for us.
With the food donation received from TLAfrica I say thank you! God bless you so much!
Bazihishahe, from ECMI church
My name is Bazihishahe J.M.V, I am a member of ECMI church. I have a family of 6 people. I thank God for his protection and for allowing us to meet again alive. I thank TLAfrica for not giving up on caring about all who went through their trainings, which helped all of us to grow spiritually. TLAfrica has not forgotten us and helps us physically as well. I thank you so much for supporting my family with food in this hard time where almost everyone is only minding about how his/her tomorrow will be. But you were not among those; instead you decided to share with us on what you have, God bless you!
Generally, in this time we are in a very complicated life situation as Pastors, since our churches are still locked. This made it hard for us to reach our church members and it is impossible to have a gathering together again. Our life situation is also not easy because there is nowhere to get any financial support to help in my family. But God has always been there and he showed us his powerful hand. We have never slept hungry; He has made ways where there seemed to be no way and we were able to have what to eat.
We have been encouraged by some fellow pastors who never gave up preaching the gospel through radios and different TV stations and this continued keeping us believers close to God. Thank you once more for always thinking about us! My prayer is for God to continue strengthening your teamwork in everything you do and may the Lord remember you, answer you and provide more to you whenever you need his help.
Mushumba, from First Leadership Institute,
I am Mushumba Innocent and I participated in the first leadership institute that culminated into giving of cow. I can remember that graduation day, how pastor Cannings and team emphasized the issue of loving their wives as Christ has loved church. It was empowering to me. I was given a cow, I took care of it, but it was hard to find where I would get enough grass for it to eat. I decided to sell it and bought a piece of land. I used that land for farming and by God’s grace I harvested Irish potatoes from it. These potatoes have helped my family so much during the pandemic period. Whenever I look at that land I see the cow I was given!
For today’s gift, it reminds me of TLAfrica’s mission of bringing holistic change among people, especially during this time when there is no work resulting in starvation for many. My wife and I have four children and she had a business which stopped due to COVID-19.
Thanks to God for TLAfrica and the donors!
Written by Felistus, project manager at TLAfrica, Rwanda.