We did short interviews at the ANL Bible College in Kigali for these profiles. They weren’t as in-depth as I would have liked (I want to meet her four girls!), but it was great to meet Rwandans who have access to this unprecedented, amazing resource in their own country. Photo by Esther Havens.
Peace first heard the gospel when she was washing clothes in the river by her home in Uganda when she was eighteen. A man preached about Jesus to the women gathered there, which left an impression on her that she didn’t quite understand. She was born and grew up in Uganda as a Rwandan refugee; her family left Rwanda to escape prejudice and violence. She never graduated high school because her parents couldn’t afford to educate all their children – 6 girls and 4 boys in all. Her family moved back to Rwanda in 1994; their motherland immediately welcomed them back.
For a time after that day by the river, she wrote scriptures on bananas so she could carry them with her and memorize them. She now recognizes that God was working on her heart. Years later, she became a Christian in church and began to pray for her family, as she was the first in her family to come to know God. She met her husband Godfrey when he preached at a youth conference she was attending. Shortly after they were married, Peace felt the call of God on her heart to be a pastor, too, but she didn’t tell her husband for years because she knew the life was not without difficulty. When she was in church, on two separate occasions, visiting pastors from Uganda and the Unites States pronounced that she would be a pastor. With her husband’s support, she began preaching about God in places like Burundi, Uganda and Congo. Her favorite subject was the Old Testament. Though she has been a traveling preacher and works alongside her husband in their Kigali church, Revival Temple, she never received any training until she and her husband enrolled in Africa College of Theology as part of the first graduating class. Not only that, but this is Peace’s first school environment since she had to drop out of secondary school. Adapting to all the reading has been a challenge, but Peace works hard because she knows it’s essential. In Rwanda, less than 5% of pastors have formal theological training. She realized that “many church leaders do things out of ignorance. Some leaders in Rwanda, they don’t know how to raise leaders, how to disciple. Everything is upon one person.”
In addition to being a student and full-time mom to five daughters, Peace, now 38, meets with women in her community on Saturdays to preach and encourage. Women struggle to find jobs, educate their children and battle with HIV/AIDS. Peace hopes to have more time and resources to dedicate to them when she graduates. As a female pastor, she is uniquely able to minister to her sisters in Christ and share her newfound knowledge with them. Women are impressed that she is a pastor. Her five daughters are proud of their mother; two of them help lead worship at the family church on Sundays. When asked about her future, she says simply, “As a person, I just live by the grace of God.”As a woman and mother, she is unique in her calling and gifting, and she is obedient God’s prompting. Peace believes that in the Rwandan church “People are being revived, accepting Gospel, believing that God restored the land.” God is moving, and now there is a school that she and pastors like her can attend to educate themselves and make their churches healthy and secure. She and her husband sit side by side in class, both eager to play their roles in the future to which God has called them, in the future of Rwanda.