April 17, 2013
This was another great church leaders meeting. The committee members were there but they also invited other pastors to join them as well since they had visitors from Canada.
There was pastors and leaders from the Pentecostals, Free Methodists, Anglicans, Presbyterian, Methodist, Seven Day Adventists, Assemblies of God, and a couple others I couldn’t write down fast enough as they were being introduced. At the meeting in Kigali there was also a catholic priest but I didn’t hear that there was one here today.
We read Psalm 133. Powerful Psalm on the unity of the brethren.
The main focus of the group was on the savings program so we were able to get a few stats. The area that we were visiting had three sectors. Don’t’ ask me about sectors sizes; I think Dan Wilson has a better handle on how big they are. I think from one end to the other end it would take about 45 minutes to drive on very rough roads, so maybe 20km in length for all three sectors. I think in walking distance, maybe three hours from the outside to the middle of the three sectors. But I’m guessing based on a few things I picked up.
Within the three sectors there are 134 savings groups that have been started over the past two years. The groups are having a huge impact on the lives of the people. 10 churches have engaged and implemented the groups. There are a total of 84 people that have been trained to lead a group.
One pastor said that since working with World Relieve their minds have been opened to new ways of doing ministry and helping those that are vulnerable. He said, “The thinking of transformational development is new to us.” And another pastor said, “We appreciate all the support we are getting and we are committed to making good use of it.”
Another said that they have begun to creatively think about the resources they already have and then begin to use those resources to help the people in the church and also in the community. By doing this they have seen the congregations rise up to the challenge and they are now doing things differently and as a result, pulling themselves out of poverty.
We asked them how they are enjoying working together and one said that they use to be very protective of their congregation for fear that another pastor might take some of them. But now they meet together and are very accepting of each other.
They also told us that after a couple days training from World Relief on starting savings groups they started meeting together and training each other because they had the material that World Relief has supplied in the initial training.
Great group! You could tell they were not as far along as the church leaders group in Kigali but the enthusiasm and desire to affect positive change in their community will not be lost on these leaders. As World Relief continues to invest in them in the coming months a years, this area is going to experience a large transformation.