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Some readers will remember the horrific genocide that occurred in Rwanda in the 1990’s.  I have long prayed for a strong gospel witness and biblical church in Rwanda.  Words fail to describe my emotions as I read Bill Issa’s latest report:

“Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.”

Acts 17:11

“When our deacon, Marvin, was undergoing his pastoral internship at Kabwata Baptist Church in Lusaka, Zambia in 2018, something important happened! A ‘Macedonian call’ came to Mischeck Kumwenda (Missions Coordinator at KBC) from Maombi Mathias in Kigali, Rwanda. Maombi was asking for spiritual help with a small Bible study group he was leading in the capital city of Rwanda.

Brother Mischeck connected Maombi with our deacon, Marvin, since Uganda borders Rwanda. Marvin maintained correspondence with Maombi, and when Marvin came back to Kampala from Lusaka, Maombi came to visit RBC. Mathias visited in January 2019 while I was in Northern Uganda for ministry, so I didn’t meet him. He shared their amazing testimony with our church and, when I came back to Kampala, I found all the members talking well about the brethren in Kigali. RBC decided to send me and Marvin to Kigali, to confirm those amazing stories. We traveled to Kigali in March, and found a small, vibrant, solid “Bible Study Group” (as they call themselves), led by Maombi Mathias and four more brothers.

Maombi’s Testimony

Maombi Mathias (center below, in gold) is 29, from the minority Tutsi ethnic group of Rwanda. He is an orphan and a survivor of the 1994 Rwandan genocide. Both his parents and all his other 70 relatives were butchered, leaving 4-year old Maombi all alone! He grew up with much hatred against God, concluding that God did not exist, or if He did, He must be evil for allowing what happened in his country. 

The young orphan was taken in by a Roman Catholic charitable organization. They took good care of him and later sent him to one of their schools. He excelled in Mathematics & Physics and was among the top five students in Kigali. This led to a scholarship for university where he got a degree in Electronics and Telecommunication Engineering. Later he did some theological studies and emerged with an ‘Advanced Diploma in Theology of Missions.’ You may be wondering why a God-hater pursued a theological degree?

It was at university that the Lord called Mathias. There was a missionary from the U.S. who started an evangelistic “Bible Union Fellowship” at Maombi’s university and started meeting with students regularly. One day, Maombi’s friend took him to that Bible fellowship where the missionary was preaching from Mark 8:36 ‘For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?’ These words left a lot of questions in Maombi’s young mind – ‘Can one lose his soul? How? I’m studying with so many ambitions. What if I study, get all the money and honors, then lose my soul?’ He continued to attend the Bible Union Fellowship, asking for more explanation on how one can lose his soul. He liked the Bible study meetings, although he continued with his sinful life. He wanted to stop sinning, but could not.

Eventually the missionary went back to the U.S. and Maombi was not attending any local church. After graduation, he started looking for work and was offered a job training people in computer skills. When he was arrived to his place of work, he discovered it was a prosperity ‘church.’ The pastor had employed him to train people in the nationwide branches of his ‘church.’ He was paid very well and Maombi started conducting Bible study with his students after lessons. One day the pastor found him leading Bible study and decided to give him other responsibilities in the church. After a while he found himself among the main leaders of the church!

Eventually the missionary went back to the U.S. and Maombi was not attending any local church. After graduation, he started looking for work and was offered a job training people in computer skills. When he was arrived to his place of work, he discovered it was a prosperity ‘church.’ The pastor had employed him to train people in the nationwide branches of his ‘church.’ He was paid very well and Maombi started conducting Bible study with his students after lessons. One day the pastor found him leading Bible study and decided to give him other responsibilities in the church. After a while he found himself among the main leaders of the church!

From the first day, though, he was disturbed by the teachings and practices of that church. Eventually he started pleading with the pastor to abandon man-centered teaching and practices and follow what Scripture teaches, but the pastor refused. Mathias decided to obey God rather than men by resigning from both the church and church job! After resigning, Mathias started doing Bible study with his wife at home. As he continued seeking God in the Scriptures, he felt deep conviction of his sins, until one day he went into his bedroom and cried to God for forgiveness. From that day he felt peace, joy, and assurance that he had never experienced before. Some of his church friends, neighbors, and classmates started looking for him because of his serious approach with the Word, and that’s how the Bible study group was formed in 2017.

How Did They Find Kabwata Baptist Church? 

Maombi started going to the internet looking for biblically sound preachers. One day he came across a certain ‘Spurgeon of Africa’ and that disturbed his mind. He had learnt about Charles H. Spurgeon from that U.S. missionary at his university and had fallen in love with him as he read his books and sermons. When he saw this ‘Spurgeon of Africa’ on the internet, he thought, ‘This must be one of these many heretics in Africa comparing himself with Spurgeon. Let me first listen to what this heretic has to say.’ After listening to one of Pastor Conrad Mbewe’s sermons, he was edified and started following him. Later, by following Pastor Mbewe, he landed on Brother Paul Washer. At last, he finally wrote to Pastor Mbewe through Mischeck Kumwenda seeking help, and Misheck connected him to us.

Serious About Truth

Marvin and I arrived in Kigali on a Saturday at 6am. Mathias picked us from the bus station and at 10am we had a meeting with the leaders of the group. These guys put us to a real test! Like the Bereans of Acts 17:11, whatever we said that sounded unfamiliar to them, they asked us to explain it with a passage of Scripture! I was offered a chance to preach on Sunday, but with a serious warning – if I said anything unbiblical, I would be stopped in the middle of the sermon and asked to explain; if I failed to satisfy them the sermon would end right there! After our Saturday meeting, I joked with Marvin saying “We are in trouble here in Rwanda! You should be the one to preach tomorrow sir!” But we were so happy with the way these guys are very serious with Scripture. What a joy it was to discover these brethren right across our border!

They have existed for two years as a Bible Study group. They even must discourage people who want to join them because of their sound doctrine. This is because of the tough rules in their country – not being a formal church hinders them from many things. They need to help and guidance on how to become a legally recognized church. Let’s pray together for that need.

And although our brethren are biblically sound, we discovered that they have many passages that they still misinterpret because they’ve been like sheep without a shepherd! Because of that, RBC has decided, if the Lord wills, to be sending two brothers to Kigali after every three or four months to encourage and do Bible study with them. Please pray for the Lord’s provision in that endeavor.”

Author

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Before his current role at HeartCry, S.R. served several years in pastoral ministry, and a few years in Zambia, Africa as a missionary.  He is also a veteran of the Marine Corps. S.R. and his wife have been blessed with 3 children and 4 grandchildren. They live near Christiansburg, VA in the beautiful Blue Ridge mountains, where he enjoys deer hunting and fly-fishing for trout.

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