Rwanda is still busy healing from its deep and sensitive scar. The horror of the satanic killings that began on the morning of April 7, 1994 is still fresh in the minds of the survivors. More than one million victims, the survivors’ family and friends, lost their lives in the most inhumane and brutal genocide.
A program called Gacaca was started to establish reconciliation. As I was reading some of the stories of forgiveness in the Genocide Memorial Museum, I realized that only God’s grace can bring true healing and reconciliation. It is times like these which create fertile soil for God’s forgiveness, acceptance, and grace.
I believe that the containers of Bible lessons have come at the right time. Rwanda is open for the everlasting gospel. The evidence was seen during Ted Wilson’s evangelistic campaigns of 2016, where 105,000 people responded to the gospel and were baptized. This mass baptism shook Rwanda. Everyone was astonished at the results.
However, even though there was success during the evangelistic campaigns, people still needed to be grounded in their relationship with their Savior. Unfortunately, many converts fell away and their faith grew cold. A change in strategy was needed. Soon, in 2017, when the first container of Bible lessons from Light Bearers arrived, the Rwanda Union Mission put another strategy in place.
…even though there was success during the evangelistic campaigns, people still needed to be grounded in their relationship with their Savior.
The Rwanda Union Mission has embraced the TMI (Total Member Involvement) initiative from the General Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist Church and uses the Bible lessons as the basis for accomplishing this goal. The Bibles lessons are now used as the primary evangelistic tool. The union decided that every member should reach one soul by using the lessons. This has proven to be highly effective. The Rwanda Union Adventist membership stands at 860,000. The goal is to increase the membership to one million by September 2019. A jubilee-style event is planned by faith for next year to celebrate, along with the church’s 100-year anniversary.
The Rwanda Union Mission sees the lasting effect and success of these lessons and uses them now in all public evangelism programs. Using them helps to establish new members in their faith and a relationship with God. The union plans to use the Bible lessons in accordance with Christ’s method of winning souls.
“Every piece of literature is like a bullet in the gun of a good soldier. He cannot lose bullets and they must hit the hearts of souls,” says the evangelism director as he trains the lay members in using the Bible lessons effectively. “Mingle with people. Create friendships. Supply their needs. Win their confidence,” he believes is God’s mandate to every member. Only the method of Jesus will bring true success in reaching souls. As the members follow this method and win the confidence of their friends, they introduce to them the Bible lessons. The success can be clearly seen in the number of baptisms from 2017 up to March 2018: 61,381 souls have embraced the truth as it is in Jesus.
Sabbath morning, while visiting in Rwanda, the evangelism director took me to one of the baptisms in the North Rwanda Conference. It was a high and joyful Sabbath where we witnessed 632 souls going into the watery grave, all the result of the Bible lessons. The conference wants to continue using the Light Bearers material as the foundation for all soul winning efforts. Not only are the lessons touching hearts for eternity, but they also provide healing for many broken and bruised hearts who have survived the genocide. Spiritual bullets are penetrating hearts for Christ in Rwanda.
Meiring works on the ground where Light Bearers literature is sent and writes regular reports on the progress of the literature work in these areas.