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New Beginnings: Rwanda [Video]

July 24th, 2015 | Posted by | Home Page | General | Rwanda

“Like Leontius, the young Athenian in Plato, I presume that you are reading this because you desire a closer look, and that you, too, are properly disturbed by your curiosity. Perhaps, in examining this extremity with me, you hope for some understanding, some insight, some flicker of self-knowledge – a moral, or a lesson, or a clue about how to behave in this world: some such information.”

I pause, and look up from Philip Gourevitch’s book; We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed with Our Families. The road winds and bends over rolling hills and through the valleys and the rain forest that so neatly carpets the land. This is Rwanda; a country that prior to 1994 was hardly visible to the world.

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It’s about a six-hour drive from Kigali, the capital of Rwanda to Cyangugu where LIA will be holding their first ever envisioning seminar in this region. Cyangugu town sits on the border between Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), hugging the banks of the beautiful lake Kivu. As we drive into town the sun is setting over the horizon you can see the fishermen setting out for the night. They’ll be back in the morning singing loud and rowing strong as they’re bringing in the night’s catch. The next morning however there would also be another chorus of singing coming from a different part of town.

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As church leaders from Cyangugu and across the border in DRC gathered together the next day, it was clear from the strong handshakes and enthusiastic hugs going around that it had been quite some time since they last gathered together. The agenda for this gathering was to learn about transformational development. Over forty churches were represented and as the session started Dr. Muindi took to the front of the room to answer the question; what is LIA’s call in Rwanda?

“When I first came to Rwanda a year ago I visited Cyangugu. That visit clarified our call to this region. Every Monday, LIA as an organization takes time to pray for the nations and for some time now we have felt God calling us to the Lakes region (Rwanda, Burundi, Congo, Uganda) and we did not know how or when but we knew He would open a way and make things clear, so we just kept that in prayer.”

Dr. Muindi pauses to let Obadias, the LIA Regional Coordinator, translate. The room is silent with everyone’s eyes jumping back and forth between Obadias and Dr. Muindi.

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“There was another training taking place here in Cyangugu and I attended with my husband, not to serve but just to be an observer. So one morning as I sat down with my husband and another friend for breakfast a beautiful Rwandese woman decided to join us at our table. She was a student at the ongoing training.

She couldn’t speak English or Swahili so we didn’t have much of a conversation beyond good morning.

As one of the servers was coming around to our table, they accidentally tripped and dropped their serving tray on the floor. It slapped the floor with a loud bang, almost like someone had dropped a hard object. Immediately the lady sitting at our table shot up from her seat and started having a panic attack. Though we couldn’t really talk to her we did our best to try and calm her down .

When she eventually controlled the shaking and tears; we were able to understand by way of a translator what was wrong. Her name was Sarah and she, like so many other Rwandese, lived through the horrors of the 1994 genocide. As the tray slapped the floor it brought back painful memories of the day she lost her husband and her children; taken by machete welding neighbors.

That incident with Sarah weighed on me heavily. As I sought some more understanding from the pastors attending the training, I realized what I saw was extremely common. I realized a felt but unmet need. As ‘coincidence’ would have it that same day, I got word from one of LIA’s partners, all the way in America whose inquiry could not come at a better moment. He asked me, “Florence when are you going to start doing work in Rwanda?” He had no idea I was in Rwanda and had just witnessed a great need.

A few days later as I took my seat on the plane headed back home to Kenya I sat next to a woman who was a missionary in the neighboring country of Burundi. In our conversation, she told me of a curriculum her team had just finalized, prepared to facilitate inner healing to victims of trauma through the local church. Yet another ‘coincidence’.

As we parted ways, I shared my email contact and requested her to share the curriculum with me. By the time I arrived home from the airport, the curriculum was in my inbox. I was in awe of God’s leading. It could not have been clearer. He indeed wants to facilitate healing through the church in this region. That is why we are here.”

Back to Philip Gourevitch; “I don’t discount the possibility, but when it comes to genocide, you already know right from wrong. The best reason I have come up with for looking closely into Rwanda’s stories is that ignoring them makes me even more uncomfortable about existence and my place in it. The horror, the horror, interests me only insofar as a precise memory of the offense is necessary to understand its legacy.” 

Maybe the legacy of such darkness is the light of God and the church healing a nation that the devil meant to steal kill and destroy.

– by @LIASojourner 

 



Welcome: Rev Mutinda Musyimi – Director of Training

July 23rd, 2015 | Posted by | Home Page | Home Page | Leadership

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Rev Mutinda Musyimi joins the LIA team as the Director of Training at the LIA Center, Kenya.

As the Director of Training Rev Mutinda will be responsible for establishing a dynamic training function in line with LIA’s vision and mission as well as coordinating all training activities in the various Country Offices.

Rev Mutinda Musyimi is an ordained Church Minister and in addition to pastoring several churches Rev Mutinda has previously been a High School teacher and a University lecturer.  He taught communications at Daystar University in Athi River, Kenya where he also served as a University Chaplain for four years. Rev Mutinda is married to Jennifer and they are blessed with three children.

We asked Rev Mutinda to share a little more about himself so you might get to know him a bit more:

What drew you to LIA?

A number of things but the bottom line is that it was an opportunity to serve God. That’s the main one, but specifically it was the kind of holistic approach that is here at LIA. I have seen many churches and organizations whose main focus is only the preaching of the word but as far as I’m concerned the approach that Jesus Christ took was very holistic. He fed the poor, he healed the sick, he was there to give guidance and equip those around him for greater things.

I come from a very humble background and I have gone through several struggles in life. Those struggles have given me a very soft spot for those who are less privileged. It gives me such joy to see someone who is less privileged empowered because though I am not a rich man I am a different person from what I was and it is because I was empowered. So I might even say I have a selfish agenda in being here because it gives me so much joy to see someone empowered in this life!

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What are you most looking forward to in your role with LIA?

Seeing people trained, because information is power. I am looking forward to seeing as many people – both rich and poor – trained and empowered to break the shackles of poverty and retrogressive traditions.

I also hope to create a great pool of professionals who will not only come and train people but also be inspired to continue to be agents of change in their spheres of influence.

Finally, I’m looking forward to seeing the new LIA Center in Kenya become a beehive of activity. Not just busy to be busy, but busy with the Kingdom work. I would like to see the LIA Center become a place to retreat for many people. A haven where they can get away to learn, be inspired and draw closer to the lord and the kingdom work.

What do you do other than oversee training and the LIA Center?

As part of the Senior Leadership Team I am responsible for helping lead and guide this organization both here at the HQ and in the country offices. I will also be using my gifts of preaching and teaching. That is what I have done most of my life and that is what I hope to continue doing in varying capacities.