From 2001-2007, I served in northern Rwanda at Sonrise School for Orphans. I taught Bible classes, served as the acting headmistress of the school, assisted people medically and worked with a team of translators to write and translate a Bible curriculum for grades one through six.
In the last several years, I have become associated with the Dufatanye Cooperative in Nyanza, Rwanda, in the Butare Diocese, where our sister-to-sister partnership is also located. The Dufatanye Cooperative assists very poor, mostly illiterate people in Rwanda who are either HIV positive or have AIDS. The cooperative has acquired land and has set up agricultural and vocational projects for these people. These include such things as farming banana groves, growing vegetables, making clay tiles for roofs, producing mud bricks, digging ponds for fish farms, raising cows, goats and rabbits to provide milk and to sell. Profits from these projects are then distributed among the members of the cooperative and a portion is also used to expand projects for the cooperative.
Not only that, this project encourages the members not only physically and financially, but also spiritually. It ministers to their needs holistically; it seeks to be a presence in the community with AIDS Sensitivity Training; and it creates an environment of responsibility among the members.
More recently, I raised funds to develop a site where members of the Cooperative and people in the surrounding community could meet for everything from wedding receptions to Bible classes to health education to microfinance classes to after-school programs for children. This “ministry center” is located on a grassy knoll just opposite the Dufatanye farmlands.
On March 5th, I will return to Rwanda for seven weeks to assist with the completion of the ministry center. I hope to teach Bible to adults, host a Bible club for children, and begin to cast a vision for how the ministry center can be used most effectively and how it can also become more sustainable. I also hope to meet with Bishop Nathan to discuss how I can assist the Bible Training Institute in Butare Diocese. This school is the main focus for our church’s sister-to-parish partnership project and is called “Mubumbano”. Lastly, I have numerous people who I have assisted for the last eleven years. I hope to visit these dear friends, and help them make appropriate choices for their next step in life.
I ask you to pray that God will give me wisdom to know how best to encourage, guide and teach the Rwandese people in a way that honors our Lord, that extends dignity to each person, and thatbrings joy to my heart. Pray also that God will continue to direct my steps to know how I can best serve these people in the future and, at the same time, provide appropriate oversight to my Rwandese students here in the US, Theo and Joel. ~Martha Vetter
I have several goals for my Spring trip to Rwanda:
- Evaluate progress on the ministry center at the Dufatanye Cooperative. (Henceforth, it will be called the “DMC”.) Specific needs include: Work on the pit latrines, getting a large water tank, ordering and receiving furniture, setting up the interior with curtains, rods, etc.
- Continue discussions with Godfrey Kalema regarding the use and oversight of the DMC
- Set up a budget for the DMC and discussion regarding how to make it more sustainable
- With the assistance of a translator, host a children’s Bible club
- With the assistance of a translator, host an adult and/or women’s Bible study
- Begin my own Kinyarwanda language study with the assistance of a tutor
- Begin interacting more deliberately with people at the Dufatanye Cooperative, perhaps even participating in some of their work projects
- Travel to Butare to visit Bishop Nathan and to assist with the Mubumbano project. Further discussions with Bishop Nathan about teaching at Mubumbano Bible College
I ask you to please be in prayer for me during this time in Rwanda. (Proverbs 3:5-6; Psalm 127:1)