In a region of Africa with grinding poverty and a history of horrific violence, an exciting new movement is emerging! This includes the countries of Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, and Uganda. Our relationship with these sisters and brothers has been developing over the past several years, as we have begun walking together for mutual support and encouragement. In DR Congo, there are over 20 congregations and about 2000 members. In Rwanda there are four congregations with 400 members. Uganda has six congregations with around 200 members and operates an orphanage.
Global Mission and Global Food Initiative (GFI) are involved in various ways, including church development, leadership training, trauma counseling, and agriculture/conservation. (See GFI page for more information on projects in Burundi and Rwanda.) One significant area of outreach is to the Batwa tribe, a “least of these” marginalized people group present in all four countries. Many have come to faith in Christ and joined the church as a result of evangelism and community development efforts.
The Church of the Brethren has supported various outreach ministries in the region including agricultural projects, disaster relief efforts for displaced persons, theological education, scholarships, trauma healing workshops, and church construction in the region. The Brethren have also sponsored a tri-nation Batwa Pygmy conference.
Updates from Rwanda
Chris Elliott, a farmer and pastor from Pennsylvania, and his daughter Grace are serving in Rwanda from January to May 2022. Chris is helping with farming and also visiting other churches and projects in Rwanda and nearby countries. Grace is teaching in the church’s nursery school. Read updates below.
Exiles of Heaven (Grace)
The Shadow of the Almighty (by Grace)
- Learning dry season farming in Burundi
The Church of the Brethren’s Global Food Initiative sponsored a workshop on dry season farming in Gitega, Burundi, July 11-12
- Global Food Initiative grants provide agriculture supports in Nigeria, Ecuador, Burundi, and the US
The Global Food Initiative (GFI), a Church of the Brethren fund, has made several grants in these first months of 2022. Funds are supporting agricultural efforts of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) and La Fundación Brethren y Unida (FBU-the United and Brethren Foundation), a training workshop related to THARS (Trauma Healing and Reconciliation Services) in Burundi and Eglise des Freres au Congo (the Church of the Brethren in the Democratic Republic of Congo or DRC), and a number of church-related community gardens.
- Grants support hurricane relief, international groups affected by pandemic, community gardens
A GFI allocation of $20,000 is divided between four church-related international partners of the Global Food Initiative. Brethren Disaster Ministries has directed an EDF grant of $11,000 to the COVID-19 response of Haitian congregations of Iglesia de los Hermanos in the DR. An EDF grant of $10,000 supports hurricane relief by the Christian Solidarity Program (CSP) in Honduras. Two GFI grants support community gardens related to Church of the Brethren congregations.
- Global Food Initiative aids Brethren groups in DRC and Burundi among grant recipients
The Church of the Brethren Global Food Initiative (GFI) has aided Brethren groups in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Burundi, a humanitarian organization linked to the former Brethren mission in Ecuador, and a gardening project in New Orleans, in grants made since mid-year. Democratic Republic of Congo A grant of $7,500 has been given
- EYN Pastor’s Manual is translated into Kiswahili for use by Brethren in central Africa
By Chris Elliott When the global Brethren event was held last November in Nigeria, leaders from Eglise des Freres au Congo (the Church of the Brethren in the Democratic Republic of Congo or DRC) came across the EYN Pastor’s Manual. The gathering was hosted by Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren
- GFI grants go to agriculture projects in Nigeria, Rwanda, Guatemala, Spain, Burundi
The Global Food Initiative of the Church of the Brethren has made several grants in recent weeks. Among them are grants to a soybean value chain project and an orchard irrigation well of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria). Other grants are going to a pig project in Rwanda,
- EDF Grants are Directed to Aid Refugees from Syria, Burundi
Brethren Disaster Ministries has directed grants from the Church of the Brethren’s Emergency Disaster Fund (EDF) to aid Syrian and other refugees sheltering in Lebanon, and refugees from Burundi who have fled to Tanzania.
- Brethren Sponsor Capacity-Building Conference for Batwa from Rwanda, Burundi, DR Congo
Working through a nascent Brethren church in the region, the Church of the Brethren sponsored a capacity-building conference to bring Batwa together from Rwanda, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The following is excerpted from a report by Dr. David Niyonzima, detailing the conference and some of the learnings gained from the interaction:
- EDF Grants Go to Refugee Resettlement, Burundi Refugee Crisis, Ecuador Earthquake, and More
Brethren Disaster Ministries has directed grants from the Church of the Brethren’s Emergency Disaster Fund (EDF) to assist with refugee resettlement in the United States, the Brethren Church of Rwanda response to Burundi refugees, Heifer International’s response to the earthquake in Ecuador, Church World Service (CWS) emergency preparedness and home construction in Haiti, and Proyecto Aldea Global’s work toward emergency preparedness in Honduras.
- Emergency Disaster Fund Grants Support Shalom in Burundi, CWS Aid to Haitian Dominicans
The Brethren Disaster Ministries staff have directed two grants from the Church of the Brethren Emergency Disaster (EDF) to support the Shalom ministry’s work with Burundi refugees in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and to the work of Church World Service to assist Haitians living in the Dominican Republic.