The evangelism of the Rwandan and Burundian Seventh-day Adventists in the City of Cape Town
The Rwandan and Burundian (RB) SDA Church started as a ministry in 2013 and it was based at Kuils River church. Our main aim was “to do evangelism to the immigrants’ communities of Cape Town using our God-given gifts. In our evangelism endeavors, we were using different outreach tools including; prayer meeting on each Friday evenings, music programs, visitation, and helping people in need.
Integration of the Ministry in the Kuils River Church
The first person to attend the Kuils River church is Brother Pierre (Peter) Niyomuremyi and his family. As he was well received, he took the initiative to invite his friends to join the church. Those who did not have transport means he would take initiative to pick them up from their homes or the train station. At the end of the service, he would take them home. As we regularly attended the church, we became friends with other church members including the leadership. Because of this good relationship, we asked the church’s leaders if we could use the church during one Sabbath afternoon and organize an evangelistic campaign targeting Kinyarwanda and Kirundi speakers. The response we received was beyond our expectations. While we were asking for a place to meet for a half day, the church leaders challenged us as follow: “If you are true Adventists and have a big group, why can’t you come and have a full Sabbath program in our premises? We have many venues and equipment that are not in use on Sabbath”.
In 2013 Kuils River church adopted us and integrated our ministry’s activities into their programs. To achieve a successful integration, the mother church took the following steps:
- It established a ‘Teamwork Meeting’ composed by the ministry’s representatives and a team representing the mother church. This teamwork has been meeting regularly until the year 2016 when the Ministry approved to apply for a company status.
- The church trained some members of the Rwandan and Burundian group in assuming different functions including; eldership, deacons, singers, etc. When we started having our Sabbath program in January 2017, these people led our congregation until we had a leadership selection process.
- The church provided tools that were needed for the ministry to operate. These included the venue for prayer meetings, chairs, sound equipment, image projector, etc.
- The church played the mediation role in case we were having some differences on certain matters. For instance, when we had to decide if we were ready to start a company or remain a ministry, the local pastor assisted us in the process.
The first Sabbath program in our mother tongues took place on 11th May 2013 in the Good Hope College’s Main Hall. Because that event was hosted successfully, the Kuils River church and the Good Hope College allowed us to use their premises in different evangelistic activities. During the first year, we had three Sabbath events. From 2014 we started having a normal Sabbath program once a month and three full-day events a year. These full-day Sabbath programs were being enjoyed by our members and there was no incident that badly affected the mother church’s programs since we were both having Sabbaths programs simultaneously and in adjacent venues.
The Rwandan and Burundian group started having its weekly Sabbath program in Kinyarwanda and Kirundi on the 28th January 2017. This was made possible by the fact that the Good Hope College allocated to us a venue that is serving as a temporary church. Regarding logistics, we had already 100 plastic chairs, an image projector and a pulpit. The mother church gave other things that were lacking including; offering baskets, data and power cables, and many more. Regarding the leadership, the Kuils River church had already trained two elders who helped in leading the group while it was waiting to be formally established as a company.
In July 2017 the Cape Conference approved the Company Status to the Rwandan and Burundian Group. This decision was taken in the sitting of Cape Conference Executive Committee of July 16 and 17, 2017. The event of the company establishment took place on 7 October 2017, and it was conducted by Pastor Neville Carolus. In 2018, the Rwandan and Burundian SDA company was given an opportunity to graduate from the company status to the full flagged church. The ceremony took place on the 27th of October 2018 and the ceremony was conducted by the Cape Conference’s president Pastor LM Mbaza, assisted by Pastor Neville Carolus, Pastor Cordell Liebrandt, and Pastor Charles Boesack.
This church is a result of a miracle. When we started the Rwandan and Burundian Ministry in January 2013, we did not have in our dreams that one day we will have a fully functioning church or there will be a church that would adopt us or be approved by the Cape Conference into a company and subsequently a church. Our aim was to establish a platform in which evangelists could use their talents and train each other in God’s work. God in His miraculous ways opened doors that we did not think of. Kuils River SDA church became our mother church and appointed a group of God-fearing missionaries to be our backbone. They played a crucial role in the advancement of this ministry by giving advice and being our ambassadors in the mother church. Besides the integration of our programs in the church‘s programs, the leadership of these churches made sure that we had what we needed in our evangelism programs. These include leadership guidance, moral support, literature, a place for worship, and other logistics needed.
In conclusion, we would like to thank God from whom all blessings flow. Without Him we could not have realised all the success stories that we have highlighted in this report. Our thanks are extended to the Cape Conference for allowing us to be part of the Cape conference’s church family. The Good Hope College’s principle and teachers as well as the Kuils River church structure from the Pastor to ordinary members, your love for immigrants is highly appreciated. You have applied Matthews 25:35. As a mother church, we would like to ask you to continue to support us as much as you can since we are still like a child that still needs an adult’s guidance.
We would like to extend our appreciation to members of the Rwandan Burundian SDA church for their evangelism activities in the city of Cape Town. Without their contribution, we were not going to achieve what we achieved in the past six years. To all persons who served in the ministry’s committee, teamwork, current leadership, and 2019 Board Members, may God Bless you. Apostle Paul reveals in 1 Corinthians 2:9 that “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, things which God hath prepared for them that love Him”. Daniel 12: 3 echoes that “they that are wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness, as the stars forever and ever”.
Our main challenge now is finding our own place of worship. As the group is growing bigger the place that we are currently using is becoming too small. Furthermore, we need extra room for parents to use in taking care of troublesome children. We are praying and hoping that in the due time an answer from above will come so that we can have our own church building.