March 2020

What is our hope in life and death?
Christ alone, Christ alone
What is our only confidence?
That our souls to him belong
Who holds our days within his hand?
What comes apart from his command?
And what will keep us to the end?
The Love of Christ in which we stand.

(Christ our Hope is Life and Death by Getty music)

Covid-19: #StayHomeWashHandsPracticeSocialDistancing 

Our current situation

Kigali in lockdown

As I write this, Rwanda has 36 confirmed cases of Covid-19. No deaths have been reported but no one has recovered yet. The whole country is in a complete lockdown. Churches and other mass gatherings have been suspended since 14 March. Movement around the country is not permitted and people have been asked to stay home - not doing so is a punishable crime. Many people are afraid while some still take the situation lightly. Those who are afraid are scared that what we are seeing in the news happening in Italy or Spain could happen to us as well. We’re aware that our healthcare system isn’t as good as in Italy and Spain so this makes many worry even more. Others are afraid of hunger, because the majority of the Rwandan population depends on daily work to be able to feed their families. They are afraid because no one seems to know how long this virus will last and the lockdown time might be extended. This is becoming a worrying situation to many Rwandans.

One of Kigali's bus stations - now empty

Most of our activities have been affected as well. We are no longer meeting with our apprentices, we are not teaching kids at our bible club, equip training that was scheduled for the first week of April is now cancelled. Many people are shaken, but the song quoted above has been a huge comfort: Christ is our hope in life and death.

Serving in these times

Things have been developing so quickly, no one seems to have been ready for it. Churches are struggling to know what exactly should be done. Some have just shut down and are encouraging members to meet and pray in their homes. Others are using radio stations to air their Sunday sermons. Others are recording sermons and sharing them on social media… it has been crazy. 

Resourcing parents with teaching materials

The DNG team had its first ever conference call meeting last Thursday - it was a bit chaotic but still fun. We discussed what we should do to help the church of Rwanda in these times. We agreed to rewrite materials that we normally use in our Sunday schools and adapt them to a home setting. We produced the first sample lesson last Sunday. The plan is to produce this week four lessons for under threes and four lessons for those older than three. Our desire is to assist parents who are willing to disciple their kids but lack resources. We are praying that parents will be able to use the resources and take advantage of these difficult times to teach their kids God’s word while they are home. We hope to continue writing these kinds of materials (God willing) as long as the lockdown continues. We want to help parents and children in these times to remember their creator, be assured that he is in total control and that if they trust in Jesus they can join with millions of Christians around the world singing and confessing that Christ is our hope in life and death.    

Praises and prayers…

In times like this, it is easy to forget how God has been good to us and just focus on today’s situation.  Have a look at how you can thank God and pray with us:

  • Please praise God for our parents training which took place on 22 February. The parents who came have been encouraged to take seriously the work of discipling their children. Pray that these parents will find joy more and more as they read God’s word with their children.
  • Praise God for four new apprentices we welcomed on 12 March, even though we can’t meet with them at the moment. Praise God for a partnership with Youth For Christ Rwanda in their eight month programme for gap year students. We now have 21 young adults from that gap year programme whom we are training on how best to do kids work. The students are now in their homes due to Covid-19. We hope to resume the programme once this pandemic is over. 
  • Praise God for the translation work. Since September last year when Shalom (one of the apprentices) joined the translation team, things started getting much better. Shalom has agreed to stay with us at least until the end of this year. She is now part of the DNG team helping in translation and follow up from our training events. She is a very talented lady, a member of Gospel Community Church, and is doing the Preach The Word Bible training course. Please give thanks to God for her.  
  • Please pray that we will be faithful to God’s word as we write these resources and that God will give us the wisdom and creativity we need. Pray also that these resources will be able to get in the hands of parents who need them.
  • Pray for parents around the country for whom teaching kids the Bible at home will be a new experience. Pray that they will have the courage to start.
  • Pray for the Church of Rwanda. Pray that Christians will stand firm in these times and show love and compassion to the needy in our communities. 

Dear partners, we are aware that Coviid-19 is a global pandemic and so we are praying for the world in general, but we would love to know your specific situations so that we can be praying for you specifically as well. In all we are grateful for the hope of eternal life we share in Christ. Indeed the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. 

Unto the grave what will we sing?
Christ, he lives, Christ, He lives!
And what reward will heaven bring?
Everlasting life with him
There we will rise to meet the Lord
Then sin and death will be destroyed
And we will feast in endless joy
When Christ is ours forevermore

(Christ our Hope is Life and Death by Getty music)

Jean Ngirimana on behalf of the DNG Team