Monthly Archives

January 2020

A ‘win, win, win’ partnership model

By Kenya

An exciting new three-way partnership is being established between St Barbara’s Church, Earlsdon in Coventry Diocese, APF and St Paul’s Theological College in Kapsabet, Kenya.

After visiting St Paul’s, members of St Barbara’s Church were impressed by the dedication of staff and students at the college and decided they wanted to make regular donations to help the college develop its vision, improve its infrastructure and make theological education more accessible in West Kenya.

Rather than sending money directly to St Paul’s, however, the St Barbara’s approached APF to help manage international transfers and monitor how the additional funding would be used. College staff were delighted to receive the first amount of funding in November 2019, retain a direct friendship with St Barbara’s Church and know APF are there to support the relationship.

The college has already earmarked some of the support from St Barabara’s for desperately needed improvements to the college library and a small computer suite which will give students access to online resources. The college already has two eVitabu tablets.

APF made a short visit to Kenya in October and meet with the college’s principle, Rev Elizabeth Cheruiyot. Elizabeth has a remarkable testimony. In an environment often hostile to women in Christian leadership she overcame many obstacles to pursue her call to ministry. She is also an incredibly busy woman, serving the college, local church, diocese and national synod in various capacities.

With travel to and within Africa becoming easier, more and more UK churches are developing their own links with churches and projects in low- and middle-income countries. The three-way partnership being modelled between St Barbara’s, APF and St Paul’s seems a good and sensible one. St Barbara’s can have confidence that with APF’s access, experience and expertise their generous donations will be well used.

It is a win-win-win opportunity for all parties!

Please pray

That the three-way partnership with St Barbara’s Church, APF and St Paul’s Theological College should lead to significant and much needed improvements to the college.

For Rev Elizabeth Cheriyokot as she oversees administration, academics and infrastructure developments at the college.

For other theological colleges and Bible schools with which APF has close ties including Atirir Bible School, Uganda (Baptist); Kapsabet Bible College, Kenya (AIC) and Wisdom Bible School, Rwanda (Free Methodist).

For students currently receiving academic scholarships to study for degrees including Tom Opiyo, Simon Laboso and Victor Turikumwe.

Spotlight on Rwanda

By Rwanda

Rwanda is a landlocked country in east-central Africa. With breathtaking scenery, it’s known as the land of a thousand hills. Read on to find out about some of APF’s partnerships in this small but densely populated corner of Africa.

Victor Turikumwe

Eglise Evangélique de la Bonne Volonté

In 2018, new government regulation for faith-based organisations came into effect. This was very difficult for Eglise Evangélique de la Bonne Volonté au Rwanda as none in the small church network had sufficient qualifications. Victor explains: “We were not even able to pay for one pastor to study theology to degree level. Then APF intervened, paying for my theological studies at the Rwanda Institute of Evangelical Theology. I have recently completed the first of the three-year course. I have studied church leadership, discipleship, youth ministry and foundational Bible teachings. I am enjoying studying and eVitabu has given me access to many books to support my learning. Many African churches forget about preparing young people for leadership. During my internship I have gone through different schools in Musanze District, starting youth Bible clubs in ten schools. The children regularly meet at break time, lunchtime and at home as well. When we were studying Genesis, I enjoyed visiting pastors and talking about Christian attitudes towards creation. I prepared training material for pastors and the community showing how the Bible teaches that we have a responsibility to look after the world God gave us.”

Emmanuel Gatera

Word of Life Church

Rev Emmanuel Gatera from Kamembe heads-up Word of Life church network. Based near the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo, Emmanuel is a highly respected and qualified theology lecturer and APF have been supporting his teaching ministry by funding a bee-keeping project. Selling honey provides a sustainable income for his family and means Emmanuel can focus on teaching. “We got a harvest of 20kg,” he reported recently. “We sold it and got 90,000 Rwandan Francs (about £75).”

APF also helped Jane Niyonsaba from Word of Life run training for children and youth leaders in Kamembe, Western Region. Teachers came from 15 different local churches to learn new ways to make the Bible come to life and appeal to the youngest generations.

Charles Munyamahoro

Wisdom Bible School

As churches struggle to fulfil government regulations, APF have allocated £15,000 over three years to Wisdom Bible School. WBS was started by Free Methodist pastor Rev Charles Munyamahoro and runs extension learning courses from Gekenke and Rulindo Districts, Northern Region. It gives poorer rural pastors access to vital training so they can keep their churches open. Around 50 leaders from Methodist, Baptist and Anglican churches are currently enrolled at WBS on certificate and diploma courses.

About 10 years ago, the Rwandan government switched the language used for education from French to English. Many older people, however, speak only French and Kinyarwanda which makes accessing education very hard. As part of the WBS curriculum, basic English lessons are offered so no-one misses out.

Please pray

For Word of Life church delivering training for pastors and youth leaders.
For Victor Turikumwe, studying for a Theology Degree and preparing to become Legal Representative of Eglise Evangélique de la Bonne Volonté.
For Revd Charles Munyamahoro, pioneering Wisdom Bible School and delivering certified theology training.
For Bishop Assiel and Kigeme Diocese continuing to implement Let There Be Light in remote village parishes.
For Revd Andrew North, APF Trustee, overseeing activity in Rwanda.

‘Oktoberfest’ training in Uganda

By Training, Uganda

During a two-week period in mid-October, APF sponsored three major leadership development conferences in Uganda that together reached around 500 pastors, youth workers, church leaders and entrepreneurs.

1. Role Model Leadership Academy (RMLA) is delivered by APF partner Next Leadership. This was the second of three sessions and was attended by more than sixty delegates from Uganda and Kenya. RMLA requires delegates to commit to three intensive training weeks spread over a year and involves study by extension and peer mentoring groups between the main conference sessions. Those who graduate will receive a certificate of leadership accredited by Bakke Graduate University, Texas. Ivy Kabagambe, who manages the New Beginnings Foundation said, “I am excited by the energy and clarity of vision RMLA generates. I always leave feeling spiritually stirred up and on a high!”

2. Jewels in His Crown was the inspiration of Rose Mugabi, Director of Women’s Ministry at Pastors’ Discipleship Network (PDN), who are also based in Kampala. The conference attracted more than 200 women clergy, pastors’ wives and lay leaders from all over Uganda. Inspirational leadership lessons were drawn from biblical texts including the stories about Hagar, Jairus’ daughter and the call of Moses. “The conference touched many women leaders across our nation,” Rose explained. “It would not have been possible without the support of APF. Every delegate was encouraged to hear the words, ‘God calls you for who you are not in spite of who you are.’ Learning that the issue of leadership is about wisdom and not knowledge was a big take-home for me. We shall continue to shine as Jewels in His Crown because of your partnership.”

3. Over the last five years, APF has sponsored senior leaders from the Baptist Union of Uganda (BUU) to visit isolated communities, taking basic theology and pastoral training to grassroots pastors in remote regional associations. Last October, over 80 local pastors gathered for four-day pastoral training in Lamwo, a town in the far north of Uganda, near the border with South Sudan. APF also arranged for Bibles in Acholi and other regional languages to be distributed to everyone at the training event.

4. As I was in Uganda during October, I was able to participate in some of the training events, bring greetings, preach and oversee how APF training funding was being used. During my stay I also had productive meetings with the new BUU President, Revd Abel Sseringiya and Ben Mutgeki, Managing Director of PDN.

Abel was keen to know more about the BUU’s long-standing partnership with APF and he shared his vision for the Baptist movement in Uganda. Ben and I discussed the possibility of APF sponsoring one of PDN’s field training events later in 2020. I also spent a day with leaders from House of Transformation (HoT) churches in Entebbe and spoke at an evening celebration for church members. The network of churches, which has congregations in Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa as well as in Uganda, is keen to explore further partnership opportunities with APF. Two HoT pastors are already eVitabu users and following our discussions, that number is likely to grow quickly.