06 June 2009

In his own words...

My name is Rukundo Roger Ndahiro. I was born in Ntungamu, Uganda in 1979 although my parents are both of Rwandan decent.

My parents were soldiers. My father died fighting for the National Resistance Army in the war of 1986. My mother joined the National Resistance Army in 1988 and when war broke out 2 years later in Rwanda she joined the Rwandese Patriotic Front.

We didn’t see my mother for the next four years, not until November 1994, after the genocide.

Moving to Rwanda to be with my mother was the first time in my life that I felt I belonged. Growing up in Uganda was difficult. Despite my parent’s efforts in the war that put President Yoweri Museveni in power, our Ugandan neighbors were always quick to remind us that we were foreigners. Foreigners in the land my parents fought for.

In Rwanda things were different. I was in the land of our ancestors, I was reunited with my mother and for the first time in my life, I was home.

I left my mother’s home in 2002 and went to school in Nairobi, Kenya to become a pilot. While I was away my mother died from AIDS, a scar that remained from the genocide. By the time I returned from Nairobi to bury my mother all my family’s wealth had been stolen by our relatives, and I was left to care for my sisters.

Life was not easy. I dropped out of the pilot program and was assigned to Kiriuhura District in Central Uganda to teach math and physics. It was there that I met Pastor Wilson Ssentongo. Pastor Wilson saw something in me and encouraged me that my future was in ministry.

On January 15, 2007 at 5 AM I arrived at the unfinished gates of Gaba Bible Institute. I was the 5th student to arrive. It was the first day of the schools existence and within hours I was convinced that it would be my last day there as a student.

Being the pioneer students we were confused and had little direction. The desks were few and the beds were not enough. By the time I returned to the hostels after our orientation half my clothes had already been stolen by thieves who faced little resistance from the gates that had yet to be completed.

The next day was not any better. I found a professor from America in our morning class and he appeared to be teaching us Mizungu (white man’s) Theology. We were convinced that this man had never experienced the Holy Spirit and the things he taught were nothing like what our pastors had ever taught us.

We met with this mizungu, Pastor Jeff, twice a week and the students were always ready to challenge him on every point but the truth was that we were all of different views, even the students could not come to agreement with what we believed.

Pastor Jeff wasn’t much for fighting over theology but continually opened the Word of God to answer us at every turn. It became our aim to find something that he couldn’t find an answer for in the Bible. We never ended up winning our debates with him but he did teach us to study God’s Word like he did.

I ended up staying at GBI but still things were not easy. By the end of the first term I had not paid my fees so Pastor Jeff let me stay after term to clean the facilities to pay my debt.

Second term I only showed up with 100,000 UGX ($50), which wasn’t enough and my friend Raymond showed up with nothing at all. I paid 50,000 for myself, and 50,000 for Raymond. The week they were to send me away for not paying my fees the secretary handed me a receipt saying that my fees had been paid in full. I knew it was Pastor Jeff but would never acknowledge what he had done. 

During our time at GBI the emphasis was on training us to be leaders but like no African leader we had seen before. Here in Africa a leader is so far above the people and the people are there to serve him. At GBI the staff were with us and taught us more than preaching the Bible, they showed us how to model the message.

In my final term Pastor Jeff taught a class on world missions and as we learned about God’s heart for the nations. I knew at that time that God was calling me back to Rwanda. I wanted to sacrifice my life for the gospel.

Today I am a youth pastor in Kigali, Rwanda. I work with 300 street children, the last remaining victims of the genocide. Their fathers were murdered and their mothers have passed away from AIDS after being raped by the soliders. They come early to bathe at the church and to learn skills in carpentry.

Then I teach the Word of God to them, as Pastor Jeff once did for me. 


marcie said...

I love love love these stories! Keep 'em coming!

Justin said...

thanks for sharing this story...it's great to hear of life change that effects life change...

Kathy said...

God's Word has the power to truly change people, and this post shows that it is doing just that. Thank you for allowing the Word to do its work, and for the way you teach and model servant leadership.