2022 has been a year of transitions, open doors, and continuing challenges for Come & See Africa, International (CASA). Over the past decade, CASA has enabled our Rwandan partners Come and See Rwanda (CASR) to build an amazing facility, the Lighthouse Ministry Center. Within walking distance of the National University of Rwanda, our non-denominational partnership has served to unite the exploding Church of Rwanda. CASR’s focus is on university student ministries, pastor training, support of the poor, and uniting area churches for evangelism and discipleship efforts.
- When the ministry was founded 17 years ago, our primary mission was to recruite and sponsor short-term mission teams to “Come and See” the incredible opportunities for ministry in the rapidly growing church in Africa. But in 2021 we concluded that the season of American churches sending out short-term mission teams to unfamiliar mission venues is closing. Last year we asked you to pray for God to open new doors for us. HE HAS!
- Here’s what the Lord has been doing in this ministry.
- APOLOGETICS MISSION: After three years of disruption due to pandemic quarantines, we were greatly blessed to send a mission team to Rwanda in July. Chris and Frank Foreman led this mission. We presented our eighth East African Christian Apologetics at the Lighthouse to over 80 students and pastors from Rwanda and Uganda. It was a great blessing and time to establish a firm foundation for the growing African Church.
- This will be the last mission led by the Foreman brothers. But our Father opened a door and provided a transition to continue our apologetics ministry. Joining us was a speaker, Ben Clifton, from Apologetics on Mission. ( https://www.apologeticsonmission.org/ ). Their mission is to reach the new growing churches overseas with “the why behind the what” of the gospel. CASA plans to partner with them for future apologetics conferences in the Lighthouse.
- FULLER SEMINARY: We were also joined by the associate dean of Fuller Seminary (www.fuller.edu ), Dave Scott. He joined the mission to evaluate CASR as a potential ministry partner in the training of their future missionaries. He was greatly impressed by the Lighthouse facilities, its staff, and the network of local ministries that it supports. In October, this most prestigious seminary contracted to begin sending their interns in 2023 to spend a semester overseas and gain real-world experience as missionaries.
- PASTOR CERTIFICATION: In the past, it was not uncommon for men with very little Bible knowledge to feel called to become pastors and lead a church based on their calling and charisma. With little Bible training available and the powerful move of God’s Spirit in Rwanda, this was understandable. But it is far from ideal. In response, the Rwandan government has now mandated that all pastors be educated and certified. For many poorer pastors of small churches, these requirements are beyond the present training and their means to pay. To continue as pastors, they will need to meet the new requirements. For several years CASR has been working at creating a program within their facility to meet these new standards. In 2022 CASR was approved by Global University and the Rwandan government to enroll 30 students to complete their three-year program and receive a degree in pastoral care. CASR estimates that monthly costs of this program for these 30 students to be about $1000/ month. Your donation of $30/ month can support a student or pastor through this program. Of greater importance, it will ground these pastors firmly in the Word of God and keep the African church firmly established in the Faith “once delivered”.
- LEAST OF THESE: As 2022 nears an end, the continuing impact on the Western world of the worldwide pandemic, the war in the Ukraine, and global inflation echoes into the poorer countries around the world. For those who live on the margins, the impact of these new realities is even graver. Famines are no longer confined to populations caught between warring parties or targeted by oppressive governments. The worldwide food and energy shortages have pushed many African countries into several broad-based famines not seen for forty years.
- We at Come & See Africa, International are seeing how this inflation and food and energy shortages are impacting the poor in Rwanda. Through our partners in Come and See Rwanda (CASR) we have supported the widows and single mothers in a women’s cooperative for 17 years. Over the past two years the quarantines severely impacted these women and their children. As the quarantine closed the churches for over a year, many poor pastors of small churches lost their incomes and many churches were not able to reopen. CASA reallocated an increasing amount of your donations to CASR for the poor and to the struggling churches.
In 2022 as the quarantines lifted. But inflation hit, and the cost of basic food doubled. Many of the poor could no longer pay the school fees for their children, their very basic, minimal health insurance, or repairs of falling-down mud homes. So, this year CASR continued to allocate more of its donations to the women and the poor pastors and many of the deserving poor that came to them.
With all these needs and ministries in mind going into 2023, we urge all the past supporters of CASA and those familiar with the ministries of Chris and Kim Foreman to consider an extra gift before the end of the year.For “in as much as you did it to the least of these, my brothers, you did it unto Me”.Jesus sees and knows.
In Christ, Dr. Frank Foreman,
President of Come & See Africa, International
- RWANDA - Compared to most Western countries, Rwanda experienced a relatively low rate of confirmed COVID cases and deaths. Rwanda compliance to recommended COVID quarantines rated very high . The Australian Lowy Institute rated it first among African counties and sixth in the world in gauging response to the pandemic.
- 2020 to 2022 - The quarantine closed the university, many businesses, and the churches for most of 2020 and 2021. It severely limited our Rwandan ministers capability to minister and to maintain its hotel and other businesses. Due to church closures, pastors of all the churches suffered a major loss of income and their ability to support themselves and serve their congregations. In 2022 most of the quarantine restrictions were lifted. The university, churches and businesses are returning to pre-pandemic schedules.
- ECONOMIC IMPACT – The quarantine has had a devastating economic impact on all Africa. Over the past decade, Rwanda had one of the strongest economies in Africa. According to https://tradingeconomics.com/rwanda/gdp-growth-annual , the Rwandan economy had been growing at an average rate of about 10% in 2018 and 2019. But in 2020 the Rwandan economy contracted about 10%. 2021 saw a rapid recovery in the second half of the year to about pre-pandemic levels. 2022 saw a lower growth rate to about 6-7% due to worldwide inflation and energy prices.
- LONG-TERM IMPACT - The effect of the Western shutdowns on the poorer countries are projected to continue into 2022 and beyond. For the first time in several decades, famine throughout Africa are becoming wide-spread and severe. Rwanda has be spared so far. However, food prices have doubled between 2021 and 2022. For an idea of how this impact may play our, you can link to https://imprimis.hillsdale.edu/sensible-compassionate-anti-covid-strategy/