Historical Background

Rwanda Union Mission of the Seventh-day Adventist Church is old on the one hand, but young on the other.

This Union is old in its history, but young in its performance targeting the highest altitude. The membership of Rwanda Union Mission is growing exponentially. Now it has almost 700 (seven hundred) members. On a comparative scheme, membership growth is slightly triple in only 22 years after Genocide against Tutsis that befell Rwanda in 1994.

At first, when Pioneer Missionaries namely: David Elie Delhove (a Belgian), Alfred Matter (a Swiss)and Henri Monnier (a Swiss) set their foot on the soil of Rwanda, this being immediately after World War I in 1919, the Gospel spread in Rwanda and soon in DRC Kinshasa and Burundi, Bujumbura. After some time, the Union Headquarters was LUBUMBASHI in Congo Kinshasa, but all Executive Committee meetings used to be held in Gitwe, the “initial setting” of the Gospel in Great Lakes Region. This trend of Lubumbashi- Gitwe is actually framed between 1940 and the Eve of Independence that simultaneously took place in early 60’s for DRC, Burundi and Rwanda.

After Independence, there has been a split of territories.  DRC Kinshasa remained an Independent Union whereas Burundi and Rwanda formed another Union with the Head Office in Bujumbura.

In 1984, Rwanda Union separated from Burundi to have its own Independent Union. In short, Rwanda Union is 32 years old. That is, 10 years before Genocide, 22 years after Genocide.

Today, Rwanda Union Mission is composed of 2 established Conferences. These are:

  • East-Central Rwanda Conference based in Kigali City, and
  • North Rwanda Conference.

Additional to these Conferences, Rwanda Union has 5 Mission Fields respectively known as:

  • Central Rwanda Field based in Muhanga Town, Southern Province;
  • East Rwanda Field based in Kayonza, Eastern Province;
  • North West Rwanda Field based in Rubavu, Western Province;
  • South Rwanda Field based in Huye, Southern Province and
  • West Rwanda Field based in Karongi, Western Province.

The first Mission Stations of the Sevennth-day Adventists to be founded in Rwanda are Gitwe (centre), Rwankeri (north) and Ngoma (west). When the first missionaries of the Seventh-day Adventists arrived in Rwanda, they first occupied Protestant mission stations which had been abandoned by the Germans during the war, hoping the colonial authorities would allow them to occupy them forever. They rehabilitated these mission stations, but later they left them when their owners came back.

Though the church in Rwanda started in difficult situations, today the work is steady not only in memberships but also in infrastructures.

Rwanda Union Mission has now 12 secondary schools 47 primary schools and one Adventist University of Central Africa.

As for Health care, Rwanda Union Mission has one Hospital. In total, apart from that Hospital, the Adventist Church totalizes 9 Health Centers across the country including one good operating Dental Clinic.

Moreover, Rwanda Union is blessed to have ADRA RWANDA on its territory. ADRA RWANDA has been closely operating with the Government of Rwanda to boost the welfare of Rwandese population for now more than 35 years.

In a particular way, the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Rwanda is so much blessed on how God has been leading His Work through ADRA – RWANDA. With ADRA, the fulfillment of the Seventh-day Adventist’s mission as for outreaching needy people without any discrimination based on gender, age, religion, region, etc, is visible across Rwanda.

In addition to the spreading of the Gospel, ADRA-RWANDA has been demonstrating how compassionate and sympathetic the Seventh-day Adventist Church is towards God’s people daily needs targeting mental, physical and social economic welfare. In short, ADRA RWANDA has been closely cooperating with Rwanda on vital areas that give room to the recognition of the Seventh-day Church mission on the one hand, and, on the other, the enhancement of Rwanda Government initiatives targeting the population well off.

The outreach mission of ADRA RWANDA that hinge on education, health, food security, economic empowerment and relief as well as disaster management is a full length mirror that displays activities backing evangelism on a pattern of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

Last but not least, Rwanda Union Mission is actually blessed to run one Voice of Hope Radio station with a broadcast coverage over a large part of neighboring countries. These are: Eastern Congo Kinshasa, Burundi and Western Tanzania. This Radio has been created to bring a message of hope to a hopeless and helpless population after the 1994 genocide perpetrated against Tutsis.

For more information about the history of the SDA Church in Rwanda, read: IMPLANTATION AND GROWTH OF THE SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTIST CHURCH IN RWANDA (1919-2000) (if there is a link, put it there)