We first shared the gospel with the Batwa people in the village of Murumvya, Burundi in August 2008. On that day several people left behind a life of Animism and came to Christ. Since that time the church has grown. Today there are approximately 60 Batwa members of our church plant at Muramvya led by a Batwa pastor.
Our plan has been to help the church acquire land and to build their own building. In 2009 the governor of the sector gave land for howFar to build a school and a church on. However, the plan has been thwarted by continual stipulations and requirements imposed by local government officials.
In late 2009 howFar Ministries decided to return the land to the government and purchase land that would be completely under our control. That transaction was finally completed when Renee and I, along with our friends and partners Phillip and Judah Haynes of the Crimson Foundation for Education, visited Murumvya in January.
On January 18 we gathered on the newly acquired land to preach, to pray and to dedicate it to God.
After I preached from John 14:1-6 and 1 Peter 1:4-6 three people came forward to receive the gifts of faith, grace and salvation. There was no alter call. They simply responded to the hearing of the Word.
"Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, I would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going." Thomas said to him, "Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?" Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." John 14:1-6 ESV
"Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who are elect exiles of the dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood: May grace and peace be multiplied to you."
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials." 1 Peter 1:1-6
"For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast." Ephesians 2:8,9 ESV
Pastor Renovant shared his vision for the church and charged the people to contribute to the project by working hard.
Church members gathered several days later to begin clearing the land and to lay out the foundation. Soon we will purchase materials and construction will begin. Once the structure is completed the church members will be able to worship together even during the prolonged rainy season.
According to The Joshua Project only 7% of the 313,000 Batwa Pygmies are Christian. There are only 7 known Batwa churches in all of Rwanda, Burundi and The Democratic Republic of the Congo. By God’s grace, five of them have been planted by howFar Ministries.