Through the planting of vertical churches, our desire is to see a country devastated by a horrific genocide know the forgiveness and reconciliation offered through Jesus.
God has provided an opportunity to be a part of his kingdom progress in Rwanda through planting a local church in Gisenyi. This opportunity began when a local pastor in Rwanda, John Samvura, learned what God was doing through the Harvest Bible Fellowship (HBF). He subsequently reached out to communicate his desire to plant a church in his community and to inquire about partnering with the HBF. This started a 15 month process of communication and evaluation.
In August, 2015 a team of leaders from Harvest East Valley joined Kirk VanMaanen, Director of International Church Planting with HBF, on a exploratory trip to Rwanda. The goals of the trip were to better know and understand John and his family, the country of Rwanda, and the current gospel opportunities.
Two months later, John spent a weekend in Chandler worshiping with us, meeting with our elders and getting to know many others in our church family. John then attended Harvest University with over 30 people from Harvest East Valley and with over 1800 people from Harvest churches around the world.
On October 25, 2015, after learning that Harvest Bible Fellowship had accepted John as a church planting candidate, the elders of Harvest East Valley unanimously agreed that God was leading our church to partner with John and the HBF to plant Harvest Bible Chapel, Gisenyi.
The decision to help plant Harvest Gisenyi is a commitment to:
- Coach Pastor John during the pre-launch, launch and post-launch phases of the church plant.
- Send short-term teams to Rwanda to help train, encourage, support, serve the church plant and the greater community.
- Support the church plant financially until it can support itself.
- Encourage the church from afar, through regular and creative communication, compassion, and love.
- Pray for God to be working in the hearts of the people in Rwanda.
The elders of Harvest East Valley are praying that God's people will catch the vision of kingdom progress in Rwanda, will understand the developing needs to support that progress, and will sacrificially give to provide for that progress. The financial need to train Pastor John and plant Harvest Gisenyi is approximately $125,000.
- January: start financially supporting John Samvura as he builds a core team; visit Rwanda to help build awareness with government and city leaders.
- Summer: send a mission team to train the core team and spread the word of the church plant in the community.
- August: The Samvuras will move to Chandler, AZ for a month long internship.
- September: The Samvuras will move to Chicago, IL to attend the Harvest Training Center for church planters.
- December: The Samvuras return to Rwanda to prepare for the launching of Harvest Gesenyi.
- March: Harvest East Valley sent a team to help the core group in Rwanda prepare for their launch.
- July 2: Harvest Gisenyi's first service.
To financially support Vision Rwanda, you can give online by clicking below. Choose Forward Fund/Vision Rwanda. You can give by check as well. Be sure to include Forward/Vision Rwanda on the memo line.
If you have any questions about Vision Rwanda, you can email our Executive Pastor, Jeff Carlson.
John and Zawadi Samvura
We are excited to partner with Pastor John Samvura to plant Harvest Bible Chapel, Gisenyi, Rwanda. John and his wife, Zawadi, were married on February 13, 2010, and have a 3-year-old son, Jadon. They have a desire to see the good news of Jesus be shared in the community and to the people they love.
John put his faith in Christ as a young teenager. He attended seminary and has been involved in local church ministry for the last 6 years. His passion is to plant a local church in Gisenyi that proclaims the authority of God's Word without apology, that lifts high the name of Jesus in worship, that believes firmly in the power of prayer, and that shares the good news of Jesus with boldness.
John was accepted as a church planter after completing a lengthy, extensive vetting process with the leadership of Harvest Bible Fellowship and the elders of Harvest East Valley.
Gisenyi is a city in the Rubavu district in Rwanda's Western Province (Great Lakes Region) and features the beautiful Lake Kivu.
Gisenyi is contiguous with Goma, a city of a million people in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In January 2002, volcano Nyiraagongo erupted, sending a lava stream through the center of Goma. Agencies monitoring the volcano were able to give warning and most of the residents were able to evacuate. The lava destroyed 40% of the city (more than 4,500 houses and buildings) and closed the Goma International Airport.
Gisenyi's campus of Kigali Independent University average enrollment is over 3400 students per year. The students pursue programs in Economics, Business Studies, Social Sciences, and Law. Rwanda Tourism University College (RTUC) also has a campus in Gisenyi. The town has about 30 public and private schools, including nursery, primary, and secondary schools.
Gisenyi has a new generation of young professionals, businessmen, university and high school students, children, and expatriates who are not being reached with the gospel.
- Population: 106,000
- Languages: Kinyarwanda, French, and English
- Climate: Tropical Savanna
- Median Income: $1,100/mo; 45% below poverty line
Roman Catholic - 56.9%
Protestant - 26%
Sunni Muslim - 4.6%
Seventh-Day Adventist - 1.1%