Lo­cal fam­ily cre­at­ing min­istry to help re­build Rwanda

Moose Jaw Express.com - - News -

Cher­rie and Peter Jac­ques went to Rwanda for three weeks hop­ing to devote some time and en­ergy to help the coun­try re­build.

When they re­turned home to Moose Jaw, they felt that there was so much more that they could do in a coun­try that is see­ing so much need.

With that, the cou­ple and their three youngest chil­dren have cre­ated the Vic­tory for Rwanda mis­sion and plan to re­turn to the African na­tion for an ex­tended pe­riod of time.

“My hus­band and I went to visit Rwanda in May for three weeks and we came back and talked to some friends, talked to our church and we talked with lots of peo­ple in Rwanda after we got back. We de­cided in July that we would make the move,” Cher­rie Jac­ques said. “There’s so much to do. Rwanda is so unique. The geno­cide was in 1994, so that’s only 24 years ago. They’re still re­ally strug­gling to re­cover. Their whole in­fra­struc­ture was lost and a third of their pop­u­la­tion was lost.” The Rwan­dan Civil War be­gan in 1990 and in 1994 the Hutu-led government en­gaged in a 100-day geno­cide against the Tutsi pop­u­la­tion. Es­ti­mates range from 500,000 to 1,000,000 Rwan­dans were killed. That con­sti­tuted a loss of an es­ti­mated 70 per cent of the Tutsi pop­u­la­tion and 30 per cent of the coun­try’s Pygmy Batwa pop­u­la­tion. The geno­cide ended when the Tutsi-backed Rwan­dan Pa­tri­otic Front was able to seize power. When the top­pled regime fled, they took with them all of the as­sets they could, in­clud­ing cur­rency. With more than 40 per cent of the pop­u­la­tion hav­ing been killed or dis­placed, much of the in­fra­struc­ture gone and the re­main­ing pop­u­la­tion re­cov­er­ing from the hor­rors of the atroc­i­ties, re­build­ing Rwanda is an evolv­ing process. The Jac­ques have seven chil­dren and have done mis­sion­ary work in the past, but their time in Rwanda felt like the right fit for them and their fam­ily. Their three youngest chil­dren, aged 11, 13 and 16 will be go­ing with them to Rwanda. “We’ve been think­ing about mis­sions for about two years. When the older ones were younger, prob­a­bly around 2012, I took them on a trip to Haiti to do a mis­sion. One of my older sons has been all over the world on mis­sions. We’ve al­ways had a heart for it,” Jac­ques said. “We looked at Haiti; we looked at Kenya; we looked at Thai­land. There was just some­thing when we went to Rwanda where we said ‘yeah, we are needed here.’ I’m sure it has a lot to do with the peo­ple that we met there and the need that we saw there.”

The Jac­ques feel their skill-sets mesh nicely with the needs that they saw on the ground.

“My hus­band has his teach­ing de­gree and he’s taught vo­ca­tional school be­fore, so that’s his pas­sion. My back­ground is in fi­nance and kids. So, it’ll work well,” Jac­ques said.

Their hope is to cre­ate a self-sus­tain­ing min­istry that can pro­vide nu­tri­tion and ed­u­ca­tion to an en­tire com­mu­nity. They want to start with a farm­ing ini­tia­tive to raise chick­ens and rab­bits as well as grow­ing pro­duce. They also want to start a nurs­ery and pri­mary school, so they can feed and ed­u­cate the chil­dren in the vil­lage. They also want to start a vo­ca­tional train­ing cen­tre to help in teach­ing young adults valu­able skills like car­pen­try, weld­ing and sewing.

“We’ve kind of got a three to five-year plan be­cause we’re go­ing to have to work with the government there and we’re go­ing to have to work with the ed­u­ca­tion board there,” Jac­ques said. “We did a needs as­sess­ment when we were there with a lo­cal com­mu­nity. That was re­ally eye-open­ing. It was stun­ning to see all of the poverty and they still saw their big­gest need as pri- mary and nurs­ery ed­u­ca­tion for kids and vo­ca­tional school for adults. Those were the two areas they see as most des­per­ate for their coun­try.”

The Jac­ques’ house is on the mar­ket and once it sells they will be­gin the process of mak­ing the move. They plan to work with a vil­lage just south­west of the cap­i­tal city of Ki­gali, in the South­ern province. As mem­bers of the city’s Vic­tory Church, the name of their mis­sion was a nat­u­ral fit. Their min­istry has a logo de­signed by their 13-year-old son.

They have cre­ated a ‘Vic­tory for Rwanda’ face­book page to keep peo­ple in­formed of the work they are do­ing. To sup­port them, a run, ride, walk fundraiser was held re­cently and there was a bake sale at Vic­tory Church the same day.

They are al­ways look­ing for fund­ing, but Jac­ques said just as cru­cial as that, they are also look­ing for part­ners.

“We need peo­ple that have the same heart that want to come along with us,” Jac­ques said. “Maybe they can’t come to Rwanda, but they can add their skills, or maybe fi­nances, or maybe they could come for a term and teach English, for ex­am­ple. There are so many things that we’re go­ing to need.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.