Rooted in Jesus was introduced to the Youth Leaders of Kigali Diocese in 2013, with a follow-up conference in July this year. Eric Habyarimana of the Department of Youth and Children has just sent us this report.
The Youth Department has selected five pilot parishes from among those where groups are running, so that they can provide constant support, training and advice from the centre; the remaining parishes will be supported by archdeaconry and parish youth leaders. Visiting the groups in these pilot parishes was encouraging.
‘In Musave, a new church in Ndera parish, there are two groups. One of the youth leaders, Niyigena, who attended the conference worked hard to start Rooted in Jesus groups, and the pastor reports that not only have group members increased but also church members at this new local church increased. The two groups now have 42 members. Peninah from Ndera Parish said that she also started a new group with 14 members. They meet and study the word of God. She also said that they encouraged other groups like choirs, cells, saving groups who are now using these teachings and they expect the groups and group members to increase. She testified that Rooted in Jesus teachings helped them to stand firm and teach without fear, to know the word of God, they learnt through sharing ideas, hence there has been spiritual growth.’
In Gahanga parish there are three groups with a total of 43 members. ‘They testified that Rooted in Jesus helped them know many verses, found out that the word of God is sweet and also helped their groups to increase. They are expecting to increase the groups including children graduating from Sunday school.’
In Ntarama parish there are two groups with 30 members. ‘One is a football team where youth meet for the word of God before they play football. They told us that Rooted in Jesus groups helped them know the word of God. We discussed with them how these groups should be strengthened and other new groups start too.’
Eric is realistic about the challenges; he concludes that ‘Visiting all Rooted in Jesus groups is not an easy work to be done by youth department due to time constraints and also geographical set ups of parishes where youth meet late in evenings. We asked archdeaconry youth committees, more especially those in charge of spiritual growth and development, to visit them advise them how to manage time, share life experience and help each other. We prayed for them and asked them to constantly give reports to youth department and seek for advice where they feel they need it. With the help of these committees we expect to move forward and strengthen Rooted in Jesus groups.’
Due to the impact of the programme on the youth groups, there are plans to extend it more widely in 2015, when a team will return to Kigali to train cell leaders and Mothers Union leaders from across the whole diocese.
To read Eric’s full report click here.