By Corinne Gunter
Back in 2013 I had the opportunity to travel to Rwanda with Aaron Elliott (Senior Director of Partners @ Grace Church) and Michele Leach (a volunteer and liaison for our partnership with ALARM) to see firsthand the work of this incredible ministry. Then Benjamin Nkusi of ALARM was able to be travel to Indiana to be with us in the Fall of 2013 sharing some of his story and his work with ALARM.
Then an exploratory team from Grace Church traveled to serve alongside ALARM’s ministries in Rwanda in the March of 2014.
One part of our team brought their educational experience and a heart for orphan care. These team members spent extended time encouraging the staff and students at IWE (Institute for Women of Excellence). IWE serves over a hundred bright and talented young high school girls who would otherwise not have access to a high caliber education. From this initial trip, Hands of Hope (a GRACE CHURCH partner ministry) has formed a sponsorship program to support these girls. In addition, those with educational backgrounds continue to look for ways to encourage the teachers and staff of IWE.
Another part of our team facilitated a LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE for 50 government, community and church leaders centered around servant leadership. I will never forget hearing one of the participants express their gratitude as he assured us that they would remember what we had shared and he promised to be different when we returned. As we talked about best practices in leadership and read God’s word together – it truly felt as though we were standing on holy ground as God worked in and through this conference.
It was our desire that this initial team of eleven will begin to multiply and serve alongside the ALARM Rwanda staff -- matching the ways God has gifted our team to ALARM's specific ministry needs.
For the Women of Grace, we are especially interested in working with their WLTI (Women in Leadership Training). The WLTI is designed for women who have been identified by ALARM as key influencers and leaders in their communities and churches. These women are selected to participate in a residential training program that meets for one week, two times a year for a three year period.
This program is quite comprehensive and covers everything from basic health and life skills to Biblical theology to best practices in leadership to forgiveness and reconciliation. Not only do the women who participate in Women's Leadership Training benefit, they are able to take what they are learning back into their communities and churches to train others.
We were so excited when ALARM asked us to partner with them in this endeavor – committing to a sponsoring an African Women's Leadership Training Initiative in Rwanda.
I can't believe that this dream became a reality when our first team of five women landed in Kigali in August 2015 and facilitated the first conference.
We can't wait to share all that GOD is doing in our midst.