• Pray for national economic growth to benefit the most vulnerable Rwandans, including subsistence farmers.
• Pray for Christ-centered forgiveness, healing, and reconciliation in communities torn apart by genocide.
• Pray for believers to fully embrace their identity as God’s beloved.
Landlocked in East Africa, Rwanda is most known for the horrific genocide that took the lives of 800,000 people. It remains a deeply wounded nation. Attaining national stability in the wake of war and genocide has proven difficult. Yet, education, health, and incomes have seen improvement. Though it is one of Africa’s smallest nations, it now has one of its fastest-growing economies.
Three primary ethnic groups once populated Rwanda: Hutus (88%), Tutsis (11%), and Pygmies (1%). When Europeans came in the 19th century, they introduced the idea of racial superiority. Violence between Hutus and Tutsis in the 1950s and 1960s led to a mass exodus of Tutsi. Over the next decade, over 20,000 Tutsis were killed. The Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), formed by those in exile, invaded in 1990 leading to civil war. After a 1994 ceasefire, Rwandan president Juvenal Habyarimana’s plane was shot down, leaving no survivors. Fighting immediately followed. Over 800,000 people were brutally massacred within 3 months- mostly Tutsi. Following a ceasefire, roughly two million fled. Since these horrific events, the government has mandated its people be referred to as “Rwandan citizens” and not Hutu or Tutsi. Freedom of speech has been suppressed, and any anti-government propaganda is threatened. Rwandans also suffer widespread devastation from HIV/AIDS. With few natural resources outside the land, most Rwandans work in agriculture. While the economy is seeing improvement, and increasing numbers are rising out of poverty, the fact is more than 60% of the population continues to live on less than $1.25 a day.
Tragically, this nation that predominantly claims Christianity (89%) allowed and even perpetrated the massacre of 1994. The atrocities of genocide and war have caused some to turn from their faith. Some have turned to Islam, while others have been ensnared by false gospels (prosperity theology, legalism, and syncretism). Yet suffering has also opened the door for the global Church to express God’s love. Since the war, Evangelicals have seen dramatic growth within the Church. Some of the victims of gruesome violence have chosen to forgive. Yet deep healing is still needed as an entire generation suffers the mental trauma that comes from experiencing such devastating loss.
Capital City: Kigali
Government: Presidential republic
Major People Groups: 88% Hutu; 5% Rundi; 4% Tutsi; 2% Twa (Gesera) Pygmy; plus 8 others
Religion: Christian 91%, Muslim 5%, Ethnic religions 3%
Language: Kinyarwanda, Rundi
GDP Per Capita: $2,100
Literacy Rate: 73.2%
POPULATION IN UNREACHED PEOPLE GROUPS: 0.1%
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