Talbot student ministers to Africa

Faustin Ntamushobora, who lived through the Rwanda genocide, is now ministering in Africa while studying at Talbot Theological Seminary.

Faustin Ntamushobora has been sharing his life story with many people. He has been shaped by harrowing experiences: losing his siblings at a very young age and surviving the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.

Rather than focusing on the past, he is eager to share about his hope for the future and how he sees God at work in his life now. The joy in his eyes and his God-given vision for the transformation of the people of Africa cannot be ignored.

As an ordained Baptist minister, educator, and Talbot doctoral student, Ntamushobora is also the executive director of Transformational Leadership in Africa Inc. (TLAfrica Inc.), a non-profit organization dedicated to training leaders and empowering them to bring transformation to their communities. By 1993, Ntamushobora noticed that the church in Africa was growing in numbers, but not in depth. This was made evident during the genocide, as those who called themselves Christians were also killing their neighbors.

“This was because the church was full of converts, but not disciples of Jesus Christ,” Ntamushobora said. “Africa is, in fact, a center of gravity of Christianity today, but still remains a place in great need of relational, economic, and spiritual transformation.”

Ntamushobora is aware of the many existing ministries in Africa headed by leaders who are hungry for the truth. He believes that he has a part to play in empowering them in ministry. He recognizes a passion in these individuals, but also a lack of training – and God has given Ntamushobora the means by which to help these people.

“Education is not just from training like Biola,” he said. “We can train leaders even using non-formal training methods and it’s very effective. You know why? We do it through relationships.”

The process of transformation that he sees occurring in the lives of Africans begins with trust, and ultimately leads to full disclosure and authenticity amid the people.

“When they disclose themselves, we are able to bring the Word of God to destroy the fortresses and see reconciliation,” Ntamushobora said.

Ntamushobora says his work at TLAfrica Inc. is exhilarating. It consists of a leadership institute, at which pastors from all over Africa gather to train and learn about God’s Word. The institute came about because Ntamushobora realized that teaching and discipleship are the main need of the Church.

“When pastors are discipled, then they are able to disciple others,” Ntamushobora said. “When they are able to teach according to the Bible, then they will teach the Word of God and help others be transformed in the way they are.”

There is a desperate need for economic transformation in Africa. Partnering with his wife Salome, who is also a graduate student at Biola; they seek to minister to women as well as men. A majority of Salome’s work consists of discipling women and empowering them in areas like microfinance and small projects.

Referencing Second Corinthians 5:17-21, Ntamushobora firmly stated, “The mission of reconciliation is a mandate for the Church.” He does not believe reconciliation will come from politicians and seems to delight in the fact that the Church has so much responsibility to bring healing and restoration to Africa.

To him, reconciliation is a kind of inheritance and comes through forgiveness, a liberating power. He explains that this understanding did not come from his experience with the genocide, but from his mother many years before. She exemplified forgiveness when she chose to forgive those who poisoned his brothers and sisters when he was a child. His mother also shared with him words of wisdom that he holds in his heart as he continues on his journey in the United States.

“I don’t know that land called America, but I know that the Lord has a plan for you,” Ntamushobora remembers his mother telling him. “Son, serve the Lord.”

Continuing she said, “Son, do you remember how your two brothers and sisters died the same week? The Lord spared your life for a reason. Son, serve the Lord. Son, do you remember what I did for those who killed your two brothers and sister?”

Ntamushobora remembers replying, “Mom, you forgave them.”

With his eyes full of gratefulness Ntamushobora closes the story: “And I cried. My mom is my hero in the ministry of reconciliation.”

Without a doubt, Faustin forgives others and serves the Lord, but it goes further than that. He is committed to teaching and inspiring others to do the same.

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