These Numbers Have Faces | Part 4

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BY PASTOR CHRISTOPHER COFFMAN
Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. COLOSSIANS 3:23-24
Today our final day of the Accelerate Summit ended on the note of celebration—which, in Rwanda, entails a great deal of dancing and shouts of joy! Of the 105 entrepreneurs that participated in our three day training, 25 bright entrepreneurs were awarded and accepted into an 8-month training program with These Numbers Have Faces. Their business ideas ranged from innovative projects like turning cassava waste into ethanol to publishing children’s books. This talented group is made up of men and women who we believe will be industry leaders and job creators in Rwanda. Above all, we are confident these talented entrepreneurs will honor the Lord Jesus through their work.
unnamed-1Tomorrow, our team will visit New Life Church in Bugesera to minister in their morning service and conduct a workshop on how to start small businesses. Since none of our team members are experienced in launching businesses in poor, rural Rwandan communities we will be accompanied by our new friend John Gosangwa from Arise Rwanda. Thank you to everyone who lifted our team up in prayer throughout this week. We are leaving Rwanda tomorrow with glad hearts and exciting stories to share.  Thank you to everyone who lifted our team up in prayer throughout this week. We are leaving Rwanda tomorrow with glad hearts and exciting stories to share!

These Numbers Have Faces Business Trip | Part 3

BY BRAD KING

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Today we started the Accelerate Summit 2015, which is the main purpose of our trip. This three day conference is designed to take educated Rwandans and equip them to become successful entrepreneurs. The event sponsored by These Numbers Have Faces (http://thesenumbers.org) is a series of speeches and workshops by our team from River West and a group of Rwandan leaders.

There were about 350 applicants and 100 students were selected. They are college students or graduates. Typically a degree in business in Rwanda isn’t as advanced as the U.S. So some basic concepts are presented along with the skills to develop a viable business plan, get financing if needed, as well as develop salesmanship and an ability to pitch their idea. What makes this event different than others presented in Rwanda about entrepreneurship is the foundational principle of integrating faith and your work. Out of these 100 participants, 20 will be selected to go through an additional 8-month training program with These Numbers Have Faces. The participants were also given exercises to discover their talents, abilities, and spiritual gifts. Throughout the day as their entrepreneurial vision was challenged some became aware that there were serious flaws that had to be addressed or changed, while others were able to start forming concrete business plans and move forward.  There is the issue of making a profit, which can be challenging long term but the bigger issue is for them to discover their gifts and pursue a vision that incorporates those gifts with a plan which meets market demands and has a God-given purpose bigger than themselves.

The feedback from the participants so far, was that this conference was a unique experience involving direct, personal involvement by the leaders, something they aren’t used to. Our goal is to continue building hope and encouragement into their lives, model Christ’s love, and give them some practical advice to facilitate a successful business venture.

Thanks for your continued prayers!

These Numbers Have Faces Business Trip | Part 2

ChrisBY PASTOR CHRISTOPHER COFFMAN

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“So the poor have hope, and injustice shuts her mouth.” JOB 5:16

Imagine a community filled with 30,000 people who were forced to leave their home country with nothing but the clothes on their back. This is Gihembe refugee camp. Over the last few decades, the UN estimates that some 85,000 refugees have fled to Rwanda from Congo and other African countries. The majority of refugees are hosted in five camps — Kigeme, Kiziba, Mugombwa, Nyabiheke, and Gihembe. Continue reading

These Numbers Have Faces Business Trip | Part 1

ChrisBY PASTOR CHRISTOPHER COFFMAN
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…the people dwelling in darkness have seen a great light, and for those dwelling in the region and shadow of death, on them a light has dawned. MATTHEW 4:16
 
Yesterday evening, our team of business leaders from River West arrived safely in Kigali. Instead of offering aid to those in need, our team’s goal is to empower Rwandan entrepreneurs and business leaders. This afternoon, after worshipping alongside our friends in Bugesera, we had the opportunity to meet one such leader named John Gasangwa. Growing up in a Ugandan refugee camp, John vividly recounted what it was like to travel back to his Rwandan homeland after the 1994 genocide; 
 
“I remember climbing up a hill in Kigali and looking down over the city. There were no lights anywhere. The entire city was in the dark.”
 
This compelled John to use his degree in economics bring the light of the Gospel to Rwanda through business. As a university professor, business owner, and board member of These Numbers Have Faces, John’s passion to raise up Christian entrepreneurs who can be a light for Christ in Rwanda. “I ask my students to envision the change they want to see in Rwanda. And then I help them understand how to launch business that benefit others and honor Christ,” John explained. Although we often fail to see the connection between business and faith in the West, the Bible calls believers to be bright witnesses for Christ through our work. 
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Tonight, as our team settled into our hotel that overlooks the city of Kigali, the hills are covered in lights. The light of the Gospel is shining in places where the shadow of death once reigned. Hundreds of Christian business leaders like John Gasangwa are rising up with vision for a brighter Rwanda.
 
Please join us in lifting up the following prayer requests this week:
 
  • Pray that our team will be a bright witness for Christ as we meet with refugees, university students, business leaders, and entrepreneurs.
  • Pray that the Lord will guide leaders from These Numbers Have Faces as they select students to participate in the Accelerate Academy—a year long program that will equip Christian entrepreneurs with the skills and resources to create jobs and launch businesses in Rwanda.

Rwanda Mission Team | Part 8

BY RHONDA BIRCHARD

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Today I met a little prayer warrior named Faith.

I am on a six-woman team in Rwanda, called here to teach Rwandan women leaders in ministry. In addition to preparing for our conference, today we went to the villages to meet our sponsored children. Child sponsorship is the original vehicle for connecting our church with the people of Rwanda. Four other visits had already taken place. Some were reuniting with children they had met previously. Others, like mine, were first-time meetings.  Continue reading