Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted. Matthew 23:12
++Onesphore Rwaje will be with us this Sunday, marking the fourth time our church family has been blessed to have him visit. Onesphore Rwaje is the Archbishop of the Anglican Church in Rwanda (PEAR), the spiritual leader of over 1.1 million Anglicans and arguably the spiritual leader of all of Rwanda. I jokingly and lovingly refer to him as “the big cheese” . . . which of course only makes this humble man laugh and say, “QUEEGG . . . What, what, what!?”
We will hear a few words from him in both services and there will be a Q&A with him in the Sanctuary at 10am. Then after 2nd service (12:35 PM), there will be a Donny Julian STAR CITY BBQ in the archbishop’s honor at church with all profits going to the sustainability effort (see walkwithrwanda.com).
Archbishop Rwaje is married to the lovely Josephine and they have five children. Like Jesus, he is “a man acquainted with suffering and grief.” During the Rwandan Genocide in April 1994, Josephine was out of the country ministering at the Mother’s Union of a nearby country, so when the mass killings started she had no idea if her husband and children were alive or dead. For more than 100 days they were apart – the children and Archbishop Rwaje were trying to stay alive and Josephine was trying to find out if they were ok or not, but could not enter the country. Eventually, Josephine saw her husband on a BBC broadcast from a refugee camp and at least knew he was alive. She would later find out that her children had been spared as well. Not all their family and loved ones were as fortunate.
When Archbishop Rwaje was elected the first bishop of the Diocese of Byumba in August 1991, he was studying for a Ph.D. in Scotland and was informed of his election! He decided to surrender his dream for a fully funded Ph.D., leaving the prestigious University to go back and shepherd his people in a rural mountainous diocese. That is the kind of man he is. ++Rwaje was consecrated Archbishop of Rwanda in January 2011 in the largest stadium in the country, on national TV, with 30,000 present – including the president of Rwanda. Ironically, he almost had to walk to his own consecration because he did not have a car!
One of the many things I love about him is his pure love for children and that he is so completely unselfish. He has, many times, gone without any monthly salary so his secretary or other employees could be paid. One of his goals is self-sustainability – – to leave the Church in Rwanda self-sustaining and self-sufficient so they do not have to keep asking outsiders for money. I applaud that he is doing this even though by the time this noble goal is reached he will not personally benefit from it. He is a wise and caring leader!