Page 20 - 2023 March-April Newsletter
P. 20

Pastor Claver

                                                In the Shadow

         Among my favorite places on the planet is the little village of Gasiza in Rwanda. Nestled in the
         Virunga mountains, it isn’t exactly remote, as it’s less than a one hour drive from our home in
         Gisenyi. But a good bit of the journey is over very poor roads, giving one the impression that
         it’s farther out than it really is. The location is so beautiful that it might be described as stun-
         ning. The farms are well maintained and very productive. There are onions, cabbages, pota-
         toes, beans, tomatoes, maize, bananas, eggplant, mangoes, avocados - and the list goes on. One
         hears dairy cows lowing and sheep bleating in the background. The view is incredible. On a
         clear day you can see Lake Kivu in the distance, as well as the volcano Mt. Niyirigongo in
         neighboring Congo. But the real reason it is one of my favorite spots is the Gasiza Church of
         the Brethren. The congregation is led by Peter Claver Habimana, a fifty-something man with a
         dear little wife, Mama Josephine, and a family of eight children. When a younger man, he was,
         by his own description, a drunkard and an atheist. God miraculously saved him and changed
         his life. He eventually became the pastor of a Pentecostal church and ultimately joined the
         Brethren in 2015. Pastor Claver, as we call him, doesn’t have much education. He is though, a
         very gifted preacher, with a big heart. He works very hard as a bivocational pastor. Along with
         service to the church he is a carpenter and a farmer. His embodiment of a solid work ethic is
         powerful in an environment where many pastors are expecting others to do and provide for
         them. As a student at the Great Lakes Bible School (GLBS), Pastor Claver is learning English,
         applying previously learned
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