Erika Akimana from Kigali, Rwanda, has been living in the New Humanity Mission Community since 1997, founded just a few years after the genocide. I interviewed her on what made her make such a commitment, and what a central African Christian community is like.
What is your community like?
We are 16 adults and 16 children. Half of the adults live with me and my husband Rukundo in Kigali, while the others live in a community house on the countryside. We come from both middle class and poorer class backgrounds, sharing all possessions and praying together every evening. Since 2013 we have a business, selling porridge, which some members from the Jesus Fellowship recently helped us with.
Why do you live like this?
I personally grew up in a divorced family and was very unhappy, I wondered why there were so many problems in the world. People are selfish, some are rich and others poor, there are orphans and divorce. I wanted to stop these problems, but I didn’t know how.
In 1995, I got saved. Then things changed! I realized that Jesus is the solution to our problems, it is our lack of him that cause them.
As a Christian, I didn’t want a normal Sunday church. It wasn’t enough to just meet a few hours every week. I wanted to change people’s lives! Jesus didn’t die just so that we could go to church on a Sunday.
I met Rukundo and he also thought about these things. We realised that the model for what we should do is in the Bible, so we read it and obeyed it. Acts chapter 2 is the solution to the world’s problems. The brotherhood and sharing of community is what we need. The command of love that Jesus gave us doesn’t work well in the context of the world, it needs a biblical community context.
What are the challenges with community?
The differences between us can sometimes be difficult to handle. We come from different backgrounds, cultures, families and personalities. Some have a different focus than yourself, some are not mature in the Kingdom of God yet.
What are the blessings?
Oh, there are so many blessings! You feel stabile, knowing that you live for a purpose. It makes you happy to live for God and his people. As a mother, I’m thankful that my children have a big family with many looking after them. It’s not easy to raise kids alone.
What would you say to someone starting or joining a community?
Think about the costs of building the Kingdom. Community is not for the glory of people but for the glory of the Lord. God must be in the center. When people leave you might be discouraged, but know that you do community for the Lord.
Make sure to pray! Community can be done in different ways, so pray the God shows you what your community should look like. Pray also for other people to join in. In all, be at peace that community is God’s job, not yours.
This article was previously published at christiancommunity.org.uk.