To the Ends of the Earth: East Africa christianity Explored ministries

East Africa - comprising Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Rwanda - is a beautiful area that, until recently, had been sadly lacking gospel resources and Bible training.

Our Christianity Explored East Africa Team (Sam Oyirwoth, Shadrach Lukwago and Jim McAnlis) work with partners across this region to help equip and train church leaders for evangelism and discipleship using Christianity Explored materials.

Below, Sam tells us more about the needs in each of these countries and how Christianity Explored Ministries (CEM) is helping.


Sam Oyirworth

Hi! I'm Sam and I'm from a town in northwest Uganda called Nebbi, near the DRC border. I grew up here with my nine siblings.

Like much of East Africa, Nebbi is a hilly place, but I think it's particularly green and lush here compared to our neighbouring countries.

East or West, home is best!

Nebbi is the home of the Alur people who are very peaceful and welcoming. There are lots of Christians here as well as a large Muslim population. People generally work in subsistence farming of cassava and beans.

I became involved with CEM around 11 years ago, when I was studying at Kiwoko Bible Institute. I love being part of it!

As part of my role, I travel around East Africa providing resources, training and support to church leaders.


It takes three days to travel by bus from my hometown to Murgwanza, Tanzania.

The scenery on the drive makes up for it - you travel along the river Nile, passing through several national parks and game reserves. You can see wildlife like elephants, giraffes and buffalos from the bus window.

Murgwanza is part of the Kagera Diocese, which is bigger than Rwanda and Burundi combined and has a very high population.

By 1994 (after the Rwandan genocide ended), only 40 church leaders in the diocese had been formally trained. Over half of these leaders were from Rwanda and Burundi and returned home immediately after the genocide, leaving the people in Kagera to be shepherded by a largely untrained and illiterate leadership.

Reverend David is the diocesan youth coordinator in Kagera

It wasn't until a missionary from Crosslinks came to the area that the need for ministry training was identified and addressed with the introduction of Kagera Christian Training College. Today, nearly all of the church leaders in Kagera have gone through this college, attaining certificate and diploma awards.

The Bishop of Kagera, Bishop Darlington, joined a Christianity Explored leaders' training conference some time ago. He felt there was a real need to equip local leaders for the work of evangelism and so it was decided by his team that Christianity Explored should be introduced into the college's core curriculum from summer 2018.

Printing in East Africa can be very expensive, but we're able to get good deals in Kampala, Uganda, with the help of the local Bishop

When I visit our neighbouring countries, I often travel with thousands of copies of Christianity Explored, to give to church leaders.

Left: Reverend Josias Buneye (Kagera Diocese Missions Coordinator) with copies of CE in Kiswahili; Right: Josias and Sam with Reverend Absalom, College Principal


Like much of East Africa, Burundi is very hilly and has a hot climate.

Left: The border crossing at Kobero between Burundi and Tanzania; Right: A coaster bus

Our partners are based in Bujumbura, a small town which is 60% Catholic. Most people there work as fishermen because the town is located next to Lake Tanganyika. The people speak Kirundi and French. It can be difficult to communicate!

Again, there are very few trained ministers here. Most church leaders leave to work in other countries after their training and lots of missionaries have left too due to security issues. One youth worker we met said: “To get a good Bible teacher in Bujumbura is like looking for a needle in the forest.”

Bujumbura Christian University. Sadly people who train for ministry in Bujumbura often leave to work in neighbouring Rwanda or Tanzania.
“To get a good Bible teacher in Bujumbura is like looking for a needle in the forest.”

However, amazing things are happening. The Christianity Explored Kirundi translation is underway, led by a team of four.

With Christianity Explored people are learning to read the Bible for themselves and we hope to see more and more people on the ground in Burundi who are able to teach their own people.

Sam meets the team translating CE (top), the Dean of the Cathedral (bottom left) and Reverend Marie (bottom right), who are all investing in the gospel in this area

Reverend J Marie is a youth worker who trained in Uganda for his Bachelors in Theology and has chosen to return to Bujumbura. He believes that introducing Christianity Explored to the church there will enable many people to receive gospel teaching. He is keen to see the Kirundi translation printed by the thousands.

Democratic Republic of Congo

You have to pay for a visa in DRC as it is not officially part of East Africa. The diocesan headquarters are in Bukavu, and sometimes I hire a motorbike for this journey because in rural communities it can take hours for a car or bus to fill up with passengers.

Bukavu is the biggest town in eastern DRC. It's a very poor place, with poor infrastructure and facilities.

Left: Sam got a ride on a local's motorbike; Right: Bukavu Diocese headquarters

The coordinator of the Bukavu Diocese is Bernard Nasumbuko. Bernard is now working with other church leaders to introduce Christianity Explored within the archdeaconry.

They need copies of the material in Kiswahili, Lingala and French which we have to send to them by courier.

Sam with local Christianity Explored coordinator Bernard


It's a short journey over the DRC border to Cyangugu, Rwanda. Cyangugu is in northwest Rwanda and is a big town, also situated on Lake Bukavu, which acts as the border between Rwanda and DRC.

Rwanda is a very green and calm country. They get a lot of rain and there are many thick forests. It also has the lowest speed limits (and accident rates!) in East Africa of 60KM per hour with heavy fines for anyone who breaks it, so journeys here are always slow.

Sam arriving in Rwanda

Reverend Obadias Mahirwe (Dean of the Cathedral in Cyangugu) has recently completed the Christianity Explored Kinyarwanda translation. We plan to get it printed in Kampala.

Catching up with Obadias about the translation work

Obadias is excited about the translation: "This work is timely for Rwanda and the neighbouring places like Burundi and DRC, where many Rwandans are living. Christianity Explored is a very special gospel tool that really focuses one's attention to Christ and enables many to directly encounter Him without being preached to from the pulpit or crusade ground."

"Christianity Explored is a very special gospel tool that really focuses one's attention to Christ"

The Diocesan Training College Director, Rik Mager, is very keen on the Kinyarwanda version of Christianity Explored and said that the moment it's out, it will be on their curriculum for the college, which has around 45 students each year.

Sam with Rik Mager


There are a number of ways you can pray for our ministry in East Africa.


Pray for us as we encourage church leaders in their work. When we travel to see them their faces light up with joy and excitement. Pray for our team as we make regular trips to build them up.


Access to only a few gospel resources can make a dramatic impact. For example, in Ngara, Tanzania, a group of 45 were doing Christianity Explored with access to only one leader's guide.

We would love to see these regions better resourced so they can reach even more people.

The latest translations that are completed or in progress are Lingala (DRC), Kiswahili (Tanzania, DRC and Kenya), Kirundi (Burundi), Karamojong (Uganda) and Kinyarwanda (Rwanda). This work is so important because the easiest way to reach the majority of people is in their local dialects.

There will be a huge need for these when they are ready to be printed and sent out. Please pray for the completion of the translation work, and that we will be able to find enough funding to print and distribute these.


Our local coordinators are very stretched with their time. Most of them already have lots of roles in the diocese and are frequently asked to join more ministries by their Bishops.

Please pray for Josias in Tanzania, Guillaume in Burundi, Bernard in DRC and Rik in Rwanda as they juggle their existing responsibilities and their new voluntary roles with us. Pray for us as we maintain these relationships, largely via email and WhatsApp.

We are so thankful to God for them and it will now be so much easier to plan for our ministry in these regions.

I believe CEM has a great role to play in the development of leaders for the work of the gospel and also in discipling people across East Africa.

I'm so excited to build on the work we have started in these East African countries. There is much to be done here and in the rest of Africa and I am so grateful for your partnership in the gospel as you pray for and support us.


This year there is a unique opportunity to help support our ongoing partnerships with places like East Africa.

With To the Ends of the Earth, every pound donated as a new or increased regular (eg monthly) gift will be matched by some generous friends and given to our international work.

Help us to help people love, live and tell the good news of Jesus to the ends of the earth.

Every £1 you donate enables one person to hear the gospel through our ministry.

  • £10 per month - the total matched amount of £150 (including Gift Aid) helps train 15 pastors to share the gospel in East Africa.
  • £20 per month - the total matched amount of £300 (including Gift Aid) provides eight East Asian churches with local language resources.
  • £50 per month - the total matched amount of £750 (including Gift Aid) could sponsor 15 rural Albanian churches to run Christianity Explored.
  • £100 per month - the total matched amount of £1,500 (including Gift Aid) helps us provide start-up funds for new translations.
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