A Lifegiving Privilege to Imitate Christ by Christella Dufitumukiza

For the past three and a half years, I have been finding myself in this beautiful community of women in Word Made Flesh Rwanda.

Together we walk with Jesus who promises to provide abundant life (John 10:10). And He has. Here, in the slums, among these women who in the world’s eyes, have nothing, I have really started living. Before I met Christ, I didn’t know why I was living, or what my purpose was. After meeting Jesus, I often reflect on Ephesians 2:10, “For we are God’s handiwork created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

For me, the “good works” has meant walking through life’s challenges with these precious women and children. We all struggle. Sometimes they fall. Sometimes I fail. Yet together we share in the hope that Jesus is giving life in abundance to everyone in our community.

God has gifted me with life and love that I share with the families living in Kigali’s slums. It is a privilege to imitate Christ as he loves each of us unconditionally. Jesus gave his disciples a new commandment. “Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” (John 3:34-35). To be honest, this is really hard! Many of these women do not love themselves. They have never experienced what real love feels like. Yet, by very slowly walking with them over time, we have become friends.

When I came to Word Made Flesh in 2019, I was so challenged by new phrases I often heard from the people in our community. For example, “to identify with the poor” terrified me. It took me a long time to understand what this meant.

Then, I started walking twice a week among the small, dirty slum shacks, visiting the women among whom we served. Even though I had heard about the Kangando slum, and seen pictures in the media, I couldn’t actually comprehend the dire situation until I started making friends there.

I am reminded of the sentiment in Isaiah 61, which is re-echoed in Luke 4:18, “The spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free.” For the past three years, I have had the joy of experiencing this. Even when Kangando, the slum where we had been befriending women for six years was demolished, Word Made Flesh quickly relocated to Binunga to be near our friends whose homes had been razed. We are committed to continuing to share life with Jesus among this community. being in this community has encouraged me.

Being in this community has encouraged me. I have been able to accompany one friend to the hospital when she had no one else to call for help. Together, we have had the opportunity to share a meal with a child who had gone for days without eating, yet still offered us the gift of hope. Sometimes we get to support children who have had to drop out of school.

In all of these difficult situations, I have sensed the Spirit of the Lord was upon me and the community. I have also witnessed the joy of the community through dancing, playing, and sitting together to discuss the Word of God. During our weekly savings group with the women, we plan together what kind of life God has in store for us. He who feeds the birds, and clothes the flowers, tells us not to worry about what we shall eat or wear. He cares for us!

Recently, during our Bible study for children, I asked what their hopes for our time together were. I was encouraged when one said “Sometimes, when I am troubled, and when my home is in chaos, I believe this will be a good place for me to share my burdens and rest a bit.”.

In the same way, as this child mentioned, the Word Made Flesh community feels like a rest and a home to me. I have been able to experience what true love feels like by walking with people who sometimes seemingly have nothing to offer, only their vulnerability and suffering. This helps me learn about my own vulnerability and come closer to my Savior for His abundant life.


Christella Dufitumukiza