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Rwandan refugees find asylum, salvation in The Netherlands

EINDHOVEN, Netherlands (BP)–When the Dutch government recently granted refugees Theogene and Esperance temporary asylum, the door opened for the couple to share how God’s goodness transcends even the atrocities they suffered and witnessed in Rwanda.

Theogene and Esperance, whose name means “hope” in French, have been refugees from their African homeland since war overtook their country five years ago. For the first time since they fled, the couple has a furnished house — and now they are ministering at the refugee center where they once were residents.

Christian workers first shared the gospel with Theogene and Esperance during a Bible study in October 1998, and the pair accepted Christ as their Savior during their first few months in The Netherlands. They both were baptized in February 1999.

Theogene participated in “Operation Jeremiah,” a conference that trains refugees with leadership potential to lead Bible study groups. Six volunteers from the United States taught the refugees Bible-study and worship-service leadership skills and counseling and witnessing skills.

Today, Theogene and Esperance minister among their former neighbors in the Eindhoven area: Theogene ministers to French-speaking refugees from Africa through witnessing and Bible studies, and the couple invites newly arrived refugees into their home.

And Esperance recently found another ray of hope in her refugee journey. She believed all eight of her family members had been killed in the Rwandan conflict but Christian workers reunited her with her sister, Epiphany, who lives in a refugee center about 100 miles from them. The sisters now see each other frequently, and Epiphany has applied for temporary asylum.

The Dutch government will review Theogene and Esperance’s status on a yearly basis. They are allowed to stay in The Netherlands as long as it is unsafe for them to return home.

In the meantime, they’re sharing the good news.

    About the Author

  • Julie McGowan