Great connection in Gisenyi

This is a little different note but I wanted to share a contact that I’ve made, which I believe will be very helpful to move the vision of HOPEthiopia/Rwanda forward. For those of you who don’t know what we’re up to in Rwanda, the basic idea is to provide support to local NGOs that are doing really great work with very limited resources.

The very helpful James Parsons of the Canadian Consulate in Kigali suggested I connect with an amazing Canadian, Frère Gabriel Lauzon, who is working in the Gisenyi region of Rwanda. Within this budding relationship there seems to be a wonderful opportunity for both his organization and HOPEthiopia/Rwanda.

When I met with him on Sunday he closed our meeting with, “I will see you tomorrow and we will talk about how we can work together.” This priest is a mover and a shaker!

At the age of 28, Frère Gabriel left his Montreal home to fill a two-year teaching position within the Rwandan school system. Forty years later he is still in Rwanda. Though he came to teach formally, his passion has been to teach “informally.” Nine years ago God granted him the desire of his heart when he opened “Vision Jeunnese Nouvelle.”

He is now inspiring youth to stay clean and in school through access to healthy recreation and relevant educational means. To give you an idea of the breadth of his ministry, this center boasts of 246 soccer teams, 46 basketball teams, rock bands, dance troupes, choirs, library, school for the deaf and mute, schooling for homeless kids. Relationships are being built, trust established and youth are now asking to be HIV tested! (This is very new and positive!) But pardon me, I am not doing his ministry any justice, so I’m going to refer you to the center’s website:

But I did want to share something with you that really grabbed my attention. I met the young man whom Frère Gabriel affectionately calls his “thermometer”: Yannick. Abandoned at birth because he has Down’s Syndrome, Yannick spends the nights at his grandmother’s home and until the center opened in 2009 he wandered the streets of Gisenyi during the day. Now he passes his days with his “Père” (Father Gabriel), eats with the kids at the school and lovingly greets everyone who visits VJN. The unconditional love expressed by the folks at the center draws Yannick in. And Brother Gabriel believes the day Yannick stops coming to the center is the day they should close up shop.

So, to revisit Frère Gabriel’s question: how could we work together? He has a wealth of experience and knowledge of working in Rwanda, which he is more than willing to share. And clearly the center is lacking the ability to help with psychosocial piece of holistic care, which we can easily help with. It is a good fit. Frere Gabriel’s faith and passion for Rwanda is inspirational. It will be a great honor and blessing to partner with him in his efforts to holistically care for the youth of the Gisenyi area.

Thank you for your support … on every level. I feel your prayers and know you are with me.



Blog, Mission Trips

One Comment → “Great connection in Gisenyi”

  1. Patrick Lherisson 7 years ago   Reply

    You are so right, Frere Gabriel is an incredible person, I am blessed to be one of his friends. I was also very glad to have met you today and look forward to talking to you soon.
    Blessings to you and your team,

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