When Pastor Mezack, our Rwanda country director, graduated his first class of Common Ground pastors, he may have known that Pastor Jean Marie carried a passion inside him to help his hometown.  But he may not have known just how much of an impact he would have. 

Pastor Jean Marie grew up in Muhunga, Rwanda, a city of 600,000 that has a high concentration of men and women living risky lifestyles.  There, he found women eager to embrace the love of Christ, but still selling their bodies as prostitutes.  “We don’t have any other way to make a living,” they would tell him.  So he offered them the chance to learn a skill, get healthcare, and start a new life.

Today, more than 161 women are part of Pastor Jean Marie’s association.  They raise and sell tilapia.  They grow, process, and sell fish food.  They sew clothing and fix hair.  Some have made a small business out of it, receiving loans from Pastor Jean Marie’s program.  

And as they learn how to become financially stable, they also engage in the Gospel.  Bible studies, prayer, small group gatherings – before each skills training session, the Word is shared.  

“If you improve your life but you miss eternal life, you have missed everything.” says Jean Marie.  

This is the impact of a pastor, with a passion and the knowledge, to change his community with the love of Christ. Support pastors like Jean Marie.