It’s been said that “everything important in Rwanda happens on a hill.”
I have to agree. In the early 1960s something important did happen on a hill in a place called Cyimbili. God gave missionary Elvin Kile a vision to plant and nurture the hope of Jesus there. He built a school, a church, and a clinic. He remained faithful to his calling until God took him home in 1983. Sadly, time and national conflict have taken a toll on the Cyimbili plantation and the community surrounding it.
Cyimbili’s lush green hills on the shores of Lake Kivu are beautiful, as are the people who call it home. Their plight grabbed hold of my heart when I first learned of it, and God seemed to be calling us to come along side and help make a difference. As I listened to the young people who crowded around us on our first visit, they spoke of the need to know—really know—that God has a good purpose and a plan for their lives and that He has not forgotten them.
I believe change is coming. I pray that we may continue the great work that Elvin Kile started, that the message of hope and renewal might again echo from the hills of Cyimbili, pointing people to the One who said:
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:11-13
—Jamie Longo, Founder
A Team Effort
In 2008, a small team from a church in New Jersey got together to start Hope for a Thousand Hills. Working in partnership with African Leadership and Reconciliation Ministries (ALARM), and with the help of numerous donors, companies, and volunteers, we began to move this project from vision to reality.