From Rwanda to Rock Island: Baptiste Uwitonze’s journey

Baptiste Uwitonze has been an active member at Trinity Anglican Church, Rock Island, since this summer. He regularly attends Mass and is a member of the choir. Baptiste recently received a work permit and has started his first job. He hopes to eventually get a job in media or communications. He writes about his experiences in English, French, Swahili, and Kirundi. – Editor

If I tend to disagree about the fact that a good number of people generally go to church to hear the voice of God and have fellowship with him, I will definitely be a loser. But here is my question: Who is going back to church where he or she does not find community? In a place he feels lonely? Think again!

On the invitation of my friend Fr. Deacon Jason Bowden, I attended Trinity Anglican Church for the first time last summer, just two months after I came from my home country Rwanda. He didn’t try to foist his beliefs on me, it was only a “come and see.” When I visited for Sunday Mass, I got a reason to go back.

Trinity is a wonderful place where you feel God’s presence. In seconds you feel a part of the family, loved and cared about. Instead of “passing the peace” in the form of a simple handshake, the congregants walk around the church hugging each other for five minutes with heartfelt joy. It is an amazing scene.

Apart from his excellent teaching and preaching talent, Trinity’s priest and rector, Father Tom Janikowski, is a real connector, “a super connector.”

When I arrive at Trinity, people say, “Baptiste, glad to see you!” I know they mean it. Nothing makes a man happier than hearing his name. They are people who feel what you feel, and the human response is to reciprocate. This is natural.

Baptiste Uwitonze, right, showing off his newly acquired work permit, with his friend from the choir at Trinity Anglican Church, Dana Clearman.

Baptiste Uwitonze, right, showing off his newly acquired work permit, with his friend from the choir at Trinity Anglican Church, Dana Clearman.

* * *

TRINITY ANGLICAN CHURCH: UN FOYER, UNE NOUVELLE FAMILLE.
(French)

En tant que chrétien, je suis certainement d’accord sur le fait qu’un bon nombre de gens vont généralement à l’église pour entendre la voix de Dieu et sommes en communion avec lui, mais voici ma petite question: qui va revenir à l’église où il/elle ne trouve pas de communauté? dans un endroit où il se sent seul?

J’étais à l’église de “TRINITY ANGLICAN” pour la première fois l’été dernier sur l’invitation de mon ami le diacre Jason Bowden, tout juste deux mois après que je suis venu de mon pays natal Rwanda. Il sera guère plus facile pour moi de le dire assez fortement, mais c’ est un endroit merveilleux où ily a la présence de Dieu, et tout le monde a besoin juste secondes, plutôt que de minutes, pour vous faire sentir une partie de la famille. Au lieu de « passage de la paix » sous forme d’une simple poignée de main, les fidèles se promenent l’église en saluant les eux les autres mutuellement pendant cinq minutes avec une joie sincère.C’est une scène vraiment étonnante.

En plus de son tallent en tant que prêtre, il semble que Tomas Janikowski, le prêtre de l’église, est un leader par “l’exemple” avec soif de faire les membres de l’église vrais amis.Ce qui est plus surprenant, c’est comment tout le monde m’appelait « Baptiste, heureux de vous voir » sans me demandant de me présenter. Rien ne rend un homme plus heureux que d’entendre son nom.”

* * *

KANISA LA TRINITY ANGLICAN NI NYUMBANI NA FAMILIA MPYA
(Swahili)

Ilikuwa mwaka uliopita kama mwezi wa saba,kwa mualiko wa rafiki yangu bwana Joson Bowden nilienda kusali Trinity Anlican Church mala ya kwanza na ilikuwa imepita miezi kama miwili bada ya kufika hapa Marekani kutoka nyumbani nchini Rwanda.

Hapa nivigumu kuvitafsili vizuri, lakini Trinity ni kanisa lenye maajabu sana. Ukifika bilashaka unaweza kujisikia uko pamoja na Mungu kweri, na mbali na hivyo, kutokana na wakristo jinsi wanakupokea na kukuonyesha kwamba wanakupenda na wanakujali, unajisikia uko nyumbani kati ya familia.

Zaidi na zawadi yake ya kuhubili,mchungaji wa kanisa Tomasi Janikowski ni kiongozi anaowakutanisha watu na kuwafanya malafiki bila dakika.

Na chilicho nishangaza zaidi ni jinsi kila mtu alijuwa jina langu kabla sijafika pale. “Baptiste, tunafurahia kukuona” wote walitamka hayo kutoka moyoni. Ni sehemu unaona kila mtu anafurahia kushirikiana na wewe tena na kukujali.

* * *

URUSENGERO RWA “TRINITY ANGLICAN” NI MU RUGO, UMURYANGO MUSHYA
(Kirundi)

Mu kwezi kwa karindwi k’umwaka ushize nageze kuri uru rusengero “Trinity Anglican Church” bwa mbere ntumiwe n’umuvugabutumwa w’inshuti witwa Joson Bowden, tumaze guhura nyuma y’amezi abiri gusa mvuye mu Rwanda. Nasanze aha hantu ari nko mu rugo bitewe n’urukundo ndetse n’urugwiro usangana buri wese.

Biragoye kubivuga uko biri, ariko ni urusengero ruhebuje. Ukihagera wumva koko uri kumwe n’Imana, hakiyongeraho uburyo bakwakira ukagirango wabaye umwami bose bakwereka ko bagukunze kandi bakwitayeho, ako kanya uhita wumva uri wageze mu rugo ndetse uri mumuryango.

Umuyobozi w’uru rusengero Tomasi Jankowski ni umuntu wigisha, akabwiriza ukumva koko ko ayobowe n’Imana. Uretse n’ibi kandi mumunota umwe gusa abayarangije guhuza abantu bose babaye inshuti n’abavandimwe. Icyantangaje kurushaho ni uburyo buri wese yamenye izina ryanjye atiriwe arimbaza, “Baptiste, twishimiye kukubona” n’inseko izira uburyarya. Ni ahantu buri wese yakwifuza gusengera.

Best Regards!

— Jean Baptiste

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