Restoration and Church History
Rwanda: Overview

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“Rwanda: Overview,” Global Histories: Rwanda (2020)

“Rwanda: Overview,” Global Histories: Rwanda

A Brief History of the Church in


Map of  Rwanda


In the 1980s and 1990s Church records listed up to seven members of the Church living in Rwanda, but individual Latter-day Saints were living without a Church organization in the country. In the early 2000s that changed as members began meeting regularly in Kigali. Nelson and Sapna Samuel, two returned missionaries from Bangalore, India, who had migrated to Rwanda, hosted early group meetings. When the first branch was organized in 2008, many of the members—including Fabien Hatangimbabazi, Yvonne Martin, Jean Marie and Agathe Rumanyika, and Ruth Opar—were Rwandans who had joined the Church in other countries and returned to their home country.

Though the Rwandan government put a moratorium on the registration of new churches that same year, Church members and leaders pressed forward in faith to prepare for the future. In 2009 Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles dedicated Rwanda for the preaching of the gospel, and in 2010 the country accepted a humanitarian missionary couple. Over the next few years, a wider range of Church programs was introduced, translation of Church literature to Kinyarwanda began, and Jackson Ndayambaje became the first missionary called from Rwanda. The Church finally received government recognition in 2013. By 2019 there were four branches in the Kigali Rwanda District.

Quick Facts

  • Official Name: Republic of Rwanda/Repubulika y’u Rwanda/République du Rwanda/Jamhuri ya Rwanda

  • Capital: Kigali

  • Largest City: Kigali

  • Official Languages: English, Kinyarwanda, French, and Swahili

  • Land Area: 26,338 km2 (10,169 mi2)

  • Church Area: Africa Southeast

  • Missions: 1 (Part of the Uganda Kampala Mission)

  • Congregations: 4