Andrew Mwumvaneza

Andrew Mwumvaneza trained as a mechanical engineer in Rwanda, but then God called him into vocational ministry. He began pastoral ministry in obedience to God’s leading but with no formal training. “I yearned for training,” he says, “but nothing was available here in Kigali, Rwanda.” When a small Bible college opened nearby in 2013, he was among the first students to dive into the program and complete a two-year associate degree. That taste of theological education ignited a passion in Andrew to train other pastors in rural areas who couldn’t afford to go to school. By 2017, Andrew and his team were engaged in training pastors, and they also dreamed of starting a seminary. One of the people on the team was Garry Friesen, a retired theology professor and Dallas Theological Seminary graduate whom Andrew had met during his Bible college studies. Garry recommended that he pursue his hopes for seminary at DTS.

“I looked at the cost of a degree program at DTS,” Andrew says, “and I didn’t know how I could do it.” But financial aid, along with assistance from the admissions department during the application process, made studying at DTS a possibility. Then he hit a roadblock: the visa. He applied for a US visa twice and was refused. As he sought God’s leading through this obstacle, he began taking DTS classes online. Eventually, he applied a third time and was granted a visa. The international move was challenging, but during the years of his studies in Dallas, he and his family grew to enjoy life in America.

In Rwanda, and especially among the educated class, one of the most pressing questions about Christianity is about the Bible. Is the Bible true? Is it God’s Word? Was it just made up by people in order to take power? Andrew’s training at DTS, with a major in Bible exposition, equipped him to respond to these questions. “I really wanted to understand the Bible,” he says. “That’s why I came to DTS. And what I loved most were the Bible classes.” Before, when people would raise hard questions about the truth and authority of Scripture, Andrew didn’t have the answers; he would leave those discussions feeling defeated. As he studied at DTS, he found responses to those tough questions.

After completing his degree, Andrew and his family returned to Rwanda, where he continues to train pastors. He and his team lead a one-year training program with an intake of forty pastors each year. The teachers travel to where the pastors live to deliver one-week intensive courses throughout the year. Through his local church, Andrew also works with his lead pastor to train church planters for the work of starting new churches throughout the country. Dallas Theological Seminary gave him the confidence to equip more leaders to share the gospel. His advice for other people outside of the US who want to study at DTS? “Trust God more than you trust anybody else or any system,” he says. “Go to seminary ready to be challenged. Prepare for many surprises that can be frustrating and that stretch your faith. Be ready to learn and to change some of the cultural assumptions you’ve held dear.”

About the Contributors

Neil R. Coulter

Neil R. Coulter

Neil R. Coulter completed degrees in music performance and ethnomusicology from Wheaton College and Kent State University. He and his family lived in Papua New Guinea for twelve years, where Neil served as an ethnomusicology and arts consultant for Wycliffe Bible Translators. In 2015, he helped design and launch the PhD in World Arts at Dallas International University. He teaches doctoral courses in theory and ethnography at DIU’s Center for Excellence in World Arts. At DTS, he teaches about art, literature, film, and theology, and he is senior writer and editor of DTS Magazine. Neil is married to Joyce, and they have three sons.