Meet Ornella Umubyeyi
Hometown: Kigali- Rwanda
Home Church & Denomination: Zion Temple Celebration Center- Nondenomination
Degrees: Religion & Leadership Studies, Ripon College, Wisconsin
Garrett-Evangelical Degree Program/Year: Masters in Pastoral Care & Counseling, 1st Year
I was born in Burundi, later on my parents moved in Rwanda. I am the second oldest of a family of four girls and one boy. I went to high school in Massachusetts and then attended college in Ripon, Wisconsin. I graduated in May and immediately enrolled at Garrett-Evangelical. My parents still live and work in Kigali, the capital city of Rwanda.
I speak French, Kinyarwanda, Kirundi, and English fluently and have a decent understanding of Swahili. I enjoy movies and music. I like to travel and meet new people. I look quiet and shy to most people but I can be silly and extrovert most of the time!
I recently started a Christian non-profit organization in Burundi, which aims to help young children who are homeless and those with HIV/AIDS. The organization helps to pay their school fees. My hope is that they will become disciples of Christ who will impact their nation and the world despite their background. I only have 10 children I am supporting now due to finance but they are my greatest pride and joy.
I grew up in a Christian family in Rwanda and Burundi but never understood salvation. When I was 15, God called me but I was not ready to respond because I wanted to “fit in” like every teenager and mostly because I feared the responsibility and the cost of serving God. When I was 18, I finally decided to answer the call and leave everything behind and at 19 years old I became a preacher going to high schools and youth meetings to share my testimonies and the Gospel. The Lord anointed me and appointed me at 22 years old. I am the youngest ordained minister in my country and I find it an honor as it humbles me to see that the Lord has chosen me and trusted me to serve Him. I have authored two books, and am interested in the intersection between ministry and photography, spoken word & poetry, and social media platforms.
Attraction to Garrett-Evangelical:
First, I wanted to go to Moody Bible Institute, however I felt God leading me to Garrett-Evangelical. Second, what attracted me to Garrett-Evangelical was the masters in pastoral care and counseling. Many schools I was looking at were not as strong in pastoral care even if they had counseling programs. I wanted to attend a seminary that will help me grow academically but also give me space to grow individually as I see more of God through fellowship. When I arrived the first day I knew that I made the right decision.
Rwanda is a country that went through horrors in the genocide of 1994 and the memories are still haunting to some even now. I plan to do counseling in Rwanda and to bring counseling ministries in churches in East Africa more broadly. I believe that I have seen many wounded Christians who have not seen a platform to seek healing but also church leaders who haven’t learned of the importance or pastoral care and counseling. Rwandans would benefit greatly from the counseling of trained and equipped church leaders who could help them overcome as survivors.