Régis' Story: A Father to Many
Régis is a pastor and a father to many children. He is a husband to Delphine Uwera and a father to 3 boys: Ndizeye Asaph Kénan, Ntwari Ardon Kenaz, and Ninziza Adonai King; plus many others from the orphanage at YFC Homes of Hope Gitega.
Régis is known to have been and always will be a father to many children, children who sadly never got to experience the love of their biological parents. For many years Régis
worked with street children, then moved on to working with YFC Burundi as the father of the Homes of Hope Gitega orphanage. Régis believes that his ministry to fatherhood to those who don’t have parents is a clear calling from God. Throughout his journey in the ministry he can recall several times where God placed him in situations where it reaffirmed his calling towards the fatherless.
(Don’t be surprised or shocked by the kisses. Burundians love to express their affection through kisses. It's actually part of how we greet each other.)
Growing up Régis had a strict father, who used to beat him a lot as a child. He does not recall in his youth bonding with his father at all. In fact, when Régis got saved his father kicked him out of his house because of his faith. Régis from a young age had a zeal for Jesus. Upon receiving Jesus as Lord and Saviour he was ready to leave everything behind for the gospel. Homeless, but hopeful because he knew without a doubt he had the greatest comforter with him and within him. His mother and siblings came to faith through him. A few years after his conversion Régis’ father got sick; Régis was there at the hospital taking care of him. His father was shocked by how kind and caring his son was to him, after what he had done to him. He asked for forgiveness from Régis and begged him to return home. Upon leaving the hospital, Régis’ father came to faith as well. Régis is the first born in his family and the pillar of his family. He is a man who has been called to serve others selflessly, and that calling has become his lifestyle. Today we who have been blessed to meet and journey with him as a brother in Christ, are in a position where he needs us.
Régis’ health is failing as he suffers from type 2 Diabetes, and Hepatitis C, and has done for over 11 years. Sadly, there is no medical help for him to be found in Burundi, nor enough financial assistance. Local doctors have signed a letter to enable him to travel abroad for treatment.
So we are asking for your help to support this wonderful and beloved brother. When Régis started getting sick, you could sense the dread in the eyes of his many children at the orphanage. Some would come up to him and ask “are you going to be okay? Am I going to lose the only father I’ve ever known? What is my life going to look like without you?” Or when he would be in the hospital for a while, YFC would have to communicate to all the orphan’s teachers about the situation so that they know that the kids might be in an extra sensitive state. Régis is a man who has been called by God to be a father figure to many. And we want to support him to gain his physical strength to continue the good work he has started.
Here are links to type 2 diabetes (more about its prevalence in Africa here) and Hepatitis C for you to know more about what he is currently going through. He is always in pain, and his body is starting to deteriorate. The one who used to hold his children, is now needing to be lifted up by those children today.
The children at Homes of Hope know he has been struggling lately with his health, and they don’t shy away from lifting him physically as well as emotionally as they know he has been down not being able to be their father anymore at the home. In 2021, he had to step down as house father in YFC - Homes of Hope Gitega due to his health, after 15 years of serving.
Gitega is typically a cold place, upon being advised by his doctor, he had to move to Bujumbura where it is warmer. Régis’ wife is a trained nurse, she was working at a hospital in Gitega when he was working at YFC, but due to him getting sick and moving to Bujumbura she decided to quit her job and take care of him and their family. Because of this, now neither of them have a regular income. They are both volunteers and doing DTS (Discipleship Training School) with YWAM Burundi. They are both studying to be missionaries wherever the Lord sends them. Régis’ hunger and thirst to serve is undoubted, even when his body is failing. Anyone that knows Régis knows his favourite passage in the Bible, Psalm 23. He lives, sings, and preaches on this passage often: “The Lord is my shepherd I shall not want…”
Thacien Nsengumuremyi and Kercy Hakizimana, now university students, were some of the first children at Homes of Hope Gitega. They have known Régis since the orphanage began in 2006.
Thacien says, “I am astonished by how someone who is not my father or related to me, could ever love me in the way he showed me love and sacrificed a lot for me. He taught me above all that no matter what situation bad or good God must come first. People will change and they may run away from you, but Régis is like an angel from God because no matter what I went through he has always been the one to show me that there is hope in all and that through God all is possible. Whenever I needed to cry or release my burden he has and is the number one person I run to. God didn’t come physically into my affairs but he came through Régis”.
Kercy also shares her reflection on the impact Régis had on her life; “Régis is a father to many of us because he showed each of us affection individually. He disciplined me like I was his own child. The way he was there for me and treated us gave me hope of a good future because through that I got to know that there's a God that loved and cared for me so much and gave me a loving father. That's how I am assured that God gives me the best things only”.
Régis is not only a pillar to his own family, but a father and counsellor to many others whose lives he has impacted forever. Please, consider donating towards him getting the treatment he desperately needs right now, so that he can resume winning and touching more souls for the Kingdom of God.
Specifically, we are looking to raise $20,000 USD which will cover: treatment, the visa, a return flight to Belgium, expenses whilst there, and health insurance.
If you feel led or able to donate, you can do so in most major currencies through Great Lakes Outreach (click HERE) and specify “Régis” in the “Message” box.