Kumbya’s History

Kumbya has always been connected to revival.  In 1936 what has come to be known as the East African Revival took place in Eastern Rwanda.  This revival spread across Rwanda, Burundi and much of East Africa.  The name of Christ was made known in a fresh way.  Even before this revival the Holy Spirit began moving among missionaries of the Great Lakes Region and a spirit of cooperation grew between them as they formed the Alliance of Protestant Missions in Rwanda and Burundi in 1935.

From as early as 1941 the Alliance had felt a need for a retreat center where they could meet.  In 1942, Frank and Hazel Adamson, who were beginning the work of the Free Methodist Mission in Kibogora, on Lake Kivu, were in a dugout canoe when they saw a small, uninhabited island, called Gako.  They felt it would be an ideal setting for a retreat center.  They applied to the government for it and were granted possession.  Shortly afterward, Clayton and Luella Brown of the Friends Mission were visiting to see Gako.  But their attention was drawn to the nearby Kumbya peninsula which would be much more convenient for such a retreat center as it was accessible from the road and was much larger.  Investigations were made and application was made to the government for about 10 hectare of land.  This was granted in September 1943.

The property was developed over the next three years and in 1946 the first Kumbya Convention was held with nearly 100 missionaries attending mainly from Rwanda, Burundi and the Congo.

This annual convention has been the source of unity in the region, offering rest and relaxation, deep spiritual teaching and renewal for tired and overworked Christian workers and a chance to meet old friends and make new ones as they enjoy the beauty of Kumbya.  Children particularly make friends as they eagerly anticipate the Kumbya week to catch up on news.  There have been several marriages whose romance started with friendship at Kumbya and a number of missionary children have been baptized in moving ceremonies off the point.

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