Vol 7 No. 50 Emmanuel, “God With Us”

Dear Folks,

I am always deeply thankful for our church’s names when they are clear biblical or theological allusions or references. Names like Beulah and Trinity come to mind, but especially the name, Emmanuel, meaning ‘God with us’, which is in its naming the clear declaration of the presence of God and a welcome to others.

Clearly, the advent Christmas story of the birth of Jesus is filled with the holy sense of the full meaning of the name Emmanuel: Jesus the Christ, Emmanuel, God with us.  I have always felt, and the scriptures have many examples, that God gives us individuals in our lives and churches that exemplify His presence and power more clearly than others. In every case when this has happened for me, the individual in question is not aware of the way that God is using them to influence others. That is true in my life and in the lives of many at Grandview Calvary Baptist Church and in the Commercial/Grandview area of Vancouver in the person of Emmanuel Ndabarushimana.  It does not involve either a great stretch of the imagination or a tactless, play on words to speak of Emmanuel as a reminder that God is with us. Emmanuel, for me, has brought with him a full recollection of the faithfulness of God, as that faithfulness has been lived out in Emmanuel’s life and the lives of his children.

Emmanuel fled war-torn Burundi over 10 years ago and in a circuitous way arrived in Canada so that he might study theology. His wife, Marie Rose passed away during his time here, leaving his two children, Peace Esther and Jean David in Burundi. His children eventually joined him, but not before he had been welcomed as a ‘stranger at the gate’ by Kinbrace House. He became a part of the community at Grandview Calvary Church, was ordained by the CBWC, and became the pastor for the Sunday morning congregation at Grandview Calvary. He feels called back to Burundi to train leaders and teach theology. Just as Grandview has commissioned and sent him, we also affirm that call of God in his life as a family of churches. Brian Stelck has been most helpful and supportive of Emmanuel in helping him to understand the challenges and fruitfulness that comes from teaching.  Part of our sending is to support Emmanuel in prayer. After prayer there is also a need to be supportive in other ways.  Emmanuel has asked if I could convey to anyone who feels prompted, to consider supporting him and his family in their modest needs.   Emmanuel has written an informative brochure about his venture and how the ministry is being established. Please find it on the CBWC website  (https://www.cbwc.ca/) this week.  Emmanuel’s contact information is included in the brochure.


I commend Emmanuel and his ministry to you, and as importantly, maybe even more importantly, I commend Emmanuel’s declaration of God’s faithfulness in his struggles to flee war, in his widowhood, of travelling to a strange land of no resources (as Joseph and Mary journeyed to the unknown), of not knowing where money or support or ministry opportunities would come from, and of being able to celebrate at the end of the day, “that God continues to provide for me and my family so I declare his goodness to me and his faithfulness to all”.

So Emmanuel in his person and character remind me of the promise that God created in his name: Emmanuel…God with us. You may not know Emmanuel, but please remember in this advent season, his name and the name of his Lord, and may each of us experience the richness of the experience of God’s presence in our lives so that we too can celebrate God with us.

Peace be with you,


In Christ,