GOVERNMENT REPRESENTATIVES AND officials, and local community leaders paid tribute to the life and work of a missionary leader who was killed by armed raiders.
Alphonse Rwiririza, the national director of Youth With A Mission died after being shot twice when robbers broke into his home in the early hours of December 2. His wife and four young sons, in another part of the house, escaped uninjured.
Several hundred mourners attended the funeral service at YWAM’s Hopeland center, near Jinja, where Rwiririza was leading the development of a major training initiative. Among those who honored the murdered missionary was local member of Parliament. Mr David Migereko spoke of Rwiririza as a personal friend.
Rwiririza’s last act of service, hours before his death, was to lead a communion service for YWAM staff at the center, said the mission’s East Africa regional director, John Kisamwa. Later that night, after the robbers attacked his home, Rwiririza came face to face with the men when they entered the building.
"Alphonse was then heard to say, `If I am to die, then I will die in Jesus’," said Kisamwa. "Then they shot him once through the wrist and then again through the heart, killing him instantly." After searching the house, the attackers escaped with some cash and electrical goods.
At Jinja, Rwiririza – who was also a member of YWAM’s Global Leadership Team – was overseeing the development of a multifaceted training center. Among the programs there are courses for new missionaries, AIDS education and vocational training for orphans.
Prior to taking on the national leadership of YWAM’s work in Uganda, Rwiririza was the director of the mission’s work in Soroti, in the north of the country, where teams helped with the resettlement of several thousand people who had lost their homes during Uganda’s civil war.
Iain Muir, YWAM’s field director for sub-Saharan Africa, remembered Rwiririza as "a true missionary" who "had influenced leading people in his nation". He added: "He was a man of great intellect, and had a keen insight into the problems facing African nations."