Rwanda deported conservative Baptist missionary Gregg Schoof, who has been living in the country since 2003, for allegedly disturbing public order. The government refused to renew his work permit but he still hopes to return to Rwanda to continue his mission of evangelizing people after he has done so in Uganda.
In a statement circulated on Monday, Schoof said that he did not come to Rwanda to fight the government but to “preach the Gospel.” He also said that the “government has taken a stand against God with its heathen practices.” The pastor, along with other evangelical pastors, has been outspoken about the government allowing access to birth control and abortion.
He also shared a video of a going-away party where he expressed his sadness at having to leave Rwanda and his fellow believers in Christ. He said he is “heartbroken” but he asked for continued prayers for the church in Rwanda.
“Please continue to pray for the church here…pray for us,” Schoof said in the video below.
The missionary and his family will be moving to Uganda to spread the Gospel. Schoof said they will be “trying to do a lot of stuff up there with us helping start more radios in Uganda and doing evangelism We still have several college students up there whom maybe we want to help get a church started with them.”
— Samuel B. Baker (@Baker_Reports) October 7, 2019
Schoof added that he loves his church in Rwanda and hopes to one day return and reopen the church. In the same video, Schoof expressed his gratitude for all the prayers and support
Schoof was deported as a “prohibited immigrant” which is “in accordance with the law governing immigration and emigration in the Republic of Rwanda.” Rwanda National Police Spokesperson, Commissioner of Police John Bosco Kabera, said the pastor’s deportation comes after his arrest for public order disturbance, which took place in Remera, near Amahoro National Stadium.
UPDATE: Pastor Gregg Brian Schoof, was yesterday placed on flight to the United States. He has been declared 'persona non grata' on Rwandan territory pic.twitter.com/LHB7Q3b1sA
— The Chronicles (@ChroniclesRW) October 8, 2019
“We arrested Mr. Schoof and handed him over to the Rwanda Investigative Bureau. He was arrested for holding an illegal meeting with journalists in a public space. It is illegal to hold meetings in public spaces without authorization,” Kabera told Agence France-Presse news agency.
The deportation also comes after Schoof overstayed his permit which expired on July 6, 2019. Regis Gatarayiha, the Director-General of Emigration and Immigration, said his extension was given to him “on his request to prepare to leave but his involvement in activities that cause public disorder were not among the allowed preparations to leave the country.”
#RURA has revoked the broadcasting license of Amazing Grace Christian Radio after this station failed to comply with #RURA’s sanctions taken after a sermon aired by the radio on January 29, 2018 in which a radio presenter repeatedly insulted women referring to them as evil#RwOT pic.twitter.com/NjggGmMnsc
— Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority – RURA (@RURA_RWANDA) April 24, 2018
Schoof previously owned Amazing Grace, a radio station whose license has since been revoked by Rwanda Media Commission for a controversial sermon that called women “evil.” His church also closed in 2018 after it failed to comply with regulations against noise pollution, according to The New Times.