U.S. Pastor Deported From Rwanda Now Works in Uganda

Gregg Schoof claimed the Rwandan government had "taken a stand against God with its heathen practices" before being arrested last year.

Dec 17 2020, 7:13pm

Gregg Schoof, the controversial evangelical pastor deported from Rwanda last year, is now living and working in Uganda. 

In a “prayer letter” published today on Fundamental Baptist Missions International, Schoof wrote that his family plans to start new radio stations and local churches in Uganda, and has recently found funding for their work. “In Rwanda, we were entirely by ourselves, but in Uganda, there are several good churches that we can work with,” wrote Schoof, who launched the NGO Mount Gerizim Baptist Ministries in Uganda this summer. “From the radio station we had in Rwanda, I still have a love for the radio ministry … I am looking at seven different cities where we could start radio stations with local pastors. We also have an open door to start three stations in Burundi.” He then requested funding for radio equipment for four different stations, where each setup, he said, “costs about $15,000.”

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In Rwanda, Schoof’s radio station, The Amazing Grace Christian Radio, was shut down in 2018 after one of the station’s presenters, Nicolas Niyibikora, referred to women as “evil” during multiple broadcasts. This prompted the Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority to revoke the radio station’s license. 

Schoof, a missionary, also had his Baptist church shut down for not complying with city regulations regarding noise pollution and building safety standards. (This closure was not specific to Schoof, and was one of many in Rwanda at the time.) During his 16 years in Rwanda, Schoof frequently critiqued the government for teaching evolution and allowing access to family planning services like condoms and abortion. (Schoof has also continued to struggle with science: At a livestreamed September event in the Lighthouse Baptist Church in Ohio, Schoof told attendees and viewers that believed he had the coronavirus in 2019, and said he “took God’s medicines … good old fashioned exciting raw garlic.” There is no scientific evidence that eating raw garlic will cure COVID-19.)

After his radio station was closed in Rwanda, Schoof tried to host a news conference in 2019 to discuss his situation. The conference did not occur, as he didn’t have government approval. “I did not come here to fight the government,” he said in a written statement. “But this government has taken a stand against God with its heathen practices.” Schoof was then arrested for, according to Reuters, “disturbing public order,” before he was deported. 

Uganda, where Schoof and his family have lived since November 2019, has its own contentious history with evangelical missionaries from the United States, many of whom have been linked to promoting anti-LGBTQ legislation and exporting homophobia. In his letter today, Schoof said, “Truly, God has given us a wide open door in Uganda. Thank you again for your interest in our ministry and for your prayers and support.”

VICE World News is continuing to report this story. If you have any information to share about Gregg Schoof, you can email leah.feiger@vice.com.

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Tagged:

Religion, africa, Pastor, rwanda, evangelicalism, worldnews

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