If you'd like them to speak to your group or organization, reach out to them.
Todd and Andria Ellingson, Christian missionaries to Rwanda, Africa, will be back in the Crookston area from September 17 to November 7.
Todd graduated from Crookston Central High in 1983 and is the son of Bud and Judy Ellingson. His wife, Andria, grew up in the Phoenix area, and they were married in 2008. In 2010, Todd resigned from his youth pastor job at a Lutheran church in Scottsdale, and Andria from her job as a kindergarten teacher, and they headed to Rwanda to help run an orphanage.
When that job didn’t work out, they felt God’s calling to build a Christian school in the country near Nyanza, 2 hours south of the capital city of Kigali. They called their mission City of Joy Rwanda. At first, they lived in a rented house without electricity or running water. Through support from hundreds of people in the USA, they were able to build a school called Joy Christian School, which opened in January, 2012. This year they have 215 students from 3-year old and 4-year old pre-school classes to K-5th grade classes. They will be adding 6th grade in 2019. The school year runs from January through December with a number of breaks.
Through a grant received last spring from a foundation in Arizona, they have been able to build 3 more classrooms, a kitchen/cafeteria, a playground, a dormitory for the men teachers (they already had one for the women teachers), and a fence around the entire City of Joy Rwanda property.
In August, 2015, Joy Christian Church was completed, and Pastor Lambert was hired as pastor of the church and chaplain of the school. The church has grown to over 150 baptized members with about 300 people in weekly attendance. Besides worship, Pastor Lambert offers other activities at the church, such as, Bible studies, choirs, and Sunday School for the children.
Todd and Andria’s family includes: Ella (6 years), Zebadiah (5 years), Esther (2 years), and Eliza (9 months). Ella and Zeb attend Joy Christian School all day, and Esther attends the 3-year old class for an hour each day. Lessons are taught in English, Kinyarwanda, and French, so Ella and Zeb are learning two foreign languages without even realizing it. As adults, Todd and Andria are finding it more difficult to learn Kinyarwanda, the local language.
In 2018, they had 14 mission groups visit who came from the USA to City of Joy Rwanda to help in whatever way they were needed. The groups live in the Mission House, which was built a few years ago, and Todd is the main cook while they are there. Some groups consist of 2 or 3 people and others are up to 20. They usually stay a week to 10 days.
As in other years, they had a class of adults who learned how to sew on treadle sewing machines which were donated by generous supporters. With this skill, they will be able to find work to support their families.
Because many of the students who attend Joy Christian School come from very poor families, sponsors are needed for each student. It costs $80 a month to support each student. This pays for a breakfast, lunch, curriculum materials and school supplies, school uniform, and also helps pay for the teachers’ and principal’s salaries.
Not all the students have sponsors, so, if you would like to support a student, please contact Todd by calling 1-480-524-0461, and leave a voice mail message. If you’d like to have Todd and Andria speak at your church or organization, call them to set up a date and time.
They would enjoy telling you how God is using them to spread the Gospel in Rwanda, Africa.