Awe Trevor ….
I think I can speak for the group when I say this morning came with mixed emotions.
Throughout the last week we had been blessed with the most awesome experiences with the most amazing people, and I’m sorry, but there are no words I can write that will give you even a glimpse of what we have experienced during this time. But I’ll jot down a few, just so you can’t say I didn’t try. We were welcomed into the homes of people we had only just met with open arms, homes quite often shared with their livestock because they had no room in their yards, using furniture which they had to borrow from their neighbors so we had a place to sit, and greeted with the brightest smiles, the firmest handshakes and the warmest hugs. We were so blessed to have the opportunity to pray with them, visit with them, laugh with them, play with them, run with them. And every stop we made, every stranger we met left us with one more amazing friend, one more loving brother or sister. On one hand, this week that none of us wanted to end was coming to a close.
But on the other hand, (trying very hard to put a positive spin on this), we had been offered a great opportunity to visit an amazing part of the country’s natural wonder today. We were scheduled to take a “Canopy Tour” at Uwinka Overlook in the Nyungwe National Park, with the promises of meeting my one expectation of the trip, spotting some monkeys. And it was looking like a fun day with good friends and great weather as we made our way up into the forest. We got everything ready to go, went through our orientation with our guide as he explained about the hour and a half hike down the mountain side and across the Canadian-built suspension bridges and back up the trail, when it started. It made sense I guess, seeing as how it is a rainforest, but somehow we were still unprepared. Right as we were about to get started, as if to say “welcome to my rainforest”, God blessed us with such an abundance of rain, all we could do was laugh. And we continued laughing as we made our way down the trail, sometimes walking carefully, often sliding out of control, making our way to the highlight of the hike, the “canopy walk”. This consisted of three suspension bridges, totaling 140 meters long, at a height of at least 70 meters off the ground below. We did make it across through the downpour without more than a little bit of crying, and found our way back up to the café where we started. Once the group gathered again up top, and we stopped for a minute to catch our breath, the rain shut off and the sun came out. But I don’t really want to talk about it. We might be able to show you some pictures, if we can get our cameras dried out and working again.
We made our way back to our guest house where we were able to change into some dry clothes and get packed up for our flight to Kigali tomorrow. We had a chance to meet and have supper with the beautiful family of Albert, the man whose time we had been hording this week, who is the World Relief employee working with the Church Empowerment Zone that we had been so blessed to visit. We are so thankful to them for sharing him with us all these days.
So as the day comes to close, and we prepare for church tomorrow before flying back to big city life in Kigali, as we reflect on all the friends we have met, the prayers we have prayed and the joy we have shared, I think I can speak for all of us when I say, not that a piece of our hearts will be left in Nyamasheke, but that our hearts have been expanded large enough to take a piece of Nyamasheke home in it with us.