The Rwanda team continues to have a difficult time getting online so they are sending emails. Here is the latest from some of the team members:
Wow how many great experiences can a person have in a trip? We just got back from a time in the community and a time in the homes of a Pastor and his family. From the washing of feet, to the sacrificing of beds; the arrival of neighbors and food fit for a king. We were treated like royalty. A little humbling when you look at the homes they live in and the culture around them. We got to share in some conversation and hear the hearts of these people. They want so much to be Jesus’ servant – and they gave us the richest experience of what that could look like. I got to chat with a young gentleman, neighbor who spoke very good English. It gave me a new appreciation of World Relief and their field workers. This gentleman was pushing me hard to see if there was any way I could help him or direct him to a way that he could get an education in North America. He knew how much he would need in Canadian dollars. He knew a lot of things about what was happening in North America, and felt like he would be in a better place if he was to get out of Rwanda. We were told in preparation that this might happen and that we were to direct them to the World Relief staff, for which I was glad. I felt bad for the guy because he just wanted to be able to advance. He wanted to serve the Lord, but was feeling restricted by different circumstances. He is someone I want to pray for as I head back home.
Saturday morning we woke up to a caller walking through the community with the message that today was Umaganda and that the Muzugu (White peoples) were coming to join them. What is Umaganda? It is a community program where everyone over 18 is expected to be a part of. So we joined with the community cleaning the sod off the side of the road. LOL after we heard we worked hard and so they worked harder than normal and in turn we actually worked harder. It was cool working side by side with the Rwandan people and with the Rwandan tools. After the work project, the community did an attendance and then had a little community meeting and training period. Again I was approached by a gentleman who wanted me to connect with him on a few things at a personal level that didn’t fit where we had to be. Again I could deflect them to World Relief staff. The people are continuously looking for a hand up, and World Relief is looking to set up the people to work their way there and not just give them a freebe. They are pushing people to value what they have and what they earn. These people are SO blessed in the world they live in! The community that surrounds them and the way they do life together is such an amazingly rich culture. There are so many things I would like to take back into my life back in Canada. The question is – how can I implement them into a culture that is so affluent and so individually focused?
- Tim DeVries
Rwanda the land of a thousand hills and a million smiles – how can you describe what’s happened here? The landscape is so incredible beautiful is brings tears to your eyes. The eyes, smiles, hearts and hugs of the people here are more beautiful than the landscape. We have been touched by the gentle, warm, loving welcome we received here. When you look into the eyes of the Pastor and his wife whom we stayed with overnight in the village – you know that we are truly brothers and sisters in Christ and that words are not needed to communicate.
- Nelda Stevens
It was such an incredible experience to come back to the continent of Africa. Being able to experience the taste, smell, hugs, and everything that made my senses come alive reminded me of the verse which spoke of there being no difference between anyone. The unity that Jesus brings transcends all cultures, uncomfortable situations and language. This was extremely evident here. As this trip this relationship based, the verse that speaks about equality between people was illuminated more than ever before. Galatians 3:26- “… neither Jew nor Greek…” was the basis of our unity as we formed our relationship in Christ with our Rwandan brothers and sisters.
- Kerry Stevens
The double waves, greetings and hugs of the grandmothers and grandfathers are so rich and encompassing While it seems easy to get an excitable response from children when they see a Muzungo go by, when a senior connects their eyes to me, there is a connection which is reserved as precious. The connection is made when our eyes meet, either in person or from the open window. There is a depth to their eyes which tells me there is a history which may or not be known. It is in that moment that we are able to spend time receiving each other, sharing in a moment of reciprocated blessing.