Up and at emm, 7:00AM breakfast again and off and running on a full days adventure.
Today to me felt like the first day, the first of many, the beginning of why God has us here, our true introduction to Rwanda…
We headed out very shortly after breakfast as the church services we were to attend both started at 9:00 and we had a 45-55 min drive to get there and it is 8:15… All good were on Rwanda time and everything is OK. [A slight miscommunication between our drives and our fearless Rwandans leaders on travel time] We split into two groups this morning heading out to two different churches for there Sunday morning service. If it wasn’t a personal sermon just the 50 minute drive to get there I don’t know what would be… Driving thru the hills, valleys, jungle, bush and red clay roads just to get to church and watching all these beautiful people walking for miles to get to the same place were going or a church of their own was humbling to say the least. They pull out there very best clothes and shiniest shoes and start there trek for their church with their family to get there cups filled up and oh how they do…
We arrived at our visiting church for the day a little late but not to worry as they were all patiently awaiting their guests, Treating us like royalty ushering us in the church right up on stage and sat us down on stage in the nicest chairs they had as the choir didn’t miss a beat ever so enthusiastically worshiping the Lord. They had a number of songs being performed by a few different choirs in store for us from the children’s choir to the adult’s choir to some sort of mixed group in between but all had the same enthusiastic outcome of ground shaking, dust flying, and ear piercing praise going straight up to the Big Guy. [Did I mention we were at a Pentecostal Church?] If I didn’t.. Yes indeed we were. The energy of the praise, the volume and directedness of the sermon and over all love of the lord in this building was truly awesome to be a part of. A few of us had the opportunity to share with the Rwandans in one way or another from a Greeting’s speech to sharing testimony with them. The audience was truly captivated each time one of us spoke sharing our story and sharing God’s grace and hope for them all. Truly yet another humbling experience watching them react to our speakers. So simple yet so deep!!
Well 3 plus hours of church [Felt like maybe 1 hour] and we are off, Heading back to our home base to have a quick lunch and get organized for our afternoon activities. OH Ya it wouldn’t be a trip unless you completely have your vehicle surrounded by children jumping up and down and screaming with their hands out for a rainbow loom bracelet…..
Part two of the day consisted of more driving to get to our destinations and the destinations were truly beautiful parts of Rwanda and great photo ops but just the driving around and taking in everything around us is the Lord at work, Truly amazing watching the Rwandans.
I truly understand why they call this place “The Land of One Thousand Hills and Two Thousand Smiles”
To keep you informed as to our wellbeing and where we are all at so far.
After the much needed rest and being able to finally lie down we slept. The rooms are set up in a bunk-style with good foam matresses. All that is needed is a sheet and a light blanket; no air conditioning is available and we all sleep under mosquito nets. We have WI-FI here at the guest house, however we are uncertain of our WI-FI capabilities in Nyamesheke. So please give us a day or two.
Breakfast at 7 a.m. with fresh bread and buns provided courtesy of Joseph. Fresh fruit consisted of pineapple, tree tomatoes and bananas. Joseph would also fry an egg if we wanted one. Coffee and tea are very good as well.
We met with World Relief Staff for devotion time, where we were asked to participate in prayer time. we then had fellowship, what they refer to as “pizza” time aka, peace of time or coffee break. Bob gave us a tutorial of “do’s and don’t’s” with the culture. We then went into the city centre and toured up and down the hills, visiting Hotel Des Miles Collines, which is Hotel Rwanda.
Temperature today was 28/29oC. We came back to WR for a lunch prepared by Joseph of chicken, rick, potatoes and vegetables. Myal Green, the Country Director of Rwanda spent time shared World Relief’s vision and goals with the team.
We had some down time today for the team to enjoy the immediate sites.
PS. Duane’s “essential oils” have us never wondering whether he is close by …
Muraho from Rwanda! (That means hello in Kinyarwanda language) but you already knew that right? We have safely arrived here in Kigali, the capital city of Rwanda. We are now at our host organization World Relief’s guest house. Thanks to the cook here, Joseph, we are all happily settling down to our mosquito net covered bunks for some deeply desired rest and relaxation! We left Red Deer at 9 am on Wed May 28 and spent pretty much the next 25 hours on planes with only about 2 ½ of those hours in layovers (which isn’t really that much!) Lots of book reading, movies, snacks, small sleeps and bathroom trips made up most of that time. The flights were very nice and the food was even quite good! We were warmly greeted by staff from world relief, Bob, Janno and Domarcelle (2 out of 3 of these names are most assuredly spelled wrong )and are so thankful to God for our safe arrival with almost no complications! Thank you for your prayers! All people and bags are accounted for and we are ready for what God has in store for us while we are here. First impressions of Rwanda, although being at night, are that this is a beautiful city. Smells like campfire and warm summer air. Bob commented on how much change he has seen in Kigali since he moved here in 1994 as a boy. It feels like a busy but lovely mountain city. After our sleep tonight and breakfast tomorrow, we will be joining the World Relief team for one of their Friday Chapels and “pizza time” where we’re told there’s not actually any pizza but is a time of fellowship and possibly communion. We then will have some time to spend touring Kigali a little and seeing our surroundings before heading out to Nyamesheke region on Saturday, I believe. uraho from Rwanda! (That means hello in Kinyarwanda language) but you already knew that right? We have safely arrived here in Kigali, the capital city of Rwanda. We are now at our host organization World Relief’s guest house. Thanks to the cook here, Joseph, we are all happily settling down to our mosquito net covered bunks for some deeply desired rest and relaxation! We left Red Deer at 9 am on Wed May 28 and spent pretty much the next 25 hours on planes with only about 2 ½ of those hours in layovers (which isn’t really that much!) Lots of book reading, movies, snacks, small sleeps and bathroom trips made up most of that time. The flights were very nice and the food was even quite good! We were warmly greeted by staff from world relief, Bob, Janno and Domarcelle (2 out of 3 of these names are most assuredly spelled wrong )and are so thankful to God for our safe arrival with almost no complications! Thank you for your prayers! All people and bags are accounted for and we are ready for what God has in store for us while we are here. First impressions of Rwanda, although being at night, are that this is a beautiful city. Smells like campfire and warm summer air. Bob commented on how much change he has seen in Kigali since he moved here in 1994 as a boy. It feels like a busy but lovely mountain city. After our sleep tonight and breakfast tomorrow, we will be joining the World Relief team for one of their Friday Chapels and “pizza time” where we’re told there’s not actually any pizza but is a time of fellowship and possibly communion. We then will have some time to spend touring Kigali a little and seeing our surroundings before heading out to Nyamesheke region on Saturday, I believe.
They say traveling brings out the BEST and the worst. I ponder this familiar statement and read after my evening shift tonight “may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13 NIV).
I have heard many times of God boldly saying time and time again in my past, “the BEST is yet to come!” So, with little faith and a smudge of doubt I mumbled a prayer, “I choose to receive only the BEST oh Lord.”
The best did come…
The BEST exhibited itself by exploring Haitian culture, deepening new friendships with the team as well as the beautiful Haitians, rekindling a deeper connection with God, discovering the beautiful vegetation and landscape, and looking up at the stars at night from a rooftop.
Sometimes the BEST requires patience and a willingness to wait. Furthermore, the BEST requires perseverance and hope for what cannot be seen or even touched. In addition, the BEST requires an eagerness to receive what your Heavenly Father has already provided in advance for you to simply experience.
Truthfully, the BEST might not be what you envisioned or anticipated or even expected. As a result, the best ironically endures a point of completion and a verbalized goodbye. The old saying states, “every good thing comes to an end.” But, I’d like to add that the best always ends so another beautiful piece of life can be explored and experienced.
So, I’ve returned home and frequently been asked, “how was Haiti?” I cannot help, yet glow and respond with a single response, “the BEST!” I am realizing the power of declaring the best upon the days and weeks before me and especially on those whom I love. Furthermore, when I don’t understand certain pieces of life, it is actually an opportunity to humbly ask God, “please reveal only the best…” For sometimes His best is discovered in seasons of waiting; endured in transitions with such perseverance; and simply accepted with mere awe and wonder because it’s right before you!
In the process of unpacking the contents of my suitcase when we came back, I realized that overflow comes from a point of believing and declaring the best! I re-read the passage and began to declare the best in a place of overflow. So, “may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13 NIV).
Will you join me in declaring the best?
Today was our last day here in Haiti. After the culture shock that we have experienced here initially and becoming adaptable to the culture, it is almost difficult to leave this beautiful country and the people here. There is a sense of community here that fills each of our hearts with joy, peace, and love. We are each going to miss every one of the people we came across. We each can leave a positive impact – however small or large – in this world. We believe that we have left our everlasting footprints here in Haiti so that people here can still continue their own personal journeys with the Lord and be encouraged by our own testimonies and words. We are looking forward to coming home. Tomorrow we depart at 4:30am from Haiti Arise compound to Port au Prince to catch our plane. We should be arriving in Calgary tomorrow night a little after midnight if all goes well. Please pray for safe travels as we make our way home.
Today was another very hot day as the team helped finish the concrete roof pouring today that took all day. It was absolutely amazing to see how the well the Haitians worked together as a team. They had a team of over 50 young Haitian boys who are used to working 12 hours straight in the hot and humid weather. They were so welcoming to have us work with them.
At tonight’s church service, pastor Chris Girvan (from Innisfail Alliance Church) talked about the Parable of the Sower and I found this parable was particularly relevant for this mission. We have sown our seeds on this glorious land and one day we will see an entire field of good crop that can be harvested for all humanity.
We are each so grateful and blessed for this experience that God has provided each and every one us and the people that we came across with. God blesses us so that nations may be blessed. When we know God, we are blessed.
Today is day eight of our wonderful, fulfilling experience in Haiti. It was a productive and spiritually uplifting day for all of us. Our team split into two groups in the morning and for half of the afternoon. One group went over to the children’s village where we worked hard at laying more tiles in the houses. We had four local boys that joined us and we taught them the ropes about tiling. We were impressed about how hard they worked at the job(s) that they were given. They were all from the Haiti Arise trade school and were taught well with tiling and we were there for support and encouragement as we helped them along. It was a hot and sweaty day of labor, but well worth it to see the progress that we made. As today was the last day of tiling, the young boys told us how much the appreciated and were grateful for our assistance and guidance along the way. They expressed that they wished that our time here was longer. It was fulfilling to see the joy and pride in their eyes and how much they look forward to working alongside with us.
The other group was busy with the preparation for the large concrete roof pour tomorrow. They worked with rebar tying, form placement, and shoring. This will create the roof of the mechanic shop at the back of the property in the future.
After our work was complete for the day, we cleaned up out of our dirty, sweaty clothes to our “Sunday best” so that we can make our way to community visitation as a group later in the afternoon. This was a time where we were blessed to get to know some families in the community. We were able to bare some of our testimonies, prayed with them, and share our love for Jesus Christ to them. It was enlightening to see how most knew the Lord, but some didn’t attend church regularly. However, they were all welcoming with smiles and prayer requests. From an old grandmother to a small child, they all had life in their eyes and were truly happy to see us at their homes. They were receptive with open hearts. This activity was a pivotal time for all of us on the team to bring back home to Canada with us.
He has Risen, He has Risen in deed!!!!
Wow, what a day to be in Haiti …
To be able to celebrate and remember with our brothers and sisters in Haiti, the life after death that is gifted to us through the life of our Lord Jesus Christ … Our God is not dead He is surly alive!!! Amen.
Our day started with an 8 am church service here on the Haiti Arise compound … The service was full of men’s, women’s’ and children’s choirs and a lot of worship. Though we could not understand all the words all the time, we were able to worship when a familiar tune came up. I must say, there is something awesome about worship when you can’t concentrate on the words on a screen but to simply have to allow your heart and mind to connect with the Lord in utter simplicity … simply AWESOME!! It was a real blessing to be here for this day …
After morning church we had some time to just hang around the compound with each other and rest and relax in the heat of the day …
At 3pm we all loaded up and made a 15min trek to a small church called Tapion …
This church is made up of 95% children … as we are told, quite a few years ago, a missionary ventured out to this area and planted a church. This church grew quite quickly and became quite vibrant … as the years went by it seemed that the congregants were living “on the fence” with one foot on the world and the other seemingly in the church. This congregation was one day called on their behavior and told to choose either to live for the world or commit fully to the Lord, unfortunately many chose to run away from the church, what was left was only children. With the help of two volunteers (Roslyn and John) this church continues to run 9 years later, full of children that appear to be between the ages of 3 and 17 … The opportunity to worship with and encourage this church was an absolute blessing, words escape how precious this time was with these children.
We are all quite tired but greatly anticipate what tomorrow holds for us all … most likely though, a lot of work!! 🙂
Day six was a day of experiencing the community. The market is on Saturday and the team set out to get the feel of what that meant. The sights, sounds, smells and the crush of people were almost overwhelming. As we took in the whole experience, our guides and translators led us to the few items that we were looking for. This led us to most of the areas as well as the system of bartering. We regrouped after the event and were glad to have had a safe encounter with the local community. The greatest danger again was the vehicular traffic which kept us on our toes.
In the afternoon, we set out for the orphanage called Hands and Feet. This orphanage is the beneficiary of the Christian rock band Audio Adrenalin. A ten minute drive had us at their gates and the welcoming handshake of the director. They have almost 30 children in their care and are expanding to create room for more. A great commitment for a strong future. A short tour followed by a “God Bless” had us on our way again.
We then headed for the beach “again” for a cooling swim and to celebrate Darcy’s birthday. The treat of the day was fresh lobster cooked over a charcoal fire. Pastor Marc Honorat and his family also joined us at the beach. This was the first chance for most of us to meet him since his return from Calgary today. Some bartering for items from the vendors filled our souvenir needs. We then returned to the compound for a quiet night and a chance to cool down before bed time. God is Good.
Written by: Darcy, Ralph, Monika, Richelle, and Joanne
As the team prepared for day five, the beautiful weather and intense sun convinced everyone to seek protection. High humidity and 35c was a great reason to head for the beach. A walk through the village and greeting the local families and workers offered a closer relationship with the people outside the compound walls. They are truly a wonderful people with close community involvement as the norm. Dry creek beds and lush vegetation along the road held the domestic animals such as goats, pigs, cows and chickens. All were tethered and monitored by the community. As pedestrians, we DO NOT have the right of way, and the tweet of a horn would have us scurrying to the edge of the road. Jeeps and motorcycles, all carrying numerous people and items would cruise by with a friendly Bonjour.
The arrival at the beach was stunning, to be next to the Caribbean ocean with the mountains rising continually up from the beach. We wasted no time in heading for the water. As the word of our arrival spread, the local vendors started setting up their blankets loaded with trinkets. Each of the vendors approached us separately and whispered to us about the special “deal of the day”, just for us. We were barely out of the water when the bartering began. From a $5 dollar dug-out canoe ride to paintings and necklaces and everything in between. A few items were purchased including a couple of coconuts that were sampled by a few of the team. The return trek was underway shortly thereafter with a different path back to the compound.
We participated in Good Friday services at the community church on the compound. Singing, scripture readings, a skit with local actors and with the addition of three different adult choirs filled the three hour service. It was a great time of worship even though the language barrier was evident.
An excellent evening meal followed by the mission teams gathering on the rooftop for a time of sharing and encouragement that took us into the evening for a bit of down time.
Written by Darcy and Ralph