Rwanda- Visiting family was better than I could have imagined. We were not only welcomed as family, but learned about what it means to follow Jesus in a different way. While I took notes each day on the trip, instead of giving details that I feel may be meaningless I thought I would share my impressions. Hospitality is something I know little about. The Rwandans literally put out the read carpet for us. We were picked up at the airport and driven the 4 hrs to Kigeme/Gikongoro. When we arrived, +Augustine had stayed awake (it was 12 a.m.) and insisted on having a meal with us. To them, it would not have been fitting to have us travel all that way without proper greeting and reception.
In Taba, where our sister parish is located, the people expected us to come on Sunday. As we were unable to make it, many stayed until Monday to greet us. Pastor Moses apologized that many were missing to greet us. There were 6-700 people waiting to tell us thank you for who we are and what we have done for them! It was incredibly humbling.
There were over 10,000 refugees who have fled the Democratic Republic of Congo living on the side of a hill in Kigeme. They had all fled their homes to live in uncertainty to remain safe from the violence between groups in Rwanda and Congo. http://allafrica.com/view/group/main/main/id/00018945.html
The reason I mention this is because I saw something beautiful about Rwandese in the way they responded. While the Kigeme Convention was happening, they invited the refugees to be a part of the celebration and took up an offering to provide funds for the refugees. Rwandans know what it means to be refugees and reached out to these people in a wonderful way. In a further display, the refugee camp spontaneously created a choir to add more worship to the conference as an offering to the Lord! INCREDIBLE! Imagine leaving house, home, friends, neighbors, jobs, all you stuff, etc; to live in a country under a tent on a mountain side. They have nothing but the clothes on their backs and still offered praises to God.
I have much to learn about Jesus.
Insects, long flights, malaria pills, discomfort and distance from loved ones are soon forgotten in the faces of the people of Rwanda. I can't wait to go back. There is much more to add so you will have to ask if you want to know something specific :) Post Rwanda saw rebound tenderness. Trying to get back on Arizona time with regards to the clock as well as the pace was hard. Amy was incredibly gracious as always. I feel like I have been drinking from a fire hose! Looking back at my calendar shows me how fast the pace has been! It has been wonderful and God has done some great things in the mean time, just not the best for blogging!