This summer I have been traveling a great deal! Since the end of May I have been to Montana, North Carolina, Vancouver B.C. and in a couple of days I leave for Rwanda. Every once in a while I get the itch to travel but man this has been unusual!
People have asked me quite a few times about why I am going to Rwanda.
Most assume it is on some kind of mercy mission, or a missions trip or some kind of rich-white-people-go-help-the-poor-black-people adventure. While not explicitly colonial, we still betray our thinking when this kind of stuff comes up. We have something they want or need so we go over there and give it to them and massage our guilt about having so much and having it so easy.
Sounds jaded huh?
I guess it is a little.
It comes from the assumption that we are the best and can offer everyone around us so much. While in some cases that is true and while we respond well to the worlds needs in crisis, this is not about those things.
We have a sister church in Rwanda. We are Anglican, they are Anglican. We are Christians, they are Christians. We are humans who care, they are humans who care.
I have never been to Taba (where our sister church is located) and I have never been to Rwanda. There are many other people who know far more about life and ministry there than I do. However, they are family, and I get to go visit family.
I am so excited!
I am not excited to leave my wife and kids, mom and dad, family and friends or our church. I am excited to bring their greetings to our family in Taba.
That is the framework I am going with. I get to go visit family.
This family has had some hard times. They have experienced things I can never imagine, no matter how many conversations, books or movies I may expose myself to. All I can do is sit with family and listen to them and hope to learn from them.
I am looking forward to learning from them about hope. They know what it means to be hopeless and have somehow found hope.
I am looking forward to learning from them about forgiveness. They have been forced into a position of forgiveness that makes my self righteous causes look foolish.
I am looking forward to learning about love. I believe they have a better grasp of what it looks like to love people who are the same, different, who they don't like and people they love.
I am looking forward to learning about Jesus. There is no question I do not have the market cornered on Jesus, who he is and what he is like. I am sure I will get to see a new image of him as I look at life through their eyes.
Words can't express how grateful I am to all who have given, prayed, encouraged and supported our church and team to make this trip. I hope and trust that I will be a good ambassador for Living Faith and our Lord Jesus Christ.
I look forward to sharing with you what they have taught me. I am sure I will be better for it and I trust our community will be better for it today and in the years ahead as we connect with family.