Thursday, August 02, 2007

Rwanda 2007 Overview

We had a great second trip to Rwanda. Our pastor and translator met us at the airport and went to lunch with us right after getting off the plane.

This was Danielle and I’s second trip to Rwanda. We returned to the CECA Church in Musamura. This is about a 2 hour drive out of Gisenyi right into the heart of the Rwandan and Congo volcanoes.

My dad (Eddie) and Ethelyn joined our team this year. We taught Purpose Driven Church for 2 days and PDL for another. On the second day we revisited the local clinic. We presented them with a solar lantern. The sector leader, who we had met last year, came to the clinic and made it an official ceremony. It was awesome to see their excitement over the gift. The most touching part for our team was right after we left and the pastor told the congregation that we had given their clinic light and had prayed over their clinic. They were astonished and greeted this news with gasps and applause. I think many of them fear going to the clinic and were just shocked that we not only went there, but tried to help improve it on their behalf. A few days later as we passed the clinic to go visit a new church, we saw the lantern and solar panel out in the sun recharging.

Unlike last year where we were not stop being introduced to government, school, and church leaders, this year we got to talk and meet more with the people of our church. We had story time with the children. We shared that everyone has a purpose, not just adults. We looked at Jonah who ran away from what God was asking him to do. Then we looked at Jesus and what His purpose was. I led the children (and adults around) in a sinners prayer.

We also got to have one on one with people from the church with HIV/AIDS and the women leaders. One of the most meaningful moments for me was while meeting with the members of the church who have told the pastor they have HIV. A woman (pictured below) had her son on her back. The little boy was struggling to breath. He just kept looking at me. After fussing a bit, his mother moved him to her lap. Once there they little boy grabbed my hand and held it for the rest of the meeting. I cannot explain all the emotions that ran through me that day, but God is good. I and the rest of the team was touched and overwhelmed at the bravery of these people for getting tested and letting their pastor know their condition.
During the trip we got to go out and visit a church that was planted after our teaching last year. The church was on the Congo border. Many from the Congo would cross and attend this church. It was so crowded in there that people were hanging in all the windows trying to get a glimpse of the abazungu. My dad shared a message and about 12 people came forward to accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior.

Again we were struck with the beauty of the Rwandan people. The pastors there give up so much and so much is required of them. It was great to encourage new pastors, a new church, and our home church in Musamura. We cannot wait to go back again. We left them a variety of resources and trainings. They were extremely excited to receive them and know the ball is in their court to turn those into action in Rwanda and the Congo.

Thanks again for all your support during this process. From the first day driving up to the church children remembered who I was and were chanting “Tina, Tina, Tina”. It was touching, but I truly hope that they saw more than just me. I hope they saw the love of Jesus in me and my team.

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