To understand the impact Rwanda Challenge makes in Rwanda, one must understand the greater context within which Rwandans live everyday. I saw the effects of poverty, illiteracy, disease, and the 1994 genocide firsthand. To form deeper friendships over the last month with Rwandans and to hear their stories, makes the brokenness even more real. You hear stories in the United States of events happening in Africa, but it isn't real until you walk beside them and carry the pain with them. Patrice's loss became my loss. Margaret's pain became my pain. Nelson's dreams became my dreams. To live life in Rwanda for the last month allowed their stories to become intermingled with my own, compelling me to love, teach, and serve them as Jesus did.
Knowing their stories made me want to join in on Rwanda Challenge's mission that much more. What God is doing through Frank and Theophile is missions done right. They are equipping the local leaders to serve and lead in the church and in Rwanda. It can be very easy for me (and I am sure this is the case for others Christians, as well) to pridefully think that I need to be the one going overseas to lead people to Christ, to lead the local churches, and to hand out food and clothes; the problem is that I don't know the culture or the people. Rwandans are the best people to lead the church, evangelize, and serve in Rwanda. It is egocentric of me to think that I or another American Christian are best able to lead the Rwandan Church. It was humbling and encouraging to equip the Rwandans to lead the Church there. Through my experience over the last month, I have seen the leadership strengths and potential of these Church leaders. They are smart, Godly, compassionate leaders, seeking to lead the Church in a Christ-like manner. They are only missing the understanding that comes from a Bible education. We have often heard the quote, "Give a man a fish and feed him for a day; teach him how to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime," but Steve Saint adds one more part saying, "Teach a man to be a fishing instructor and you feed a whole culture." We may have taught more than a 100 church leaders, but in the process, we taught over 100 church congregations. I saw 2 Timothy 2:2 being acted out through our teachings, "And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others." It is exciting that the impact we made through Rwanda Challenge's model, will last much longer than after we left. We made disciples, who will make disciples, who will make disciples, who will make disciples, who will make disciples......
While there is so much more I could write about, I feel that my words will never be adequate enough to describe my experience in Rwanda. Now that I am in the states though, I must think about how I will live in light of what I have experienced and how I will continue to invest in Rwanda, even when I am not presently there. I don't have all the answers, but this next month I will continue to work with Rwanda Challenge in New Hampshire, and I will work through how I can join God in what He is doing there. There is so much brokenness, but there is so much hope. There are thousands of ways to start ministering, but the important thing is to start. May I be willing and ready for God to continue to use me to spread His truth and love in Rwanda, for His purpose and His glory.
After Sara Groves visited Rwanda, she wrote a song entitled "I Saw What I Saw." I have used her song to create a video showing some of the ministry experiences on our trip, while also expressing much of what my heart feels at the present.