Some of the children have no parents or relatives to take care of them.
For the vast majority of people in my home country, the conditions in which people live here in Rwanda would be considered unbearable. I can remember as a child going to my grandparent’s home in the country where there was no indoor plumbing. Taking a bath in water heated in a wash tub or a shower in rain water collected in a barrel on the roof of the shower building located outside were a part of life there. An outhouse completed the facilities. The first church building I remember had no indoor facilities either, but rather an outhouse. Those conditions were better, though, than the ones existing here.
As an American I have been so blessed to see the great improvements in basic comforts and conveniences of life. I now live in a home with 2 ½ baths, heated showers, and central heat and air. We have doors at the entrance of our house, not a curtain. I attend a church where the building has so many of the modern conveniences such as a full kitchen with industrial appliances, comfortable chairs and pews, and a great lighting system and sound system.
But, spiritually, am I any better off than my brothers and sisters here in Rwanda as well as the Congolese refugees I walked among this past week? There are children roaming the refugee camp who have lost both father and mother and really live on their own. Children are running through raw sewage seeping down the hillside. Here adults do not have good health care nor an understanding of some basic things they can do for better hygiene. In spite of all this, I am not sure that I am spiritually better off. The hope that I have in Christ is the same hope they have. And, to be honest, sometimes the conveniences and even luxuries I have can cause me to take my mind off the hope of things eternal.
John 16:33 records the words of Jesus when he said, “I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble, but take heart, I have overcome the world.” (NIV) The peace seen in these third world communities is amazing. The hope of Christians here, the celebration of God in worship, the hunger for the teaching of God’s word, and the friendship they offer can only exist because they have caught a glimpse of glory and live daily in the glory of Christ.
May I find contentment first and foremost in my knowledge of Christ and relationship with him. This is my prayer for you as well.