Sunday was a great day. The team from Massachusetts and I joined Theophile and Miriam at the Hermon Church in Kimisagara (Mt. Hermon is the assumed location of the transfiguration). In 2009 the Hermon Church had grown to about 600 people. When the owner of their rented church building sold the facility, the Hermon Church was left without a place to meet. In 2011 we worshipped with them (about 20 people) in a school classroom in a difficult location at the top of one of Rwanda’s one thousand hills. However, they own property with a beautiful view in Kimisagara (a section in the Kigali Province), but lack the resources to build. The church felt shame in their situation and dwindled to a small group.
The “Old Mama” asked why can’t we build a church building. She was the first to give money to buy an iron sheet (one metal sheet for the roof), but they still lack the needed funds. In 2012 a large tent was donated to be passed from church to church for a meeting place until a local church is ready to build. The Hermon Church has now grown to about 150.
Last night, under the tent, we had our final showing of “The Passion of the Christ” for this trip. Neighbors were invited. Theophile estimates about 400 people showed up. It sounds like a preacher’s count to me, but there was a large group of people. The “Old Mama” was brought in and seated up front beside me where I was operating the laptop and projector. One hour into the movie people were crying uncontrollably. One church leader was wailing and prostrated himself on the concrete floor. After another fifteen minutes he had to leave. The “Old Mama” would continually take her igitenge (a dress or sometimes the wrap-around piece of cloth used in a variety of ways with a woman’s dress) and cover her face. It seemed as if she wanted to stay, but she did not want to look. Her igitenge would come down, but soon she would cover her face again and use her igitenge to wipe her tears. It was a special evening to be able to sit beside the “Old Mama.”
When the movie concluded there were once again hallelujahs, weeping, singing, prayers, and repentance. There were sounds coming from one woman that I cannot describe. A former prostitute who is a recent convert was particularly broken by the suffering of Christ. A common response was repentance. Many were asking how people can continue a life of sin after viewing this movie. They all want the people of Rwanda to experience God’s amazing love as portrayed in this movie.
As I wrap up this trip, Theophile will have the resources to show the movie for the Church in Rwanda. When I return to Rwanda this summer, we are expecting new opportunities to show the movie and proclaim God’s love for sinful people like us.
Prayer time after the movie