We are now settled into our main residence and I have asked Tim to offer some early reflections on his trip and time in Rwanda. Frank
My journey to Kigali began a little over a year ago. After hearing Frank talk about the work of Rwanda Challenge I found myself intrigued by the principles of equipping church leaders in Rwanda to increase ministry efforts in ways that were both sustainable and reproducible. Frank and I met and it was decided that I would join him in August 2016 on a teaching trip. For the past year there have been so many discussions with others about the need in Rwanda and the work that is taking place here that my friends and family have probably grown tired of hearing me discuss it.
Arrangements were made and the trip began. As the miles on the airplane slowly ticked by it seemed as if time had almost stopped. Like a child awaiting a special day, my anticipation only increased as the countdown to arrival in Kigali grew closer. Finally, the pilot said the words I had waited so long to hear, “Ladies and gentlemen we have arrived in Kigali.”
The last couple of days here have been filled with many experiences that surround the senses. The sights, sounds and smells of this city are ones that can only come from a place in which just over 1,000,000 people call home. From the brightly colored buildings to the various means of public transportation, there is no denying that I’m not in Virginia anymore. To be the outsider in a culture where I don’t speak the language is definitely not my normal routine. And yet something about it just feels natural.
The people that I have encountered have all been gracious and welcoming. They have opened their lives for us to come and serve alongside them. They have patiently answered all the questions and offered great insight into things that I had not considered before my arrival here. They have shared with us their hopes and dreams.
We have had the opportunity to visit two of the genocide memorials. My heart aches as I think about the pain that this country has endured. No one has escaped the effects of those actions. Each person has their own story and the stories are heartbreaking. My mind cannot fathom the extent of the suffering that took place. Neither can it begin to answer the question so many have asked, “Why?”. I have, however, found something unexpected among the outcome of this tragic event. I have heard the stories of forgiveness, reconciliation and healing that have taken place. I have witnessed the determination of Christians who refuse to be defined by the tragedy of their past. They have been able to lay aside the hurt and pain and move forward TOGETHER as the body of Christ. Their concern now is for their future and the future of their nation. Which leads us to why we are here.
Monday morning, we begin teaching the church leaders. We hope to equip them with a greater knowledge of the scriptures so that they can in turn teach others more fully the Word of God. That is the hope for Rwanda. In reality it’s the only hope for us all. I look forward to sharing with these individuals who want above all else to know the scriptures better so that they can then better teach others God’s Word.
Pray for Rwanda Challenge and its ministry impact. Pray for us as we work alongside these dear Christian brothers and sisters. To God be the glory!