Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Rwanda: The day I got proposed to

Today has been great! This morning we went to the Africa New Life Staff devotion time. Singing and praising God in Kinyarwandan has been such an amazing thing to experience. God is so good. Pastor Gerald brought the Word from Galatians 5:16: "If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other." He talked about how our communities do not get destroyed by outsiders but by each other on the inside. Our words are hurtful sometimes and can destroy long-time relationships in a matter of seconds. He called us to repent, ask forgiveness, and pray for healing in the relationships we encounter regularly. Convicting for sure.

After that we took a tour of the New Life Family Center, which is a room filled with sewing machines where the women spend a year learning to sew. In just two months they’ve sewn a vest, a uniform shirt, and they were working on a straight skirt. It’s so wonderful how they are learning a trade to support their families. Roommate was super excited to see pictures of this. :)

Up the hill from the New Life property there is a home that houses the Dream Center Day Care, that meant we got to play with BABIES! As soon as we walked through the gate, the 6 month to 3 years olds squealed with delight or screamed because the umuzungu (white people) are scary.

We played games, loved on babies, and sang songs with the caregivers and children. These women have no official teaching training but are doing a great job teaching these sweet loves English, music, and writing. We prayed with them, and every child folded there hands and prayed with us. They LOVE saying amen. PRECIOUS!

We walked back down the hill to the New Life property, where the African College of Theology is also located. This is so important to Rwanda because 6 months of being involved at Grace Bible Church is more training than most pastors have in Rwanda. They offer night classes to pastors, so they can improve their Biblical education and leadership skills to be more effective for their communities. ANL is also partnering with a few universities in the US to offer masters programs to the pastors here hopefully in the next few terms. They are also building a kitchen and dormitories, so the pastors don’t have to travel as much or find housing while they are taking classes. That’s so dope. (refer to Rwanda: Part 3 for clarification).

We came back to the New Life Guest House for lunch…which I don’t think I have talked about yet. There are 12 rooms upstairs each one has bunk beds and a personal bathroom. There is a common area where we eat together with the medical team and pastors that are here serving. I feel like we are living like royalty. They cook and clean for us, it’s DELICIOUS, and it's cooked over a fire. Definitely the best housing situation I’ve experienced on a mission trip, and most have been great.

After lunch, we had an amazing afternoon. We played with the Dream Boys, fed them lunch, told them about David and Goliath, and danced to the Biebs, which they knew the song. HILARIOUS! There’s videos. NO WORRIES. These boys are dear to my heart mostly because they remind me so much of my students at Northbrook. Many of these 5-13 year old boys have lived on the streets, stolen petty things to survive, and done weed. BREAK MY LITTLE HEART! But many of their situations sound so similar to the stories I hear at school.

I honestly could only tell you 1 or 2 of their names because they spoke so quietly and said their names so quickly. They only really understood “what’s your name” and “how old are you” in English, so that is all I know about them. I told them I am a teacher, but all of their favorite subjects are English. BOO. I had a kid tell me that he should be my husband (that has happened at school too…) and the boys grasped onto my arms and felt my hair because they were fascinated. They were excited to see someone look into their faces and love them instantaneously.

Lura Jane, our mama on the trip and Grace’s actual mom, is experienced in Bible story telling. She told the GREATEST version of David and Goliath I have ever seen and Yvonne, our missions director, translated the story just as fabulously. Their teamwork was on point.

When we left, I was rocking the ugly cry. When a boy looks you in the face and asks you if you will be his sponsor, you just want to hug them and say YES OF COURSE! It was so hard to leave after only spending 2 hours with them. They are a special group of boys, and a group that is so close to my heart because of the love they crave.

After that we had two more hope visits, where we brought food and prayers to families who have kids on the sponsorship waiting list. I was amazed at how challenging it is to get to some of their houses. We had to trek through the mud to get to both of their homes. These people have to do this every day, multiple times a day, and we complain about parking too far from the front of the store. It’s silly. I am just dumb-founded at the things I talk and complain about during a normal day. Spending time with these beautiful people has been so humbling.

At dinner tonight, the university ladies from the Esther Home (I talked about this in Rwanda: Part 1) came to the guest house and had dinner with us. I keep saying that __________ was my favorite part of the trip so far, but this might actually have been my favorite. These ladies are just like US college students, studying similar things, having the same worries, and doing the same things for fun. It kind of blew me away. It was just fun to have girl talk about the differences of our countries and the thing that all women struggle with. I loved sharing life with them and opening up right away to make them feel welcome and loved.

Today, the Lord poured into my soul. He showed me even further how important it is to love others unconditionally. It doesn’t matter if they are women, men, or children, rich or poor, or white or black. He is calling me to watch my words in my classroom, with my coworkers, with my family, and with my friends. The closer the relationship, the faster my temper flares, and the faster my patience wears away. Good and convicting day. Thankful the Lord is sanctifying my spirit. He’s not done with me yet.

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