Rwanda: World Relief Recap #1

February 20, 2009 at 8:46 pm (Rwanda)

When people have been asking me about this trip the first thing that I tell them is that it was a very different kind of mission trip.  In fact, it felt more like a business trip in nature.  Thats not a bad thing because the point of the trip was to travel out to World Relief’s Rwanda Headquarters to conduct several staff trainings, receive training from their staff as well, and to serve and encourage the workers who have a very tough job to conduct in a country that is still amid reconciliation.  World Relief is committed to building up and empowering the local church in order to reach those who do not yet know Christ (the country claims it is 90-95% christian) and those who are still working through reconstruction, economic trouble, and health related issues (most of the population).  It’s an amazing organization with an incredible staff comprised of both Americans and native Rwandans.  Many of which are genocide survivors with incredible and heart-wrenching stories of escape and loss.  Here is their Rwanda Home page.  So that was our mission and expectation and we received well more then that.  Here is our/their story from the past 2 weeks:

We (14 team members) met at MBC at 6:00 AM EST Friday morning to head to Dulles Airport.  Surrounded by TONS of people who came out to send us off, we prayed for our travel and trip and were well on our way.  The flights were long as to be expected and we experienced 2 interesting things on the way.  1.) my hardest landing EVER (which was kind of fun) and my first aborted landing (there was a cow on the runway in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; one of our connecting points).  I’ve never been thrown back into my seat like that before.  We arrived in Kigali, Rwanda on Saturday afternoon at about 12:30 PM.  We were picked up by 3 large Land Rovers from World relief which would serve as our transportation for the trip.  Those trucks are huge and super cool because the exhaust has a snorkel to the roof so that it can tread deep water…sweet!

We were taken to the guest house we were going to stay and eat in for the trip, which was a christian mission called Moucecore.  We paired up for rooms which had two small beds in them and 2 bathrooms for everyone to share; I shared a room with my friend Scott Clattenburg of Frontline Arlington.  The bathrooms consisted of a small sink, a small toilet, and a shower that sometimes worked and rarely had heated water…not complaining, just sharing :).  We were all very tired and jet lagged due to the 7 hour time difference but still had a briefing session that night, in which we were all guilty of bobbing heads and slipping in and out of consciesness.  Some how we made it through and got to bed early that night.

In the morning, we were split up into three groups to visit three local churchs to see what church in Rwanda was like.  Every group had a different experience.  My group attended a church that seemed very similar to the church we have in America.  There was a full worship team (with a young kid behind the drum-set who was pretty awesome!) a choir, pastors and an organized service order, alog with about 600 in attendace.  It was all done in Kiyarwandan (Rwanda’s native language) so we were each provided with a translator for the entire service….which was 4 hours long.  Before the service we got to sit down with the pastor and hear how the church was reaching out to all genreations and even other religions in the area.  The service was really great too.  The preaching was right on and it just seemed like the church “got it”.  They preached the word and peoples need for the gospel and we saw about 30 people get saved throughout the multiple alter calls during the service.  The music was cool and they even did a Kinyarwandan version of “Trading my Sorrows”…complete with the dance :).  They also had banner wavers which was new for me. There was also a section of about 150 kids and they were so well behaved for the entire service…this is evidence of the community, which will be discussed in a later post.

After church, we met for a late lunch (i’ll tell you about the food later) and visited World Reliefs headquarters, which was a 15 minute walk from our guest house.  The evening was spent finalizing some the next few days training sessions and getting a little more rest as we we’re all still very tired and still adjusting…the going out was SO much harder then the coming back.  That takes us to the end of Day 2 and this post. Check back for more soon as there is TONS more to be shared!

-nate

**I promise that there was so much more in these days that i’m writting about, this blog would just explode if i hit them all, and you probably wouldn’t want to read it either 🙂

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