Rwanda: World Relief Recap #6

March 23, 2009 at 8:24 pm (Uncategorized)

(I’m sorry for the short hiatus from these posts but I promise to finish them out soon!)

Friday was a really different but wonderful day.  World Relief starts every Friday morning with a chapel service at their headquarters and we were asked to take part in it.  They always start by singing hymns; both native hymns to Rwanda or traditional hymns we’re used to singing-just sung in Kinyarwandan with a sick beat ☺.  They asked me to play along with them and it was one of the most fun playing experiences I ever had because their singing style is SO rhythmic!  I’m kicking myself that I didn’t record it…  They had a couple of our team members share some short testimonies and then Rich (our team leader and MBC’s pastor of Staff Development) preached.  It was a great service and an excellent way to start the day.

The next big item on the docket for Friday was a staff luncheon that we were preparing for the WR staff.  Being that it was the day before Valentines Day, we wanted to cook them an “American” meal and host a Valentines Day Party.  We spent the rest of the morning preparing food and decorating the room with a Valentines Day theme.  Because of the difficulty of transporting American food to Rwanda, we had to make a really great pasta salad and pizza for the staff (made of packaged items we coul bring over on the plane).  While it may not seem like a very special meal, it was something they rarely have and they loved it.  At the luncheon, we also told them the story behind Valentines Day as the native workers at WR had never heard of such a holiday.  We also made special Valentines Day gifts for the staff members and gave them little Valentines Day cards (like the ones you used to put in your friends baskets at school during third grade) to take home to give to their family members.  It was so much fun and they loved the change of pace in the work day.

That afternoon our group traveled to the Rwanda Genocide Memorial/Museum to learn more, first hand, about the Genocide and to see the mass graves that they are STILL filling with skeletons they find all over the region.  Reading about first hand accounts and seeing video and photographs of people actually being killed was really tough to witness and I’ll never be able to write about the terrible things that happened or that I was even able to see in our short visit to the museum.   One might compare it to visiting the Holocaust museum in DC, had the museum actually been located in Auschwitz.   If you don’t know much about what happened starting in June of 1996 in Rwanda, I strongly encourage you to read about it.  We had to read the book, “We Wish to Inform You that Tomorrow We will be Killed with our Families” by Philip Gourevich which is mainly a collection of first hand accounts.  You can also see the Movie “Hotel Rwanda” but know that even though it is a moving film, it doesn’t do justice to what actually happened during the genocide.

With all the learning we did before and during the trip, my eyes were opened as to how tough of a task it is to minister to a people group that has been through SO much. At the same time, it is incredible to see how God has continually blessed his people and done so much to let the Rwandan people know how much he loves them.  While there is still much to be done, things even today are happening that are bringing more racial reconciliation to the great lakes region of Africa and the name of Jesus is rapidly growing more and more famous.  As of today, Rwanda is somewhere between 90-95% Christian and people are embracing the healing power of Christ to overcome a past that is still making life incredibly hard for a majority of the population.

After our trip out there, we went back to the guesthouse to debrief what we had just been through before heading out to dinner.  It was a memorable day and we all learned a lot.  Thus ends Friday.

** Some of the pictures of our trip have been posted on a picasa site which you can access here.  I’m still working on the post end of my pics but will have them up soon…I promise!**

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