The fruit of silence is PRAYER. The fruit of prayer is FAITH. The fruit of faith is LOVE. The fruit of love is SERVICE. The fruit of service is PEACE. - Mother Teresa
The last three days were filled with emotions and activities. We have had to say good bye to new friends and old. We had lots of laughter and tears. The hardest part for many of us is our departure back to the States.
Saturday was our last day of training. It pulled the strings to our heart knowing we were saying goodbye to our Trainees. God blessed us all yet again. We were able to get all the Trainees an e-mail account.
We also had an opportunity to visit with a genocide survivor. We visited with Vanise and listened to her story. She lost her husband and her 7 children. She had a sweet, warm, welcoming heart. Although it was too difficult for Vanise, to tell her story during the midst of the genocide, she did tell us how God opened many doors for her. She was accompanied by her close friend and spiritual daughter, Patricia. God touched our hearts yet again.
After our visit with Vanise, we were guests to a very special event, the baptism of Michelle Allen and Tyler Plante. It was very touching to see them follow what God was asking them to do. They really stepped out and listened to the Lord.
We ended our evening celebrating Michelle and Tyler’s baptism and the birthday of one of our interpreters, Tom, at the Mariah.
Sunday was the beginning of good-byes for some of us. We were able to attend services in Kibuye before driving back to Kigali. This was hard as we all knew we would be leaving our hearts behind. Even though it was tough, we were blessed by an amazing service that had most of the team up dancing during worship time. After service, we loaded our luggage and headed to Kigali where we all met for dinner at the Bourbon Coffee before going to bed early.
Monday was our day for rest and relaxation. We went to Akagera National Park and saw God’s splendor in their natural habit. On the way there, Wayne’s driver shared with him and the girls from his team, how he was a survivor of the genocide. He told them about losing his entire family except his younger sister, and how the army rescued him from a swamp. He told of how he watched the perpetrators captured his 3 older brothers and how he had to eat raw sweet potatoes for weeks. It was a reminder that no matter where you go in this country, there are still scars and wounds that are healing.
Tonight we gathered at a local restaurant called Heaven for dinner. 17 team members, 4 interpreters and Patrice, a friend of many who have traveled here before and the nephew of Pastor Theophile of the Harvest church. The meal was amazing and it was so fun to just relax and enjoy the interpreters company for the last time. But as the night came to a close, saying good bye had many in tears once again. We all exchanged emails and face book contacts and promised to stay in touch. Tomorrow we are planning on stopping by the African Bagel Company to see an old friend for most of us before heading to the airport.
We want to say thank you to all of you who have kept us in prayer, commented on our blogs, and missed us. Thank you to all of you who made this trip possible through your financial and spiritual support. We may have been asked by God to come here, but you were asked to make it possible.
Murakoze cyane ( Thank you very much )
What Christ asks of us is a roomy workshop, for when He comes into the soul, He comes as a craftsman and His tools with Him. -Evelyn Underhill
Team One: Heidi, Kayla, Gloria and Jaleesa
We went to Kirinda to work with the trainees that Wayne, Danielle, Brad, and Linda had trained for the last three days. We reviewed e-mail basics and allowed them to sign into their email. They were very happy to see that they were getting trained for another 2 days. I loved seeing the smiles on their face when they saw that they were on their email. It was a really positive day, even though we couldn’t get some of the emails to send.
The internet wasn’t always working and it was hard to explain why. We really needed patience and God provided that for us. God has different plans for everyone and it is really great to see how God’s changing our lives.
Market day was today and it was so cool to see their shopping culture. They had everything from food to fabric, to shoes. Many of the girls got fabric and plan to get skirts or bags made. It was really great to see how everyone interacted with each other. Everyone had a smile on their face.
Wayne surprised us today at our debrief. Something we haven’t had since we left America. Pizza and cold water, ice cold water. You could see the condensation on the bottle. We were all so excited. -Kayla
Team 2: Brad, Wayne, Danielle, and Linda
We started training nine new pastors some of which already had emails. As Wayne asked them questions we realized that many had some knowledge of computers. So Wayne worked with what we had and made a class out of it. 2 computers ( one desk top and one lap top ) made our classroom. Danielle and Linda each sat at one helping them with their typing skills. After Wayne taught them more about Word and how to use the tools to make their work easier. As he taught Danielle sat at the computer and demonstrated. One of the pastors explained during class that they had taken this training course but often forget what they have learned before they get a chance to practice. They really do need more computers here so they can practice what we are teaching them.
After training we met up with the other teams and all 17 of us went to the market. Friday is Market day here and the whole town comes out to get the things they need. They have food like these small dried fish, vegetables, rice, and flour. You can also get clothes and shoes, bags, personal hygiene stuff and even soap that someone made. They cut it off a big block right there. The market was really something fun for all of us. At dinner we found out that Wayne and Michelle had bought 2 big sticks of sugar cane and had the guest house cut it up for us to all try some. You don’t swallow it, you just chew on it and suck the juice out. It was sweet and really tasted good. Tomorrow is our last day of training, and then we have to plan on leaving soon. I am not too sure that’s going to be easy because we have all fallen in love with this place and these people.
The last and foundational part of my perseverance is born out of my faith. When all those other things...run out or fall short, my faith is the thing that enables me to just show up and take one more step. - Michelle Akers
God provides all things, no matter how insignificant or minuscule! We have all learned this lesson so many times in the last few days. From praying for a computer to asking God for patience, He is constantly revealing Himself to us.
Today was the third and final day of training in Rubengera. Yesterday we left disappointed, but today was a whole new game. We managed to get everyone an e-mail, but we did not do it for them - they did it themselves! It is amazing to see how fast these people catch on and how much they absorb. Wayne has said that these pastors and community leaders are like sponges, and his comparison is spot on!
Spending time with our trainees has been invaluable. When we passed out certificates, the joy on their faces made our hearts sing. Our biggest accomplishment was not getting an e-mail set up, but establishing relationships with our trainees. We all were not only comfortable handing out our e-mail addresses, but we all hope to hear from them soon!
Today was our teams last day in Kirinda. We had all been praying that we could give our trainees email, which we knew would mean so much to them. Between internet and technical difficulties, we were not sure if that was something we could accomplish. Of course, God blessed our day tremendously. We were able to create emails for each trainee we had. On top of that, we showed them each how the basics of email work and also gave them more practice with the keyboard. Our training ended very successfully, with us knowing that our trainees had enough knowledge to be able to type and use their email. We were then told that they were expecting five day training, not three. Now Heidi’s team will go to Kirinda and teach the same group more advanced and in-depth training on email and word.
After training we were able to visit two more class rooms of a secondary school. The questions these teens asked about the PEACE Plan and how very curious they were about how it all worked was amazing to us all. Wayne was able to give good explanations for how we train. He explained to them that we do not come here to teach them what we think they need, but rather what they tell us they need. Then we are able to come and assist them by teaching them to teach others.
After we visited with our host, Pastor Prince, in his home, he told us about his church of 4,000 members and explained that the teachings of Small Group from the Purpose Driven Life team from 2 years ago is now part of their church. He explain how some of the small groups are doing their out reach in the community and how it is impacting the village greatly. He also expressed how much he would love to partner with MCC. Wayne told him that he would talk to Bo and introduce them through email in hopes to maybe someday build a partnership that will benefit all.
Always be faithful in little things, for in them our strength comes. - Mother Teresa
Both Teams (Team 1 - Heidi, Gloria, Jaleesa, and Kayla; Team 2 - Linda, Wayne, Brad, and Danielle) headed out for Day 2 of Computer Training. Team 2 still did not have a computer to train with. However, shortly after Linda prayed to God to help her team members through the day with the limited resources, Wayne received a call from Pastor Leonidas; he had two computers. Our God is Great!
We arrived in Rubengera all excited that we were going to be able to set up e-mail accounts for all eleven Trainees. We were blessed yesterday with a modem provided by Pastor Leacky.
We started the morning in prayer and worship (song) as we did on Day 1. We then went over information covered in yesterday’s training session; four of the Trainees presented the information to the class. I was excited to hear and watch these four Trainees teach!
After tea break and for the rest of the afternoon, we taught the Trainees how to set up an e-mail account. Unfortunately, we were not successful in setting up an e-mail account. Although, we had internet access and completed all the steps, including the last step “Create An Account”, we ran into unexplainable technical difficulties.
I can not begin to explain how hard it was to see disappointed eyes and hearts of the Trainees. They have worked so hard to be where they are in their physical and spiritual journey. Even though I have only been with the Trainees for two days, it became very clear to me that each of them appreciate the knowledge that we bring and the knowledge of each other.
I left today’s training session broken-hearted. The Trainees were hoping to have an e-mail account so that they could communicate with the rest of the world and their new friends.
After training, we had an opportunity to visit a school for ages 6-14. We visited all the classrooms and were greeted with “Welcome Visitors” in English and in unison. I was very amazed at how well the students were able to understand and speak basic English greetings.
Tomorrow we are headed back to Rubergera for our last day of training in this area. Friday, we will be headed to Kirinda to train a new set of Trainees.
Please pray for courage, strength, and patience for each of the Trainees and Trainers!
Arriving at the school we were greeted with 10 trainees all happy to see us and even happier when we gave them the good news that God had bless us with a computer for their training.
Having equipment available made it easier to teach the class. The 10 Trainees were able to catch on quickly which made it easier for them to learn and for us to teach the material. Today was an amazing day we then visited a primary school. The children were all happy to see us and greeted us with a Rwanda greeting.
The children asked us questions about ourselves and we asked them questions about their life in Rwanda. Some mentioned the P.E.A.C.E Plan and what that means to them. We walked across the basketball court from the school with lots of children around us, where Wayne and Brad stopped to make two shots.
Next we made a home visit to an amazing lady with HIV, she told us she had lost her husband and her three sons had died from HIV. She takes care of three children that are not hers, but she does it with an open heart and God’s love. Next we were on our way home down the beautiful, mountainous roads of Rwanda.
It takes faith to come to God simply to be with Him. It proves, first of all, that we believe he exists. And that he is our greatest gift. - Stormie Omartian
This morning started our first day of training, where Wayne, Linda, Brad and I drove about two hours to get to the church in Kirinda. There we met with the nine local pastors that we will be training for the next three days. We started off by getting familiar with everyone there and of course with a prayer from one of the pastors. Most of the locals there had not yet seen seen a computer, so we started from the very basics. The day flowed easily, and they absorbed every ounce of information we gave them (and we gave a lot). We wrapped up our training by eating lunch with our trainees, talking the whole while. Afterwards, we visited the secondary school that was right next to the church.
They brought us into three classrooms, where we were welcomed and were able to both ask and answer questions with each other. It was very special to Brad and I because these Rwandans were the same age as us. Every time Brad told them his age, the whole group would laugh with each other because he looks so much older than the local fourteen year-olds. One classroom had “manchester” written in chalk on the wall above the chalkboard. It touched both Brad and I because it made us realize how welcomed and appreciated we were there, even before we had stepped in the door. One boy even said in perfect english “I would like to say that you make us happy to be here.” It left me in complete awe to see the appreciation that each and every person there had for us.
To top it all off, Brad and I went down to the soccer field that was right next to the school and played soccer (“football”) with the school kids and the pastor there. Brad was able to play his favorite sport and connect with the locals. It was so awesome to be able to have that opportunity and feel like such a part of their community.
-brad and danielle
Today was our first day of computer training. Our group was made up of Heidi, Kayla, Jaleesa, and I. We taught a great group of 11 trainees that consisted of pastors, teachers, and students.
Before we arrived, we were all very nervous because of the fact that we would not have a computer. We left for Rubengera at 9am along with the EFL team who was teaching at the same place as us. When we arrived there we were greeted by Pastor Leiki. He told us that he had a computer that we could use for our training. A weight was lifted off of our shoulders. The computer made a huge difference. Now we were not only able to physically show them the parts of the computer, but they were also able to practice what we had taught them. We were blessed that most of the trainees had at least a little knowledge of computers. Because they had a good sense of computer basics we were able to accomplish more than we expected. We are hoping to teach them about Microsoft Word with the two days of training we have left.
We had an opportunity to get to know all of the trainees during both tea time and lunch. This gave us a chance to practice our Kinyarwandan while they got a chance to practice their English.
After training we were able to visit the medical clinic owned by Pastor Leiki. The clinic provides consultation, blood testing, and small procedures. It is like a doctor’s office in the sense that you go there before you go to the actual hospital. We also learned that Pastor Leiki has a degree in general medicine. He told us that he has delivers 273 babies. Oh and by the way, he is also a dentist! Pastor Leiki shared with us that he had been robbed a few months ago. Computers, musical instruments, and medical supplies were stolen. God has blessed them by helping them recover from this.
Before heading back to the St. Jean we were able to play with a lot of the kids. We taught them things like the song ‘head, shoulders, knees, and toes’ which helped them with their english.
Today was a very successful and fun day for both us and the trainees. We can’t wait for the next few days!
-glo and jaleesa
As God allows challenges into your life, don’t worry about being pushed out of your comfort zone. You aren’t really being pushed out of it. God is just enlarging - keeping God in the small stuff.
Today was an emotional day to say the least. We started off by giving our interpreters the morning off. Today is Liberation Day in Rwanda. This is the day when Rwanda became one nation. I love how we share this day as national holidays.
We chose to walk up the hill to the St Jean Church. The church is hand built. Every rock is perfectly in place like God himself stepped out of heaven and put them there one by one.
Starting on April 7, 1994 and for 100 days this church was something very different. The Priest who was in charge opened the doors as a safe place. After allowing 12,000 people to enter, he locked the doors and gave the keys over to the perpetrators. Today in front of the amazing cathedral sits a memorial for the lives of those 12,000 people who died there. After telling the Team this story, we walked inside and I watched 7 of my best friends walk to separate places and sat quietly alone in prayer.
Then, we headed to Kirinda along with Pastor Leonides who is the president of the ICC of the Karonge District. There we visited the very place I left my heart just 2 years ago.
We were greeted by an old friend, Pastor Prince. We got a quick tour of the hospital. I was so happy to see the amazing improvements made to this hospital. The condition of the hospital has improved in the last 2 years. The PEACE Plan has been actively working and assisting in finding better ways and solutions to their normal day to day operations. The hospital now has a clean water filtration system. After, we visited patients in the 4 wards. Our visits included prayer.
As you can imagine the sickness and injuries range from minor to great. One man had cancer and another women had lost toes. The doctors have no clue as to why.
Many of the team members stepped out of their comfort zone, without truly knowing how far outside. The Team allowed God to use them to show His genuine care and compassion. Even when it got hard to find the words to pray, the Team managed to find some of the most poignant and beautiful ones. We closed our visit out with a group prayer for the hospital and staff.
On a side note I want you all to know that the comments are really important to us. We start our day with scripture, prayer, and tears from reading your comments.
Murakoze Cyane (Thank you very much)
There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God and Father, who is over all and in all, and living through all. -Ephesians 4: 5-6 (NLT)
We started the day off with our devotional and prayer which included the above scripture. We were blessed to share this devotional with our interpreters, Henry and Tom We all celebrate one amazing Lord, our Savior.
We were able to walk to church this morning. The walk was such a short distance but an amazing experience; to see the village really come together going to church as one community. They were all wearing smiles, so happy to have yet another moment to worship God. There were a lot of little kids with smiles on their faces yelling “Muzungu” (white person). All of them were so happy to shake our hands.
We arrived at church and were shown to our seats. And then we experienced church in a different culture. The Presbyterian Church of Kibuye was amazing. There was lots of singing and dancing. One of the songs we sang was...
Nimuzima, yesu nimuzima.
Nimuzima, yesu nimuzima.
He is alive, Jesus is alive.
He is alive, Jesus is alive.
It was beautiful to see how we all worshipped one God. The pastor had an amazing message, spiritual deadness. The message really echoed what Bo has spoke about several times, spiritual emptiness. I was amazed to see how messages can echo each other, even half way across the world. How ever here it also included a part about eating healthy to.
Then Wayne was able to get up and introduce our team and give greetings from Manchester Christian Church. He also spoke about one heart, one mind, one body, one spirt, serving one God, as one church.
Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other. - Romans 12:4
Service was really touching. I was able to take a lot from it. Church in a different culture is so awesome. They had a similar message they just told their’s differently. The experience really opened my eyes, showing me that our way of worshipping is only one of many. Millions of worship services every single Sunday morning, all over the world.
We started our day off by meeting the rest of our interpreters, Tom, Emmy, and Oliver, after which we headed out to Kibuye.
The bus took us down winding roads along the rolling hills. All along the way I was pinching myself thinking how it was possible that I am seeing everything I had heard of about Africa---women carrying baskets on their head and babies on their back, banana trees and pineapple bushes, children harvesting crops, and tiny houses like specs on the hillside. - Danielle
We made a few stops on the way to Kibuye, but the most memorable was our stop at the Paroisse Nyarusaryi Church. There was a large crowd of excited Rwandans and their faces lit up as we walked off the bus one by one. They had never met any of us, yet we could see their joy and happiness as they hugged us and shook our hands. These people are full of love and their culture is the most beautiful I have ever been immersed in. Our descriptions do no justice. - Jaleesa
This church was not only a church; it was a center point to the village. Teaching locals sewing and weaving. They also raised rabbits for what appeared to be a food source. So not only beautiful but very much a local resource. Unfortunately we had to move on to Kibuye. - Kayla
As we traveled down the windy road, Lake Kivu slowly revealed itself. A few minutes later we arrived at the Home De Saint Jean. This is where we will be staying in Kibuye.
After settling in our rooms we meet Pastor Leonidas and Pastor Damascene. Pastor Leonidas confirmed the details of our training and where we would be attending church tomorrow. - Brad
After dinner, Heidi and Linda went out to reflect on all that they experienced and saw throughout the day. They were presently surprised by listening to the praise and worship to our Holy God by our four young interpreters, Tom, Oliver, Emmy and Henry. We joined them. What an inspirational heart-felt moment! - Heidi and Linda
Tomorrow morning we will be attending church. I am very excited to see how the Rwandans worship compared to how we worship at MCC. After hearing how talented our interpreters are, I’m sure it will be a memorable experience. Gloria.
Thank you all so much for you prayers. The blog comments mean so much to us and make the end of morning devotional very special. -Wayne
(The internet is spotty at best tonight. Please keep checking back as all the teams are trying to post tonight. Thank you. )
For so long we’ve pointed to this country on the map, and now we’re standing in it...after traveling for 24 hours that is. We arrived at MCC at 2:30am Wednesday morning to fly out of Logan airport at 6am. After 24 hours and 2 connecting flights, we made it to Kigali at 12pm local time (6am your time). We were met at the airport by Jean Pierre (JP) and Emmy. For some of us it was seeing an old friend and for others it was a new, friendly face. After collecting our luggage successfully, we left for the hotel. We stayed at the Israeli Guest House, where we will be staying tonight also. We quickly settled in and made our way to the P.E.A.C.E. office. Where we met up with Moses, JP, Emmanuel, and Zelda. They explained to us the P.E.A.C.E. mission and expressed their gratitude towards us. Next we exchanged our dollars for Rwandan Franks. By the end of the day we were all exhausted. We went back to the guest house, quickly ate dinner, and went to bed. Today we visited the genocide memorial. Stay tuned...
Gloria, Kayla, Jaleesa, and Danielle
Day 2 - Visit to the Genocide Memorial
Today I believe in miracles. Out of the brokeness can come good: Characters can be deepened, relationships can be restored, emotions can be steadied, and a mind can be healed. Now, isn’t that miraculous? - Patsy Clairmont
Today we visited the Genocide Memorial. We all had an opportunity to learn the history of the tragedy that took place in April 7,1994 for 100 days. As we walked through the Memorial, everyone had different feelings, emotions and reactions. This lead us all to take personal time in prayer, journaling, and open discussion. To say the least it was emotional. We all learned a thing or two about forgiveness.
After lunch at the Bourbon Cafe, we were given an opportunity to cheer our hearts with purchases of Rwandan coffee.
We ended our evening with a Large Group debrief lead by Lynne Lorentsen with a reading of a chapter from Good News About Injustice (The Rage In Rwanda). Each of the 17 team members read paragraphs followed by deep-hearted prayer. Many of our hearts were broken. We ended our prayer with a pleasant visit with Henry, one of our interpreters. He was so inspirational our Team is excited to be working with him.
Tomorrow, we will be traveling to Kibuye to settle in at the Home St. Jean for our Computer Training with the local pastors.
Heidi, Linda, Brad on behalf of Team Urukundo