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Now I Feel Like I’m In Africa

by | Jul 1, 2012 | Africa, Mission Trips | 1 comment

Muraho! (That’s “hello” in Kinyarwandan.)

Here’s what’s gone on since my last post. We made it safely to Rwanda (in spite of the sketchy airport), and all of us slept like rocks on the plane. Something about that 2 1/2 hour flight after a 13 hour flight just knocked us all out. We needed it. Once we got to Kigali, the capital city of Rwanda, we checked into our hotel. And y’all it was NICE! I mean, especially for Africa. The married couples really lucked out cuz we had a whole villa to ourselves. Like, 2 bedrooms, 2 1/2 bath with living room and kitchen, and a balcony. It was awesome. The only somewhat rugged part about it was that the shower was never a comfortable temperature. It was either FREEEEEEEZING cold or BURNING YOUR FLESH OFF hot. But other than that, it was a really nice hotel. Also, Last night we went to dinner at an AMAZING restaurant called Heaven. They had some crazy good food (tilapia in a white wine sauce and beef stew over rice). So yeah, yesterday didn’t feel very much like being in Africa but more like being on vacation (only, without the resting part…cuz we were all very tired).

At dinner last night, we were joined by some really awesome guys who have started a ministry here called the Best Family. These men are only about my age (24 and 26) and they are survivors of the genocide. They witnessed the murders of their entire family and through God have learned to have faith and hope. They shared their testimonies with us…and y’all…I don’t know how they did it. It was so hard to listen to. They recounted atrocities such as witnessing a father having all of his limbs chopped off, a sister being raped by several men and then killed, a brother hacked up by machetes, and so so much more…all when they were only 7 or 9 years old. These men have been through more than I can even imagine, and they are the strongest people I’ve ever met. They have huge white smiles and their personalities are so magnetic. They have overcome the world through Christ, and now they are helping young orphans and homeless children get an education, food, clothing, and other necessities. Learn more about their ministry and how you can help at bestfamilyrwanda.org.

This morning we visited the Genocide Memorial Museum. It was just as intense as I expected. The part that got me the most was the Children’s Room. They have stories and pictures of the children who were murdered and how they were murdered. Seeing pictures of these beautiful smiling babies and children and then below written words like “hacked by machete” or “smashed against a wall.” The juxtaposition of beauty and horror was really difficult to handle.

After the museum and lunch, we went back to the airport. Did I mention that our team is missing 10 bags? Thankfully mine and Blake’s all came, but there are several people who are missing clothes and donations for the kids. We went back today to see if it ever arrived and it hadn’t. If it ever comes, it will just stay in Kigali until we return on Wednesday because after checking at the airport we had a long and very beautiful drive through Rwanda. It was about 4 hours, but we got to see the true Rwanda. We saw hundreds of people on the roads. I mean, it’s like every person in the country is just out walking all the time. They are everywhere! We drove way out into the jungle, and up a mountain. We saw monkeys, waterfalls, and a volcano!

So this is why I really feel like I’m on a mission trip in Africa now. We have left the city, we are in the jungle, we saw some really rough living conditions today, and we are no longer in a nice hotel. Our “shower” is a bucket full of water with a pitcher in it. There are dogs outside howling like crazy. The walls are paper thin and we can hear everyone. It’s definitely more like what you would expect in Africa. But hey, we have internet so that’s awesome!

To finish the day we had a group prep time where we prepared songs, activities, and games for the kids at the orphanage tomorrow. Then we had a little worship time as a team, and it was awesome.

I’m a little nervous about going to the orphanage tomorrow. Excited! But nervous too. We decided we’d do music all together, which is cool that I’m not doing it alone, but that also means we’ll be singing and dancing with 600 children at one time. Yup. 600. That’s a lot of kids. And our speakers are like the size of my hand so we’ll see how that works out. It’s all in God’s hands!

Please be praying for confidence for all of us. And pray that we share the gospel with these kids in grace and truth. We want them to have fun playing soccer and face painting and all that, but mostly we want to tell them about Jesus. Pray we don’t get caught up in the fun toys and the cute kids, and remember that this is for GOD’s glory, and He is the greatest thing we can bring to them.

FYI…I totally wanted to put pictures up on here today, but it’s already 12:42 AM here and we’ve got to get up in a few hours. We just took so many pictures today that it would take forever to load them on the laptop. But have no fear! There will hopefully be pictures tomorrow (assuming internet works still).