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Imana Ni Ziza

by | Jul 4, 2012 | Africa, Mission Trips | 1 comment

Happy 4th of July, everyone! It’s so weird being in another country on Independence Day. We totally even forget it’s a holiday. I hope you have all been enjoying a day off from work!

Meanwhile, over here in Africa, we had a travel day. This morning we made the 4 hour drive back to Kigali, and it was one really fun drive. We were going at ridiculously fast speeds, down a VERY curvy mountain road. The tires were squealing constantly. Luckily no one got motion sickness. I loved it!

When we got to Kigali, we had lunch. Jane (our wonderful guide) introduced the cook to us. She has been cooking lunch for us each day in Rwanda. Jane informed us that she is a widow with three children, and that our team’s business has enabled her to help feed her children. Once we heard this, we all knew what we should do with some of the overage money (additional funds given after our travel needs were met). Our leaders gave her about $600 US Dollars. This woman’s eyes got as big as saucers. Then she collapsed to the floor in tears. She raised her hands towards Heaven and was just praising Him. No lie, EVERYONE cried. Jane translated that she kept saying “God bless you” over and over. We all started singing “God Is So Good”. Then, Peter (Jane’s husband who came to meet us) suggested that we sing it in Kinyarwandan. The words are “Imana Ni Ziza.” I cannot describe to you how cool it was to sing praises to God in another language with these people. Ya know the verse that says “It is more blessed to give than to receive”? Well, if you ever thought that verse was just a load of crap, then you have never experienced something like what I witnessed today. I almost wanted to ask if we could give her another $600 and then everything we owned. All of our hearts were touched.

As we started wrapping things up, a few of us went outside to load the luggage onto the vans. Our big buses and our white skin made us stand out in this little neighborhood so some street kids had wandered up. It was 4 boys and a girl. The boys kept asking for chocolate, but the girl walked straight up to me, chewing on her bracelet and stared me in the eyes. I got down on my knees and asked her name…Emiline. We talked for just a minute, and by then I had used all my Kinyarwandan words, and she had used up all her English words. So she just leaned up against me, and I put my arm around her. She didn’t budge for several more minutes. Then I remembered we still had dozens of bottles of water on the bus, and we couldn’t take them with us at the airport. So I asked our leader if we could give it to them (and hopefully not start a riot). They said it was ok, so I got to hand out water to these little ones (and an ooooollld lady who walked by too). Before we left, Emiline gave me a big hug and petted my hair. I had only just met her 10 minutes ago, and I felt like we were saying such a sorrowful goodbye. Again, another divine interruption. Simply holding her for a few minutes just made her day.

Then the traveling began again. We got into the airport and went through customs, waited in the airport, got on a plane, flew for a little less than 3 hours, landed in Addis Ababa, got an Ethiopian travel visa, went through customs again, and then waited an hour for all our luggage at the baggage carousel, then went through another security checkpoint, found our drivers, loaded up the vans, and drove to the Ethiopian Guest House. Oh and as a bonus, it’s freezing cold and pouring down rain.

So, here’s what’s up…I seriously need some prayer tonight. After being cold and wet, we got to where we are staying and they showed us our awesome cozy rooms! And then they said, oh wait…you and Blake are going to be “out back.” I said “oh ok, no problem.” Well, “out back” is a whole separate building you get to through a dark alleyway with razor wire everywhere and no lights at all. Oh and we went from having a nice private bathroom with a great shower, to a bathroom we have to walk outside to get to (ya know, in the freezing rain) and share with 2 other male team members. Now, I know this shouldn’t be all that outrageous…I mean, I’m in Africa. I expected to be roughing it right? Just the combination of coming off of this huge emotional high yesterday, being exhausted from travel, and the fact that 22 other team members have really awesome (and warm) rooms while we have our own less-than-totally-awesome situation made me get discouraged.

In a way, I kind of wish I was still in Rwanda and prepping to go to Noel again tomorrow to see all the kids. I know that God has great things in store for us here too, and He still has so much left to teach me through this trip. It’s just that I’m not in the greatest mood right now as I sit here cold, listening to dogs bark and planes fly over and voices from the adjacent room.

So please pray for encouragement and strength. Pray that God reveals Himself in a new, incredible way tomorrow in Korah. I know my attitude right now is not glorifying to God, so pray along with me that by tomorrow I will feel rejuvenated and ready to be salt and light. And while you’re at it, please pray for good weather too. This is Ethiopia’s rainy season so it truly downpours almost all the time, every single day. We are expecting to get muddy and gross tomorrow, but if the rain would hold off and it get a little warmer, it would make our traveling and home visits so much easier! Plus, I did not pack appropriately. Who knew it would be cold in Ethiopia? And my little poncho is going to get destroyed by these monsoons…just sayin…wasn’t expecting this weather.