God has restored this country

Friday, February 28, 2014

And I've seen it with my own eyes. 20 years ago the genocide against the Tutsis took place all through out Rwanda ending with a death toll of a little over a million. I have learned a lot about the genocide in the last month, more than 9th grader me ever expected to learn in my life time. I've seen the pictures, heard the testimonies, and even seen thousands of full skeletons that were dug up from the mass graves and preserved with chemicals, some even with little pieces of hair still attached to their skull. The thought is horrific, one that I can not and probably will not ever be able to truly fathom. Friends killed friends, family members killed family members and neighbors killed neighbors.  Hundreds of thousands of innocent people's lives were cut too short.

And how does one forgive such a gruesome incident?
Many survivors of the genocide witnessed someone they knew kill their family or loved ones. And yet here they are present day living among one another; perpetrators and victims in the same villages, some even neighbors, but how? 

Forgiveness such as this can only be learned through the cross. Pastors came in and taught both the survivors and perpetrators the gospel and the message of forgiveness. Little by little the both were able to come together and live as a community. No long is this country split between social groups of Hutus and Tutsis, instead the country now consist of Rwandans and the barriers have been destroyed. 
God has restored this country in Love and forgiveness. 

March Prayer Challenge
Since coming in Rwanda I have seen God answer my prayers as well as the prayers of friends over and over again, little and big. After a friend and I chatted about it,  we thought it would be a great idea to keep track of these answers prayers and share them with friends and family. We would love for you to join us and here is how:

1. Write.
For the entire month of March write down your prayers in whatever fashion fits you best.

2. Record.
Every time you have a prayer that is answered record how and when it was answered. Even after March continue recording how He answered your prayers that you have written down.

3. Share.
Share, share, share! We want to encourage others and  For every answered prayer share on social media whether it be Facebook, instagram, pinterest or whatever. Please hashtag #MarchPrayerChallenge

4. Thank.
Don't forget to say thank you the One who answered your prayer.

Somethings the Word says about prayer:
He hears you! - Psalm 66:20, 1 Peter 5:7

This is my place

Saturday, February 15, 2014

 I absolutely fell In Love with this place on Wednesday of last week. I can't pin point exactly what finally clicked and I can't say that it was a specific moment, but I do know that every day since then I have been falling more and more in love with the place! The people are beautiful and the scenery is something else. This week we've left Kigali and have been traveling around Rwanda. Driving around this country the last few days has really tugged at my heart a bit.  One mud house after another and Jerry can after Jerry can, it was a much different site then what I've been used to seeing in Kigali. But this country is so full of beauty, and it's everywhere. They say America is Gods country but I'm not so sure how completely true that is anymore.

I love you, I love you, I love you, if I could just say that to every little munchkin I've driven passed in the last few days. We've been driving around Rwanda for probably a total of 6 hours in the last 2 days, passings hundreds, probably thousands of little nuggets playing, men pushing bikes decorated with Jerry cans, and women carrying some much too heavy object on their heads. There have been far too many instances where everything in me had to stop myself from yelling "stop the car" to the driver. I wanted to talk with these strangers that we were passing, logically not all of them, but these people have stories that deserve to be told and man did I want to listen, and if not I wanted to love them or maybe hug them and at the very least I just wanted to meet them. As much as I wanted to, I knew we couldn't stop; we had places to be and a strict schedule to follow.

Having a drum lesson

Meet Halley, she rocks at being a person! 

Moving On In

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Muraho (hello)

I've been here a whole week and boy is there culture shock! After orientation finished up on Friday we all got to meet and move in with our host families! I'd be lying if I told you that the whole transition went smoothly. With most things being very new, It will take me a few days to adjust and adapt. However, I am extremely fortunate to be with my host family and man am I thankful for them! Both the mother and father do not speak English but I am so impressed by their ability to try! There are 7 children in the family, 5 girls and 2 boys and I kid you not one of the boys is named Bill Gates, not Bill, but the full Bill Gates; he is a total sweet heart. And then there is sweet Leslie, although she doesn't speak English, her smile is enough to brighten my entire day. From the moment I arrived they have welcomed me with open arms.  Once at my new home they showed me to my room and gave me a quick tour of the 4 bedroom house. I hung outside with them while they prepared dinner in the outside kitchen and waited for the older kids to get home from school. Then of course came the question of the century, "what do you like to eat?" This question easily catches me off guard because the food here is very very different from the food in America, and if you know me you know I mostly like figure foods, like pizza. (man do I miss pizza) anyways I started to list some of the foods I could think of. Among my list I mention corn on the cob and the next thing I knew I was handed a plate with an uncooked corn stalk on it. I was very thankful and took the plate. I wasn't sure what to do with it so I just held it and continued to talk. I was then told to eat it and I tried to ask if we need to cook it but was unable to communicate it so I ate it or tried too. I've had many many strange and funny things happen since arriving. The lifestyle differences makes everyday task a bit more challenging at first yet it is doable. There is no running water inside of the house, not even a sink nor is there a fridge and still they have survived their entire life without these things. From their perspective I come from a world of "machines" and  I now wouldn't disagree.
Being fearful of bugs isn't really a thing here... There had been a massive and dangerous looking spider hanging from the celling for the last two days and when I pointed to it one of the cousins literally picked it up by its legs, held it in between her fingers for a couple of seconds to show me and then tossed it out the window, never killing it. Fear is obviously not a factor for her. 
Walking anywhere around kigali is always an adventure. It is most certainly gaurenteed that everyone will either stare, shout or sometimes even reach to touch us as we walk by due to the fact that we stick out like a sore thumb.
Even with the newness of the culture I really do love it here! Although, I don't know if I can ever get used to the starring! 

Meet sweet Leslie