Celebrate Rwanda // Kigali

Traveling to Rwanda today. A dream fulfilled that’s been stored away in my heart 5+ years– where my passion for Africa began for this nation and its story of redemption!IMG_4031IMG_4046When I was invited to Kigali, Rwanda in January, it came as a complete surprise. I didn’t exactly know why I was going this time. I mean I knew the ‘mission’ but I wasn’t sure what my place was or how I would fit– except that I should go, and that God would show me as I went.

If you knew me five years ago, this concept of following his plan would have been completely foreign to me. I would have known exactly why I was going. 🙂 But Jesus has been teaching me that mission with Him looks different than the world’s way. He wrecks my plans so He can use me in His.IMG_4072IMG_4054As I arrived at the airport in Kigali, I was welcomed by Pastor Alexis and a few of his team members as well as Thomas and Erin, who I know from South Africa.

Pastor Alexis is the visionary for this ministry in Kigali, and we are the support team behind his vision to start a discipleship training school for current pastors as well as young evangelists. The school will help them to grow in identity in Christ, and the experience of walking with Him in faith, hearing His voice, knowing His grace, and the confidence to share the truth with others!IMG_4165 (1)

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Thomas and Erin enjoying our favorite lunch of rice and beans, side of green veg and portion of meat.

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The second morning after I arrived, I found this amazing jack fruit in the market! So sweet and juicy! Who knew fruit could grow so big? hmm.

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We walked everywhere we went. From the place where we stayed, to the building we used for a classroom, we crossed this intersection almost every day.

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Erin carrying everything with us, including this faithful black sound speaker.

The first class went very well! I am very proud of Thomas and Erin as they work with Alexis who is doing an amazing job of pioneering a new concept of how to build a unified church in his home country, and send out equipped messengers. They have a solid team to begin the school with energy as well as intention. I learned so much by watching them.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. – Matt. 5:6

The students of all ages poured into the classroom, eager and ready to learn. They could care less what the classroom looks like, we have no fancy projector screen presentation or printed books. We have no band, one proper light fixture…(and after much deliberation)..no coffee and tea. But we have a hunger and thirst for Jesus that cannot be quenched. This fire is fueled by love for the King.IMG_4067IMG_4068SJWP5345

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Sharing testimony of who Jesus is in my life. Everyone has personal story of who He is and a life message that no one else can tell but you. This is the simple gospel.

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My friend Antoinette from class. We had an immediate connection.

I was completely moved by the kindness of Rwandan people. Their genuine hearts reflect true redemption from a history of pain and injustices. This kind of forgiveness I cannot begin to understand with my human heart. This kind of redemption and love can only come down from the pure heart of a gracious Father in heaven.

Blessed are the pure in heart- for they will see God. – Matthew 5:8

Because of the sacrifice of the Messiah, his blood poured out on the altar of the Cross, we’re a free people—free of penalties and punishments chalked up by all our misdeeds. And not just barely free, either. Abundantly free! IMG_4113

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Buying sugar in the wholesale market for the school. Do you think 25kg is enough? Funny story. Erin and me carrying all these things through a torrential downpour of rain while trying to catch a bus. :/ Thank you God for the rain. haha.

Our Heavenly Father thought of everything, provided for everything we could possibly need, letting us in on the plans he took such delight in making. He set it all out before us in Christ, a long-range plan in which everything would be brought together and summed up in him, everything in deepest heaven, everything on planet earth.

It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. – Ephesians. 1

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Me with my moto taxi driver…who got lost…And of course only speaks French.

IMG_4199One day I took a motor taxi to another village to visit a ministry called Hope for Life, a place called home for local street boys.

Hope for Life’s mission is to serve impoverished ​youth through home care, providing stability in their lives and empowering them with resources and education needed to obtain a flourishing future for themselves and their community.

Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. – Matthew 5:7

This precious one took my hand and gave me a tour through his home. IMG_4168IMG_4175Most adults living in Rwanda carry the memories of the genocide time, while the youth are still living with the impact, many growing up with one parent—some without two.

A conversation I had with one young adult, while showing him a photo my dad had sent me, he said, ‘You have a dad?’…’AND a mom?’

This guy is the most gentle soul. Instead of being angry at God growing up without a father and mother, he rejoices in God that he is alive and has work, a young wife and son. God is good. It is a privilege to know this young man’s story.

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. – Matthew 5:4IMG_4166IMG_4179IMG_4172“How many beans do you think are there?” “1000.”

“Do you know how much God loves you?…   ….Much much more than ALL of these beans! Too much for you to count!”

How precious is your steadfast love, O God!
    The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings. – Ps. 36:7IMG_4185IMG_4187IMG_4189I celebrate this day. I celebrate that these boys have a home and that their future is changed for the better. I celebrate Rwanda and the beauty of redemption for this nation. For when the world has seen the Light, they will dance with joy like I’m dancing now!

You are the Light of the world! For at one time you were darkness, but now you have the very light of Jesus shining through you because of your union with him. Your mission is to live as children flooded with his revelation-light!

For we are children of Light, we carry hope wherever we go!IMG_4081

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At a local milk shop, you can fill any container to take home with you! One of our favorite evening treats. 🙂

Frame-19-02-2018-01-35-02Later in the evening we stopped by a boys soccer game to meet the boys and connect with them. After soccer practice we were able to join in for music and dancing. The coach has a real heart to empower the youth and grow them up with a solid foundation and bright future. IMG_4212He who created you, He who formed everything in the world, He created you on purpose and with purpose. There are no accidents with Him!

Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you, before you were born I set you apart! – Jeremiah 1:5

For He chose you to be his very own, even before the creation of the world! He had you in mind as the focus of his love, to be made whole through Jesus so that you would be seen as holy in his eyes with an unstained innocence. img_4219.jpgFrame-19-02-2018-01-40-12Frame-19-02-2018-01-37-20Frame-19-02-2018-01-36-56IMG_4202On my last night in Kigali, as we walked through a nearby village, I reflected on the week I had spent here and the beauty of having so many special experiences with people through His eyes, I was torn to leave. But there is still more for me back in South Africa!

I will seek first, your kingdom and your righteousness. Everything I need, you will provide for me! My heart is to seek first, your kingdom! 

Wherever you are, wherever you find yourself, build His Kingdom of love. Everything else is fading away, only love. Only love remains.

Love can build a bridge of forgiveness and reconciliation that is powerful. This is love to celebrate!IMG_4245IMG_4249IMG_4253IMG_4254IMG_4265

i carry your heart with me, i carry it in

my heart. i am never without it.

anywhere i go, you go, my dear;

and whatever is done by only me is your doing,

my darling.

for I carry your heart with me. I carry it in my heart.

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