Partners & Outreach With Reservation I said Yes


Just before deciding to go to Rwanda I wrote these words in my journal, “God, I know that I have to be obedient and trust you in all things – big and small.”

Each time I am faced with an opportunity to follow what feels like God’s nudge, I find myself replaying the same tapes I’ve played all my life. “God, you can’t think I am the right person for this. I’m not qualified. I don’t have the education or experience.” Even though I knew God’s isn’t limited by any of these things, I still wondered if I was the right person to go.

The closer our departure came the more I questioned the decision. I didn’t know anyone else on the team. I had never been to Africa. I’m not a pastor or in the ministry. Not to mention all the logistics of leaving my kids, family and work responsibilities. Yet alongside my doubt, I felt excited as I imagined encountering a variety of new people and a whole new culture.
My prayer was for God to use this trip to grow my knowledge of Him and expand my perspective. I prayed that I would laugh and celebrate hope alongside the women who would participate in the Women’s Leadership Training conference we’d be facilitating. I asked God to help me to not be ashamed of who he made me to be and to give me a love for these women. I even said a quick prayer about getting to cook (since I am kind of a foodie) while I was in Rwanda.

God did not disappoint.

What you might not know is that the 1994 genocide in Rwanda erupted from deep-seated hatred and left enormous holes in the fabric of their society. Families were decimated as nearly one million people were killed in the span of 100 days, leaving many fatherless and communities filled with orphans and widows. The women we’d be encountering were all genocide survivors who had seen and experienced things I could not even imagine.

To my surprise, the women I met were incredibly resilient and hopeful. Do they still struggle to trust others? Do they still wonder about provision? Sure. Yet, they embodied what it looks like to believe in and cling to the goodness of God.

I am grateful for the love the women showed me. We danced and worshiped without reservation. They drew me in and welcomed me as a sister. Something was happening– a new sense of love and freedom was emerging from deep inside me. It was as if the dense fog was dissipating revealing a new kind of love for God and others.

I found freedom as I watched and worshiped alongside my Rwandan sisters.

I found belonging and life-long friends as our team embraced their unique roles and joined arms to serve.

I found strength as I watched how these survivors endured sorrow while believing in a future filled with hope.

And, God winked at me by giving me the chance to help cook dinner one evening with Anastasia the cook at the guest house during our stay.


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