Happy Tuesday from Rwanda!
We have just completed our third full day here and full days they have been!
Late Monday night we found out that the Rwandan government had declared a national holiday for Tuesday (Eid, the Muslim holiday that marks the end of Ramadan) and that it was most likely that the schools would be closed that morning. We woke up to rain, which we were told also minimizes the chance that the children will show up for class. We stuck to our plan, though, and drove out to Nyabichenye local church to see if anyone showed up. When we got there, only the teacher and one student were there, so we began to discuss what the best thing to do would be. Someone suggested half the team go and begin the murals at Bumbogo, while the others stayed to do some of the VBS activities with the kids that were beginning to trickle in.
Maggie, Megan, Spencer, and Melanie went back to Bumbogo to begin the murals we had been asked to paint during our time here. Peggy, Sally, & David stayed back at Nyabichenye.
The last-minute holiday turned out to be a blessing because we got more accomplished apart from each other than we would have had we stayed together for the day! The muralists completed the bulk of the two pictures they painted: one of Jonah and the fish and one of Jesus feeding the 5000—both pictures taken (with permission) from the Jesus Storybook Bible. Children trickled in to watch us paint and Pastor Emmanuel’s eyes lit up when he saw the pictures coming to life. It felt so good to bring to life something the church asked us to do—something we had been planning for months!
While we painted, Sally, David, and Peggy were at Nyabichenye doing VBS with the ten kids that eventually showed up. Nyabichenye local church and preschool use the same room, which is very small—just 14 x 18 feet. The VBS with the 10 kids that showed up was such a sweet time. Normally 45 kids between 4-6 are in that tiny room with their teacher, whose name was also Melanie. Our team met the night before to try and work out how our VBS was going to work out in such a small room. The holiday and rain allowed Sally, David, and Peggy to really focus in on the small group and give them their complete attention.
After VBS Sally, David, and Peggy met with the local church committee. Judith is the lay catechist there and Peggy and Sally remember her from last year. Judith said through translation that she would recognize Sally no matter where she saw her. It was hard for them to believe we were spending an entire week with them.
They talked about their plans for building a church building that is bigger and that could also be used for a classroom. They asked for prayers for the building process for the new building. They also said one of their needs was music training and instruments. We happened to bring an extra guitar with us and so we were happy to gift it to them on the spot. They were so thankful and excited.
Next, we were invited to visit Frederic’s family home. Frederic is the director for evangelism for the Bumbogo Parish committee. This family was one of the three families who received a cow as a gift from Trinity last year and the cow is currently pregnant. We got to see where the cow grazes and lives. Everyone was so very thankful to us for coming and spending a week with them. The family served us a snack of bananas right out of their front yard! They also shared their fruitful harvest with us, presenting us with passion fruits in a traditional “peace basket” that signifies a very special gift.
Thanks be to God for all we have done so far here in Rwanda. To Him be the glory!