Rwanda Day 9: Worship and Our Final Day
Our last full day in Rwanda was rich with worship and fellowship, both found with a new church development congregation about 30 minutes from Kigali at a place called Shyorongi. The evangelist who has been sent here to grow this new church met us outside the worship space: a patchwork of stitched together tarps and plastic sheets held aloft by thin tree saplings, stripped of their leaves and functioning as tent poles. Young Ephraim was beaming and welcoming, radiating enthusiasm, energy and joy which were immediately perceivable as the perfect spiritual gifts for the ministry to which God had called him. About 125 were already singing hymns of praise when we arrived. Off to the side, our eyes were caught by a sea of orange shirts and blouses: the choir! God's word was preached by Rev. Therese Mukamakuza; she is the Moderator for the region (Presbytery) and has responsibility for this and a half dozen other churches. Her text was the parable of the talents. She reminded the congregation that God has given us all gifts to use in his service and that he does not intend for us to be lazy with them! As we "honored guests" were seated on chairs up front and facing the congregation, we had the opportunity to see exactly WHO makes up the Presbyterian Church of Rwanda. In the front row were two young mothers nursing babies. A few rows back were two old grannies. And clustered near the front were about 10 young boys age 5 -10 whose attention never wavered from the singing, preaching or introductions of all of the visitors despite the three hour service. Towards the back were the men, their weathered faces indicating that farming was their livelihood.
After worship, we were invited next door to the simple mud brick home the congregation built for the evangelist. His wife and the elders served us sodas, and we learned more about the dreams and aspirations of this new gathering of believers. They now have over 200 members. When they reach 300, they can organize into a full- fledged church.
They have purchased the land for a building (where we met this morning) and have begun digging trenches for the foundation. This "phase" of land purchase and cement foundation will exhaust the modest resources of this faithful little community. The Outreach Foundation, however, has been given a gift by a generous donor that will allow the congregation to put up the walls and top them with the metal roof. When completed, it will make them a solid presence in the area and from which they can proclaim Christ in this small corner of the African continent.
Blessings from the Rwanda Mission Team