Forgiveness and Enduring Hope in Rwanda Day One October 21, 2015
Wednesday, October 21
After long but smooth journeys, our Rwanda team convened together at the church hostel in Kigali, and after a relatively good night's sleep, we stepped into a bright, new day. Like most of the country, Kigali is spread over many hills.
We learned more about the Presbyterian Church in Rwanda as we toured the national offices and met with a number of the staff members. It is a growing church, committed to evangelism and to serving people in the totality of their lives, and it is a church committed to reconciliation in a place that is still healing from the horrible violence of the Genocide in 1994. The church is going through a restructuring that seems to be shifting both authority and responsibility from the head office down through the presbyteries and to the parishes. And like other places where the church is growing and church resources are limited, leadership development, both formal and informal, is very important. We were blessed to be accompanied through the day by Rev. Rose Marie Ibyishaka, who heads the Women's ministries, and to share dinner with President Rev. Pascal Bataringaya and Vice-president Rev. Julie Kandema.
During our day we visited the Bible Society of Rwanda and learned about their ministry of translating, producing and distributing Bibles to people across the country. One of their Bibles is a collaborative Protestant-Catholic version.
At the Presbyterian church in the compound where we are staying, we were blessed by an unplanned visit with Jeanne d'Arc Uwurukundo, a member of a Protestant mission order for women which is called Servants of Christ. Responding to the calling that some women were feeling to serve God in new ways, and learning from communities of Protestant "nuns" in Europe, a new order was formed in which women take vows, live in community and serve God's mission in a variety of ways. There are now 52 women, initially all Presbyterians but now more broadly Protestant. What a blessing it was to hear Jeanne talk about her calling and service.
We also visited the Kigali Genocide Museum, a place of remembrance and reconciliation. On this site 250,000 of the 1 million who were killed in the Genocide are buried. It is a hard, important place to visit that offers no easy explanations or comfortable answers. We were reminded of the reality of evil and sin; we also saw and heard testimony to the power of forgiveness and an enduring hope.
Thank you for your prayers for us as we journey. We are so thankful that we are traveling with Ebralie Mwizerwa from The Outreach Foundation staff, whose own family story which unfolded here is filled with hope and forgiveness.