Rwanda #5: Murakoze chane (thanks so much!)

by Tinsley Sheppard, for the team

My face hurts from smiling so much today! We enjoyed an unintentionally late start this morning as the jet lag and packed days of fun caught up to us (and the mosquito net covered beds are just so comfortable!). Breakfast was so delicious with passion fruit, breads, eggs, veggies, and even peanut butter to go on our mini bananas!

Feeling refreshed, we enjoyed the ride through beautiful Kigali to the Itetero school for special needs children. The singing and dancing of these sweet children and their parents was so heart warming and free. They even dusted off our feet as a way to symbolize rest for our weariness. The life and light in the hearts of these twenty children, their parents, and their two teachers was so precious as we got to color and make bracelets with them. We heard stories of progress and hope in their lives through the Itetero school and their staff of teachers and a temporary physiotherapist. 

In connecting buildings, we got to spend some time with some students studying at the vocational school. They showed us some of the clothes they had made (even their own uniforms!!). The hair stylists were also very impressive. We were then treated to lovely songs, a traditional dance routine, and a skit! Even though the language barrier is sometimes a challenge, it was beautiful to see messages of unity and the power of community that was clearly displayed in each of these artistic offerings. 

For lunch we got to meet with Elder Margaret and her family. We got to enjoy a time of worship in the living room of their beautiful home. They were kind enough to sing songs in English that we knew! We even got to learn a few new English worship songs! Lunch was so delicious: Green soup, purple yams, beef on a stick, rice, fresh pineapple and watermelon were just some of the yummy things on our plates. Elder Margaret and her family were so generous and hospitable as we talked and took pictures of their beautiful house and the view from their front porch that overlooked the breathtaking Kigalian hillsides.

We enjoyed some rest time back at the guest house for the last part of the afternoon, and for dinner, we got to see the Kicukiro church with Pastor Julius. There was yet again a beautiful and kind community to welcome us and share a meal with us. There was so much joy shared over worship and traditional dance, and they generously bestowed gorgeous hand-crafted gifts to each of us. What an amazing cloud of witnesses!

From the singing and the dancing and the feet washing and the sweet advice and the smiles and the pictures and the crafts and the skits and the beautiful clothing and hair styles at the vocational school, God's faithfulness is so evident. We are getting better at some key Kinyarwandan phrases, and everyone is so kind and patient and gracious. The warm welcome and embrace of every community we get to meet is such a beautiful image of the grace and peace and utter joy of God's kingdom. 

Murakoze chane (thanks so much!!)