I have been country hopping which is why I have been so silent. I tell you, I may not be that in love with America, but right about now I am missing our high-speed internet :) And showers.
We arrived in Rwanda and are staying at an apartment complex which is fairly nice. I go to take a shower and see 3 HUGE cockroaches on the floor...I screamed and ran out of the bathroom. It took all my woman power hear me roar to go back in there. Needless to say I barricaded the door so they couldn't get out and ran to get this stuff I bought for killing mosquitos, called DOOM. Well that stuff works. I thought I was going to die of inhalation, but those suckers are dead now. The first thing I'm doing when I get home is taking a long hot shower because literally I've only had a trickle the past few days. Ahh, the things we take for granted :)
I don't have much time I have so many stories to tell. There aren't even words for some of the stuff I have experienced. Rwanda is in a period of grieving right now because it is the week of remembrance of the genocide that happened in April of 1994. I have learned so much about the history and it is truly shocking--there was no ethnic difference between Hutus and Tutsis, but the Belgian gov't came in and divided the people based upon what kind of class they were (jobs they had) and upon what they looked like. They elevated the Tutsi people above the Hutus because they were a majestic people, tall, and regal. And that is the reason over a million people, were murdered in 100 days. Because the Hutus resented them for being put in positions of authority. The history of imperialism is dark and treacherous.
We visited a Holocaust museum here and I was shocked because literally the skeltons were lying out on tables, rooms and rooms full of baby skeletons, and the impressions of fear and agony frozen on their faces. It smelled so bad because of the preservation techniques and I thought I might be sick. I have never seen anything like it and we would never have anything like that in the US. At first I felt like what could I offer these people who have seen their wives raped in front of them, their children's heads bashed against walls, who have been forced to eat the flesh of loved ones. I cannot even begin to understand that kind of pain.
But strangely, pain is pain. And while we might think we have nothing to give, we come as bringers of hope and purpose. These people are frozen in time. They cannot move forward and we are here to give them hope and help them do that. God has brought us here at an pivotal moment to bridge the gap, to bring together each tribe and tongue, to give them purpose and help them forgive the oppressors and themselves for surviving so they can be released from the burden they carry. It is no accident that we are here now during this time of remembrance. I had a vision of our team holding out our arms between two granite walls and at first I thought like two children, we were keeping them from fighting, but then I realized, we were interceding, standing in that space to connect those two people groups--the victims and the murderers, and God and his children.
Pray that their ears would be unstopped because pain has deafened them. Pray that they could move forward in hope because they survived for a purpose. Pray for revival in this land of open wounds. It is beyond our work and ability as humans. They have a saying here that is, "Never again" and they believe the remembering will keep it from happening, but their history has the blood of 3 genocides on their hands. Unless we intervene, unless God does a new thing and heals this land, it is very very possible that it will happen again. I am also reminded that while the US and the UN stood by and watched this people being exterminated, we have an opportunity now in Northern Uganda and in Sudan to raise up and say, "never again," in any place, in any time, in any country.
I am reminded of that quote, "the only thing needed for evil to conquer is for good people to do nothing." That is what happened here. And I have come to say, "I'm sorry, I'm sorry we did not help you as your entire families were obliterated, because you were not white and because we had no political interest in your country." I am here to say, "God brought me here to this country because he heard your cries as your bodies were thrown into ditches." And I am here to say to you, "Stand. Stand for what is right. Let no one tell you that you can't, or that you do not know the difference between good and evil. We all know. Stand and say you will never let it happen again, not because you have that kind of control, but because you will be God's arm in reaching out to the nations." They are repenting here for the blood spilled on the land, for the hatred in their hearts, for their bitterness and unforgiveness and I would even say to America--repent for our sin of indifference.
There is a young girl named Pendo and she is our cook. She serves us with such humility and with such a broad smile that my heart expands a little bit every time I see her. She is an orphan. But in her face is hope. Hope because she walks with God and God walks with her and she reminds me in the middle of darkness, there is always light.
My phone number has changed again :) 08406748 (you have to dial 011 country code for Rwanda 250 and my number. Try with and without the 0 b/c I'm not sure :)