This morning we packed up our bags to leave our apartments in Kigali. When we go back tomorrow we will be staying at a new place closer to downtown. We drove through Musanze where we were a few days ago stopping for more potatoes and beautiful views along the way. Soon we were off the paved road on onto rougher terrain on our way to Kiryamo Parish to attend a church service and visit with the Forgiveness School orphans and Pastor Ildephonse. He was an amazingly humble man who blessed my soul. As we passed churches on the street a joyful noise was erupting inside.
The path also brought us to a point that Manu had us get out to just enjoy the true and real Land of a Thousand Hills. Hills that stretched everywhere and made me believe the word beautiful was created at that exact spot on the Earth.
We arrived late into the service but the Pastor interrupted his preaching to welcome us offering celebratory singing and dancing to God for our visit. Manu was able to interpret some of the service including Mike and I introducing ourselves and offering thanks to them expressing how much of an honor it is for us to be there.
I had no idea what they were saying but I knew exactly what was going on. The singing and dancing had tears welling up in my eyes and absolute love emanating from each person in that church. After the service we toured the school The partnership Land of a Thousand Hills has with the parish connected us in a special in which our partners in the US financed the building of the school, a bathroom, and a house for orphans which currently has 7 living in it. As we walked around children followed us like we were rock stars, never using too many words but watching what we would do.
Pastor then treated us to some fellowship and a delicious meal prepared by his wife. We ate fresh chicken, rice, fried potatoes and coca-cola. Pastor had such a sweet heart, praying for us and having Manu translate so we knew how much he cared. He prayed thanksgiving for Americans who love them so much and asked for God to bless them to love us more. I kept thinking that it is us who need to love you more Pastor. Rwanda has shown me more than just peace, love, and hope. They have shown me that hard work pays off in fantastic ways. They have brought me to realize more than just to be grateful for what I have as many people expect to be confronted with when leaving the comfort of our privileged lives. They have given me hope that I can change the things in my life I might be struggling with. That I can be a better person than who I am today.
Tonight I am better able to reflect on that fact seeing the spectacular Lake Kivu. I feel like when I am describing this place I need a better vocabulary or at least a more exhaustive set of adjectives. We are staying on the lake at La Palm View and sitting by candle light at their restaurant. Tomorrow we are able to record a few video’s of Manu, head back to Kigali and prepare for the group to arrive here on Tuesday evening. Part of me wishes to keep this to myself, to enjoy my time without worrying about leading a group of people. Yet this feeling of wonderment and love for these people can’t be kept to my self but spread around the word. Once they arrive I have the privilege of sharing this place with them, none of us to be the same.