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July 16, 2010 @ 6:47 am

Last day at school

Day 8

Today was our last day at the school. On route to the school today we stopped by a small refugee camp on the boarder of Rwanda, Uganda and tanzania. The camp contained about 18 families who had fled Rwanda and were just in the process of returning. Most of the families had been in the camp for several years, but had no where else to go. The camp was very sparse. Again there was no clean water source - the only source of water was the same reservoir as served gakagati. The camp was fairly small, containing small huts each with a garden for growing crops. It is amazing how so many people can live on so little, relying on nothing but the provision of God.

After visiting the camp, we continued on to the school for our final sessions. Again the kids were delighted to see us. We started the day with an assembly, after which we split into classes and started running activities. The first sports group was primary 1 and contained roughly 160 kids! The team were all exhausted, and most of us were feeling rather unwell, but we were given the strength to carry on, and give the kids one final day of real enjoyment. At lunch time we held one final assembly for the kids in which we said goodbye. We told them that we would always remember them and that we would continue to pray for them to come to know Christ.

Having finished at the school, we went to the same house again for lunch. All completely exhausted we sat for ages eating, speaking little and just recovering some strength. Again, the ladies that owned the house had provided food for us. It was different from what we would normally eat, and enjoy, but we were just so thankful for the provision of something. After we had eaten we said a huge thank you to the ladies, who had given the best they had for us, and then got back on the bus and returned to solace. We were all filthy, and shattered, so the bus ride home was a great chance for us to just rest.

When we returned to solace, we were all hungry, tired, muddy and thankful for the chance to eat and then clean ourselves.

Before most of us cleaned ourselves, we took the time to sit, as a group, and reflect on the days at gakagati. Paul was leading the reflections, and told the group of his desire to try to start attending church. He told us that he had talked to craig who had told him that if he did not like the first church, to keep try and not lose faith, to keep going until he finds a home. What a glorious answer to prayer that is!

When craig and I returned to our room, we talked about how one of us should try to speak to paul about how to become a Christian. We decided to pray for him, and see if he approaches one of us.

Once we had showered craig, matthew, Paul, conner and myself went down to the church hall in solace, and sang song of worship. We were all shattered, but somehow found the energy to praise god. It was amazing. Our god is an awesome God! We then spent some time in prayer, then went to bed. Such an amazing day.

Please continue to pray for the school kids. They need help.  They need a God who can give them all things. They need our God! Please also continue to pray for Paul and the other members of the team. That they would come to know Christ and have a deeper, and renewed relationship with him.

Amen Comfort Rwanda team

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July 16, 2010 @ 6:41 am

Second day

Day 7

We spent today running classes at the school in gakagati. On route to the school, we stopped at the reservior to see the only water that the towns people have access too. The water is vile looking. That's the only apt description for it. the water was essentially The kind of water you would get out of a muddy puddle. I have some pictures which I will try to upload, but that may have to wait until I am home. When we were at the reservior people from the town were arriving with their canisters to collect their water for the day. Some of the people were very young, others were very old. The humbling thing for me was to think that the people in the town have probably never tasted fresh, clean, even cold water. Ever. Something we take for granted, and complain about if it is taken away for a day, is something that they have NEVER had!

When we arrived at the school today we were greeted in a similar fashion to yesterday, where you couldn't move a meter without hugging at least 12 children. Again, the children participated with all of the activities with such a joy and such a passion. It was great to see the delight on all of their faces. It is such a lovely experience to know that we are impacting on their lives so heavily - that we, just by our presence, are showing them the love of God.

After school today, we again held an outreach service for the community. Again a large crowd gathered to hear callum preach about the joy of following Christ and the freedom from sin that comes through him. at the end of the service the people were invited to publicly commit themselves to following Christ. Again a few people decided to follow God's way!  Such a glorious thing to witness, people committing themselves to following Christ. 

When we returned to the guesthouse we were served dinner. During the meal I had a good chat with pastor Paul who owns parts of gakagati and is responsible for the school bring there. He told me that they were just starting a church in gakagati, and that these outreach services were the begginning of that new church. This actually brought tears of joy to my eyes. To think that we are participating so heavily in the building of Christ's kingdom among these people is amazing. Paul also told me about the pastor, who is taking on the church in gakagati and the sacrifices he is making in order to start working there. He is moving from an area with clean drinking water, to one that is without water. He is making such phenominal sacrifices in the name of our Lord. It is truly amazing. 

Finally pastor paul told me about a conversation he had with the other Paul In the group. pastor Paul was telling me that Paul had said to him that he had never been to church before, but when he returns he wants to find a church and start attending. How amazing is that? Oh the awesome, awesome power of prayer!

Can you please pray that tomorrow, as we bid farewell to the kids, they remember the love that we represent, and do not remember us for the materials we gave. Can you also pray for the fledegling church in gakagati and the pastor, who is giving up so much to teach these people of the love of God. Finally can you pray for Paul, that he would talk to someone about how to start following Christ and that he would find a church in arbroath that he can be at home in. 

Amen
Comfort Rwanda team

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July 16, 2010 @ 6:35 am

First day at school

Day 6

Today was our first day at the school at gagakati. It took us a Long time to get there and get going this morning as we had to wait for pastor Paul and his friends to join us before we could set off properly. They were meeting us at the entrance to the town we are staying in - nyagatare - and we were all going from there. While we were waiting we started a game of football with some of the kids from nyagatare. It was a nice way to fill up 20 minutes or so... Although graeme fell over twice! When pastor Paul arrived, we stopped playing and continued on our way to gakagati

It was quite a long drive to gakagati. On the way we passed several fields containing Rwandan cows with large horns in their heads. About 4 km from the school we passed by a reservoir where people were filling large water canisters.

When we got to gakagati, it was around 12:30 / 1 pm. The bus was cheered into the town as the school kids had all gathered to welcome us. As soon as we stepped off the bus we were surrounded by kids wanting to hug us, touch us, shake our hands or even just ask us our names. They considered us such a blessing and we hadn't even done anything yet! As soon as got off the bus we were also hit with the phenominal heat of the place.

The first thing we did was hold an assembly for the whole school. We sang some songs with the kids and then did a puppet show in which there was a lost sheep! The kids really enjoyed it. We then all went off to a house for something to eat and drink. The owners of the house had cooked some veg and made some gingery tasting tea (which was really nice, but wasn't the best as it was scorching hot weather outside and the tea was boiling!). In preparation to eat we all washed our hands with muddy water taken out of one of the large water canisters that had been filled at the reservior. During the meal pastor Paul explained that the reservior (4km away) was the closest source of water for the village and that it wasn't a clean water supply. The water had to be boiled to make it drinkable. He explained that a source of clean water was probably the biggest need for the village. It was such a cry of sorrow for me because we take clean, running water for granted back home, whereas the people of gakagati have to walk 4km just to get water that needs to be boiled before it can be used! It also reminded me of the words of Christ "if anyone is thirsty let him come to me and drink" I felt challenged that, as a people of Christ, we should be quenching the thirst of his people, both in the form of  water, but also in the form of his word. It also hurt to think that while we were inside eating, the kids were outside, probably having nothing to eat.

After the meal, we returned to the school and started our classes. The classes we were dealing with were very large - at least 50 pupils per class. While the kids were in the classes the adults all gathered outside to see what was happening, and join in if at all possible. The classes seemed to go well, with the slight problem of people getting involved who were not part of the school. All in all it worked out well though. I was in the sports group which served as a reminder that people of all colours and ages all enjoy taking part in various sports.

After school was over we returned to the house and had another drink. We then went and participated in an outreach service being held by the school. At the service callum preached very powerfully about how we are all sinners, that we all need Christ and how christ bore our sins on the cross.  Amazingly we saw the power of Christ moving in that place as 4 people went forward to repent of their sins and become followers of Christ. It is truly amazing that, though we are so different, we worship the same God.

After that we returned to the guest house with a renewed appreciation of it.

Can you please pray that the next two days here go well, that we are all protected from dehydration and other illnesses and that we would be a blessing to these people, not just thought to be one!

Can you also pray for Paul, one of the boys from Arbroath. He seems to be really engaging with the Christian aspects of the trip and it would be really great if he would chat to one of the team about what it means to be a Christian. Please pray that he would seek Christ and find him Amen Comfort Rwanda team

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July 15, 2010 @ 7:37 am

Church and travel

Day 5

This morning the group split into two groups and attended two different churches. One of the groups stayed at, and participated in, the service at solace. The second group - which was the majority of people - attended worship at pastor paul's living church.

The service at the living church was such a vibrant and charismatic expression of worship to God. The service contained singing, dancing, worshiping, praying, speaking and preaching. It was a truly awesome experience to see people worshipping God in such a joyous fashion! At the start of the service we were welcomed by Paul and the entire church. The people in the church were so welcoming and friendly it was amazing. We were not the only visitors to the church today, there were some Americans visiting along with another pastor from Rwanda. All were welcome in the church. One of the the strong messages from church was that we were all brothers and sisters in Christ. No matter colour, nationality or culture, we were all brothers and sisters in christ. It was an amazing church.

Phil was preach in the living church today, and he spoke of the need for us as a church to look, to see the needs of people, to talk to one another of Christ and to offer our right hands to help one another up.

After church today we traveled up to gakagati The facilities here aren't as nice as at solace, but in terms of Rwanda, they are very good. We must be thankful for what we have rather than expect more.

We finished the day today with a group of us joining the rwandans from the town in watching the world cup final on a big screen! It was an amazing experience to stand with the rwandans of the town and cheer on Spain to victory!

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July 12, 2010 @ 9:32 am

11 July 2010 morning

Elaine Duncan

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July 12, 2010 @ 9:29 am

July 11 2010 evening

Renewing your wardrobe

Colossians 3:12-17

David McAdam

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July 11, 2010 @ 7:13 am

Weddings and crafts

Day 4

Today we went to visit some widows of the genocide who support themselves by making crafts. The ladies taught us how to make a craft each. To make the crafts we used rolled up strips of calenders. I found this such an amazing experience, that these ladies would take something that would be rubbish, and turn it into something truly beautiful. Such provision of God, that these women would be given the skills and the materials to make such lovely crafts and support themselves. God provides!

There is also a lovely analogy of the Christian in there too... We, who are broken, soiled and made useless by sin, rather that being discarded, are made into something beautiful by the love of God.

The main event of the day however, was the wedding of Elizear and Amy. The wedding ceremony was simply indescribable (so I'm not going to try!) it was filled with dancing, singing and such joy! What struck me during the wedding was the love that the rwandans have for God. Though we speak diffemet languages, though we come from different cultures, though we wear different clothes, though we live in different circumstances and though we look different we both love, and are loved by, the same God! We are brothers an sisters in Christ! One body!

The other thing that struck me during the wedding was the strength of God's love for us. The preacher (pastor Paul) was talking about marrage as being unbreakable love. This lead me to think of the love that God has for us, that - no matter what we do and no matter how many times we turn our back on him - there is nothing we can do that will separate us from the love of God! We can, and will, be forgiven providing we repent and turn our eyes to God! All because of the cross. Amazing love!

On another note... Some of the group have started to notice that the school boys from Arbroath are really starting to engage with the Christian aspect of things. The boys are starting to get involved with, and really enjoy, singing the songs with us. They also seem to have started asking questions about us and about church. We feel this is amazing and would really appreciate some prayer for this... Although we came here to help the Rwanda people, we are starting to see God moving in the lives of these boys - that is truly amazing! Please pray that they would come to know Christ.

Thank you for your prayers Comfort Rwanda team

Ps. Tomorrow (Sunday) we travel to the school up in Gagakati.... We don't know what we'll find there, but it is fairly likely that there won't be an Internet connection available. Unfortunately that means that there might not be any more blogs until we return on Wednesday. Please pray for us, with our trip up there and with our work with the school kids and community there

Thank you

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July 10, 2010 @ 7:20 am

Day 2 (some more)

Day 2 take 2

yesterday we visited josephine and marcelline, both of whom are sponsored by solace. They told us very moving stories of their experience of how they, and their families, were affected by the genocide.

Marcelline had s beautiful smile. I asked her what made her smile these days? Her reply - I am living and have hope!

Looking forward to jari farm visit today.

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July 10, 2010 @ 7:15 am

Day 3

Day 3

Today we went to visit the jari community - which is a community sponsored by a church in Dumbarton. This involved a long bus ride up a very steep hill. When we got to the jari community we were greeted then we entered a hall for a meeting with the community. This involved singing, praying and preaching. During the meeting several members of the community talked to the group about their experiences of the genocide. They also showed us horriffic scars that they still bore from the genocide. For the whole group this seemed to make the genocide seem like real events... Until now we had read about what happened, but not seen the extent of the effects on each individual.

As part of the service David preached about laying our sorrows and our pain at the cross. We then prayed for the members of the communities that they would be able to do this.

After the meeting we went for a long walk down a hill to visit the homes of members of the community. It was so humbling to see how little they had, yet how thankful they were for it. Whereever we went we were greeted with such love and friendliness. The path back up the hill was long and steep, and when we arrived at the top we were completely exhausted, but we were welcomed by a large group of kids who had gathered there to see us. We spent some time talking with the kids, asking them questions and answering theirs. They loved having their photos taken.

As we were walking around jari, our guide was constantly saying to us "just one more house". We had to stop visiting house because we had run out of time and it had gotten dark, but this made us realise that the genocide didn't just affect a handful, but rather, there is always another house to visit, another story to hear and another person who needs the love of God.

I think the main thing that we saw and learned today was just how much passion these people have for the lord. During the service, when members of the community were getting upset or angry about what was being said, they would calm themselves by praying and singing to God. They found such peace in the lord. In every house we visited we were asked questions about ourselves and we were thanked for being there. We were never asked for donations or money or gifts, but our presence was such a calming influence on the people and such a blessing that they did not need more from us. It also struck us that, the hill that we all struggled to climb up, is a hill that those people have to climb to attend the church services and to attend solace. It was truely a long and difficult climb, but they do it regularly because of their love for the Lord. How amazing!

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July 9, 2010 @ 1:36 pm

Chryston Morning 27 June 2010

Bringing the Best

Acts 11:19-30

Mark Malcolm

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