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July 22, 2010 @ 11:29 pm

Final Reflections on the trip

The first thing i want to do is to say a huge thank you to each and every person who has had the heart to pray for us during our time in Rwanda.  The trip was hugely blessed, in many, many ways, and  i would just like to thank you all for your dedication and commitment to prayer.  Thank you.  It also seems appropriate that i mention that both Rona and Kirsty Fleming are still out in Rwanda and will be until the 4th of August.  I am sure that both would be highly appreciative of your continuing prayers as they experience different aspects of life in Rwanda. With the exception of Rona and Kirsty, the team are now all home safe and well.  We were all blessed with our travels and enjoyed peaceful flights.  We were also highly blessed with the team that were called together – each person had a vital role to fulfil and each person was moved by the experience in some way.  We all got along excellently as a team, and although there were one or two hairy moments (Cal’s chest!), there was no tension between the team and we all worked together excellently.

 

I think the thing that challenged me most over the trip was who i consider to be my brother and how much i do to help them.   A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.  By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." John 13:34-35.  On the first day in Rwanda we went to visit the genocide memorial.  We all found it very disturbing to read through just what happened, in the build up to the genocide, and some of the atrocities committed during the genocide.  After we had visited the genocide memorial we went to visit some homes of survivors of the genocide.  After we had visited these homes, we joined some friends for a meal out to celebrate their wedding, which we were attending on Saturday.  Just from this first day we got such a clear picture of our lack of love for our brothers.  We had spent the afternoon hearing stories from people who could not afford to eat, then, spent the evening eating as much as we could manage in a restaurant.  I certainly came to realise from this the importance of sharing what i have with my brothers, rather than keeping it for myself.

 

The people of Rwanda themselves were such a joy to meet and spend time in fellowship with.  None of the Rwandans we met ever asked the questions “Why me?”  “Why did God allow this to happen?” “Surely God doesn’t exist if He allowed this to happen to me?”  The people of Rwanda are laying down their sorrow at the Cross and exchanging it for the joy of the Lord.  Jesus said on the Cross “It is finished” John 19:30.  The people of Rwanda are allowing these words to flow over them.  They are allowing the power of these words to flow over them.  They are experiencing the joy of the lord, the healing of the lord, the peace of the lord, the love of the lord and the grace of the lord because they are taking their sins, their hurts, their pains, the things they’ve done and the things that have been done to them and they are laying them down at the Cross.  They know the healing power of the Cross, the restoring power of the Cross and the redeeming power of the Cross because they are taking these things, laying them at the Cross and exchanging them for the joy of the Lord.  It was wonderful to be in a place to see God working so powerfully and so obviously.  Solace has the motto “beauty instead of ashes” Isaiah 61:30.  That is what the Rwandans are working for.  That is what they are getting from the Cross.  Rwanda died during the genocide, but instead of leaving nothing but ashes, God is taking that place and changing it, making it beautiful again.  Oh the awesome power of God! 

 

One of the key things i noticed while in Rwanda is that the people have such a strong belief in God.  The Rwandans are thirsty for God. "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink.  Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him." John 7:37-38.  The Rwandans are seeking God, they need people to guide them, to show them the love of God and to teach them the word of God.  The Rwandans considered us a blessing just by our presence.  They knew that we had come to visit, not to give them stuff, but to show them the love of God.  We were considered a blessing everywhere we went because the Rwandans understood that God had called us to be there and that we were there because we loved them.  Wherever we went we were greeted with hugs and handshakes.  Was it because we were special?  No.  It was because the Rwandans knew that we were there to show them the love of God.  Pastor Paul spoke to us on our last night in Rwanda.  He said that he was so glad that we came and that we saw Rwanda.  He said that it wasn’t important what we gave, but rather that we saw what the Rwandans had been through.  That we came to know the plight of the people but seeing them in their sorrow.  That we came to see that the Rwandans need our help and that they need to be guided to our God. 

 

“He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.” 1 John 2:2.  The God we love, the God we serve and the God who loves us, also loves the Rwandans.  He is the atoning sacrifice for the WORLD.  Not just for us.  Not for Chryston.  Not for Scotland.  For everyone!  We went there to show them the love of God.  We must continue to love them as brothers.  We must continue to pray for them and to help them in any way we can.  Otherwise, it becomes just a holiday. 

 

Thank you for reading.  Thank you for your prayers.  I hope you have learned as much through reading this as i have through writing it.

Graeme

 

Some key verses that really spoke to me while in Rwanda

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.  By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." John 13:34-35.

“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”  James 1:27

“My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.” 1 John 2:1-2

“For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

“and provide for those who grieve in Zion—        to bestow on them a crown of beauty        instead of ashes,        the oil of gladness        instead of mourning,        and a garment of praise        instead of a spirit of despair.        They will be called oaks of righteousness,        a planting of the LORD        for the display of his splendour.” Isaiah 61:3

“When he had received the drink, Jesus said, "It is finished." With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.”  John 19:30

“On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink.  Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him."” John 7:37-38

 

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