Have I told you yet that I am going home? Home to the Land of a Thousand Hills. The land of laughter. The land of tears. The land of colors and patterns. The patchwork farmlands and dusty roads. The winding bus rides and perfect smiles. The laughter of children and the skeptical eyes of the old. It is hard to believe that in six weeks my feet will step off of a plane and onto the ground that I once called home. I count myself beyond blessed to be writing on this blog again and sharing with you the bits and pieces of a world that feels so far away. It all started over two years ago when Dad returned from this tiny country in the heart of eastern Africa and told me I had to go. I didn’t believe him, but it somehow seemed right to be bold and take a plunge into a world unknown.

I never dreamed I would love it as much as I did, but it captured my heart in a mere ten weeks and it has never really let go. Life has certainly had its fair share of busy times and one might assume Rwanda was simply a small blip in the midst of my full life, but that is not the case. Not a day goes by where I don’t think about Rwanda. So, when the missions pastor at Bethany asked me to lead a team to Rwanda, there was no way I could say no. It has certainly been a challenge–to say otherwise would be a lie. There have been many moments over the past five months where I have asked what I have gotten myself into and why on earth someone would trust me with something so huge. In the end it comes down to one thing: love. Our desire as a team is to build relationships with the people we meet and those relationships are founded on a mutual love of Christ. God loved me enough to provide me with the opportunity to go there once and it is clear that this is, once more, where I am supposed to be. Though a different context–that of a leader, rather than an intern–I am confident that I will learn an incredible amount in the two weeks I will spend there.

I have been working in a non-profit for the last year and this will clearly change my perspective as I engage in conversations with the staff of World Relief in Rwanda and Living Water International in Uganda. When I return back to work after the trip, the work will surely feel different as the people PATH desires to serve will feel much closer than they do currently. I often feel far removed from the world I long to love and serve and be a part of, so I feel incredibly grateful and blessed with the opportunity to taste and see and feel and smell and hear the familiarities that have slowly been fading. As I left on June 15th, 2011, I didn’t know what to expect, but I simply fell into a way of life with open hands. As I depart once again on September 7, 2013, I don’t know what to expect. I have fear and excitement, but neither is predominant.

Returning will be like a reunion with an old friend: either it will feel natural and we will pick up where we left off or there may be a period of time where we must get to know each other once more before growing deeper into relationship. My biggest fear of all is that Rwanda may have forgotten me, and I can’t bear to imagine that pain. Yet if Rwanda embraces me once again, as it did the first time, I cannot bear the pain of saying goodbye. As you once again (or perhaps for the first time) step into this journey with me, I ask that you pray for this fragile heart. Pray that I will walk on this journey with hands willing to work however God may ask. Pray that I will not be misunderstood and that my friends in Rwanda will somehow know that they have been, and continue to be, in my prayers daily and I have not forgotten them. Pray that I will have strength to lead with humility, walk with courage, and love with compassion. Walk with me.