Many people have been asking me recently if I am excited to be going to Rwanda again. The truth is, a pang hits my heart every time I am asked that question because if I answer it honestly, excitement is not the first feeling that comes to mind. Stress, fear, uncertainty…these are all feelings that rush into my mind first. I have been frustrated by all of these negative feelings because I know they are not me and I know they are not true, yet they have been so prevalent. And then today I woke up feeling that excitement I had so long waited to feel and I felt a great relief when I realized that I am going back to beautiful Rwanda tomorrow – Rwanda nziza. 

I love Rwanda so very much. It is the only place that I have truly considered a home away from home and I feel so blessed to be returning. When I left Rwanda in August 2012 I slept the entire flight home to keep from crying. I was leaving a place that became so dear to me and returning to Seattle was the last thing in the world I wanted to do. And it is not just the thousand green hills that I held in my heart. Those hills are dear, yes, but more than the hills the people of Rwanda are people that I love very deeply. So when I woke up this morning, the first thing I thought of was the way my cheeks would touch the cheeks of the World Relief staff when I greet them with a “mwaramutse” on Tuesday morning. These wonderful people who started as colleagues I now consider friends and it is such an incredible blessing to be returning. It was with the image of their beautiful faces in my mind that I finally felt ready to return to the place I love.

I know that every member of our team is filled with our own anxieties, hesitations and fears, but the thing that connects us all is that we feel called to this place. I was recently speaking with a co-worker about how God does not make mistakes. God does not call us to places to play tricks on us and God certainly does not let accidents happen. Every person, every place, every moment exists in our lives for a reason and this journey to Rwanda and Uganda will mean something different to every one of us. Please pray for us as we head out on this journey that is so unpredictable, so far away and so out of our comfort zones. 

Pray for safe travels and good health. We set out on a plane Sunday morning at 9am and will be arriving in Kigali on Monday night around 8 (about 11am Monday morning, for those of you in Seattle). Please pray for uneventful flights, easy travels and rest on the plane. It is about 26 hours of straight travel from door-to-door and this can be incredibly draining, especially if you’ve never done it before. Pray we remember to stretch our legs every hour and drown ourselves in Vitamin C.

Pray for our spirits. On Tuesday we will be visiting the genocide memorial and this will undoubtedly weigh heavy on all of our hearts. Please pray that we will give ourselves the time and space to process the grief and pain that the Rwandese have suffered. Praise the Lord that we will see with our own eyes how far Rwanda has come since 1994 through many reconciliation workshops and answers to prayers around the globe. Pray we will not move so fast that we forget to see hope.

Pray for our church partners. Both Living Water International and World Relief Rwanda have worked incredibly hard to host us in their countries. Throughout our time overseas, I will be updating this blog with prayer requests from these organizations and ask that you join us as we do our best to support the incredible efforts of our church partners by learning more about what they do and by building relationships with them.

It is hard to believe that in 10 hours we will be on a plane, but this is real and God is in it every step of the way and that is so exciting to me. I feel honored that you are walking with us as you pray for us and follow us on this journey. Thank you so very much.

Holly, Maggie, Leif, Greg, Rachel, Jenn, Nate, Meagan and Jenny