And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another.  (Hebrews 10:24-25)

This journey is not simply about the eleven days we are spending on the red soil. It has never been simply about the days on the ground. Our team has been meeting for months, slowly and intricately preparing our hearts for all that this experience holds, but can never accurately be predicted. We have grown together, been challenged together, laughed together and cried together…all before we even stepped foot on the first plane! Now all that we have been learning and discussing feels incredibly real and significant as we spend time in fellowship with the staff of World Relief Rwanda. For me it was an incredible moment to watch every staff member sit down in the circle as I sang songs in Kinyarwanda from the same familiar songbook, never knowing what the words mean, but knowing they are significant to the staff, therefore significant to me. These are my friends and they each welcomed me home with a huge embrace and the same beautiful smiles. It’s good to be home.

Our team had the privilege of learning about several of the programs that World Relief is running in Rwanda. Maurice taught us about an HIV/AIDS prevention program called Mobilizing for Life in which children, youth and couples are taught the importance of faithfulness and the value of deep relationships to keep you healthy spiritually and physically. This was followed by a passionate presentation by Louise on the orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) program. Last, we were able to hear from Courtney and Pascasie about the Savings for Life program where you can see story after story of some of the world’s most vulnerable people overcoming giant barriers and no longer classifying themselves as the poorest of the poor.

Of course, all of these programs and incredibly hardworking staff are part of our church partnership. By partnering with World Relief in Rwanda, Bethany Community Church has the honor to take part in the transformative work being done in Rwanda. Our team of nine is lucky enough to see and experience these things firsthand and it is our hope that while we are here and when we return, we will be able to be your eyes into this incredible world. This incredible world where the thousand hills surrounding us are lush and green, the incredible people we encounter have faith greater than we could ever imagine, and God is hard at work turning brokenness into something far more beautiful than we have ever known. Bethany exists in an ongoing partnership, continuing to build these relationships day after day, year after year. Please continue to walk with us as we share with you more about how God is moving and shaping this incredible country.