Greetings Res Family!
Bishop John Guernsey strongly recommended we come to Rwanda a day early to get acclimated to the time difference and prepare for the conference which starts on Monday afternoon. I am so glad I did! After a great night’s sleep, I had breakfast with my friend, ALI Team member and rector of Grace Anglican Church in Jacksonville, Florida, Mike McDonald. We were joined by the new Bishop of the Gulf Atlantic Diocese Alex Farmer (another ALI alum) and the delegation from their diocese. Like in Israel, the hotel provides a wonderful full breakfast. We had great conversation and what a joy to be with believers from across the ACNA.
After breakfast I went back to my room and had a quite time with the Lord on my small porch (Picture). It was a wonderful place to meet the Lord and pray for Res, the Conference, and Storie who turns 15 today! Psalm 9 was my psalm of the day and vs 10 and 11 really encouraged me: “Those who know your Name will trust in You; for You, O Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you. Sing praises to the Lord, enthroned in Zion, proclaim among the nations what He has done.” I was struck that, in this country so far from Baltimore, there are many who seek the Lord and He is indeed enthroned over every nation. So far this trip has been a great reminder of how small we are, how big the world is, and how even bigger the Lord is who “rules the world with truth and grace” as the great Christmas hymn says.
For lunch I went with Pittsburgh friends to a roof top restaurant overlooking the city about 2.5 miles from the hotel. I was struck in the cab ride how over how clean and new everything is. Later I learned why. Literally, everything is new in the last 29 years. Over lunch, I got a history about the 1994 Rwandan genocide from a woman who has traveled here many times. The country just completed a week long “unity, reconciliation and memorial” to honor the 29th anniversary of the genocide where about 1 million Rwandans were murdered in their homes, on the streets, in churches, and workplaces over a 40 day period. Can you imagine? The stories are horrific and evil. The tragedy is still very much a part of the collective consciousness and lives of those who live here. I was told that a majority of Rwandans under 30 do not have parents or just one parent. So many children lost parents and grandparents during this horrific and satanic massacre that saw neighbors murdering neighbors. It was a humbling and eye-opening discussion. While there has been much healing, much work remains. To hear that the Christian community has led the way in the healing and reconciliation process was so encouraging. More to come on this as I will be going to the Rwanda Genocide Memorial tomorrow before the conference starts.
After lunch we walked through Kigali back to the hotel. As we walked through the city, I understood why Rwanda is called the country of a thousand hills – we got a great workout! The city is clean and everyone is very polite. This evening, I decided to walk around the conference center listening to worship music, praying for the country, and enjoy the beautiful breeze and sunset as the sky cleared. After a brief dinner and seeing a few friends, I am writing this update and going to bed early.
Tomorrow will be busy with an early morning visit to the Genocide Memorial and then the conference starts in the afternoon. Thank you for your prayers for good health. So far so good! Please know that I am praying for you all and know I am so grateful to be here. Thank you for allowing me to come and be a part of what could be a very historic conference.
I look forward to giving you an update tomorrow. Until then, know I am thinking of you all and praying for you from 7,177 miles away.
Grateful to be in Christ,