I realized that our last post was over two months ago. I’m going to do my best to get this blog and its readers caught up on what happened that last month in Rwanda, and what has happened since we have returned.
Let’s see… When last we left, Krystal and I were about to join the team on the annual Rwanda missionary retreat: Kumbya (no, not Kum-bye-ya, Kumbya). It is both the name of the peninsula and the name of the ten day retreat to this piece of paradise in the southwest of Rwanda. It stretched from Friday evening, July 22-Sunday morning, August 1. We were there a day earlier and a day later than the conference because our host had some responsibilities there.
Kumbya’s history is pretty amazing. In the 1940s, the missionary community in Rwanda and nearby Burundi decided to create a place for an annual retreat. They located a peninsula along Lake Kivu, applied to the government for use rights, and began improving the site without removing many of the indigenous trees. Botanically, it is a gem. It is the last of the natural forest along lake Kivu; all other land has been made into farm land.
Spiritually, it is priceless. The retreat went for 10 days, Friday-Sunday. We saw a beauty of cooperation among the missionaries that preached the unity of the faith more than any sermon could. Baptist, Anglican, International Justice Mission, Business as Mission, Assemblies of God, Evangelical Quakers, each focusing on a different piece of God’s mission of redemption, but all engaging in fellowship and spiritual renewal.
We had two morning lessons, a free afternoon to play in the water, birdwatch (over 200 species on our peninsula), or hang out, and then an evening lesson. On both Sundays of the retreat, we traveled with Gary and Greg to visit two fourth year students of the Pastoral Training School.
These pastors live and work 8 hours from the nearest true city, but because they are able to attend the Pastoral Training School, they are able to return to their villages and teach their people the true Gospel: we are not saved by works (tithing, church attendance), but by the grace of God through faith. Pray with us for these pastors.
There are too many conversations and stories to fully recount here, but two stand out. The evening sessions were run by Mimi Wilson, an internationally requested author and speaker. Her lessons on gratitude and holiness were convicting. She spoke from her own experience and showed us that if we desire to be spiritual old people, we need to be deliberate about pursuing God while we are still young. Krystal is using her book, Holy Habits, this semester to grow in gratitude.
Another important event was the relationship we began with some Evangelical Quaker missionaries that were in the same stage of life as us (newly married w/o kids). After the retreat, we met up with them again back in Kigali. It was good to know that friendships are possible outside the immediate team. It was good to make friends. Brad and Chelsea, thanks for reaching out to us and being so cool.
Next post, Hopital Happenings