Kumbya [Yes! A new post about Nick and Krystal in Rwanda!]

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.

After the third day of rain, we decided to upgrade our rainfly to a tarp.

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


4 thoughts on “Kumbya [Yes! A new post about Nick and Krystal in Rwanda!]

  1. Nick and Krystal,
    Thank you so much for your comments and pictures of Kumbya, Rwanda. My parents were missionaries with Berean Mission, Inc., (it was started at Denver Bible Institute in the 1930’s), and we lived in the Belgian Congo from 1951 to 1961. Even as children, we looked forward to the annual conference at Kumbya. For we kids, it was more about the swimming, fun and time with friends, but the older we became, and as I look back, the value of the spiritual experience way overpowers the fun that we had as children. In 1960, we lived at Kumbya for 8 t0 10 weeks as refugees from the unrest in the Congo. I have never been back there since we left the Congo in 1961, but really enjoy reading of experiences like yours, and maybe someday???????
    Again, thank you and may the Lord bless you.
    David Green

  2. Than you for taking me to Kumbya again. My parents, Norwegian missionaries, took me there every school break in the sixties. Last time in 1964 during the unrest in Congo. I’d love to be back there again!

    • It is our pleasure! Coincidentally, many missionaries are gathering there this weekend for their annual retreat. We recently read a book called “Land of a Thousand Hills,” a biography of Rosamond Carr. I remember the sections where she recalls the 1964 unrest. Very tragic! We pray for the peace of the Congo.

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