Continuing today with part #2 of my recent e3 Partners Ministry trip to Rwanda!
In Africa, you walk a lot. I mean really a lot. Uphill both ways sometimes. Everyone walks everywhere. On Thursday, our team had a character-building day. I think it was my favorite day of the trip. When we arrived at our Mission Point, no one was there to greet us. Finally someone walked up and told us that it was community work day. Every person in the village was required to spend the morning helping to clear land and build bricks in order to build houses for widows and the very poor. We had a choice to sit and wait for 4 hours or join in the work. We chose to join the work. We found ourselves walking downhill towards a river. Every step we took down that hill made me dread every step we’d have to take to go back up that hill. We walked among banana trees, coffee trees, sunflower fields, corn fields, so much lush greenery. At the work site, there were men and women digging and hoeing the rich red dirt, clearing and smoothing out a plot of land and putting the dirt in a large pile. Our job was to fill 5 gallon jugs of water down at the river and bring them back up. We poured the water in the dirt, then added in armfuls of straw and grass and then that was mixed together with hoes to just the right consistency for brick-making. The women would then gather up just the right amount of mud, stuff it into the brick mold then repeat over and over again until the mud was all used up. We spoke to the foreman of the project about sharing the Gospel with the crowd. She said she’d give us a chance to speak to them after they were done working for the morning. So we pitched in and worked alongside them. Two hours later, the work was done and all the people gathered on a small hillside. The foreman and a local government leader held a progress meeting with them. But then, just as promised, they turned the program over to us. I was asked to share a short message with them. I shared a verse with them out of 2 Corinthians 4:5-6. It says “For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said,"Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” And so I thanked them for the privilege of serving alongside them for Jesus’ sake. And I explained that since God shines in our hearts, we wanted to represent Him well by not being served or exalted above them, but by serving them and the community. Another team member shared the Gospel using the Evangecube with them. Out of the 140 or so gathered, 101 made first time professions of faith in Jesus. It was an amazing experience. And humbling to realize that becoming like Christ we really must be willing to get our hands dirty. And sweat a little. Or a lot. And serve people. And climb down steep hills. Then climb back up steeper hills. Jesus never sat on a velvet throne while on this earth. Most likely He lived and worked in a village very similar to the ones we visited in Africa. You sit on hard wooden benches or on woven straw mats placed on the rocky, dirt floor. You hug perfect strangers. You extend God’s love to unlovely people. All because we have been called to focus our lives on what matters most to us. Hopefully, what matters most to us is following Christ. Period. Because in choosing to follow Christ, we are choosing to become like Him.