On July 18th-29th, a team of 8 from Central Church of God in Charlotte, NC traveled to Kigali, Rwanda to work with one of our With Open Eyes partners. The team arrived in time for the dedication of 50 new bicycles being distributed to 50 Mobile Messengers! One of the team members, who had been on many mission trips in the past, commented of how,
This experience was a highlight of all trips!! How wonderful and amazing it is to see 50 men and women of all generations, receiving a bicycle that will help them carry the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the lost.”
As the week went on and the team traveled throughout the rough and curvy hills of Rwanda, it made the gift of transportation so much more meaningful!
The team split their time between Kigali and two village churches in the Northern and Southern provinces. In preparation for this trip, the team had raised money to not only cover the cost of their expenses, but to also help buy cement and building supplies for building walls of two churches where they would be visiting. In fact, in a two week fundraising period, they raised enough money not only to cover what they had hoped, but enough extra to help with a third church! Since their existence, these churches have been worshiping under tarps or makeshift buildings. They are now rejoicing that they will have an actual church building to cover and protect from the sun and the rain. The new church buildings will also stand as a sign to the villagers and everyone who sees, as the hand of God supplying their need!
The team spent their mornings and afternoons working alongside men and women from the local congregations carrying stones and bricks, shoveling dirt as well as sharing Bible stories and testimonies, enjoying games and activities with the children. The joy of the Lord was in the air and the body of Christ was seen coming together as they taught/sang the children’s song, “Praise Ye the Lord”, (and even the brickmasons joined in) or were taught words in the Kinyerwanda language as they passed the stones. Evenings were spent showing the “Jesus Film”. As the sun started to set, the people would begin arriving in anticipation. For most, watching a movie was a first-time experience, as electricity in homes is not common and you won’t find a movie theater nearby. By the time the movie began, the crowd had generally doubled and while some were seated, most were standing to be able to have a good view. Just imagine the joy and blessing of watching as many accepted Christ as a result of seeing and hearing the gospel in their own language! The Mobile Messengers were thrilled to know that the Jesus Film and equipment would be left behind so they can continue to share this experience with many others throughout Rwanda.
The perfect ending to our visit was observing the water baptism of new believers. What an honor and thrill for the team to rejoice and celebrate together with their new brothers and sisters!
After returning home and having the opportunity to listen to the team speak from their heart about the experience, there was an overall theme from the group of feeling overjoyed and blessed to have been a part of what God is doing through our With Open Eyes Mobile Messengers in Rwanda. One of the comments received after returning home was,
Being in Rwanda 19 years after the Genocide, one would never know this country or people had endured such terror and horror in their land and lives.The people greet you with the warmest smiles, biggest hugs, and have some of the most loving hearts that I’ve every encountered on this earth. I saw and felt Jesus’ redeeming love and presence so tangibly in Rwanda. Isaiah 61:3 penetrated my mind and heart every day during my time there, and it was as if I was seeing this verse lived out in front of my very eyes, because the Lord has truly given them, “beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord that He may be glorified.”
This team went in obedience to their call from the Lord to “Go” and to bless the people of Rwanda and work along side Mobile Messengers. Each member poured out graciously, giving all they could give without asking for anything in return. In listening and observing them both in country and after returning home, I know that as hard as they worked, they will be blessed! While we contine to hear great reports from the field as a result of their visit, we know some results will not be seen until we get to Heaven! To God be the glory!