Reflections of Rwanda: 10 Year Anniversary Celebration by Michelle Schmidt
Rwanda is beautiful. Beauty lives in the dancing eyes and swaying hips, in the proud gold-edged green leaves, and in the vibrant fruit, at once mellow and exotic in flavor.
But in September, during Africa New Life Ministries’ 10th Anniversary Celebration, the most beautiful things to encounter were the stories.
The stories were everywhere. You could see them walk, as young Jovanus, the boy who a year ago had “backward legs,” returned to his home to Kageyo after corrective surgery. The stories danced among the young girls of Kayonza, rehearsing their celebration performance amidst construction materials in the soon-to-be girls dormitory. At the Dream Center in Kigali, these stories swirled in the festive buzz of the hundreds of families and friends and dignitaries who gathered under brightly decorated celebration tents.
The stories that live in Rwanda are more than the kind that are preserved for the grand moments of a ceremony. They are the currency of the place. They live and breathe in the staff, who when asked, speak of God’s hand to provide for them, to change, prepare, and then use them. Rich stories rest, brick upon brick, in the buildings of the Kageyo and Kayonza campus. They are sewn quietly into the bags made by the women in the sewing center, and ladled into cups of porridge that fill the bellies of the hundreds of boys that roam the streets of Rwanda each day.
The stories are not confined to place, but stretch across the oceans where values are overturned and God’s power seen. In these stories, lives are woven together, through obedience and opportunity, to create unimaginably rich tapestries that sing glory to the Creator.
And the stories aren’t complete; they dance on in the hopes and dreams of children who are experiencing the new life God has put before them.
These are stories only God could write. These are stories that most of us encounter on rare occasions or are stowed away neatly in the past, but there, in Rwanda, in this time of celebration where past and future converge, these stories are plentiful and alive. God’s work is undeniable. May we, in whatever capacity or location God has placed us, join Him and continue to tell His story.
Ephesians 3:20-22 — Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.