From October 4 to 10, a team from the Canadian Bible Society (CBS) will be in Rwanda to visit two projects supported by CBS - She's My Sister and Where Is The Good Samaritan? Director for Ministry Advancement in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, Len Bachiu, will share about their daily experiences and the lessons learned along the way. Follow their adventures through his blogposts starting today. (In this photo, from l-r: Reg Graves, Eleanor Ovens, Len Bachiu, Bev Olson and John Goudy.)
In less than 24 hours our team will board a KLM Flight from Toronto to Kigali via Amsterdam. What will we see? What will we experience? What will the food be like? These and a thousand other questions fly through our minds as we prepare for what we hope will be the adventure of a lifetime. We are traveling to the country of 1000 hills and home of mountain gorillas.
We will also visit a country where 1,000,000 people were slaughtered in a short 100-day period. We will visit the Genocide Memorial where it is believed that the remains of 250,000 people have been buried. My hometown, the city of Saskatoon, has a population of almost ¼ million people. That’s how many people are buried there. How do you wrap your mind around numbers such as these?
One million people in 100 days!
If you do the math you discover that one person was slaughtered every 8 ½ seconds, often by machete or by club. How does this impact a nation? When I visited Rwanda for the first time in 2007, I was amazed by the joy of the people I met. Since then, we, the Canadian Bible Society, have been financing a program called She’s My Sister where Biblical resources are used to bring healing to people whose lives have been traumatized. We will visit one site where this program is in operation.
We will also visit another ministry site where hope is being brought to women who are victims of that dreaded monster – HIV/AIDS. A large percentage of the women who are HIV positive were infected by their husbands. Many African men travel miles over long periods of time to find work. They often come back having contracted HIV and passing it on to their wife. Unfortunately, these women are often ostracized by their churches. A program called Where Is the Good Samaritan? is helping to change the attitudes and behaviours of churches towards these unfortunate women.
We will visit a Baptist Seminary that was constructed largely with funds from Canada. We are also planning a short safari trip to the Akagera National Park.
This is the physical journey. It has been meticulously planned. We know where we are going as well as when, in theory. There will be surprises along the way, I’m sure. John Lennon famously said, “Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.”
But there is another journey – a spiritual one. Sometime during our journey God will break in, possibly at a time we least expect it. We will need to be alert to hear God’s still, small voice.
In 2006, I was part of the Bible Society’s cross-Canada Bike for Bibles ride. Early in the journey, we were traveling on the Coquihalla Highway. It was a very bad day for me. I had been picked up early and was riding in the last vehicle. It was close to noon and, another rider, June, was struggling. We stopped her and told her she needs to rack her bike and get in the vehicle or she wouldn’t be able to make it to our stop for lunch.
“No,” she begged, “please let me keep riding. I can make it. I don’t want to get off my bike.”
In that moment I thought that one day each one of us would face a time when our “life bike ride” would reach the point when we would have to rack our bikes and realize that our ride is over. I could see, in my mind’s eye, the trailing vehicle slowing and Jesus getting out and walking toward me. I could see myself standing by my bike, my head down, my helmet in my hand. I could hear myself beginning to beg Jesus, “One more hill, please let me ride one more hill. I don’t want to stop. Please.”
And then I can see Jesus reaching out and lifting my chin to look at him and then seeing His face shining brighter than a million suns. I will see His smile and realize that all will be well. In that moment I will realize that it was all worthwhile, when I hear Him saying, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant. Enter thy reward.”
I don’t know how Jesus will show up, but I know He will. In fact He will be with us whether we notice Him or not. He will appear and will make the journey something we never expected. Tomorrow, one of the greatest adventures of our lives will begin. Please join the adventure by following this blog and praying for us.
Follow the CBS' team's journey. Read Day 1 blog.
|Friday, October 4||Arrival in Kigali|
|Saturday, October 5||Meet with the staff of Bible Society in Rwanda (BSR)
Visit She's My Sister - Kigali Centre
Visit Genocide Memorial Site
|Sunday, October 6||Meeting with the Legal Representative of Baptist Church
Service at the Baptist Church
Meeting with Facilitators of She's My Sister
|Monday, October 7||Trip to Akagera National Park|
|Tuesday, October 8||Visit at the BSR office
Visit at the Good Samaritan Project
|Wednesday, October 9||Meet Genocide survivors
Visit Baptist Seminar
Tour of downtown Kigali
|Thursday, October 10||Visit new BSR land and tree plantation
Depart from Kigali