Thursday, 24 March 2011

Bittersweet Day

On Sunday, Jean Paul leaned forward to me after church and informed me that on Wednesday (yesterday) was the day to go back to his secondary school to collect his diploma. There was a ceremoney and would we be able to come.

I knew that with all Serge has on his plate for this week, it was impossible for him but yes I could come.
'Jean Paul, call the headmaster and confirm the day and the time and we'll talk on Tuesday. Be sure you do that!'
'Yes, Mommy, no problem. I will call.'

I saw Jean Paul on Tuesday at the church. No problem, the ceremony was set for yesterday morning at 10am.

Yesterday morning arrived...

The interns were at our house soon after 7am, the hired jeep arrived, we collected Jean Paul on the way and we were off for about a 2.5 hour drive to his school through the incredible Rwandan countryside. It had been awhile since I had been out of the city and it never ceases to amaze me how incredibly beautiful this country is.

Jean Paul, Intern Karyn, Visitor Maddy (more on her another time),
Interns Nicola and Mike

Jean Paul and I with his highschool diploma. WOOHOO!!
Historic day for us... first kid who has graduated from high school.
Jean Paul is currently enrolled in university studying tourism.
So you may be wondering.. .what is bittersweet about this!

Beautiful country, historic day for International Teams in Rwanda -
well.... days don't always turn out the way you want or even dream they will.

You see, when we drove into the school, I saw no preparations for a ceremony.
Jean Paul said that he would go into the Headmaster's office to inquire. Fine. He returned to say that a girl had died during the night and that the celebrations were cancelled. Oh, that's sad.
We were invited into the director's office.

But my mind was going... something was 'fishy'.

I got the headmaster's phone number and called Serge to ask him to call the guy. He did. There was never any ceremony planned for Wednesday. We got our jeep driver to talk to students outside and sure enough, no student had died.

My heart was sinking faster than a lead balloon.

You see, we know that Jean Paul has had problem with lying in his life. We have been pretty hard on him about being the man that God has created him to be. Giving him some pretty tough love over the years. Each time has has rose to the occasion and seems to have grown and changed.

Yesterday was a vivid reminder that he had not completely changed.

After a brief time at the school, I asked us to leave. We would head straight back to Kigali and there would be no celebration lunch as we were so looking forward to having. I know the interns were a bit confused but they rolled with life without asking questions and for that I am grateful. My job today.. to talk to each of them about this all. ARG!

Back in Kigali, Serge, Jules and Alain were waiting for us.
As I talked to them before they talked to Jean Paul, we about cried as we shook our heads in disbelief over Jean Paul and the resigning ourselves to the fact that we know street kids lie to survive. We KNOW that! We just thought we had at least made progress with Jean Paul.

Serge, Jules and Alain spent the next 4 hours with Jean Paul. It was very disheartening as the lies kept spilling out of him. At the end of the day, they went to the house where Jean Paul stays with other former street kids we have in highschool. They have rules of the house which they have made,which they must enforce and lying is not tolerated. So, at the end of it all, Jean Paul was asked to leave the house. Serge told him that he could spend the night as he didn't want him put out on the street when it was dark, but that he must leave first thing in the morning.

It's morning here...

Bittersweet I tell you!

Sweet - Jean Paul has his highschool diploma
Bitter - we had to pull some pretty tough love once again

My heart is heavy for sure, tears are rolling down my cheeks, and my hands are shaking.
Why God?
He had NO reason to lie to us.
One can have all the education in the world but if he is not a man of character, his education is useless.
I have to hold onto the fact that I know God is in the process of tranforming each one of us and that our as long as we are alive, our stories are not finished.
I need  to trust in this - that Jean Paul's story is not finished.


Karebear said...

That is a bittersweet story... I pray that God will strengthen your heart and give you so much more patience and peace. May the Spirit of God be poured out over the people in Rwanda, so that they will live lives that ALWAYS give glory to God.
P.S. I look forward to hearing more about Maddy... I hope you are enjoying her fellowship.

Ken said...

Hey Jen...I'm not quite sure why he lied about this? To get a ride out to the school? Or a celebratory lunch? As someone who's been down this road more times than he cares to say... =) I can tell you that it isn't the end of the story. Make sure that he knows he's still a part of your life and that you love him and are there to spiritually support him. And then the rest is in God's hands. Not saying that as a cliche. It's just the truth. God does't begin a work in someone that He doesn't finish... =) Praying for you!

Anonymous said...

Hunger has a way of showing up in so many different ways. I wonder if the lying was just a symptom of a deeper longing; an unfulfilled hope. Doesn't excuse it, but when you get right down to it, all behaviour makes sense. The journey toward a life of truth is more an emotional one than it is a moral one. Perhaps deep down just a kid wanting a party for having accomplished something quite amazing.