Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Boxer Day

At least that is what Isabella was calling yesterday... December 26th.

After I explained to the kids about Boxing Day and how it all started... people packing boxes to give to the poor, they decided that we could to do the same with the leftover cookies and chocolates from Christmas.
Of course I encouraged the idea... I'm the first to eat chocolate and cookies for Christmas but then it becomes enough ... although I didn't give away my shortbread.
(Is that bad?? God please forgive me if it was!)

30 Bags packed and ready to go
Beni, Isabell and Prince getting into the giving
Fun that the kids all lined up outside of our house...

Showing off their fun treats

Monday, 26 December 2011

Sunday, 25 December 2011

Christmas Moment that made me stop...

When you leave our house and turn right, you drive through a little settlement of 'small / bad' houses with a million kids it seems. After these houses are the two shoe repairmen of the community. Day after day they sit under their little umbrellas and mend shoes or anything else that might come their way.

Today is Christmas and the two men are sitting under their umbrellas.

We are a bit taken back. Our comments about it... 'Why are these men here, it's Sunday AND it's Christmas.' 'Must be here because they don't have money for the day to eat.'

A lump has risen in my throat and I'm doing my best to not let my tears spill over, as I think about this whole situation - here we are, headed off to spend the day with Serge's family and I know there will be enough food, laughter and fun

It's Prince from the back of the jeep saying that we should turn around and give them money... we do. (Proud mom moment!)

Both are married and one has two kids. As we drive away, I pray for the families. May the little money we gave them, bless them and help them know that God has not forgotten them.

Thursday, 22 December 2011

While Visions of Termites dance through my head....

So the other night I was dreaming termites.

On Sunday I had went into my office and as I put my hand on my bookshelf for support as I reached for something, I felt a crunch. It was the 'dirt' which termites create to build their shelters!

Because I had broken their home... the little critters were scurrying. NOT cool. I took some deep breaths and went for some insect spray. As I sprayed and removed the two books they were focused around, it was another bad to worse moment. They had basically eaten both of the books!!

So... Sunday, Visitors... I disposed of the books, sprayed the heck of what I could see and closed the door!

Monday and Tuesday I spent cleaning everything on the office. I had NO time for this but I was not about to be beaten by a bunch of termites! By Tuesday night... I believe I won. For now. We'll fumigate early in the new year.

Only lost three books so that was great news for me.

So where do the visions come in you ask?

Well, I'm dreaming on Tuesday night of termites... termites everywhere. On me, on the bed, all over the house. As I'm about to lose it, I feel these little hands on my face. They are turning my head and in a little voice I hear, 'Mommy, I love you.'

I have no idea when Beni arrived in bed with us but it was the best ending to visions of termites!

Friday, 9 December 2011

What goes around comes around?

So after our board meeting this past Saturday, Emmanuel, one of our board members here, and I got chatting.
He had just come back from meeting in Germany. Not sure exactly what but know he met up with some people from Evangelical Fellowship of Canada. Did I know them?
Anyway... we got chatting.

I have known Emmanuel for a long time. He's married to Serge's sister cousin. Serge and I were the Matron and Best man in their wedding. He's a great young respected evangelist in this country and understands the times ... of the country, of the church, etc. 

He starts to talk his passion... mobilizing Rwandan to be missionaries.
He is also the President of JBU here... InterVarsity. This year they sent 7 university students to South Sudan on a mission experience. Was a great experience for them, and he knows they went as naive people - zealous but no training. The conversation heats up between us... both passionate. My 'past' of mobilizing the Canadian church is flashing before my eyes... the speaking, the training, the facilitating... 

Nothing like this is happening in Rwanda. Emmanuel is passionate that the Rwandan church is raised up. He knows it needs to happen well - but how. I know some of what it takes... training, orientation, debriefing, etc. etc. I tell him the heart of IT... to see people mobilized to share Christ, how to become a full partner in IT we need  all of it... not just doing ministry here but mobilizing the church to mission here and the ends of the earth.

My soul is stirred... 

I always knew this would come, but now with Emmanuel already in it and fired up... maybe sooner than later. Thinking IT may be helping to send Rwandese to the world. Yeah!

Next move.... Emmanuel and I will find some time to continue chatting through this some more. Can't wait... but thinking it will need to wait until January...

Friday, 2 December 2011

Reminiscent of Christmas

I LOVE the Christmas Season!
I love everything about or most everything. I love whatever is in the air - the first snow, the parties, the food, hearing O Holy Night at the candlelight Christmas Eve service... and people just seem to be in such a different mood - generous, giving... nice to each other.

When I married Serge, he promised me that I could buy a Christmas tree in Rwanda and didn't have to bring one. I did sort of threaten him that if I couldn't find a tree for our first Christmas, he would be in trouble. I well remember walking into T2000, a Chinese shop here in Kigali and seeing Christmas trees set up about 3 weeks before Christmas. Now this is a BIG deal as it was the first sign of Christmas I had seen. Christmas in Rwanda is pretty non existent. I'll never forget a few years ago walking into our largest supermarket here on Christmas Eve and they were just pulling deocrations out of boxes to sell. I just walked out shaking my head.

Here, Christmas is for children. You buy them sweets and little gifts but it has nothing to do with the adult world. Even church. Pastors may or may not preach a Christmas Sermon.

Each year my heart aches. My heart aches because without Christmas, without God sending his Son Jesus as a baby... where would we be?
As a family, we are determined to enjoy the season. The tree and other decorations went up this week. I heard there was a skiff of snow in Canada - so why not? The kids love it. As they were off putting up a string of lights in each of their rooms, the tears rolled down my cheers with memories of Christmas' past. l know I can't live there but must continue each year to make Christmas meaningful and relevent for our family here in Kigali. Serge assures me he likes our style!
New this year... two Christmas Carol parties - one for Rwandan family and friends and another for other expats. We`ll see how they go. I know the kids and I will enjoy preparing for them. Bring on the cookies!