Today we trained for VBS with our Rwandan volunteers. On our walk to the church this morning, we were greeted by hoards of running children eager to give us hugs and to tell us their names. They were precious children, and we can't wait to teach them about Jesus. At training, each IPCer was matched with an English-speaking Rwandan and a non-English speaking Rwandan. We went through the VBS agenda for Wednesday-Friday VBS in Musanze, and though it was tiring, we are feeling prepared and ready for the children later this week! The main purpose of pairing with the Rwandan volunteers is to train them up to conduct their own VBS programs after we've left. The partnership has been most rewarding and effective.
Chantal, Bishop Mbanda's wife, prepared a delicious lunch of beef, rice, fried potatoes, bananas, and Fanta for the whole team today, even after hosting us just last night at her home for a wonderful evening of fellowship, eating, dancing, and singing! Last night was an incredibly awesome experience! We were treated to a tour of the Mbanda's beautiful home about a mile from our hotel, and from here the night became one of the most amazing experiences of our lives.
We were welcomed into the courtyard by a singing group who serenaded us with Rwandan hymns. Then, every IPCer was assigned a singer to translate for us the rest of the evening. We were then treated to another singing group of red shirt-clad men who sang and danced like you wouldn't believe! I really don't know how they were able to keep singing with all of the dancing they were doing -- it was so cool. But that wasn't all. They invited us to dance with them, and so one-by-one the IPCers joined the men in the courtyard for some foot-stomping fun. But this was just the tip of the iceberg. There were some professionally-trained warrior dancers, both male and female, who performed an exhausting traditional Rwandan dance. These weren't just any professionally-trained dancers, though. The men were clad in traditional Rwandan garb, donning skirts, head dresses, and weilding spears and chanting and singing all while putting on an impressive display of athleticism and endurance. After this, we were served a hearty meal, followed by a few words from Bishop Mbanda. They made us feel so welcomed, and their hospitality was moving.
Tomorrow, we will visit Tom's Village and Rugheshi for half-day VBS. Please pray specifically that we point to Christ and humble ourselves before the Lord and these people. I also ask you to pray for a healthy, rested, and servant-hearted team, including the many Rwandan volunteers who have welcomed us so lovingly. Pray also that we successfully impart VBS training to these volunteers so that they can carry on this wonderful service to the children. Finally, please pray for the children, that they may not look to us as saviors but that they will see Christ's love through us this week and that they come to know his unconditional love for them.
Having technical difficulties...pictures to come. Until tomorrow!