Monday, April 30, 2012

A Conversion Experience

In Africa, I discovered that I needed to repent.

We started our learning experience with a visit to a Genocide Memorial in Kigali, Rwanda.  What a disturbing, heart-rending afternoon that was!  It also laid the foundation for almost everything else we saw in the rest of our trip.  Because of the genocide, there were refugees in the camp we visited for two days.
We visited men, women and children who had AIDS as a result of the genocide.  And street kids, many of whom were homeless (either directly or indirectly) because of the genocide.
Visiting one of the "homes' for street kids

Our hosts, Jen and Serge, are missionaries with International Teams, developing ministries that give practical support for each of these groups of courageous people.  I am a very focused person, with a mere two week "Refugee Highway Learning Team" trip to cram in as much learning as possible, so at first I struggled with the idea of spending time with these non-refugees.  But their stories grabbed my heart, their resiliency and faith inspired me, and as I reflected on our encounters, I realized I needed to repent.

As a missionary to refugees, I've narrowed my focus to the extent that I've not allowed myself to also be moved by the needs of the homeless and hungry people in my community, even though they have much in common with our refugee friends.  Just as the impact of the genocide wove its way through much of Rwandan society, the brokenness in our community cannot be segmented.   I received a very special gift in Rwanda- a gift given by women with AIDS and boys who'd grown up on the street, and I plan to treasure it as I open my eyes to the greater needs in my neighbourhood.

No comments:

Post a Comment