Friday, August 12, 2011

Church Video

Okay, so I am pretty much the worst in the world at posting videos on this thing, but I finally got a video uploaded onto YouTube, so we'll see if I can at least provide the link.

This is a video that I took on our first day in Musanze at church. It is only going to give you the very smallest taste of what we experienced while we were there. The service was 3 hours long and in Kinyarwanda, but I could have sat there all day. They were celebrating the launch of their Father's Union, which is basically a group of men that promote being good fathers and husbands. It is a pretty amazing group. Anyway, so there was an amazing procession into the church that morning and then just song after song after dancing...it was absolutely incredible. I should have been taking video all along and I have to say that the video I took doesn't do the morning justice, but I was really trying to be present at the same time and that is hard to do from behind a camera.

So, this was basically our introduction into Rwanda for the trip and I have to tell you my cup was OVERFLOWING in a way that I have seldom felt during this service. To hear these people sing and praise God and dance and celebrate...it was amazing. And I have to tell you that I am usually drawn to a much more solemn kind of worship, but come on, surely this was a glimpse of how we will celebrate for eternity!

Church Video

Just so you know, this group has performed at Rick Warren's church, Saddleback, in California (got their passports to do it) when President Kagame was going there to speak...at the President's request. They were absolutely INCREDIBLE. The little boys are just boys from the church, around 3 years old. The first one you saw is doing a traditional dance and just has a natural grasp of it...pretty cool.

Anyway, hopefully I get some more videos posted...wish I knew how to just have them on the blog without sending you all over the internet!!! Oh well!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Time in Kigali...

So, I am SLOWLY getting this done...but I am getting it done.

Our time in Kigali was truly wonderful. While Musanze was a new adventure for me, Kigali is just full of familiar spots and memories. It was great to be back and completely surreal at times. Here were some of the highlights...

Bourbon: a little taste of home in the form of a snazzy coffee shop. This was the first place that Anthony and I went when we visited Rwanda together and was also the first place we went with Nate when that hard-to-get travel letter was finally in my hands. On this visit we met with a friend of mine (Jana) and her oldest daughter who is going to be going to school with one of the girls on our team. Jana has done so much in the adoption world in Rwanda and it was great to visit with her again. We also have a funny story about a rat, but whatever...

Fabric: okay so we had done most of our shopping in Musanze, but a number of us are fabric fans and picked up some to do some sewing when we got home (I've made a table cloth out of some of mine), but Jeanette and I also bought some to have some clothes made there. I ended up with the cutest skirt and Jeanette had two dresses made. I think that this is going to be a new tradition for my trips there!

Kiki: I was so glad to get to visit with my dear friend Kiki while we were there. She and her husband had adopted a little Rwandese girl about 8 months after we adopted Nate and this was my first time meeting little Grace. It was so fun and I deeply loved getting to visit with this dear friend whom God has used in such a unique way in my life.

Compassion: One of the "business" items that I did while we were there was visiting a Compassion International site. I have to say that we were truly blown away by what they are doing there. The thoughtful way in which they reach out to their community is amazing. It was Saturday when we were there and they had a bunch of children in school there. It never ceases to amaze me that these are the little kiddos whose pictures are on the refrigerators of homes across the US...your donations are truly doing something! My favorite part was learning that some of the teachers were former Compassion kids...so cool.

The Ministry: So, my guess is that those of you who read my blog because you are a part of the adoption world have been waiting for this part of my post. Here goes...one of the guys on my team has his family's dossier in Rwanda awaiting approval to adopt. So, of course we made going to the ministry a priority for our trip. I have to say that it was really surreal to be in those offices again. I had so many difficult meetings when I was there last, but, that isn't what this trip was about and so I set those things aside and enjoyed being by my friend's side as he found out that his family's paperwork had been approved. So so exciting!!! I also asked some questions about the possibility of our family being able to adopt when Rwanda reopens and well, I didn't really get the news I hoped for, so we will really need to be on our knees about that. Once again, thankful for a God who has a plan for our family, even though there are times that are tough for us.

New Hope Homes: I could go on and on and on about being there. We had the opportunity of being there three times and I have to say it was so good for my soul. I held myself together so well while I was there even though there were times when I thought I would completely break down. There were pictures of Nate and our family throughout all the homes and that simple reminder was pretty crazy. As we toured the homes I found myself mentioning to whoever was nearby, "that's where I was handed Nate for the first time" and other little things like that. Finally I broke a bit when we walked into his old room. We were all there and I turned to Chantal and tearfully said, "This is where Nate slept". Those moments...anyway, so just having time to love on all of those kiddos, snuggling them, kissing their sweet heads, chasing them around and just being silly...loving them as so many loved my son when he was there. It was an honor.

So that's about it. You know, minus the millions of little stories that would take forever for me to write and you to read. I promise to try and post some pictures and videos soon.

Before I go though, I guess I wanted to give you all one take-away about my time in Rwanda. You need to know that this trip has filled my heart with a greater love and respect for this country than I ever thought possible. It is so different from all I have ever known and yet I feel as though being there has opened a part of my soul that I never would have known about if I had never walked in those hills. I deeply love Rwanda.