on Rebecca in Rwanda (Rwanda), 12/Aug/2013 09:42, 34 days ago
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"Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul, and sings the tune without the words, and never stops at all." Emily DickinsonI came across this quote last week and it reminded me of my Nana. She was a big Emily Dickinson fan. Sometimes I think God sneaks little messages in at various points in our journey just to reassure us we are in His care. This gave me a big swooping "Nana-vibe" like a warm breeze or a strong wave.I'm not one for defending or justifying my faith but I need to share a few cool moments about my journey over here. I met a girl at the airport in Toronto who was heading to Turkey for a year with no plans to return. She had lost "everything" in the Calgary floods and all she had as evidence of her life in Canada was a blanket that had been salvaged. She caught my eye because her mother was with her saying goodbye and was a little weepy. I watched the precious interaction and smiled a bit as the girl kept saying "Go Mom, it's fine. I'm fine." And the mom did a bit of a prolonged exit, the way mothers do when they leave you at university for the first time. It was very sweet.We chatted for awhile, she had worked in the Congo. I was instantly reminded of how much I like meeting other travelers. It is a bit of a badge of honor to say you've lived or worked in rare places. You get to speak a common language of understanding when you meet other people who have worked in similar environments. Long story short, I met up with her again by chance at the Amsterdam airport. Millions of people, thousands of choices about where to walk and which way to turn. I liked bumping into the same person twice. It made me realize the world is not so big; we are all interconnected.Then, 26 hours into my trip and just thirty minutes from landing in Rwanda, I got up to stretch my legs and started a conversation with Douglas. Turns out, Douglas is visiting his home of Rwanda- specifically Rwamagana- and he knows the Headteacher of the school that we built! Now, this is the kind of goosebump moment when I connect strongly with my faith and remind myself that the decision to come at this time was right and that God goes before me, equipping me for the journey. Douglas offered me a ride to my hotel. Minutes after landing and picking up my bags I put my nerves to the test by getting into a car with four strange men that I didn't know- you'd never do that in Toronto! I've decided that every time a fear bubble pops up, I will speak over it firmly with the confidence that a) almost anything bad that can happen to someone re: illness, accident, trauma has already happened to me and I've dealt with it and b) and more importantly and precisely B)! the majority of people do not wish us harm. Hostile people live in a hostile world. Gentle people live in a gentle world. "Rebekah" in Hebrew means "gentle".Incidental travel notes: flying over the Sahara looks like butterscotch ripple ice cream. I kept wondering if the "chocolate chips" of speckled dots were wildebeast or elephants!We traveled over Khartoum. My good friend Khartoum. Anyone who has heard my travel drama about accidentally going to Khartoum in 2010 and not being to happy about it will laugh along with me.The Amsterdam airport has a meditation room on the 2nd floor. I read the book of Job chapters 1-20 for an hour during my layover. It's an awesome place to regroup when you travel.Upon arrival in Rwanda:Gecko count: oneSpider in the tub count: oneRandom man stopping me for a sweet handshake and a chat: oneComplete lack of fear or threat of malice while walking down the street: pricelessYet to be heard: "amafaranga or mzungu"Soon to be enjoyed: laughing children doing the run up, run away, run back up again game. (Lifts my spirit when I think of it).So...hope floats right? Hope is the one thing that you can't ever take from someone; like a trick candle that keeps relighting after you try to blow it out.Tomorrow, I am scheduled to visit the school that the RCP built. I am hopeful for finding it, we have a picture and a town but not the exact location. I am hopeful for connecting with the Headteacher and seeing the school in action. School is in session right now. And I am hopeful for a sense of peace or "closure" with regards to the past 3 years, which have been high on the intensity level and hard on the heart. I think ultimately I believe in redemptive hope. A good friend chatted with me on the phone in Toronto while I was waiting at the airport. He reminded me that this was a time to reap the rewards of hard work. I don't think I believe in "rewards"- that we are owed something for working hard or are entitled to good things because we try. I do, however, like the parable of Mustard Seed Faith. There is a time to plant and a time reap. I am happy to be in Rwanda without expectation and open to the joys of seeing children in a school that wasn't built before we decided to initiate a charity. I am hopeful for other future seasons in my life and feeling as though "my cup runneth over". That is a seed (an idea) I'm willing to plant today.Thanks Nana.