Being able to retreat for several hours yesterday was very nice. I ended up going to the World Prayer Center at New Life Church and spending several hours in a comfy recliner looking out at the mountains, well, actually looking at the snow clouds hiding the mountains. Still, it was a restful and worshipful time, and I'm thankful that I could get away. I came home feeling refreshed and thankful that I pushed through some of the difficulty I had in getting out the door!
But perhaps the biggest blessing of the day came last night at dinner.
Many of you know that our family attends an Anglican church with ties to the country of Rwanda. I won't take up space here trying to explain our denomination, but if you're interested in learning more, click here.
Anyway, our church has a sister church, in Kibali, Rwanda, and the Bishop who is over that parish, has been visiting Colorado this week. Our friends, S and A, hosted the Bishop and his wife for dinner last night and invited our family to join them. And what a blessing it was to sit around their table and share a meal and some fellowship this sweet couple.
They both speak incredible English, and we spent much time talking about church structure, his job overseeing 327 churches in his diocese, and some of the new work that is going on in Kibali. Fascinating. But even more fascinating were the stories they told about surviving the 1994 genocide. Stories of being in their home for a month, with 26 others that they took in. Stories of how God supplied their needs for food and water for 32 people for a month! Stories of God's incredible and supernatural protection from the fully armed militants that surrounded their home. Stories of a Muslim coming to faith in Christ while in their home during that time. Stories of how God protected their children from seeing much of the violence. Stories of the generosity of friends during the post-genocide instability. Amazing and beautiful stories that I did not want to end.
I told the Bishop that it seems so hard for me to believe that this all really happened. I live so far away from Rwanda, and when I think about something so horrific, it just really seems unreal to me. He told us that even though they lived through it, it seems unreal to them too.
Our friend, S, was one that went to Rwanda this summer with a group from our church, and he told us that in Africa, they love to give gifts. So...we gifted them with some Colorado souvenirs, and some chocolate, which they seemed to love. Then we gathered all the children around them and took a photo. "A" has a photo printer, and she quickly made a print for them. I got so tickled at their reaction. They were wide-eyed with amazement at how she was able to instantly give them the photo. So, we took another one with the adults, and they hovered over the printer and watched the photo print out. Mesmerized I tell you...they were mesmerized. It was so cute to watch them.
The evening passed much too quickly for me and I was so sad when the time came for us to leave. The Bishop prayed over all of us before we left, and as we were saying our good-byes, I gave them both a hug and the Bishop said to me, "Meredith, I will see you when I see you again...in Rwanda". I hope with all my heart that I can visit there someday. It would be a dream come true.