My brother used to say (and probably still says knowing his cheesy liners) that patience is a virtue…..of which I do not possess. Today has taught me the value of patience. Waiting patiently for food, meetings, and the Lord to work has been part of my learning today.
Let’s Eat Already
When we (Ben, Gordon, and I) checked into our guest house yesterday, the staff asked what time we wanted breakfast. We told them 8:30am. So this morning we wake up, take a shower, brush our teeth, and get ready for the day. We head down for breakfast promptly at 8:30am. But it is a long time coming. We sit and wait. It is a good thing Vianney joined us for breakfast for then we had more time with this sweet brother in Christ. There were 5 of us at the table but only 2 cups for coffee/tea and only 2 small plates. For the mathematically challenged, there are 3 people without cups or plates. So we asked for more silverware and the server brought out 1 fork. Things were getting a little crazy. Can’t she see the discrepancy in the cup/plate to people ratio? Food was very slow in coming. But it came and we enjoyed it. I even had my kids’ favorite, bread with butter and honey. I now know why they enjoy it so much. It was rather tasty. I had 4 slices of bread like this (I know what you are thinking and you are probably right but I was hungry and it was really good).
The waiting was a little frustrating but the company was good as well as the food. At the end of the meal I looked at the time and saw that we needed to leave soon so we could get Vianney to the bus terminal so he could catch a ride back. We had a meeting at 11am to get to after dropping Vianney off at the terminal. I announced we needed to leave because it was now 9:50 am (see the breakfast did take a while). Vianney looked at me funny and checked the time. He announced that in fact it was 8:50am. I showed him my phone and assured him it was 9:50am. Feeling confident he would relent, he then told me that Kigali was 1 hour behind Kampala. Oops. No wonder the server looked at us funny when we arrived. No wonder the food was not ready for us. So I learned to be patient because I might be in the wrong.
Let’s Meet Already
Knowing that the time was different we were not 1 hour early for our 11am meeting with Gerald Sseruwagi. Instead of 1 hour early we were 1 hour late. We did not know where the meeting place was exactly. So we were to meet someone at a location we knew of and he would show us the rest of the way. Only it took an hour for us to connect with him. He was there but missed us and so went back. We were just about to head back to the guest house when he finally was able to catch up with us. It was frustrating but we made it. Albeit one hour late. The meeting was wonderful. See below. But I learned that sometimes the wait, senseless or not, is worth it. I just hope Gerald’s wait was worth it to him.
Our meeting was with Gerald Sseruwagi who is a Ugandan living in Rwanda. So yes, we did leave Uganda to come to Rwanda to meet with a Uganda. Go figure.
Gerald has an amazing story. He became a Christian as a young boy. His animistic father kicked him out of the house. So he was living on the street with no home. Some PCA missionaries started loving on him and caring for him.
Let’s Greet Already
Let me tell you more about what God has done in Gerald’s life. Today he is the rector of a theological college in Rwanda. He is shaping young lives and bettering the theological climate in the midst of a theological famine among pastors in Rwanda specifically and Africa in general. Gerald has a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, and a PhD. This is not common at all. God has taken an unwanted boy to teach others that they are wanted by God. A boy who was not wanted by his father was wanted by God the Father. God can take the lowest and use them for His kingdom.
During the meeting it came out that Gordon had been in Uganda in 1981 and had visited the missionaries loving on Gerald. They may have even met but it has been 33 years ago so the details are foggy. And let me tell you, I can’t remember 33 years ago (granted I was 2 years old then). But here Gordon sits and sees the fruit of the work he visited 33 years ago. What a blessing.
While hearing these stories of Gerald God pressed two things in my mind. 1) I need to take the long view as a missionary. The work those faithful men and women did 33 years ago is now showing wonderful fruit. God moves but not necessarily with the microwave speed I might want. So I need to adjust my expectations on the timing of the fruit. 2) God can work in amazing ways. God can use people who might be unwanted by society. He can use those we deem ‘low’ for His kingdom purposes. This is good news for someone like me.
Let’s Seat Already
It’s late and I am running out of clever headers. But we did have a seat with Michelle. He had to wait on us to come meet him. But I hope he thought it was worth it. He is a Rwandan friend of Gordon. He is a survivor of the genocide in Rwanda that occurred in 1994. He came back after the fighting and helped with a church plant in caring for orphans. He has helped participate in bringing reconciliation between the tribes in Rwanda. He is an amazing man with an amazing story. I learned that listening to the stories of seemingly common people can be gateways into the workings of an amazing God.
Today was a full day but a very rewarding day. We have been thoroughly blessed to meet with these wonderful men of God. While I might not have much patience, I hope I can learn to have the patience to see God do half of the things these men are doing in me and through me.
Below are some pictures from today (and from yesterday too).