Friday, August 17, 2012

Rwanda- Kumbya

Well it has taken me forever to get all these Rwanda pics up but here goes another attempt! Our main mission this time in Rwanda was to go and serve missionaries from all over east Aftica at a retreat called Kumbya. (it's pronounced like it looks but everything in me wants to start singing Kum-ba-yah my Lord every time I see it written:)) Anyway, Christians from all sorts of denominations have been meeting there every year since the 1940's and this place radiates unity! It is a time for missionaries to be refreshed, fed, encouraged and loved on- and it was our job to bring that refreshment to them in a variety of ways. We had a team of 28 who all used a wide range of talents and abilities to come and lead these amazing people into a time of rest and renewal with their savior. It all sounded wonderful and something we totally wanted to do- except for one tiny detail...we would be camping. Let me just give you a small glimpse into my history of camping. When I was about 10, my dad took me and my sister on a camping trip for 4 days...and we forgot our bags. It rained the first day so the one outfit we had was wet and dirty. So, wearing the same underwear for 4 days clearly scarred me for a lifetime. But since I am a trooper, I agreed to go camping with friends when Jeff and I had been married about a year. Only problem was it was July. In Texas. I was 8 months pregnant. I had a fever blister the size of Rwanda. That was probably the most miserable I have been in my entire life. I can hardly even think about it.  So after that I took a good long look at who I was and suddenly it all became so clear to me. I AM AN ADULT!!! I CAN TOTALLY DECIDE TO NEVER GO CAMPING AGAIN- EVER.  And so I did. The only way this girl would ever roll out a sleeping bag again was if the good Lord came up and told me to do it. And he wouldn't do that because he knows how much I HATE camping. So we were good, the Lord and I.  For about 14 years. And then Kumbya was mentioned. We felt clearly called. Seriously Lord?? Remember I HATE camping!?! And then it got even better. Murphy Crowson mentioned that it was going to be a little "rough" camping. What's that now?? Mr. Missionary thinks it's rough??? Um ok, what does that mean?? Well, just a few little details like no running water and no electricity. Oh, ok.  I'm thinking that means Dominos pizza and a cold coke zero are probably not gonna happen. But we really did feel called and I really will do something if God asks me to- even camping. So off we went! Being 3 weeks away from it I can say that camping wasn't that bad. I even got cokes! And although the shower was lake water it was hot!- more on that later:) And every night they turned on a generator from 5:30-9 for dinner and worship (and charging our computers and camers!) But then I think of the "toilets", the bats, the monkeys, the "toilets", the mud, the bugs, the "toilets", and I am truly thankful that we don't live in a tent. Enough said. BUT- this penisula on the Lake Kivu shore is breathtakingly beautiful. The backdrop for all our daily activities was lush rolling hills, a gorgeous lake, and surrounded by incredible people. The people we met and became friends with are what truly makes this place amazing and as time goes on, when I think back on our time there, they are what comes to mind. Truly amazing.
 This is the group on the second night when Patty had given everyone our Kumbya shirts-

There were missionaries from Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi, Tanzania, and Congo

Randal and Michael (and Savannah a couple of times!) led us in worship. It was simply amazing. People kept thanking us for bringing a worship team. For a lot of them, this was the only time they would be able to worship in English the entire year. The only time they could sing out, and worship with abandon!

Morton and Suzy Jeffrey came to be the speakers of the week. They poured out their heart and soul into making this a week those missionaries would remember and come away refreshed and renewed.

Another part of our team was in charge of putting on a kids program. The Vaughn's were in charge of the middle school kids. The Woodwards with the high school. Sharon with the elementary. Savannah with the babies. And me with the pre-school. We were spread out along the shore of the lake so I didn't get many (or any!:() of some of the groups...

Patty had worked endlessly on organizing us all and of course had every detail thought of. We didn't want to just do this- we wanted to Pattyfy it! Matching snacks and candy to go with the theme or story that day, custom bags, 16X20 canvasses for each and every kid to paint, crafts, games, lessons, toys, parachutes, SO much name it, Patty had thought of it and did it! Plus, she's just amazing with kids. They are drawn to her. They would all run up to her to show her their craft or just love on her. She was amazing even with a broken leg!

Wade's job was videographer! He was everywhere getting so many sweet moments caught on film. AND he's making a video of the entire week and giving a copy to each and every person who was there!! I love this pic because it shows him how he was most of the time- taking video and still pics at the same time. He also taught a baptism class and one sweet boy told him that that class was the reason he had decided to become baptized in lake Kivu on the last day we were there!
 Jeff and Trine were "runners"- and boy did they! Wherever we needed them each day they were there.

 We split up our kids throughout the teams so they could help. We didn't just want them participating in the kids program, we wanted them serving. And they were absolutely amazing at it!!

 ok that is only SCRATCHING at the surface of all these pics but I'm getting there...more to come later... One more quick one..sometimes I struggle with what my "talent" is to minister to other people. I always joke that if you need a scrapbook page or a pyramid built, I'm your woman...but people in 3rd world countries don't always need those things:) BUT I did realize one of my talents this trip that I think truly blesses people....teeth pulling! I ROCK at it!! Thanks for letting me pull TWO teeth Cannon!!


  1. Thank you for posting these photos! Esther and I enjoyed looking at them and remembering that fun week. You all did an amazing job, and it was truly refreshing for us and the kids.

  2. Thank you! Last time I visited Kumbya was as a kid in 1964!