Report from Mbyo

“Dear Friends,

We prayed for your service today and trust that God showed up in Norfolk as he surely did in Mbyo. Let no one complain of the length of our services ever again (let alone the sermons!). Our’s went for over 3.5 hours this morning/afternoon and later we heard that this was a ‘special’ service – their normal ones last nearly 5 hours. They were being kind to their American guests.

If you like singing you would have loved being here. There were at least 7 choirs (we lost count) who sang at least 2 songs each complete with dancing moves and much energy. Debra has some great footage of the service which we hope to share with you all next Sunday.

After service we were treated to lunch at Pastor Gatera’s home and were wined and dined like royalty. We had many speeches (the Rwandans take their hospitality with great and gracious seriousness) and came away knowing without a doubt that we are loved and greatly valued. This visit has done what we hoped it would do: it has bonded our communities in Christ. The future for our partnership looks wonderful from my perspective.

Then in the afternoon we toured the Genocide Memorial next to our Guest House accompanied by our translator who was 17 in 1994 and barely survived the horror. We were then privileged to hear his testimony about his life, his survival, and how God has remade his life by finally teaching him to forgive the people who slaughtered over 300 members of his family. He is one of the most upbeat and joyful men I have met. God is good. And we are humbled.

All of us have been changed by our time in Mbyo. Tomorrow we move back to Kigali and spend the day with Bishop Louis and the staff at the Diocesan office. We hope to visit the main Memorial to the Genocide and perhaps visit World Vision headquarters in Kigali to hear about their projects in Rwanda. Then we will say good-bye to Kim and Rob.

Tuesday the rest of us return to Mbyo and meet with two of the satellite churches (there are 6 churches in all in the parish). I have just been told that I will be expected to have a teaching prepared for each! Pray that God will give me the ideas and words that may be most helpful to these dear people.

As we are returning to Kigali (and did not find good internet access the first day of our trip), this may be the last report I am able to send (though I hope we can rectify that situation on our return tomorrow).

Continue to pray for us and know that you are well loved and appreciated. You have family that you never met in Rwanda!”

Brian Campbell