I am so blessed to be one of the People Who Go.
Our family first accepted the invitation to go to Africa three years ago. Three of our four kids were “Young Life kids” in high school. We loved YL. And we had always wanted to go to Africa. I felt the call. I am always up for adventure. My husband said yes to this huge adventure. It was an unknown, but seemed like a sure bet. We came home changed. God does that to us. He changes us. He brings us places we never thought we would go and he introduces us to people we come to love deeply.
In 2013, we first met our Rwandan friends when we went to visit their beautiful country and serve as work crew at one of their campaigner camps. We maintained a relationship upon our return by committing to be part of the Great Lakes region team of the YL Africa Committee. We talk monthly on the phone and keep prayer requests going back and forth by email. God began the process of imprinting us on each other’s hearts.
We had to go back. Three weeks ago we returned from our second visit to Rwanda. We came back with a stronger bond and a greater love for our friends and their country.
People who go are people who love relationships and are blessed by them. Our friendships were deepened in a way that can only come from being present with each other and spending time together. Our friends gave so much of themselves to us when we were together. We shared so much of ourselves as we talked about our experiences in life, the things along the way that God used to grow our love for Him.
I love my friends in Rwanda. They are all people with such a love for God and such a powerful call to serve Him. I can’t explain how much my heart has changed from being with them. Because of the particular experiences of Rwanda, I see in my friends an ability to trust in the Lord that encourages me every day. I learned to contemplate forgiveness. The forgiveness that God has made possible for many of the Rwandan people is miraculous. And I am called to pray that God will continue to work miracles in their hearts. There are many hardships there still, but it is a place where one can see God at work rebuilding people’s hearts and their capacity to love each other. Young Life is one of God’s miracles in healing Rwanda.
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
Although we don’t have to go across the world to love our neighbor, it is a powerful thing to experience the vastness of God’s creation. To see God at work in another culture, so different from our own, can really expand your heart, your mind and your soul. To communicate in the language of love and to see how love crosses all cultures and all languages and all barriers, is a truth that is most powerfully experienced by going.
Become a person who goes! God will show you miraculous things. He will transform your heart. He will give you a capacity to love more, and deeper. You’ll have fun. See the world. Feel the love. Go.