May 21, 2018 | Lauren Edens and Kelsey Carr

The Land of a Thousand Hills (and a few valleys)

May 15-20, 2018

Mornings here in Rwanda are slow and sweet. Nothing is hurried; the whole city is almost hushed as the sun rises over the hills and people start their day. Our days with the staff all start the same. After arriving at the Young Life office, we pile chairs into a room, scoot in close, and we listen. As we sit for a few minutes in silence, we open our minds and hearts to hear from the Lord. We often find a similar theme within the group; this morning it seemed God wanted us to focus on His unconditional love.

God’s love is something that comes in abundance. It is more than we can comprehend. The group compared His love to the rain during the rainy season here in Rwanda. The rains flood the plains and then rushing water flows down the hills. At times, it is more than the soil can take. We too have to expand our hearts for God’s crazy, overflowing love. Like the Rwandan rains, His love is unending and overflowing. We have access to as much of His love as we have the faith to receive.

We marvel at His great love which then sets the tone for our work day. Lauren and I (Kelsey) split the staff into two groups. My work consists of facilitating a training in storytelling and other communications related materials. I also have the unique privilege of sitting face to face with staff and volunteer leaders as they share the most precious pieces of their story. There is never a moment that goes by that I forget how humbling it is to sit before such courageous and gifted leaders. Some have endured valleys of profound pain and sorrow in their lives; yet they remain hopeful in God’s goodness and faithful to serve Christ and His kingdom. I look forward to sharing more of these stories with all of you.

My (Lauren) work is a lot more operations based, but a real thrill for any spreadsheet lovers out there! We dig into the details of bookkeeping, logistics, and management.

The parable of the talents (Matthew 24) is constantly in the back of my head as I interact with the staff. I sit in amazement as they recount all the creative ways they are able to do so much with so little; truly we can all agree that they have been faithful with little and we can imagine God saying, “well done.”

These assessments are one of the times our cultural differences are highlighted most, but we lovingly navigate difficult conversations and perspectives to find common ground. It’s an honor to be in a position to build trust and connect through our differences.

Although work takes the majority of our time, we equally cherished the “in-between” moments with the Rwandan staff. Sharing life with people is more than just working together; it is laughter, meals, stories and so much more.

Off to Uganda we go!


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