By Kirsten Moore
I have wanted to come to Rwanda for at least ten years. But the timing wasn’t right and God has other plans for that decade. When we landed in Kigali we walked down the stairs from the airplane and literally in front of the plane. As I walked through that area it brought tears to my eyes that I was actually, finally here! I was so overwhelmed with God’s faithfulness (and the fact I had essentially not slept in 25 hours).
There are so many stories that I will have to tell from this trip – the challenges and the blessings. But today is definitely one of my highlights. We spent today at Faith Village. When we arrive we have a vague plan for what we want to do. And then in true Rwanda spirit and mission trip flexibility when we got there that day they asked us to do – wait for it – photography classes!!! We had already planned to have me take family portraits of some of the families associated with FVA, which I was really (and am still really) excited about. The first day at Faith Village I had so much fun taking pictures of the kids because they were so excited to pose and then see the pictures, so to do a class was fun. And slightly terrifying since I am self taught and am definitely still at times in the “fake it ‘til you make” it state of being a photographer. Oh – and I should mention that we didn’t really have cameras to use for this endeavor. BUT I had Noel – the communications director at Faith Village. He was my translator and He went to University for journalism/communications and I had talked to him a little the day before about photography. Between his translation, Karen’s camera, my phone and the Faith Village camera we were able to have the older kids do some experimenting with photography. It was fun to watch them be excited and trying different things as we took pictures. Noel was a great translator and great with the kids. But is also became apparent that he wanted to learn more about photography as well so he was asking good questions for me to tell the kids so he could learn as well. (and he didn’t believe I am 42 so he won my favorite person of the day award!)
This afternoon we helped with some construction work – essentially carrying buckets of cement from the yard up to the second story for them to spackle with. I tried to do the carry it on my head method but my head is not flat, I have very poor balance and clearly not strong enough neck muscles so while I got one bucket upstairs that way, what I really succeeded at doing was getting cement in my hair. The woman I was walking with was such a sweet person and amazing at walking it upstairs. Hats (or buckets) off to her.
While we were doing construction Jessi and Karen had gone to buy some food and soap to take to three vulnerable families in the community. As they arrived back we headed off through the fields for the visits. The first two were wonderful but the third was where God really moved. As we walked down the driveway we were greeted by a sweet little boy – with Down syndrome. Eric captured Jessi and my hearts but he was very hesitant to be around white people. It was wonderful to sit with his mother and share pictures of Jordan and her siblings with her. Jessi worked very hard to get Eric to warm up to her but while he would make faces and tease, he did not at all want to be touched. In the meantime – the rest of the team was able to hear about this family’s struggles – including both parents using alcohol to excess. They spent time sharing God’s love for them and the family was very receptive and wanted to know God’s love, to know Jesus and to commit to not drinking any more. While this conversation was going on, Eric suddenly had a change of heart towards Jessi and ran over to her to be picked up. Please be in prayer for this family and for the people from Faith Village who follow up with them, and especially for Eric!