By Caitlin Buxbaum
Just as I did not feel ready to leave Rwanda, I’m not sure I’m ready to write this blog post. Ten days of driving, praying, teaching, cleaning, shopping, planning, playing, sightseeing and more goes by in the blink of an eye, and when it’s time to say goodbye, you might find yourself holding onto trivial things — like Citron Fanta and baby ihene — as well as the powerful things, like near-deafening praise with strong believers and people who love you “just because” you love Jesus. It’s nothing short of amazing.
These friendships are more than enough to overshadow the fact that we had to wait a stressful hour or two at ticketing in the Kigali airport because one of our airlines goofed and our reservation was lost (sort of). They’re more than enough to overcome the frustration and exhaustion and desire for consistently high water pressure, high-speed internet, and the much reduced risk of contracting a serious disease in the U.S. I say these things not because we don’t want relief from our troubles — however small, or significant — but because we (or at least, I) would gladly sacrifice our (my) worldly desires and possessions and privileges for another chance to return to Rwanda. And for me, living in Alaska, I’m not just leaving friends in Africa, but in Minnesota as well.
I love America, don’t get me wrong. I think this is where I’m meant to be, long term. But I feel like I have several homes around the world now because of people I’ve met in those places — people filled with the Holy Spirit, even if they don’t all fully realize that. God is what brings us together, and only for our good. So even though it’s hard to leave behind the people at FVA; the people who live in Rusororo and walk the streets of Kigali; the excitement of market-style shopping and haggling; the fresh fruit every morning; the road trips through the thousand hills to places like Lake Kivu; and playing hacky sack with people (Rwandans) you know can school you at soccer, we can put our faith in Jesus Christ that He will bring us back again and again to experience all of that and continue His work in Rwanda.
To the people in America who missed us while we were away, and the people in Rwanda who miss us now, Imana aguhe umugisha. See you soon.