Forks and Identity

By Heidi
City Hill Team Participant

On Thursday evening, we were invited to Sandrali and Immaculee’s home for dinner. A few of us dined out on the porch—enjoying yet another feast of fried bananas, rice, peas, green beans, and other African deliciousness. Fifth-grader, Elijah, joined us. We spent much of the time after the meal entertaining each other with riddles. I have been needing some laughs, so this time together really ministered to me. One such riddle involved a “fork in the road”; in one attempt to solve the riddle, Elijah started by suggesting we just pick up the fork…and then the rest of us burst out laughing over his understanding of the riddle, and lack of familiarity with the “fork in the road” expression. Alas, we are indeed at a fork of sorts in our road, having to leave behind this place that has found a place deep in our hearts while knowing that life back home awaits us.

Over the course of this trip, I have tried to focus my thoughts on two questions: “Who is God?” and “Who am I?” Up until this morning, our last day in Rwanda, I had more confusion than clarity when I attempted to answer; honestly, my brain felt ready to explode at times. But then we attended a Bible study with FVA; the staff there spends time each week worshipping, praying, and sharing the Word together. We were invited to join them today. The presence of the Holy Spirit was incredibly tangible. A member of the FVA staff shared his testimony with us, a story of crippling disease, depression, rejection, hopelessness, and despair—such a complex and heartbreaking testimony, shared with such humility. The man sharing spoke of his faith in Jesus, his perseverance in trusting God to provide, and his firm conviction that God is more than able to turn the “impossible” into the possible. Hearing him speak helped me to put my thoughts in order, to put my experience in perspective…and it renewed my hope. Before leaving on this trip, people would always ask what we would be doing, what tasks we would be completing while in Rwanda. I knew that our plans were really up in the air, in full Rwandan style, but I really didn’t care, because I knew that whatever we did, we would have the opportunity to make connections and build relationships with the people here. Getting to hear this man’s testimony at the FVA Bible study was incredibly encouraging; moments like that are what I was hoping for…and the reason I would like to come back to Rwanda.

But back to those two questions that have been plaguing me. After the testimony sharing time, four of us went to the man’s office to receive prayer. His wife was there to pray for us as well. Before praying, the man reminded us of two scriptures that spoke straight to my soul: John 10:10 and Genesis 1:26. The first reminded me of God’s character and purpose in contrast to the Enemy’s. The second reminded me that I am an image-bearer of God. My two trip-guiding questions were answered with precision and with such simplicity. For the first time on this trip, I felt like I could stand firm, pray with authority, and love boldly. Rwanda time has indeed been good for my soul.