Visiting Vestine

By Kris Smith

These lyrics have been drifting through my mind as we drive the roads in Rwanda-
“Teach me to love the way you love/help me to do the things you’d do/show me where and when and how you move/please draw me near/help me to hear…”

Home Visits have been a highlight of this trip to me. New Mercies purchased large packages of food and household supplies for 10 vulnerable families living in extreme poverty. We began by visiting the local market to procure the supplies. The market here is certainly a cultural and sensory experience in itself! Next we went to visit each home and bring them the gifts. Each one impacted us in such different ways.

One visit has especially stood out for me. It began as the truck pulled up on the red dirt road and each group began to unload the supplies for our home visits. We grabbed our packages, and I carried the heavy bag of igishyimbo (beans) to this home. A little girl led the way to her house. The trail was narrow and rocky, enclosed by a tall dirt embankment on one side and rock and wire fencing on the other. As we carefully picked our way along this trail, and as I carried the heavy bag of beans, I wondered out loud that there must be a better way to get to where we were going.

Arriving at the door to the home we were greeted warmly and invited in to the tiny room with a dirt floor and mud and brick walls. The space was about 6 feet square, with no windows. Narrow wood benches made from 2×4 boards were the only furnishings, and we were invited to sit. She expressed deep gratitude for the supplies we had gifted her, as she had no food, and currently no job or income. We had brought an answer to her prayer that God would provide for her and her daughter what they needed. For that we all gave thanks.

We listened as Vestine told us of her challenges and how grateful she was for the little she did have. When we asked how we could help, there was one complicated problem that she brought up as her most urgent need. She needed a better path to her home. The path we had traveled was indeed the only way to her home. It was very difficult now, but in the rainy season, it was nearly impossible to pass. Then she lifted her long skirt just enough to show us her disability. Both of her feet had been amputated. Tears leapt to our eyes and we choked back sobs of compassion while we listened as she explained the situation. There seamed to be no “easy” answer to this very real problem.

So we prayed.

The lyrics continue –
“Come and fill me with you, Holy Spirit/ teach me to love the way you love.”

Surely God’s eyes also fill with tears. (He sees.) Certainly His compassion is greater than our own. (He knows and cares.) His power is without measure. (He moves.)
Yet, He invites us to join Him in His work.

We are here in Rwanda to serve others and to bring the good news of a great redeemer – Jesus Christ -who lives and loves, and has provided the ultimate solution to our biggest problem – our sin – which that has brought death and separation from a holy God.

I hope we can find a solution to Vestine’s very practical problem. I pray that we can see her family sponsored so that she and her daughter have their basic needs met. I pray that Charatine will be able to attend school. Most of all I pray that they will live right here and now, in their difficult circumstances, with a joy and a strength and a hope that comes from knowing that they have a great redeemer.

P.S. the carrots are back in with the peas!