Friday, September 11, 2015

Friends on a Thousand Hills - Rwanda Part 2

It takes 21 hours to get from Boise to Rwanda - 21 hours of flight time that is. This doesn't include getting to the airport early or plane changes or my personal favorite, sitting in the airplane waiting for all those (slower than me) people to find their seats and stow their carryon bags and then waiting for all those other planes to get out of our way so we can finally get off the ground. I am a terribly patient person as you can see. 

In short, it takes a very long time to get to Rwanda.

And so rather than spending two full days traveling, and because my husband has spoiled me too much with frequent flier miles and hotel points, etc., etc., here I am in The Netherlands in the delightful village of Haarlem, resting and sleeping (in a bed even!) before boarding the plane tomorrow morning for Kigali. Our plane will make a brief stop in Kilimanjaro. I'm crossing my fingers that I will see, from my tiny airplane window, the great Mt. Kilimanjaro. And then I will finally, finally set my feet on the ground in Rwanda.

In the meantime, I have been wandering the cobbled streets of Haarlem and marveling once again at its beauty and how delightful I find the Dutch. Maybe it's just that my great love of bicycling spills over onto actual humans, but whatever, I love Holland. I haven't even accidentally stepped into the oncoming path of a speedy bicyclist, something both the residents of Haarlem and myself are grateful for.
Warning: Awkward Selfie Alert

But on the eve of my flight to Africa, I have strange feelings swirling about inside me. I am so grateful to be visiting the country many of my beloved friends in Boise found shelter and safety in after fleeing their home country of Congo. Rwanda gave them shelter for over a decade, some for more than 15 years. Rwanda, a tiny country a bit smaller than the State of Maryland, which was itself just rising from the ashes of a horrible genocide. They took in my friends and gave them land on which to live and raise their children. Today there are over 105,000 refugees living in tiny Rwanda.

And yet my home country is embroiled in angry debate over whether to allow into our very large country any Syrian refugees at all. I'm trying to process all this in a way that Jesus would find pleasing. But I am sad. I am dismayed. I am discouraged. Maybe I am angry.

In my own state of Idaho, the small town of Twin Falls has even placed on their ballot for an upcoming vote a measure that would permanently close the refugee center in that town. We like to call ourselves the "home of the brave," but this looks like fear to me.
Newly arrived refugees in Boise.
Five year old Nadia is showing off
her new immunization - ouch! 

I don't have all the answers on the refugee crises, but I do follow Jesus, and he has much to say on caring for those in need. I choose the way of Jesus, and I choose not to fear. Because Jesus asked this of me.

And also. . . Jesus was a refugee.

Matthew 2:13-15 Now when they had gone, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, "Get up! Take the Child and His mother and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is going to search for the Child to destroy Him." So Joseph got up and took the Child and His mother while it was still night, and left for Egypt. He remained there until the death of Herod.

Friends on a Thousand Hills - Rwanda Part 3

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