Tag Archives: Forgive

Church

The Gisenyi Bridge Church of the Nazarene is a L shaped brick building. It has large stained glass windows with various colors of crosses. The roof is sheet metal. The sound booth is a wooden scaffolding with a blue plastic chair on top. The sound equipment and cords are snaked down the scaffolding and held in place with red electric tape. The chairs are all blue plastic.

The congregation came dressed in their best. The worship team all work dress black shirts. Well, all but one. One of the worship team is a man named Justin. He was one of the graduates yesterday and he wore the same shirt he had on for graduation. His best shirt is a bright green t-shirt with kittens with santa hats that says Merry Christmas.

The worship band sang several beautiful songs, they took an offering, read from the Bible. We sang. Whew. Then Pastor Larry preached. He should have been a Southern Baptist. You have not seen Pastor Larry preach until you see him preach in three languages.

Gisenyi sits only 12 miles away from the border to the Congo. As a result, the Bridge Church has quite a few Congolese refugees as members. Each service is in Swahili and Kinya-Rwanda. Today they added English. Pastor preached on Matthew 18, the story of the unforgiving servant. You can’t really tell the Rwandans anything new about forgiveness. They live it every day. But Pastor said he wanted to encourage them to continue in their amazing testament to the power of grace and he did just that. We have video.

After the triple message, six young Rwandans dressed in jeans and various red t-shirts (Bon Jovi, The Chicago Bulls) came down the aisle. They proceeded to dance… At the Cross I bow My Knee where your blood was shed for me. You tore the veil, you made a way. You know my name. I know you love me. The music was up as loud as the speakers could bear, the girls were grace in motion.

And then…it started to rain. African Big Rain. The rain came down on the sheet metal roof and it sounded exactly as if heaven was applauding. Dance. Sing. Love. Pray. Forgive

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Nationality

We were sitting out in the field yesterday or the day before (they are blending together into one large mess of hands and smiles and dust and joy and tears) sewing up a hole in a little girls dress. She must have been maybe 8 years old. A tall smiling woman said “this is my daughter, thank you”.

She then asked what nationality we were. American I said. She then said with eyes that shone, I am Rwandese.

What a miracle in this land where in 1994 your tribal distinction determined if you lived and died. We could learn a lot from a people who really have learned to forgive and to point out their similarities rather than their differences. To say she was Rwandese may seem like an obvious answer but in reality it’s a testament to the power of forgiveness and the strength of these people. The truth is that what we both should have looked at each other and said I am a Christian….a citizen of heaven

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