Days 14-15:

Our pilgrimage is coming to a close soon. This is the last night we will be spending under Rwandan stars — and what a way to end it! We have had two vibrant days — yesterday at worship and today walking the hills among our friends in the Kibali Village.

Sunday morning was an experience we will never forget. We began the processional, complete with a brass band, from pastor Justin’s house to the location where the open air worship service was to take place. We were seated as honored guests with the congregation surrounding us on all sides. Student Emmanuel led the choir in song, drummers celebrated with traditional African rhythms, and Bishop Ken gave a clear and fervent gospel presentation. We have gotten over any lingering insecurities about dancing so we gladly joined in during service. We were able to bring greetings to our Kibali family from all of you back home — and they send their love and prayers back to IAC.

The group is introduced during the church service on Sunday.

One of the beautiful women of the parish.

Kevin and Mark join in with the drumming at church.

Peace baskets filled with grain and brought for the offering.

The baskets of grain being presented for offering.

Receiving a blessing from Bishop Ken.

Dancing during the service!

After service, Pastor Justin and Angelique fed dozens of people a delicious and much appreciated lunch, and then we were able to help celebrate their tenth wedding anniversary!

Justin and Angelique cut their anniversary cake with a little help from their children.

Today we followed tradition and spent the morning “walking the hills” and visiting a few homes and families. We saw some cows and a new roof that had been gifted through the Alternative Christmas Giving program at IAC, which was very special. But more than that, we were able to hug our sweet friends and pray over them and their households. We also had the unique opportunity to visit the location of the beehives — the source of the delicious honey we purchased from the Kibali youth to bring home with us.

Walking the hills.

The beautiful countryside as the group walked.

A bike loaded down with banana leaves.

Men sawing logs.

One of the women the group visited during their walk.

Allison hugs a woman in front of her cow, purchased by Alternative Christmas Giving.

Beehives!

After lunch we gathered and heard a presentation by Pastor Elson on Sociotherapy, a community based program designed to bring unity, healing, and restoration for the traumatized and marginalized — especially those who have been hurt by the genocide. Bishop Emmanuel had been introduced to the technique in 2004 and received training from the Netherlands. He then brought it back and adapted it to the Rwandan culture and needs, implementing it in 2005. It is a phenomenal program and it’s impossible to give all the details here, but we highly encourage you to visit sociotherapy.org. It is now a highly successful and effective program spread not only around the country of Rwanda but also across borders.

Saying goodbye.

Bishop Ken says goodbye to Student Emmanuel.

The team is sitting together now after a satisfying meal in a Kigali. We are preparing to get on our return flight tomorrow evening and we covet your prayers as we also prepare our hearts to say goodbye. We’ve only been here a little over a week yet somehow it feels like home. This trip has been an experience that has deeply shaped our hearts and our minds, and we are so grateful for all that we have witnessed and experienced. Praise God for His extravagant blessings.

—Michelle

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