Editor’s Note: As the group prepared to come home and had time to reflect on their flights and in the airport, they sent us some of their thoughts and favorite photos. It seemed like the perfect way to end this pilgrimage. Enjoy!

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It’s almost impossible to sum up my take away from these past days here in Rwanda. You’ve been faithfully following our journey so you already know some of what we have done and seen. But we are fully aware that the Lord’s work is often an underground stream that produces new growth in its own time. We anticipate a need to be back home and process and pray about what He is asking of us. We are excited to be with you again and continue the conversation of why this international relationship is so vital to the health of IAC and to each of us as individuals. Thank you thank you for your love and support and for entering into this with us.     —Michelle

“I will miss the people so much — from the very young to the very old!” –Michelle

It’s been an amazing privilege to be allowed by God to travel, learn and experience what He is doing here.     —Beth and Gary

One of Beth’s favorite moments from the trip.

Gary smiles across the sea of participants at the race.

We were struck by the beauty and welcoming spirit of the children. Their smiles and hugs and joyful hearts made it easy to fall in love with this country. They express love the way Jesus wants us all to.     —Allison and Rebekah

Rebekah with some of her new friends.

Allison receiving flowers from one of the boys.

How difficult it is to put into words the landscape of my heart — there is something in me that feels like I have come home when I am here. I love and delight in these people — they are family.     —Bishop Ken

Bishop Ken with Archbishop Rwaje.

One of Bishop Ken’s favorite photos he took during the trip.

He also got a picture of Mark in his Sunday best!

We are always blown away by the humble and generous spirit and hospitality of Pastor Justin and his wife Angelique. They care for us so well every time we visit. We gathered before the Run for Rwanda for lunch in the parish house, and then they fed us breakfast and lunch before and after church. We celebrated their 10th wedding anniversary with a cake and singing. They are increasingly becoming our family, and they have taught us so much about loving well.     —Regina and Mark

Enjoying a meal with Pastor Justin and his wife, Angelique.

A week in Rwanda equals about a month in the U.S. With all of the meals, people, gifts, and van trips, we truly received the Rwandan experience. It was utterly humbling to receive a gift from our Compassion child, or host whom we knew didn’t have a franc to spare. Surrealism hit when we experienced the extreme poverty that had been seen in church videos. There aren’t words to explain how devastating that reality was. Awoken and humbled, we left the beautiful country of Rwanda; having experienced almost every range of emotions. I know that we will never forget the pilgrimage to Rwanda, the people we met, or the sights we saw. It was truly an experience of a lifetime.     —Shannon and Madeline

Shannon and Madeline with their sponsored child (center).

“At first, everyone considered their own pain as hardest until they began sharing with others. Then they started feeling compassion.” I found this quote at the Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre, and it has continued to humble me as we have walked through the last few days with our church family in Byumba during the Run for Rwanda and the gathering of all five parishes for church. Even in our short time together, I have been impacted by their connection to others (especially our teams) and vibrant hope in what God has done and continues to do.     —Alisa and Kevin

Pastor Justin shows off the new R4R jacket Kevin presented him as a gift.

The mother’s union on Sunday morning at services in Byumba.

Student Emmanuel leading the choir at church on Sunday.

Women bring beans and sorghum as offerings during the service.

Charles, the director of the health clinic, explains vaccines in refrigeration.

The land of 1000 hills! 

 

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