The sun has set behind the Kigali hills, and the smoke from fires in the valleys rises to hang, weightless, on the horizon.  It’s the end of another day and a reminder that I finally made it.  I hit the ground running Wednesday night and have been busy since, while still trying to adjust to a lack of sleep and jet lag, altogether.  Dan, Kari and Josiah were there to meet me at the airport.  Too bad my luggage wasn’t.  It is still in Brussels, although we’re hopeful it will arrive soon.  In the meantime, I’m making do.

Dan and Kari are generous and gracious hosts, and I love their new ‘digs’, an African-style house with a flowing veranda that they have rented since leaving the school’s neighborhood when Kari left her full-time work.  The rooms are large and open, and the yard is full of banana trees, a garden and tropical flowers.  Gracie the wonder dog was glad to see me (an understatement), and she might have shaken off her tail, if she had one (a casualty of her being a fully-trimmed boxer).  It has also been a real joy to meet Josiah for the first time, as he has been getting to know “Granpa Jay”–the name Dan and Kari have given me here.  Fine by me.

Dan has been driving me around as I have been following through on meetings and getting things together for the time ahead.  Part of that has been trying to communicate with the airlines about lost luggage–not easy, as it must really be done in person, and getting around just takes time.   Time is related to distance across the city (its just a really big place with no straight roads)—and the other part is that many of the non-primary roads are not paved–marked by deep ruts and potholes.  It just takes a while to navigate.  Some of those underworked SUV’s on the Northshore would get an education here.

Today we left town and headed east, out to the Kigali Anglican Theological College.  This school was started about 8 years ago, and offers training for Anglican pastors across the country.  Most of the training is now done in Kinyarwanda (at one time courses were taught in English) and the curriculum is very basic and practical.  This appeals to a larger number of pastors already serving congregations, most in need of foundational pastoral skills (courses in Bible, Church and Community).  While there we greeted the students, had lunch with them, and reviewed plans and dreams for future development. I then I interviewed Canon Antoine, who leads the school.  He has been a major figure in reconciliation since before the genocide in 1994, and his insights are a type of primary material that is critical to understanding what Rwanda has endured, and what it must yet do on the journey of healing.

Later I met with Bishop Louis Muvunyi in his office in Kigali.  As chief pastor in the Diocese and as a parish priest for a number of years, Louis has led numerous healing seminars and events in the church.  He stressed to me that healing is a journey, and that every step, even those that seem small, is vital.  Also, every act in the journey of reconciliation is part of the church’s worship, because it calls to mind the body of Christ on the cross and the healing power of suffering.  Louis is a wise and compassionate pastor, attuned to the needs of his flock and his own story of pain and healing, (and who also did some graduate theological work in Scotland–by the way!)   Tonight it was Ethiopian food under the stars.

Saturday will find me prepping for the sermon Sunday (looks like I’ll be preaching twice now), and looking for the lost luggage, hopefully on its way.