Yesterday we came north to Musanze–two hours from Kigali on winding roads that climb several thousand feet over 90 kilometers. The vistas are beautiful as the hillsides pass by, cultivated to the very top with crops being watered by abundant rains in this season. We settled into the Bishop’s home, and toured the cathedral grounds and new work, such as the new guest house. When completed, it will have 24 rooms, dining room, conference areas and beautiful gardens for those needing to stay for cathedral, tourist or personal business. It will be a great location, beautifully finished.
Today we pressed into the rural areas of Shyira Diocese in order to visit a couple of parishes that are off the beaten path, literally. We drove two hours on narrow dirt roads, climbing higher and higher, with majestic scenery and precipitous drop offs to either side. (It reminded me of the Rampart Range road over Mt. Hermon near Colorado Springs, or other 4-wheeling locations in Colorado). At our second stop (Nemba) we were greeted by a colorfully-dressed choir and lunch in the pastor’s house. This church sits at one of the highest places in the region, with views into Uganda and south over much of the country. They are constructing a building–something the parishioners will do on their own, and the church is growing from its start of three years ago. Just last year they had 400 baptisms, and the pastor is not yet ordained–he is a lay leader.
I had opportunity to bring greetings from Redeemer Church and they all ‘oohed’ and ‘aahed’ when Bishop Mbanda mentioned that I was a grandfather. Age brings honour and authority in this culture, and helps to establish another bond of communication and relationship between us.
Each of these parishes accomplishes much with so little resources, at least in the ways we tend to measure them. The smallest things mean so much–even a photo–that symbolize the friendship and connection that we have together in The Lord.
Tomorrow I’ll be preaching at two services at the cathedral, in English and Kinyarwanda, and Pastor Amanda will preach at Sonrise. Thanks for your prayers.
Pray also for Bishop Mbanda, his wife Chantal, and the pastors we met today–Jean Baptiste and Everiste.