An ordination service in Rwanda is something of a mixture between a wedding and graduation. For the ordination service today, of which Ethan Carlson, was one of several people being ordained to the Deaconate and others to the Priesthood, the cathedral was packed. People were sitting outside of the cathedral to be part of it. I even saw people standing on narrow wooden stairways for the entire duration, and with the service being over 3 and a half hours long this was no small feat. Over the service, I saw men and women I was sitting with, all dressed up in their best, cheering loudly and then crying tears of pride and of future gratitude.

We witnessed seeing these men and women make vows which dedicate themselves in specific ways to the Lord, to the Kingdom, to the Church, and ultimately, to everyone. The vows these men and women make are not easy ones, and we want to be there at the beginning to cheer them on and to say thank you in advance, for we know they will be used by the Lord to bless each of us in different ways and times. We know this is not an easy life.

For Ethan Carlson, he made his Vows in English and by himself, as for everyone else English was not their first language and said together, to demonstrate how important these Vows are and that he fully understood them. When the Bishop’s hands were laid on his head, we truly believe something happened there. We may not understand it, but we do believe he has now been equipped and empowered in some new way that he wasn’t before.

Many things can be written about the beautiful service, but all I want to do is highlight that someone I care about and so many of us care about has been ordained. We should all be grateful to the Lord for this gift and for Ethan accepting this call. If you are able, send him a message encouraging him, and please be in prayer for him and for his wife Natasha, as they begin this new journey.

Praise be to God.

-Otto Zimmermann