Eager for God – On Mission in Rwanda
If I heard it once, I must have heard it 50 times while in Africa, “Will you pray for me?”
I heard if from people I met at church, at the girls school, teachers, pastors and strangers. People asking for prayer for their health, family relations, children, finances, churches, their education, their futures.
Usually it wasn’t enough to say “yes, I will pray for you” and then go about your business, intending to pray at a later time (like we usually do here in the U.S.). Most people wanted me to grab their hands, bow my head and pray with them right at that moment.
One thing you should know about me is that I often cry when I pray. (In fact, I am tearing up just thinking about crying while I pray.) I have fought it, prayed against it, pleaded with God to take my tears away, and still… I cry. So, I have come to believe that my tears are part of my worship to God. They are heartfelt tears that acknowledge my deepest love and gratitude to my God.
And so I prayed… and cried, with strangers all over Rwanda.
Many Christians in Rwanda are spiritually hungry. They are searching for ways to learn more about Jesus. Even though many lack resources to learn scripture, they have faith that greatly moved me. They know that Jesus loves them, that He died for them and they believe that He is all powerful. That is enough for them to put their faith and their lives in His hands.“In His name the nations will put their hope.” Matthew 12:21 Click To Tweet
In many cases, their options are so limited. Jobs are scarce, even for those who have college educations (and many do). Many homes are single parent homes with only one income. Quality education is not free in Rwanda, even grade school. Health care is expensive, and health insurance is non-existent. Family support is limited. The average age in Rwanda is 19. Most families have been affected by the Genocide that happened in 1994. In 100 days, over 800,000 people were murdered. (For an overview, to learn more about the Rwandan Genocide, click here: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-26875506) Parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles aren’t available to help out with childcare or income support because they were killed.
It can be hard to find hope when you are trying to meet your family’s basic needs every.single.day.
Even so, Rwandan Christians worship God like I have never seen before. They love to sing and dance before our Lord. They love to raise their hands and pray. With smiles on their faces, they are genuinely excited to get to go before our Savior in worship, and they never seem to tire of it. It is beautiful to hear, and inspiring to worship alongside Rwandan Christians … and also a little convicting.
One word I would use for the Rwandan Church is EAGER. The Christians I met are eager for God in every way. They are eager to come together at church, hungry to learn about Him and for others to learn about Him. They are eager to worship Him. They love to be in His presence, singing and dancing in His honor; and they are eager to pray; to take their needs to God. They know that HE is the source of all their hope, and they believe that He will answer.
I want to be that eager for God. I want to hunger and thirst for my Savior in a way that is unquenchable. I want to enjoy worshiping Him so much, that I don’t care who is watching; to worship like it’s only He and I in the room. I want to be eager to pray to the only One who can provide what I need.
I want to go to God FIRST, because He is the source of my HOPE.
One thing I have realized since returning from Rwanda is that I have so many other things to rely on here in the United States, sometimes I let them take the place of my reliance on God. I turn to what I know I can do for myself before I ask God what He wants for me. It might be my money, my friends, my comforts or my education. I might put my energy and my enjoyment into my children, my hobbies or my achievements.
None of these things are bad in and of themselves, and I’m thankful for them. I just need to be careful not to let those things replace my desire and my eagerness for God or my dependence on God. I need to always remember no matter the circumstance, God should remain my first priority, my first love, my HOPE above all else.
Want to read more about my experiences in Rwanda?