After a total of 30 hours in flight and transit, we finally arrived in Kigali, Rwanda at 1PM, local time. It is GMT+2 or 7 hours ahead of EST.
We were so grateful that all seven pieces of luggage arrived, although one of the luggage was badly damaged. The damage occurred probably because they had to be trans-shipped three times: New York JFK to London, London to Nairoby, and Nairoby to Kigali. Moreover, only one of the luggage was inspected at the customs office. They picked one that was full of used clothes and let us go. The customs office was small and the procedure was informal. The airport is very small, but is nonetheless called "International" airport. Naturally we were the last passenger leaving the arrival area.
Archie Mears, the interim CEO for Urwego Opportunity Bank, was waiting for us along with Wilbur, one of the bank employees. Two vehicles were necessary to load all our luggage.
This is my third time visit to Kigali, but the streets are so clean that every time I have to say, "It is so impressive!" I already spotted familiar hills, streets, buildings, and corners.
"This is the place." I murmured and my thought continued the murmurring. "It is the place to live and work... the place to seek God's grace... the place to serve the poorest of the poor... the place to fellowship with brothers and sisters in Christ... the place to witness God's mighty work in healing the souls that were severely wounded during the 1994 genocide. It is also the place for Kristin and me to commit to focus on "being" rather than "doing" for the next three years... at least."
On the airplane, I wrote down a "TO BE" list for the next three years, like a "TO DO" list. Quite a long list... Kristin and I both shared that all of them were applicable to us and both have committed to working together with conscious efforts in prayer through the help of the Holy Spirit.
After unloading and unpacking the luggage at the temporary shelter, quite nice, we were physically exhausted. But our spirit was high. We sang "God is so good..." several times and praised the good Lord for His direction and protection during our journey up to this point.
Lying down on a bed, we felt quiet... so quiet that our ears were hearing the "sound of silence" even during the daytime. We felt awkward... at least initially. But soon we realized that it was what we need to get used to going forward. I remembered Richard Foster's comments about fasting..... fasting not only from food but also from media, people, entertainment, etc. Indeed we need such fasting in our lives to restore our in depth relationship with our Creator.
Praise the Lord for His goodness in leading us to Rwanda to serve Him through the people of Rwanda!
Praise the Lord for His faithfulness in making our journey to Kigali work out, long and finally after our first hearing about Rwanda and UOB in July 2007!
Praise the Lord for His graciousness in letting us handle all tasks back in the states well and bringing us safely so far to this point!
He is indeed good... indeed faithful... indeed gracious. He is worthy of our praise. Amen! - Jeffrey
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Elder Jeffrey! It's Joe Chai. I can't believe I missed seeing you and your family at Jubilee that Sunday you came for commissioning. I heard great things, and couldn't help but get all sentimental over our history. I'm thrilled to hear that you've taken this next step. You've been talking about serving Africa the past few occasions I was lucky enough to see you, and you're finally there. That's an incredible testimony in itself.
Be well, and I'm praying for you and ahjumah. I miss you guys. Please add me to your mailing list; my email is email@example.com. Thanks, brother.
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