Wednesday, February 2, 2011

February 1st... Hero's Day ... Our 2nd Anniversary in Rwanda

February 1st of every year is Hero's Day in Rwanda. It is the day to commemorate the heroes Rwanda has had in the past. This year, the country observed the day without any large crowd gatherings or parades, unlike in the past. They gathered at the village levels to discuss more in depth what the heroism meant, which were ended with the President's message broadcast via the national radio. The theme for this year was "How to be brave in determination to develop Rwanda."

February 1st is also a day that is dearer to Kristin and me. It is the day we arrived in Rwanda two years ago.

We had to arrive in Rwanda on February 1st, only one month after the last day of work in New York (December 31st 2008), since I made a promise to do so with the UOB Board. Why? Because UOB board chose to wait for me and put an interim CEO for 8 months. You make a promise to keep, not to break as we are promise-keepers.

On the second day of February, Kristin looked around houses and picked one. We signed the contract the same day. That fast, we were settling down. I had an overlapping time with my predecessor, a 40-year veteran banker, for 4 and a half days. And I was on my own at UOB without any experience in micro finance and in Africa, let alone in Rwanda. I have since been driving at 85 miles an hour, it seems like. Looking back, I must confess it has been God's grace that has led our lives so far.

We ate pumpkin noodles mixed with vegetables for dinner and celebrated His detailed guidance, His overflowing grace and His protection of our health to date. "How longer will you stay in Rwanda?" people ask. "I do not know. I have not asked my boss up there yet" I respond. And true it is indeed. We do not know how longer we will be here. We do know, however, we will continue to do our best in serving His Kingdom and His people in Rwanda, whether they have been saved or not yet. They are definitely part of "the least of His brethren" depicted in Matthew 25:40.

We were reminded of a familiar scripture and we said "Amen!"

"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving." (Colossians 3:23,24)

"Amen, indeed." - Jeffrey


SonjaKelly said...

Happy Anniversary! I've been so impressed with your work and your commitment to those living in poverty. Keep persevering!

jlee80111 said...

Thank you for your encouragement. May God bless you richly so that you may become a gracious blessing to others.