Musical Chairs. Sort of.

This morning we attended church at Kigali Institute of Education (KIE), where about 11 simultaneous church services of various denominations were occurring in each of the classrooms surrounding the courtyard. So cool. University students from different parts of the country studying at KIE worship together with their associations on this campus each Sunday, and once a month all the denominations worship together. We happened to be worshiping with the Free Methodists, which I think is funny, because the free Methodist Church World Ministries Center is in Indianapolis. Wait, what?

We were not the only visitors this morning. Our preacher, Jean Paul, was a visiting minister from a local church and also a pastoral staff for World Vision. Several former students, including the PR/Communications guy for the Ministry of Disaster Management who also happens to be a photojournalist (THAT was fun), along with the Finance Director of ALARM who just moved from Kenya in January, plus a gospel singer and her guitarist husband were all visiting the student congregation today from their own local churches. Our host, the Country Director of ALARM, travels all over to these university congregations, because he is in charge of the University Youth Associations for the Free Methodist denomination in Kigali City. He brought us along for the English speaking service, which happens once a month.

About 20 students attended, including an 8-person choir. We asked to take some pics after the reason for our being in-country was explained, and below is a clip of the choir. Some songs were in English & some in Kinyarwanda, but most of the preaching was in English. Here is an example of a Kinyarwanda word: Mwaramutse (good morning) or Murakoze (Thank you). Now imagine seeing words like this for the first time in a hymnal and trying to sing them :)

Before the actual service was an interactive Bible study, and after the service was a Q&A time between our team and the students (pic below). We learned about the ways in which ALARM has impacted their lives, faith, and education by asking two questions: What is it really like to live here? and What is God doing in Rwanda through ALARM? We will continue to ask these questions for the next 7 weeks throughout different projects of ALARM and other ministries.

After church, we hopped a public transport bus for lunch, which reminds me: Anytime I’m transported anywhere, I just stare out the window in amazement at the beauty of Kigali city and countryside. The thing about this bus ride, though, is that the middle aisle is actually just one fold-down seat in the middle of each row, so if you are lucky enough to get a middle seat, you are actually sitting in the aisle. Poor you.

Each time someone behind you has to get off the bus, you must get up, lift up your seat and move back to the person’s empty seat behind you. The person in front of you then takes your seat, and the person in front of them takes theirs, and so on. It’s like musical chairs without the music and with no prize. Being the last five people on the bus, Jeff, Barry and I got the last three aisle seats, so who do you think ended up in the very back row after several rounds of musical chairs? The three of us, plus Peter, the finance guy, one row ahead. Winners! (Right?)

We then enjoyed a fantastic buffet and loads of conversation with ALARM staff, a breezy walk downtown past the Tulane office (Wait, what?) and a quick taxi home. So, to recap: We left for church this morning at 8a, and arrived home at 4p. That’s eight hours of church, eating and transport!

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7 thoughts on “Musical Chairs. Sort of.”

  1. You did it! Let me know if you need blog tech help, k? So psyched for you and the people who get to meet wonderful you guys. Thinking about you often and praying for you, especially late at night our time. xo

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  2. Beth, here is what it took to post this: video on my iPhone, transferred to laptop by USB, transferred from laptop by USB to the Ipad, which is tethered to Jeff’s iPhone with a 3G Rwanda carrier, uploaded in about 45 minutes, processed for another 35 minutes, and a full 24 hours after the event: posted. Sigh!

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  3. Thank you for putting so much effort into communicating with us!!! It,s such a BLESSING for all of us who love you guys and can’t wait to experience Rwanda second hand!!! Oh, and I have to tell you…..while we were visiting in Valparaiso, Courtney mentioned that WND was at their church ourside of Traverse City, Mi one weekend talking about India! Too cool! Well, we’re starting our day and you’re experiencing late afternoon! I hope you’ve had a rich and full day!!!!! Sending love and prayers :)

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  4. p.s. your bus story made me smile really really big. that was my “game” every day on the way to & from work, unless i got lucky at the taxi park in Remera and got on the bus earlier and didn’t end up in one of those aisle seats :)

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  5. So glad you are living in the moment! Praying daily for you and yours. “As you surrender completely to the momoents as they pass, you live more richly those moments”…Anne Morrow Lindbergh Love, Auntie C

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