Last week, we were able to take some time out as a family, to travel to the southwest of Rwanda, to a place called Kumbya, an old missions retreat , consisting of 6 rustic cabins-no electricity and only occasionally running water. It was founded in 1944 and has long been a haven for missionaries in the Great Lakes area, and a symbol of missionary unity epitomized by the interdenominational missions conference held there every summer. We were fortunate that even though we are in rainy season, it didn’t rain much. We enjoyed borrowing canoes and kayaks from Boy Scouts who were also there, and the children even got to go tubing behind a motor boat! We were relatively un-plugged, though Caleb had to go to the nearby town to check email a couple of times. We ate well, read good books, and slept a lot.
Well, as some people say: “Every silver lining has a cloud!” We were especially missing Sara in this family time; it was our first time there without her. Also, it was the last time at Kumbya for the Thomas family who have been in Rwanda since 1997, and whom we first met at Kumbya in 2003. They will be leaving this summer, leaving a hole in many hearts. Furthermore, the whole future of Kumbya is uncertain. There is currently a property battle going on between the Kumbya Association, consisting of missionaries, and the local church, with the general feeling by many on both sides that at some point Kumbya should become a bit more developed. (Caleb has been working hard with David Thomas on some sort of compromise) . Our stay at Kumbya also fell over the genocide memorial-the day that commemorated the genocide of 1994, in which almost a million people were brutally killed. I recently heard the story of a young man who works for Caleb-how he escaped the genocide killings, but in the process witnessed his family being brutally murdered and his home destroyed. Knowing him personally has given me an awakened horror for the events of 1994.
But as Tony Campolo is famous for saying”It’s Friday, but Sunday’s coming!” In all these things-even the genocide, Christ is victorious. So, above all we were grateful to celebrate Easter, which ties all things together, gives us hope for the future. We know that He is the same victor-yesterday, today and tomorrow, no matter what the trials, the circumstances, or the place. We came back refreshed and renewed.