Strength for today, bright hope for tomorrow - by Liz

Some days are suffused with joy and laughter; some days are tough to get through. Today was one of the latter.

This morning, most of us woke up to the news that Kyle Collins had passed away after several months in the hospital fighting leukemia. His mother, Sandy, would have been here with our team had Kyle's health not taken a turn for the worse right before our trip. Although we fervently hoped and prayed for a full recovery, God was merciful in keeping their family together during Kyle's last few days. So while our day began in shared grief and we do not understand the 'why's' of Kyle's passing, we cling to our hope in a good God. Along the way to Nasho, I sang quietly in the back of our van and asked God to just be in our midst. To be there in the joy, to be there in the grieving. 

Morning is beautiful in Rwanda, but instead of gazing at hills and banana trees, I was struck by the beauty of the flowers along our drive. Even though the red dust coated almost everything in sight, patches of bright yellows and pinks and purples would pop up intermittently along the road. The more I looked for them, the more of them I saw. The colorful flowers – untouched by the dust – refreshed my spirit, and it was as if God were speaking beauty into life. Out of the dust. Out of our sorrow. 

For me, the day seemed quick and blurred. We had slightly less time in Nasho due to a stop at another church to check on their developmental progress. Once at Nasho, there were a few songs from the women in the church and a message given by Tyler before we lunched. In the brief few hours after lunch, the women came together to listen and share during Bible studies we had prepared for them, and the men spoke together and gave feedback in interviews for our community profiling project. Within the last 15-20 minutes of our time there, we also met with members of the women's co-op to see the Pray For One peace baskets they have been making (which are beautiful!). Under Angel's leadership we spoke with the women about one of our teams bringing the baskets back to MCC, in order to raise both funds and awareness for their church and community, and we listened to their responses on the process for making the baskets and what the co-op hoped would come from this project. 

Our ride back was quiet again as everyone in my van slept, reflected, and perhaps grieved in their own way. I believe firmly that because God makes each day and fits it with His mercies, that each day is good. Some days He shares in our joys, and some days He holds us in our sorrows. As an old hymn goes, He gives us strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow. His mercies far outnumber the hills in Rwanda.