Rough and beautiful day - by Lisa

Today started out well for me personally but, as we drove the 3hr bumpy, gravel road to Nasho, I started to feel awful. We had to pull over and I was quite sick. The remaining van ride there was pretty horrible. We arrived in Nasho to a throng of people lining the roads once again welcoming us with songs, smiles and so much joy. It took everything in me to wave and try to engage. 

I was so proud of Patricia and Heidi for giving the message at their church service today. They totally rocked it, and Heidi wasn't feeling well either. After church, the ladies of the village cooked a delicious lunch for the team. I had to sit that one out as my stomach was still not right so went to lie down for a bit. This older lady in the village, Suzanne (who had 11 children and lost 8 of them in tragedy and sickness) walked me to the van so I could lie down. As we walked, she rubbed my back and I could hear her quietly praying in Kinyarwanda for me the whole walk there. Once there, she laid things out on the seat for me to lie my head on and then unwrapped the top layer of her beautiful skirt and laid it over me as a blanket, smiling and loving on me as she worked to comfort me. As I closed my eyes, I could hear her shushing the children around the van so I could get some rest and she stood watch outside that van the whole time I was in there, gently peeking in every now and then making sure I was ok. When you're sick you just need your mom. I know that Jesus knew that's what I needed in that moment and brought Suzanne to me. She did exactly for me what my Mom would have. I love Him for that, and I have a new kindred spirit in Suzanne. When you look into her eyes, you can see the pain she's lived through, but also the joy she receives in serving others. After lying down and having her pray for me, I started to slowly feel better and was able to rejoin the team, which was a little Rwanda miracle :). 

I joined the popcorn crew in a kitchen building out behind the church. When I say kitchen I mean some open fires in a mud hut with little ventilation. We brought popcorn and oil with us and started to make popcorn for 300 children. Rebecca & Vili poured the oil in the pots and then watched the Rwandan village ladies take over. They've never seen popcorn before but they learned quickly and became a well oiled machine while Rebecca, Vili and I filled the bags of it outside. This was another highlight of my day as we got to just hang out informally with them and just laugh and squeal together. It was so special. Cultures broke down and we were just women hanging out and having a blast together. At one point I looked at Rebecca and said "Do you realize we are cooking popcorn over an open fire in a mud hut in a rural village with our new Rwandan friends in Africa? How many get to do that?" We brought the popcorn into the church for the pastor and church leaders to distribute to the children and they dug into those bags like kids opening presents on Christmas morning. They had never popcorn before either. 

Even with my physical challenges today, those quickly became a side note as the beauty of the day quickly overtook that. Today was just lovely in so many ways, and I'm so thankful. Our team is absolutely incredible too. What an amazing group of servants! 

Imana ibahe umugisha (God bless you all),
Lisa Mazur