Our first village welcome - by Ally O'Neill

Team Ineza left Kigali to head to our first village, Batima, this morning. As a first-timer, I did not really know what to expect, but as we drove in, I already felt myself tearing up. The welcome we received in Batima was something I can never forget. The church was decorated with toilet paper streamers and purple/yellow flowers and the women welcomed us with song and dance as our car drove up. As the children and the choir group of the church sang, the Holy Spirit flowed through the crowds and through us so clearly. God’s love came straight from Him and flowed through them and their beautiful voices and welcome. I am blessed to have experienced something as eye-opening and wonderful as that, and I think the rest of the group feels the same way.

After the welcome, we all introduced ourselves and Bruce delivered a sermon. After, we ate lunch with the pastor and his wife, and the food was actually really good!. They made french fries, rice, pasta, chicken, beans, etc. We then had some downtime to really meet the men, women, and children who gathered to meet us. For me, the kids were so, so fun! While they were super polite and well-behaved, they were so funny and goofy. I showed them pictures of our state back home (covered with ice and snow), and a picture of my dog (of course). With them, we then did a book reading of Noah’s Ark and had a little coloring session, with juice and biscuits. The people in Batima are so beautiful, and while I know this is only the first day of the first village I have ever been to, I see God’s love flowing through their eyes and I have already grown so attached. I have also been told of the amazing growth they have accomplished throughout the year, like adding a stage to their church, or having an actual toilet.

Based on comments made by the veterans in Team Ineza, it is absolutely amazing, the progress they have made, and will continue to make. I cannot wait to see them again tomorrow :)

~ Ally