Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Nutso Crazy Crazy Insane Touching Memorable Experience

Lindsey With Serge Kamari, our host

by Lindsey Coleman
Happy Birthday Ryan!!

Today was a big big day for our team. It seemed as though we all rose with the sun this morning and so we were able to all shower and relax on our balconies as we watched to city come alive. It still feels surreal that we are able to be here in this place, in this beautiful city.

The Team with Mama Deborah
After breakfast we got to travel to different neighborhood and spend time with Mama Deborah. Mama Deborah had been described to us as a second Mother Teresa by Jen and Serge due to her compassion with the Ubuzima AIDS organization here in Kigali. We traveled to her home and she welcomed with hugs and Fanta drinks. She continued to share her story of the founding and creation of the Ubuzima AIDS organization. She touched all of us as she recalled her past, and how she felt blessed that she was not infected with AIDS during the genocide, and how she set up a refuge for AIDS infected women within her church. Her strength and boldness was inspiring. Serge served as a major asset as he translated her story so we could absorb the true feeling she was aiming at. I later got to sit next to Serge during lunch and realized what a interesting individual he is as his phone rang off the hook and he shared some stories of his time in the Rwandan Patriotic Front during the genocide. Serge is truly gifted with the ability to translate between Kinyarwanda and English.

After meeting with Mama Deborah we traveled to African Bite for Ryan's birthday lunch. We were again kindly greeted and choose our lunch from a delicious buffet of traditional Rwandan cuisine, and it was amazing, as all the food has been. After lunch we returned to the guest house for a quick freshen up and continued on our way to the  Ubuzima AIDS organization.

Bryce, David (leader of street kids ministry) and Lindsey at Ubuzima
Ubuzima was a nutso crazy crazy insane touching memorable experience. We retuned to the church we attended on Sunday to meet the AIDS infected women of the Ubuzima organization. The women were all characters. They were making paper beads from strips of paper rolled into uniquely shaped beads. We all worked to establish relationships with these wonderful women as we rolled beads and "conversed" with these women. The language barrier did indeed create problems as we tried to hear the stories of these women and tell them ours as well. But there was no barrier that blocked the love and compassion from flowing all through the bead making circle. Translation once again became a major tool. David, a 23 yr old university student who works with Jen and Serge in the street kid ministry, was great with translating our words into the language our new companions could understand. Around 4pm Mama Deborah arrived and the bead making wrapped up and we transitioned into worship.

Hand rolled paper beads we helped make
Singing and dancing  seems to be the other common language here. We all were standing in a circle and began to dance around to the sounds of worship songs led by a Ubuzima member Yvette. We twirled and clapped and walked and bounced and loved under the pavilion until the dust from the road caked our shoes, our hands ached from clapping, and tears streaked our faces. Witnessing the joy of the these men, women and children was a scene that can not be described in words, God was clearly at work within our team, within Ubuzima, and within this beautiful city.

Never while we were creating beads did the thought occur to me that these people had AIDS. It was not until we were driving home that it hit me that we had just shared a unforgettable experience with some seriously sick individuals. But it did not matter, the spirit for life was still alive and flaming in these people, it did not matter their T-cell count or medical history all that mattered was that we were here together in the moment.
Lindsey Coleman



  1. What a joyous day! And I am glad that the tears were tears of joy and fellowship and not ones of sadness. All of you look happy, content, and at peace. Emily, your picture radiates contentment and peace. Does that apparent peace result from peeling away the trappings that bind our western, 1st world life? The team has managed to very quickly dig to the core of what really matters.....Jesus' love and Grace, being in communion with fellow members of the Body of Christ, breaking bread together, celebrating birthdays. I hope all of you are able to carry that with you into next week as well.
    Lindsey, I think it is great and interesting that in your last paragraph you stated "until we were driving home". Did you realize you called the guest house "home"? I am thankful that you feel comfortable enough to consider your lodgings as home (but of course, that doesn't mean you can't come back here to this home :) )
    I hope you write down some of the stories of the people you met today. All too quickly they will pass from your memory. I'm interested in hearing those stories, as well as to find out what they do with the beads you and the women made. :) And can you teach us?
    Are any of you picking up any words in their language? You are probably also realizing what a benefit it is to be multilingual!
    Ryan, happy birthday! And I'm glad that you and the others corralled your wayward baggage.
    We miss you, and Lindsey, I love you and want you to know that Adam and Ryan are also following your trip.
    All of you take care, Love, Mom/Janice R.

  2. Ryan,
    Glad to hear you got your luggage back. Hope you had a great birthday!
    Aunt Becky

  3. Beth and Dave BrayJune 15, 2011 at 6:18 AM

    Know we are following your trip and praying for you each day. Your trip so far has been amazing to read about. We have an amazing God who will walk with you through this journey on another continent with His people. Know we love you and are thinking of your entire team.

    Aunt Beth and Uncle Dave

  4. the blogs are a great way for us to be in touch with all of you so far away! Happy greetings to all of you! Keep up the good work and know that we are with you all. xo Tina Rudins

  5. Oh wonderful that the luggage was found! I wondered who was sharing underware with whom! Happy Birthday, Ryan - what great memories you will have forever of your special day in 2011. My thoughts were of you all this past Sunday - Pentecost. Being in a place of a different language but still being able to understand God's word and feeling the movement of the Holy Spirit in song and dance so far from home. Our Pastor's sermon quote certainly fits this mission team: “Let there be no distance between who you are and what you do.” I'm sharing your trip with my Women's Covenant Group and they send their love and prayers to all of you. My special love across the wire to Heidi, Jillian and Darby. Mom/Grandma in VA

  6. As others, I am reminded of Pentecost this past Sunday. You were among us through the Holy Spirit in communion and community with people of different cultures and languages, yet still able to understand God's Word.

    May God continue to bless you in this way and more!