|Natalie with Jen and Doug|
Three years later, Natalie is still in Kiziba. She's still an active member of (and leader) within JCM. She's still selling beautiful handmade necklaces and clothing in order to supplement her family's meager UN food rations. She's still hopeful that a new life will be found when her family is resettled to another country. She even knows this country will be Canada; She found that out two years ago. And yet, she waits - Stuck in Kiziba as she navigates the incredibly slow process of resettlement, waiting on things she cannot control herself.
In contrast, compare this to my life in the last three years. Since the last time I was in Rwanda, I've traveled... To Canada, the Grand Canyon, and other places. I've continued working in a job that I love, that brings me immense joy and fulfillment. I took several classes and conducted a major research project in order to complete a Master's Degree. I even wrote a book. In the last three years, my life has changed, in big and small ways.
Yet, in three years time, Natalie's life really hasn't.
Such is the plight of a refugee - a person with no place to call home. Like the other 18,000 refugees in Kiziba, as much as she might like to, Natalie can't go home. To do so would risk the safety of her family. Instead, she's stuck in Kiziba, waiting for another country to show her mercy & alllow her to resettle there.
In the midst of this, what continues to amaze me is Natalie's hope. The last thing she said to Doug and I as we climbed into our Coaster bus was "Next time I see you, it will not be in Kiziba!"
What gives a person who is, in every way, stuck such hope?
The answer, I think is best summed up by something another refugee, Grodya, the president of JCM reminded us of yesterday: "Jesus Christ is King everywhere."
Regardless of where Natalie and the scores of other refugees in Kiziba have lived, currently live, or will one day live, they know - absolutely - that Jesus Christ is King everywhere. It is that simple fact that sustains them, even when their actual circumstances lend themselves to despair.
I don't know how life will change for me - or any of those on our team - over the next three years but I do know this: It will change, rapidly.
In the midst of such rapid change, may we, like Natalie and Grodya, remember that Jesus Christ is King everywhere; That Jesus Christ is Lord - yesterday, today, and tomorrow.