Hope for Africa

My friend Katy is in Rwanda right now.

God laid Africa on her heart a long time ago and she’s always known that she would spend time there. It was just a matter of when.

Earlier this year, she decided that it was time to go. So she booked herself a ticket to Rwanda. No agenda, no group, no specific plans. Just Katy and God.

Before this trip she’d never been out of the country before. Although I’m sure she’s experienced moments of culture shock, her emails are full of the amazing things God is teaching her. I find them very moving, so I asked if I could share some of the with you. Of course, she said yes. Here’s part of her most recent email …

Hope for Africa. Many moments here, as I walk down the streets, grief-stricken by the poverty I see, I wonder if there really is hope. However, God is evident here. I see Him everywhere, especially in the eyes of Deborah.

This 2-year-old has unique needs, as she has cerebral palsy. With shame, I admit my initial discomfort with Deborah. She drools constantly. She smells of urine as she wets her diapers frequently. She is always covered in dirt from frequent falls. However, this cannot touch her startling beauty. Of the 29 incredible children of New Hope Homes, Deborah has an extra glimmer and shine in her eyes. Oh! How I long to see the world through her eyes! When she sees me, she squeaks with joy and runs, longing to be picked up and held.

Yesterday was a particularly hard day. Gilbert shared his first hand encounter with the horrors of the genocide and my heart felt broken. I walked back into the Home, and Deborah was at the gate, waiting for me. She ran as fast as she could, drooling, wet, and dirty. Yet this time, as I picked her up, I couldn’t let her go. I wouldn’t. Tears rolled down my cheeks as I hugged this little one. In her eyes, there is love. In her eyes, there is hope. And there is no shame. Yet again, a child taught me a lesson about our Jesus. I am Deborah. I am handicapped, weak, smelly, and covered in filth. So many times, while in this state, I am to ashamed to come to Jesus, to run to Him. I want to clean myself up and not be seen as I really am. Now, Deborah’s vulnerability has changed my heart. Whenever I see Deborah, all I want to do is pick her up, twirl her around, and remind her that she is a beautiful, loved child of the King! My friends, I believe with all my heart that God wants me, and all of us, to come to Him with the same vulnerability.

Here’s a picture of Katy and me.

Pray for her. She is a lot braver than most people I know. She has put herself completely in God’s hands, not knowing what will come next.

Katy is showing me the true meaning of faith.

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