UPDATES FROM ERIC

 

March 29, 2004

Hello Prayer Partners!!

Sorry it’s been a while since you last heard from me but the internet cafe’s
have limited hours, or are closed, on the weekends when I am most able to send
email! A lot has been happening since I last wrote everyone. I’m doing great!
I’m staying really busy and my health has been really good. Praise God for that
as I’ve had no major health issues or sickness since I’ve been here. Thanks for
your prayers for me as I have definitely felt them in the protection and
provision that God has given me in my first month here. A lot has been going on
in my life here in Rwanda the last couple weeks and I’d like to update you
briefly on some of those things.

This last Sunday morning I had the opportunity to preach at Esron’s church, the
man I work with in the ALARM office. The message I spoke on was the need for us
to be clothed in God’s righteousness in order to enter God’s kingdom. We
primarily looked at these passages: Matthew 22:1-14 (a great parable spoken by
Jesus where the wedding clothes are a picture of the righteousness needed to
enter God’s kingdom.), Romans 13:11-14, Colossians 3:1-17.
I would ask that you please pray for the 7 people who trusted Christ this
morning as a result of hearing God’s word!! The angels are rejoicing in heaven!

The last couple weeks I’ve been busy working with Esron on the development of
the foundational purpose, objectives and activities of the youth advocacy
program for East Africa. It’s consisted of a lot of brainstorming, prayer, and
vision casting to be able to reach the youth of this part of Africa for Jesus
Christ and equipping the church to minister to the needs and opportunities that
are so rich here. In Rwanda alone the percentage of youth is somewhere around
65% of the total population!!

As far as my daily life goes I will briefly tell you what goes on and how I’m
adjusting and living here in Rwanda. I normally wake up at 6:30 which isn’t any
different from what time I was waking up for my job there in the states. I
normally start with a shower that can sometimes be cold depending on if someone
brings me a container of hot water to make by shower a little more bearable in
the morning! Or I wait till the later part of the day when it’s hot out and a
cold shower feels refreshing. I’m able to get about 20-30 minutes of quiet time
most mornings as I’ve always had a desire to do before heading to the office.
What’s really great is here where I’m staying they have breakfast ready for me
in the morning so I’m able to get some eggs, tea, chapatti (like a tortilla) and
sometimes fresh pineapple! Then it’s off to the office or other things that are
going on with our department and the rest of the ALARM staff. Sometimes we
visit some of the special projects or activities that are going on around the
country – it just depends. Usually in the afternoons I am working on the
program activities and other resources that we are developing to use in working
with youth leaders. Sometimes I am able to take time to go into the city center
or the market to get some shopping done as I normally don’t do a lot of
traveling at night in the city. It’s very safe here, but you never know when
the power is going to go out in a section of the city and I don’t feel confident
enough to get around on my own in the dark as it’s not well lit here in Kigali
as it is in most cities in the states. The electricity is really random here.
They have had problems meeting the demand so they basically cut off the power to
huge sections of the city to be able to meet the demand. Sometimes the power
goes out for just a few minutes, but at other times it can go out for hours, or
for the rest of the night until morning! It seems to go out at least one time a
day or every other day. You don’t realize it until you experience it, but it’s
a blessing as I am able to have some really good quiet times during the power
outages as there’s not much you can do! I’ve had some really sweet times with
God under candlelight in my room just reading the bible or reading one of the 3
books (besides the Bible) I brought with me.

The months of March through May here in Rwanda are one of the 2 rainy seasons
they have here. The rain or thunderstorms are typically not real long, less
than an hour, but they can really pack a wallop! Last night a big lightning and
thunderstorm rolled through and it rained cats and dogs here. You don’t’ want
to be stuck, or trying to get around the city, when a rain storm hits here as
most of the roads are dirt, even in the city, and there is not a good drainage
system.

After church this last Sunday morning Esron and I went to one of the several
Chinese restaurants they have here in the city. Esron had never had Chinese
food before and he really enjoyed it! Besides the Rwandan people there is a
pretty good sized population of Indian people (from India) and a decent size
population of Chinese people. That’s beside all of the foreign aid and
government workers that are here! The food overall has been good as I typically
get to eat things that are freshly prepared and cooked such as spaghetti,
potatoes or fresh cut fries, all kinds of vegetables, fish, bananas, eggs, rice,
sweet potatoes, fried bananas, different types of breads (influence from the
French).

I’ve found it easier to get around as I’ve learned and adjusted to getting
around the city on my own and having to learn some important phrases and place
names in the Kinyarwanda language so I can tell the taxi driver where I need to
go. There are 3 types of transportation available to get around the city! It
actually works pretty good to depending on what you take. The main difference
is the cost of each one. There are the regular car type taxis that are the most
expensive and I only use those when I’m caught in one of the frequent rain
storms or with a friend/visitor. Then there are the minibus taxi’s. These are
the cheapest to take as they only cost 100 Rwandan francs – about 20 cents. But
the downside is that they pack people in these things like sardines and they
seem to stop every two blocks, so a ride a decent distance in the city can take
anywhere from a half-hour to an hour! I only use this when I’m getting around
the neighborhood I live in. Then there is my favorite form of transportation in
getting around the city. It’s called a taximoto! It’s basically a person who
has a motorcycle as a taxi. There are a decent amount of them around and they
are fairly cheap to ride – a ride into the city center is only about 400 Rwandan
francs –about 80 cents. The best thing is that it’s faster than the minibus and
cheaper than the car taxis. It’s also a lot cooler to ride the taximoto than
the hot/unair-conditioned sardine can minibuses and taxis. Oh, I almost forgot
about the taxi-bicycles. I haven’t caught on to this even though it’s the
cheapest. That’s because all of the bikes here have ONLY 1 speed and the
country of Rwanda is the “land of a thousand hills”!!! It would be good to take
if you were sure you were heading downhill the whole way to your destination,
but the taxi-bicycles really slow down when trying to get up all the hills here
in the city. I can walk faster when this happens!

I had the opportunity to visit one of the main genocide memorials about an hour
outside of the city. It was an experience that I will never forget. I really
don’t know what to share about that, but I would ask that you pray that this
type of thing would never happen again anywhere in the world. The
anniversary/commemoration for the genocides in 1994 will be in the middle of
next month and there will be some ceremonies and many world leaders visiting.
I finally got my luggage out of the Nairobi airport about a week after I arrived. It was
definitely nice to be able to get all of my stuff and a fresh set of my own clothes. I
had actually gone to the market in the city center and purchased a couple extra
pieces of clothes until my stuff came in. I think they just wanted to get some
money out of me to get it delivered, but I refused and just kept “bugging” the
Kenya Airways office here in Kigali. In order to get clean laundry I either have to
hand wash it myself or there is usually someone that I can give it to and have it
washed for me. It’s not something I really thought about till being here, but a
clothes dryer sure is a great thing to have as it takes less time than air drying
your clothes and they come out softer and fluffier (if that’s a word?).

Well, I’m not sure that was a “brief” email about what’s going on here with me
in Rwanda! I really appreciate all of your prayers – they are being felt. I
miss everyone and pray that all of you are doing well! Below are just a couple
prayer requests as it’s getting late here, after midnight, and my mind is
starting to go to sleep.

Serving Him, Eric <{{{><

with Spoken For International Youth Outreach
www.spokenfor.org

PRAYER REQUESTS >>

Back to Eric's homepage >>