And love will see you through

Walk into splintered sunlight
Inch your way through dead dreams
to another land
Maybe you’re tired and broken
Your tongue is twisted
with words half spoken
and thoughts unclear
What do you want me to do
to do for you to see you through
A box of rain will ease the pain
and love will see you through

(Fourth Verse: Box of Rain, Phil Lesh and Robert Hunter, 1970)

I’ve been disconnected from the internet for the last two days, and I commend disconnection to you.  It has given me a chance to fret, to reflect, to write, to read, to pray, to walk, and to miss my family.  This evening, as I have regained my connection, I have also renewed my acquanitence with American Beauty, that great American record album by the Grateful Dead, from 1970.  I would have to say that the operative line from Box of Rain,  my favorite song on the album is “and love will see you through”.

I got a full dose of love today, and I will relate that story to you.  David Bucura picked me up at 7:15 and we drove to the Friends chapel in Kicukiro.  I participated in the English language service this morning, with only about 20 people.  David preached and it was a good message on why we Celebrate at Christmas time.  He reviewed the five objectives that Jesus had, as presented in Isaiah 61:1-2.  David is more interactive, and calm than the other African preachers that I have heard in my visits here.  I was greeted by a number of people, including a woman from Kenya who was part of a peace making team that was receiving a report from Rwandan Friends on their efforts at peace and reconciliation.

David then took me to the larger Friends Church, located at the headquarters of the

Eglise Evangelique des Amis au Rwanda, which is the name in French of the Friends church here in Rwanda.  On Saturday, when Imanuelli brought me here to meet Heri, he said he had been to the place before but did not recognize it from the name I gave, “Quakers”.  I need to remember that Friends are called Friends here, and not Quakers.  We arrived at this place at about 9:30 and the service had already started.  David and I approached the door.  He spoke to the usher, then turned to me and said, “You follow me.”

We walked down the aisle and up to the platform, where we sat down next to the preacher.  I must admit that at first I felt a little uncomfortable, but after several minutes that passed.  There was music, lots of music.  Singing and dancing, with three different choirs.  It was beautiful.  There were testimonies, and announcements, and introduction of guests.

Augustin Simparinka, the General Superintendent was here today, and he was introduced.  I was introduced and asked to say a few words of introduction.  David translated for me.  People gave me a warm round of applause.

During the worship time, which the man leading the service said he was limiting to ten minutes (it actually turned out to be more like 20 or 25), a group of worship leaders came up in front and a most lively time of praise broke out.  It was easy for me to feel the love, and the praise from these Friends and for me to join in.  There was joy and celebration throughout.

The preacher for the day was a guest, as the pastor of this church was visiting another church today.  This man preached on forgiveness.  About halfway through his sermon, David left as he was going to be performing the baptism of about 12 people after the service.  He had been providing some translation for me.  After he left, the man next to me moved over and did some very sketchy translating.  It was a good message, stressing the rationale for forgiveness and the actual mechanics of it.

After the service, which lasted until about 12:00, Augustin greeted me and asked me to observe the baptisim.  For some reason, he reminded me of our Superintendent, Colin Saxton.  The baptism was another time of love and celebration.  I was pushed right up to the front by the others.  To see a few pictures, go here.

I had a nice visit with Augustin and several others after that.  I met Chrissy Muhr, who is from Oregon, as well.  She is heading up the English language program for the Yearly Meeting here.  I was invited by Augustin to come and visit and would look forward to that.  He and Lon Fendall are acquainted and he was pleased to learn that I was a colleague of Lon’s.  I also met David’s brother-in-law, who works on aids prevention and care of aids patients in Rwanda.

I was overwhelmed by the generosity of the people I met, their kindness and the commitment to love and service I found amongst Friends.  I needed a nap when I came home.  I was pleased later this day to speak with Mariette, who has agreed to serve as a guide and translator if I choose to go to Butare later this week.

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5 Comments on “And love will see you through”

  1. Kenneth Says:

    I had no idea that Friends in Rwanda practice water baptism! Thanks for your continuing reports.

    • sheadley Says:

      Otenth,

      Good to see you here. Water Baptism is not practiced as a rule. However, if a person requests it, the request is granted. The Friends in East Africa are decidedly Evangelical. As such, the Evangelical Friends draw on practices from the broader movement, as well as from the roots of Quakerism.

      I will explore this aspect when I meet with Yearly Meeting folks later this week.

      • Kenneth Says:

        Oh, that makes sense. I only knew that some churches in Eastern Region practice it, but had never thought about (or gone looking to find out) what the circumstances or process was.

        And with that context, it makes more sense that the baptism was done after the church service!

  2. gkilburg Says:

    Scot,
    This is so interesting to read about God’s work and the connections that He has provided to His people. It helps me to remember how big our God really is.
    Blessings,
    Gary


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