Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Akansans and William

I am long overdue in posting my words of appreciation for the Arkansas and Tennessee crowd that was here earlier this month: Melissa and Doug Yates, Lynda and Charles Weir, Russell Rainey, Douglas Braswell, Mike and Ben Seay, John and Jason Ronza, Holt and Katherine Hall, and last, but most certainly not least, Tom Phillips. They were great fun and a blessing to Rwandans and expats alike. Some, perhaps all, contracted a serious case of “Dawson’s Disease,” the symptoms of which are a passion for the development of Rwanda and a deep compassion for its beautiful people.

Melissa Yates (top, with Bishop John and her husband, Doug), Lynda Weir (with child, although that does not sound quite right), and Judi Dawson (not pictured because she was home defending Fort Little Rock) are the primary “Den Mothers” for all of us who are over here working with Opportunity International and Bridge2Rwanda. They are zealous, untiring laborers on our behalf, and we are so grateful for them.

But rather than write more about the named visitors, I want to write to them with a very exciting report: William (below), your driver for a week who has a history that cannot be repeated here, is being transformed and YOU are a major part of his story. Mollie and I just had an unexpected divine appointment at Bourbon’s with William. He is aglow and overflowing with excitement about his new life, reading a chapter a day of “Purpose Driven Life” (multiple times) and swearing off the sin (expressly including alcoholism and unforgiveness) that has long controlled his life. I am certain that his testimony would have overwhelmed each of you who simply shared life with William for a few days.

This brings me to the philosophical portion of this post,… a couple of life lessons: I now believe that it is very important that I live my life very “deliberately”. My boys taught me (what I should have taught them) that life is too precious and too short to just let it happen to you. I am determined to live zealously and intentionally. As a Christ follower, a central feature of my life must be to love and minister to others. BUT “ministry” need not necessarily be either “deliberate“ or “zealous”. Generally speaking, it is best accomplished by “just living life with…” My hope and desire is that Christ’s love, grace, and light would be reflected in my life and shine upon others without me engaging in deliberate, calculated acts of “ministry”. No program. No curriculum. Just being loving, authentic, and engaged in the way that Christ calls us all to be. (As St. Francis said: “Preach the gospel at all times, and when necessary, use words”.) And that is exactly how I believe my friends from Arkansas and Tennessee were used by God to subtly reach William. And yet you should hear William’s testimony now. (Sorry y'all had to go home. I am very blessed to be able stay here and witness such amazing developments.)