The sweet mother of this baby has endured suffering beyond what I could even imagine. When she finally became pregnant after multiple miscarriages, she began to have complications with her pregnancy. The doctors told her that her baby wasn’t going to survive the delivery and she may even lose her own life. She was afraid of what they told her but she prayed that God would hear her, and save both lives.
He did. She praised God and was abundantly thankful for a healthy baby girl. But when she returned home from the village hospital, her neighbors saw that she had given birth to a girl and immediately condemned her. Her heart broke over the guilt and shame heaped onto her. Her joy had been cast away by the patronizing criticism of her neighbors.
She couldn’t handle the devastation and questioned why God would allow such hurt. She felt abandoned. Her prayers were ones of lament and anguish. She had no plans to forgive these people, and they definitely were not asking for reconciliation.
A couple weeks later she came to the local conference hosted by ALARM at Cymbili Coffee Plantation. This conference happened to be the one that my team from Dallas, Texas was leading. Here we taught on John 17. The mysteries of belonging to God and being unified as brothers and sisters under the Father by the grace of Jesus and empowerment of the Holy Spirit.
As our team has come from different backgrounds, cultures, denominations, and generations- we have experienced the working of Unity first hand. Here, in Rwanda, we got to share the joy and Truth of the gospel, and it’s fathomable power to breach all gaps in humanity. We broke into small groups and this sweet mom was (from the story above) was in my group. We shared hurts, praises, and even places of unforgiveness. This is when she shared her story and brought a burden to my heart and water to my eyes. All of this communicated through a Rwandan translator- we hugged and prayed and believed in God’s word.
At the close of the day, she stood up to express thanks and proclaim God’s glorious work. She shared that she felt free from the hatred that captured her heart, and chose to forgive her neighbors. She said she wouldn’t have been open to God’s call to forgive without the inspiration of our time together. She ended, and I ran to embrace her. Later, I looked at her in the eyes and said, “your baby is a gift from God”- without a translator. She looked at me, pointed to her baby, smiled, and said “gift”!
They are both a gift to me. What a joy to share the work of the Lord. The gospel has the power to steady our Spirit, even against our own will. It creates Unity among people who believe, and fosters love where hearts are open. I encourage you, wherever you are, to search your own heart in this subject. Who are you in your community?
This is just one story from our first conference, and I could share so many more. Thank you for everyone praying, God has been exceedingly generous in His power and favor.