Written by Peggy Scudiere
Down a Sunny Dirt Road…..
Muraho! (Hello!) from Batima, Rwanda! Today Christina and I were so blessed to have the opportunity
to meet with 25 women from this village at Pastor Nicodeme and wife, Therese’s, church. It is a lengthy
drive from Kigali, but one filled with the busy-ness of the city and the beauty of the countryside. We are
here during the rainy season and saw the Gweru River higher than we’ve ever seen, with a muddy,
rushing current, swirling crazily in small whirlpools in many spots. Beautiful yellow-blossomed trees line
the road in the town of Nyamata, one of the towns that house a memorial to the Genocide. Men and
women have all manner of animals tied on their bikes and goods balanced on their heads for the long
distance to the market.
Finally, we entered Batima, and down a sunny dirt road drove up to Pastor Nicodeme’s church. As we
got closer we could hear the women awaiting us, joyfully singing their praises to God. When we walk in,
the dancing begins! This must be what heaven is like! When they finish, the introductions begin. Right
from the start, Christina and I can feel their love and excitement to see us. Pr. Theophile’s wife, Miriam,
gestures to each of us asking them “Who is this?” and they joyfully cry out “Christina!”, “Peggy!”. Who
needs any more introduction? But they continue to thank us for loving them, taking the time to come
visit them, and be their friends and teachers.
I began with telling them the lifestory of Paul’s dear friends, Aquila and Priscilla. They were a husband
and wife ministry team who were very influential in the early Church in Corinth and Ephesus, and in at
one point in Rome somehow saved Paul’s life to continue his work there. These were ordinary people,
but faithful and obedient to act on what they had, that God used extraordinarily.
After a delicious and generous lunch, Christina spoke powerfully to them with a teaching on forgiveness
from Luke 7, reminding them God’s Word is loving and alive, a series of stories of a loving, gracious,
forgiving God. Their eyes were glued to Christina, as she demonstrated what is must have been like to
see a reclining Jesus dining at the Pharisee’s home, when a woman of ill-repute came in and, weeping,
began to wipe his feet with her hair and then anoint them with oil. A powerful witness of forgiveness
for someone just like us, who doesn’t deserve it. And soon our Rwandese sisters were weeping,
challenged to begin prayers to be able to forgive those who have hurt them and sharing their own life
stories of hurt and forgiveness. One such woman’s response was: “It has been hard for me to live in
harmony with those who hurt me. I have been carrying on as though nothing was wrong, pretending
that there was peace between us. But now because of Christina’s teaching, I have learned I can forgive
them, and we will have real peace.”
After this, and many heartfelt responses, we parted ways with these dear sisters the way we began,
joyfully raising praises to our Heavenly Father, so thankful for His presence and precious, tireless work in
the lives of His children everywhere in His creation. And back down the sunny dirt road to Kigali. Amen.