We’re back.  We arrived Monday night, clearing customs in Boston just before 8PM after close to 29 hours of travel that saw us go from Kigali to Entebbe to Istanbul to Boston.   The trip went smoothly, but that didn’t mean the Good Rain ’18 team wasn’t exhausted.  They were a great group to travel with, and just as good to serve with.  One of the observations that hit me I have traveled to Rwanda as a part of a team every year since 2010.  I have made a total of 10 trips.  Once I traveled by myself…due to a change in plans due to my Mom’s death.  In all those trips, with all the different and adventurous personalities that have participated, there has never been a moment of personal conflict.  And that is saying something.  In a mission project, especially in Africa, plans change, adjustments are demanded, options are often limited, so it would be easy for folks to get frustrated.  Hasn’t happened.  That’s a big testimony to the spiritual maturity and quality of people God and you have sent.  I salute them.  They make me as the team leader look good way beyond what I deserve.  I am grateful to and for each person who has ever participated in a Good Rain project.

Another insight came to me during the long trip home, in one of the moments when you aren’t really awake but you are not really asleep either.  The insight in many ways isn’t all that huge, but it really can be powerful.  Great impact takes time.  God usually works His great plans over time, a lesson clearly learned from Exodus.  It is just 40 chapters, a 60-90 minute read for us, but covering 500 years in Israelite history.  The change…from refugee’s to slaves to God’s covenant people, redeemed by His mighty hand.  As I though of Good Rain, you can also see that great things take time, even when God is doing miracles.  The 8 installments of Good Rain haven’t witnessed anything miraculously dramatic in any one particular year.  But when you look back to Day One of 2011 and Day 14 of 2018 the difference is startling.  From a desperate group of discouraged, fairly hopeless Pastors to a network working a plan to impact their nation, sharing with other Pastors what they have had invested in them,  the transformation is dramatic.  It served as a great reminder and encouragement to keep on plugging, because over time spiritual growth will produce great fruit.

Among the many other thoughts rattling around in my mind, the dominate one is this:  One of God’s greatest blessings is to be a blessing.  Unpacked it looks like this.  We travel to Rwanda and teach a group of 60 pastors, poor by any earthly measure.  We provide new shirts for the men, fabric and tailoring money for the women, rice for their families, reading glasses, study bibles for those that still need one, solar systems for in-home lights for the many who don’t have electricity, school scholarships for 1/3 of them, and of course 8- hours of bible teaching, the product of hours and hours of preparation.  Indeed, though the generosity and faithful service of others, these 60 Pastors and their families are blessed and in many cases the envy of their villages.   But when you climb into bed exhausted after more than a full day of travel, you feel like the one who has been blessed.  And I think to myself, isn’t it just like God to turn our “task” into the source of some of His greatest blessings.  Serving is indeed one of the surest ways to get blessed.

Thanks to all who made Good Rain possible by your sacrificial gifts, faithful prayers and to the team, their dedicated, gracious service.  The churches of Rwanda thank you.  I thank you. Neal