Two years ago I declared the major Intercultural Communication. With that major I was required to either study abroad or do a summer immersion experience. I decided early on that I would rather spend a summer serving in another culture rather than spend a semester being a student in an English-speaking country. I had to interview missionaries for a class project around that same time and chose to interview two missionaries from my home church that were serving with Rafiki at the Rafiki Village Rwanda. After talking to them, I started to feel like God might be laying it on my heart to serve in Rwanda for my immersion credit. The more I thought and prayed about it, the more it became clear to me that this was what I was meant to do with my last summer in college. My sister has always wanted to do missions, and I have never been sure about what I was meant to do with my life, so I was also hoping that this practical missions experience would give me a better understanding of missionary life.
Everything seemed to come together perfectly for my trip, and before I knew it, I was flying to Rwanda in early May! I had planned my trip to be almost ten weeks so that I would have plenty of time to interact with the African culture. My first few days in Rwanda are a little hazy because of jet lag, but very soon after arriving, I knew I would grow to love the little Village. Rafiki Village Rwanda only had thirty-three children and five Rafiki Mothers, so I grew very close to them very quickly. I looked forward to all my meals with them and especially play time which always seemed to end too soon. I started picking up little Kinyarwanda phrases and always got laughed at when I tried to use them instead of English, but I didn't mind.
Staying for almost the whole summer was very bittersweet. I wouldn't recommend anything else because it was such a blessing to form relationships with all the children, mothers, and Rafiki Missionaries; however, it was terribly difficult to leave. I miss holding their little hands on the way to dinner and seeing their excited faces every morning when I walked down the hill for school. I hated saying goodbye and dreaded giving them all one last hug.
What started out as a missions trip for my degree turned into the best summer of my life. My heart was changed in a way that is hard to describe. I have never felt so burdened for a people, and especially children, before my time in Rwanda. I think of them every day and go through my pictures almost as frequently. Although I do not know what God has planned for my life, I truly believe one day I will be back in Rwanda. I cannot say enough how much I recommend a MiniMissions trip. If you are given the opportunity, make every moment last because it will be over before you know it.
© 2017 Rafiki Foundation, Inc., All Rights Reserved