Almost a month ago we set out on a journey. To go to the PEAR inaugural assembly in Denver, Colorado. I was excited about going, not excited about leaving Eleonore for a few days, but heck, when she’s with Nana and Papa, I think she forgets she who gave birth to her (me, in case you forgot).
What’s a queasy pregnant lady to do?
No amount of crappy skymall imaginative purchases of fake fireplaces, change counters that recite the constitution, and steps for Luci up to our bed was going to make this better, (and it normally does).
What followed that evening was fellowship, worship, and the ordination of our new Bishop, Steve Breedlove.
Now, for those of you who have ever been a part of a conference, or assembly, you are thinking “OK, big whoop, sounds pretty normal.” But what came through again, and again, and again, and just when you didn’t think it could hit you in the head again, you heard it again.
“We have a Gospel Imperative. None other.” And even here you might be thinking this is normal Christianese jargon.
But when you are told this, by your Rwandan Bishops it’s different. When you are told this by people who survived the genocide, who saw people they love not survive, and actively forgive those who killed family members and friends, it becomes a little more real. It becomes a lot more jarring, and begins to materialize for you in your mind and soul in the way I think the Gospel is supposed to jar your mind, jar your body, jar your soul.
When your leaders have you sit around around table and pray for one another for 30+ minutes before we even get started with anything else, you see priorities put in place by those that are your leaders.
How life giving.
There is this beautiful non-profit, Land of A Thousand Hills, thats make quite delicious coffee, and partner with so many PEAR churches.
Their story is something that spurned out of a Gospel imperative to react to what the world so sinfully ignored in the Rwandan Genocide.
This video does a beautiful job of explaining why I feel it such a privilege to be partnered with Rwanda as a church. That my Arch-Bishop comes from Rwanda. Because even a video can feel disconnected, you can walk away from the video, you can forget the video. You can’t forget this when someone (Bishop Mbanda) looks you in the eyes who met you and your husband once a year ago and says “How are you, how is the church plant in Bloomington?” Who encourages you and uplifts you in your ministry who experienced this, and who has forgiven (and continues actively to) like this, and who has lived this.
Now that I know, now that I have experienced this Gospel imperative in such a real way, how could I ever look back?
peace to you,
(more to come about the adventure later this week).
(for more information on PEARUSA, click here. For more information on Land of a Thousand Hills, click here.)