RW/ “Sunday in Rwanda”
God Gold of the Day
17 “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”
– 2 Corinthians 3:17
“God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.“
-1 Corinthians 1:9
The day is Sunday. You wake up to your freshly brewed, delicious Rwanda coffee that gives you the extra jolt you need to wake up the senses. In the air you can hear it, feel it, WORSHIP! Honestly it never mattered where we stayed on these trips, and even on days other than Sunday, you could hear the sounds of worship coming from local churches around you. Out of all the lessons I learned in Rwanda, going to Sunday services in some of the local churches brought such a huge blessing to my life.
Being at the place I was in my life, new to my faith on the first trip and still learning on the second one, I picked up a lot about what “worship” and really what “CHURCH’ is all about while in Rwanda. I’ve grown up in church, I’ve been to A LOT of different services at a lot of different places but church in Rwanda, man it takes the cake! Walking into the first ones, I had no idea how they worshiped or what to expect but before even entering into the church, like I metioned about many of the local churches there, it’s LOUD! Services are filled with praise from beginning to end! Music and dancing are a big part of the culture there in Rwanda so seeing music played in a way I’ve never heard it and seeing different age groups of people doing prepared dances was different but it didn’t take me long to join in myself.
The first service we went to on my first trip, I remember them saying that we were going to be a couple of hours late. I was thinking, “what? We’re going to miss the whole service?” But as we arrived and then got done at church TWO HOURS later, I realized how real Sunday’s are for people in Rwanda. I’m used to a good 20 minutes of worship and 35-45 minutes of preaching then it’s time for Sunday lunch but people in Rwanda do it different and after sitting through another service that lasted 3 or so hours, I had some big realizations come up. Yeah, the communities there don’t have a whole lot else going on so Sunday service is a special time but it got me thinking, “isn’t God worthy of all the praise? Isn’t God, the One who gives us life and abundant LIFE through His Son Jesus Christ, isn’t He worth not just an hour of our Sunday’s or whatever time we want to give up, isn’t God worth it all, all day long, praising and rejoicing Him for all He has done for us and continues to do?” It doesn’t matter how long your church service is, I’m just pointing the lesson learned from their example that church has no time limit because praising and learning more about God has no time limit!
Rwandan church, MAN!!!! They had some CHURCH!!! Besides the preaching and change over to music, which often had dancers involved also. This is a piece of a God Gold I had written after coming back from that first trip;
” I have always looked at God’s Word and my personal relationship with Him as some detailed formula I’ve got to figure out and in Rwanda I was brought back to the basics of just how simple it all really is. Visiting homes of people in poverty, living lives of a day in and day out grind to find food for their kids but they had the biggest smiles I’ve ever seen and were so proud of what little they had. The church services I went to in buildings with lawn chairs for seats, dirt floors, no big building or fancy equipment but those people worshipped at a level I’ve never seen! Dancing, singing and praising the Lord with the little they had.”
These churches didn’t have all the fancy and nice things I’m used to in America but I noticed such a big lesson in their lack, they worshiped and praised God more in His abundance! We can so easily get caught up in having “state of the art” equipment, the nicest this and nicest that with good intentions and I’m not saying anything is wrong with the church building being nice or having awesome equipment because both can help in praising God even more. All I’m saying is from these services where they didn’t have much but just enough to make music, speakers and microphones, sometimes not even that. Less “stuff” seemed like it brought less distractions. Where in some cases “stuff” and nice things, can have good intentions, it can also end up being worshiped more than the God that it is supposed to be worshiping. With less, you could see the people’s focus was solely on God, who He is and the provision, love and joy He brings to their lives!
In each service, no matter where it was, I felt God moving like never before. I have heard people say, “the Spirit was thick in there.” But I never really understood it until walking out of Rwandan church saying with my southern twang accent, “THE SPIRIT WAS THICK IN THAT SERVICE!” You could just feel the Spirit in the air, although without some parts being translated, and not being able to understand what the preacher was saying in his sermon, it was still doing a work on my heart just from watching the people’s responses to God’s Word. The shouts of praise and hands lifted high in complete dependence on the Lord. After seeing their living situations throughout the week, knowing the desperate need they were in, the reason behind their joy and peace was seen on Sunday, it was God. These people had little, but they had God so they had more than enough!
And the last big lesson from my time in church services over there was the FREEDOM found during each service. We hear it preached over and over again about the FREEDOM we have in Christ, but it was easy to see that these people believed it and worshiped in it. For the longest time and still today I worship with eyes in the back of my head. I catch myself not fully worshiping God in the freedom from cares of what everyone else around me will think if I yell out, raise my hand, sit down and pray. It’s easy to get caught up in what Sally Joe might think two rows over about your worship but how does Sally Joe, her opinions or thoughts come close to comparing with the almighty and awesome God we serve. I still struggle with this, caring more of others opinions, staying tied up in worship although on the inside I’m going NUTS!!! Seeing the way people worshiped in Rwanda was complete freedom from everything of the world including Sally Joe or anyone else. Of course they were traditionally more outward in expressing their worship but it wasn’t what they did, it was the FREEDOM in which they did it. Praising God for hours on end with all they had! In one service which I’ll definitely post a video to below, some singers were singing and you could just feel God’s Spirit moving in that place. Worship was taking place at levels I’ve never seen before, all of the sudden, a yell comes up from the back and before I know it, myself and my cousin’s husband RC are right in the middle of this frenzy that had broken out! Praising God, dancing, yells of HALLELUJAH!!! It was honestly like anything I’ve ever experienced! I learned so much about how God moves and works through those services with the biggest lessons being;
1. Worship is between you and the Lord, no things or nobody else, just you and the Lord.
2. “Church”/ Sunday services are rooted and focused on worshiping God, however long that ends up being or how you feel about it, it doesn’t matter. Praising the God who has shown unlimited love and grace for us is unlimited!
3. Worship in FREEDOM!!! The FREEDOM God has given you! Free of any cares about others, what they may think, just worship God however you feel led! He’s a God worth getting excited and dancing about!
Worship God today! In whatever way that looks like, just worship and praise Him for who He is, His faithfulness and all He has brought to our lives! You may have nothing, or you may have a whole lot of bad going on but you have God and God has you, so you have everything with Him!!!! Praise God!!!!!
I’m going to be sharing videos and photos from “Sunday’s in Rwanda” through the God Gold of the Day FaceBook page a little later on today with you to give you a view of what this WORSHIP was like! Stay tuned! RWANDA WEEK still has much more to go!