“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” (Isaiah 43:18-19)
Jim Elliot famously said, “Wherever you are, be all there!”
Each one of us has our own opportunity during this crisis right where we are. Will we complain about the past, the “former things?” Will we be overcome with anxiety about the future? Or will we be be fully present in the NOW? God is doing a new thing in our world—let’s embrace it!
My friend Chris was grateful to be able to serve in Rwanda last year. He jumped right in wherever needed. He completed maintenance projects, hung out with staff and encouraged our students. He was a blessing to many!
Of course, that isn’t surprising. Chris is a blessing to many in Denver as well. He loves Jesus and he loves serving people. When I talked to Chris about his journey, he shared a couple of insights I wanted to share with you:
- Serving others keeps us “grounded.” I love how Chris used that word. He said that serving those in need, whether in Denver or in Rwanda, helps him stay focused on what really matters in life.
- Serving does not require travel. You don’t need to go far to serve. Even though we love hosting people at Hope Haven Rwanda, we also know that God calls all of us to serve right where we are.
Maybe this season is a unique time to think about how you can serve your neighbor—literally. Maybe your church is offering ways to serve. I heard about a school in Denver that allowed their students to have a day off of coursework so that they could serve—fantastic!
This is an unprecedented time in our history. It is also a prime opportunity to rethink the way we choose to live when things are “normal.”
Just this week, Hope Haven Rwanda chose to cancel our summer mission trips for 2020. This is not what any of us expected, or wanted, but we trust that God is in control.
Here are some of the factors which led us to make this very difficult decision:
- The Kigali Airport is closed to all flights for the foreseeable future
- There is a strictly enforced 14-day quarantine for all visitors
- All schools are closed until September 2020
- We don’t want to risk infecting anyone in our Rwandan community
The Government of Rwanda is taking this pandemic very seriously, and doing a great job of keeping it contained within the country. It is impossible to predict how, or when, things will return to “normal.” Since we are so close to travel dates, we knew that we needed to make a formal decision so that everyone could adjust their plans.
We hope and pray that we can resume normal operations soon. In the meantime, we wait, we trust and we serve where we are. As Jim said, “Wherever you are, be all there!”
FYI: We are posting regular updates about what is happening on the ground in Rwanda here: www.HopeHavenRwanda.org/Pandemic