I was honored to interview Jake Patterson and Jackson Farmar during their recent adventures in Rwanda. These two men come back again and again to serve at Hope Haven Rwanda. Along with their friend Blythe, who joined them this time for another round of service herself, they are known for their love for our families and students. After school, they can usually be found racing around the playground with long lines of kids chasing after them, craving some of the affection and joy they so freely share. They also take the time to sit with students, listening to them, and demonstrating genuine interest in their lives.
When I asked them how God impacted their most recent visit, Jake said, “I think the biggest thing is that reminder of just settling in to where God has you in life. It’s uncomfortable to come all the way across the world to Africa, and to talk with a lot of people, and all this, but kind of settling in and leaning back into that and recognizing that He kind of works through those things.” It is true that when we are disrupted, we grow. How can we learn to settle in to wherever God is calling us?
Jackson shared that it’s all about healthy relationships. These guys remind me of the letter to the church at Ephesus, where we read: “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love” (Ephesians 4:2). Jackson said, “To be able to come back and have kids remember who you are and to just be able to sit with them, and not feel like you have to do anything to prove any kind of relationship, or friendship, is huge. To sit back and to be in authentic friendship.”
They also talked about the theme of “light.” Light is used throughout Scripture to indicate God’s presence and direction. During their time in Rwanda, they reflected on “being light” and “feeling light,” not only from the kids, but from their families as well. During this Thanksgiving season, I am especially grateful to call men like Jackson and Jake my friends, and to join them in resting in healthy relationships. God made us to serve alongside each other and we can learn a lot from their example of authentic friendship and practical service to whoever comes across their paths!