~ ~ where some see a hopeless end, others see an endless hope ~ ~

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

HOPE. IT CONQUERS: #3: The Universal Language(s)

 #3:  The Universal Language(s)

It was one of those defining “God” moments for me.  Those times when you feel Him just flick you right in the forehead and remind you, yet again… That HE’S GOT THIS.

This one… like many others, came to me when I was least expecting it and about took me off my rocker.  (Well… more like, bench.  Fragile, crickety, little, wood bench.  It ‘bout knocked me off my bench). . .

So, how do I wrap up all these feelings in one blog?  ….. Ya’ll know me well enough now, come on.  I don’t.  … :)

 #3: The Universal Language(s)
- Part A -  

After an amazing morning at the Best Family, we loaded up and headed out on our 3 hour trek to Gisenyi.  Now, if THAT trip wasn’t a God moment in itself…I’m not sure what is.  The landscape.  The breathtaking greens.  The thick and lush fields, flowering and cascading over the hillsides.  Waterfalls.  Tilapia ponds.  Brick-making factories.  Hills and hills and fields and mountains and hills and hills and fields.  There is nothing like it on all the earth.  Everyone walking.  Everyone talking.  Everyone scurrying about their business, something on their back, carrying something on their head.  Nowhere to really go, but always something to do.

And then?  Even beyond that?  There’s Imbabazi.

 "In the aftermath of the 1994 Rwanda genocide, Roz Carr, an American woman who had lived in Rwanda since 1949, converted an old pyrethrum drying house on her property into a shelter for lost and orphaned children. The orphanage is called Imbabazi, which in Kinyarwanda means “a place where you will receive all the love and care a mother would give.”  Since it opened its doors in December 1994, Roz and her staff have cared for more than 400 children..currently home to 110 Rwandan orphans.  In 1998, due to renewed ethnic violence, Roz was forced to leave her home and relocate the children to the nearby town of Gisenyi, where they remained for seven years, moving from one location to another. The last years of Roz’s life were devoted to creating a permanent home for the children at Mugongo, her flower farm, in the foothills of the Virunga volcanoes. The new complex consists of four large dormitories, a dining and recreation hall, kitchen, classroom, offices, bathing and latrine facilities, and a clinic and infirmary. In November 2005, Roz and the children returned to Mugongo and settled into their new, permanent home-- a haven of love and safety and a symbol of hope for all”  (excerpt from the website)

We had been readily preparing ourselves for these children, as we were told they weren’t as ‘needy’.  Not as demanding.  Didn’t necessarily want to interact with visitors.  A bit of a “tough crowd”, puts up a front per say….

mmmHmmm….. RIGHT.

Within thirty minutes, With the help of a little Bryan Adams, Justin Beiber, a few instruments, a few worship song invitations and instruction, We opened those gates.  the flood gates. These “hard” kids were laughing, jumping, shrieking in joy, hugging, dancing, high-fiving…. 

Your typical teenager if you ask me...

A little room, placed right in the center… right in the heart of the whole plantation, FILLED with the sound of music.  Music.  No one knew what they were singing, and they didn’t know what we were singing.  But it rang.  It echoed throughout the orphanage.  The sounds of joy.  The sounds of love.  The sounds of life.  The sounds of hope.

I distinctively remember three vivid moments that made it clear to me why we were supposed to be there.

As a group of us were jumpin up and down on stage, singin, dancin, and havin a good ‘ole time, I looked beyond the happy chaos to the back of the room.  No one around.  No other instruments.  Nothing but a couple desks, lit only from the sunbeams through the window, our team member Jacob and our little buddy (of course I can’t spell his name, so we’ll just say Jeffrey).  Jeffrey was our talented guitarist in the group of kids and Jacob was one of our worship leaders.  The moment caught me off guard because of the sweetness of it.  Jacob was teaching Jeffrey how to play guitar to one of our American songs.  And Jeffrey was taking EVERY moment of it in, deep.  You could see it radiate in his eyes.  Through his heart.  He was soaking in every detail, every word, every chord, every strum and lyric.  It was just such a raw moment, so pure and yet so full of life.  No worries about what was going on around them.  No worries about anything, really.  Just being in that moment…

And then there was a moment when a group of us were out playing football (yes, actually American football) and I heard through the doors, the echo of the most beautiful song.  Not wanting to miss even one moment, I took off towards the music room.  And there again, our team members Jacob, Cameron, and Jacque were sitting with a handful of kids going over lyric by lyric, note by note.  A couple girls getting up to dance.  Jeffrey soaking in every piece of the song…  They were singing “There’s no place I’d rather be…”  And I was confirming…there’s no place I’d rather be.

And then I was forever wrecked when the girls invited me into their dorm to show me around.  We had a great time hanging out, but what broke me was when they started singing to me.  They were so proud to share with me their native culture… but then.  As the Lord would have it with those sweet little kisses every now and again, the girls started singing, “You are my Sunshine.” . . .

and for those that know me, and remember me saying I’m a Daddy’s girl…. well.  This was his lullaby to US girls growing up…  This was one way he said, “I love you.”  And now, a world away, when these girls found out how special it was to me, they were so proud to be sharing the same tribute.

You see… these moments might seem like nothing to the average heart.   May seem like such minor moments on a trip when there was so many other things that could have played into my “Hope Conquers” theories and experiences.

But you see, it was two moments when that was all there was.  Music.  and Hope.

Nothing else needed.  Nothing else wanted.

You see.  When I look back at Imbabazi Orphanage, it was these moments that didn’t need anything else and yet have been permanently etched into my heart.  The language barrier.  The stand-off'ish facade.  The wall that was built up-- immediately torn down with something as simple as music.

You see… we started those relationships through music.  And we polished those relationships with music.  And we broke any barriers with music.

We all connected by music.

So when another team member Kassie said, “It’s Music.  MUSIC is the universal language ! “… no one argued.

Hope. It Conquers
 #3: The Universal Language


“Rwanda is my home, and it is here that I intend to spend the rest of my days. Its beauty is my inspiration. Its struggles have been my struggles. Its grief has been my deepest sorrow. Its people are my strength, and its children are my greatest joy.” ~Rosamond Carr, excerpt from Land of a Thousand Hills