Visit to Kayenzi

Trip Start Mar 26, 2012
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Trip End Apr 29, 2012


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Where I stayed
Chez Lando

Flag of Rwanda  , Northern Province,
Sunday, April 15, 2012

Today our schedule called for us to drive up to Kayenzi to visit Mr. Mrs. Mundeli in their home. It was an easier morning after the last two, over-full days. We had a leisurely breakfast, including bread, butter and Rwandan honey (which has a strong but pleasant taste), and enjoyed the extra time we had. Samuel was ready to go at 10:00, and we started out under cloudy skies, pregnant with rain. The streets of Kigali were full of people, though a little less than usual since it was Sunday.

After a brief stop to pick up Patrick we headed on up the road that leads north to Ruhengeri, Uganda and the Congo at Goma. About half an hour out of Kigali we turned off the paved road onto dirt. By this time it was raining lightly. The road was reasonably good, but there were very bad sections. The scenery, the verdant hills of Rwanda, was breathtakingly beautiful as always.

After nearly an hour on the dirt road, we arrived in a village whose nanme I can't remember where I recognized the turn toward Remera where the Mundelis lived for 30 years or more, and that I have visited many times. Instead of taking that turn, we continued on toward Kayenzi, where we arrived 15 or 20 minutes later. The rain was still light.

The Mundelis welcomed us into their family home, which had belonged to Mr. Mundeli’s father and where they had started out their married life. They were thrilled to welcome Mr. Franks, our church president to their home. They offered us a soft drink as we sat in the living room and we talked. I ask Mr. Mrs. Mundeli to explain how they came to be here, and about their history in our church. About this time it began to rain hard and steady.

Mr. Mundeli explained that he had heard a church radio broadcast in French while he was at university in Brussels in the 1970s. He began receiving printed publications, and continued receiving them after he returned to Rwanda where he met his future wife and later married. After some years they requested a visit from a minister and were eventually baptized, the first to reach this step in Rwanda. Other came into contact with them either through their example or through a referral from the pastor in charge. They have been in integral part of the history of the Church of God in Rwanda, as they are to this day.

They asked Mr. Franks about his story, and he was happy to explain. He learned about poverty and hard work during his youth in a family of share-croppers in Arkansas. The Mundelis were fascinated to hear this story. Africans don’t often think there can be challenging circumstances in the United States, which seems to them to be a sort of earthly paradise where all is perfect or nearly so.

We spent two engaging hours talking about all these things and many more. One encouraging point mentioned was that there are more people now attending Church of God services in Rwanda than at any time in the past. In many other areas of the world numbers are smaller now that at the peak, but not in Rwanda.

We took so photos to help us remember the occasion. The Mundelis expressed heartfelt thanks Mr. Franks for coming all the way to their home. Mr. Mundeli shared a Rwanda proverb to the effect that travel must come from the heart, in other words we don’t disturb ourselves to strenuous travel unless the goal is deeply important to us. They thanked him for showing his concern and love for them by making the long trip; the first time ever that an association president has come to Rwanda and what is more all the way to their home.

We decided to head back to Kigali under a driving rain. Mrs. Mundeli rode with us; her husband would follow in a bush taxi. They will be spending the night in Kigali so that they can accompany us early tomorrow morning on one of the most amazing experiences one can have in the world at this time.

Mr. Franks and I had dinner at a pleasant Italian restaurant called Sole Luna, a short walk from Chez Lando. The pizzas are excellent and the view of the night lights of Kigali is quite beautiful. 

We will go to bed early and hoping to sleep as well as possible, trying not to dwell on what we’ll be doing tomorrow, when, God willing, all four of us will travel north to the Volcanoes National Park and hike up the forested mountains to the domain of the elusive and endangered mountain gorilla.
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Comments

Tess Washington on

Looking forward to the blog about your visit to the Volcanoes National Park! Great to read about Mr. & Mrs. Mundeli's history as well as Mr. Franks' history! God truly calls people whom He desires to be in His Body now from different nations! And we all belong to a nation that God describes as holy! I am glad that you have some pleasant time with our brethrens inspite of the lengthy drive, nerve-wracking road conditions but at times hilarious and rainy weather! Thank you Mr. Meeker...I enjoy reading about your trip...I share all these materials with my husband and a good friend of ours who has no home computer.

Rebecca Keener on

Love reading these! Everyone at church looks forward to welcoming you back to Cincinnati safely! You and the brethren there are in our thoughts and prayers.

maryhendren
maryhendren on

Hi Joel,

Thanks so much for the words and the photos. The proverb that Mr. Mundeli mentioned describes the trips that you, Mr. Franks and many of God's ministers make to bring truth and hope. Taking the proverb a little further, we don't disturb ourselves about anything unless it is important. It's good to be reminded of this. As readers we learn from the wisdom of our brethren.

Regards,
Mary

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