On Friday 31st October, I drove to Rostrevor in Co. Down with Marlyn. We were going to a team training event organised by CMS Ireland for people intending to go on a mission experience team abroad (META). The intention was to discover whether or not we would join a team going to Shyogwe Diocese in Rwanda in late July/early August next year.

When we arrived, we met with about 60 other people who will be going on teams to Nepal, Burundi, South Sudan, Kenya, Uganda, DR Congo and of course Rwanda. I must confess we were a bit apprehensive before we went, not being sure what to expect. It had all happened quite quickly! But within about 5 minutes of arriving, I felt totally at ease and excited. The enthusiasm of everyone else, along with the organisation of the weekend gave us confidence to commit ourselves to the team. We will be part of a team of seven, three from St. Donard’s in Belfast, one from St. Mark’s Armagh, the team leader from CMS Ireland and ourselves.

The purpose of the trip will be to experience life and work in Shyogwe, to learn more about the culture and to offer ourselves to help in any way we can. Further down the line, we hope our experience will help inspire and challenge others from our Parish to come to Rwanda in 2016 or 2017.

I believe that our lives will be changed as we encounter a totally different way of life among people who have few material things but are our brothers and sisters in Christ. We will worship with them, work with them and learn from them. Our partnership with Shyogwe diocese means that together we can all learn and experience new things. It will be difficult, but I pray it will also be rewarding and challenging.

Please remember us in your prayers as we attend training events and meet with our team. Later we will be organising some fundraisers, getting our vaccinations and discovering what exactly we will be doing in Rwanda. Our hope is that we as a Parish will grow in our understanding of life in Rwanda and be enthused by learning about fellow Christians in a totally different culture to ours. Who knows, some of you reading this may be challenged to join a team from the Parish! May our God bless you as you consider how best to continue to serve him and share his love with our neighbour – either here in N. Ireland or wherever he may call us.

God bless,