The air-con hummed all night; Wakey had pleaded for a low setting. The ceiling fan that I put on to deter any mosquitoes, blew the cold air through my single sheet. For the first time we weren’t using nets. So I wasn’t surprised that I woke early. I crept out onto the balcony, hoping for a refreshing early morning, as we’d enjoyed in Cuttack last November. No, it was already hot.
Over breakfast in the restaurant, Rukundo revealed yet another ministry challenge. His radio programmes had seen groups coming together over a wide range of Rwanda, Burundi and Congo. “Brother, I cannot get to see them all; what should I do?” he pleaded. “They want to know how to be church.”
We kicked around the proposition of launching cell-sized disciple groups at his church. Once prototyped, this would feed back into better close relationships in the community, and be a model for these wider emerging groups. Rukundo went off to pray about it.
The two local guys, Ps Jacob and Luvanda, arrived. “How much did Stephen explain about Multiply?” I opened. “He explained nothing at all.” “Well, we’d better start by attempting that.” “No, you must wait until tomorrow.” Sigh. I felt like packing up and moving out of town. We handed over $600 for catering plus contingency, and $100 for phone credit and taxis. We fixed to meet at 7.00pm, and then 8.30am for church tomorrow, and they left for other appointments.
Now we had a problem. To get some currency changed, we’d need to take a taxi or bus, but we had nothing to pay fares with. Rukundo wandered outside, then beckoned for us. He’d negotiated a taxi for Tsh5,000, and the driver would wait until we could pay. The familiar Shoprite sign spread over the entrance to the mall. “Africa’s favourite supermarket,” I commented. “The one in Livingstone played praise and worship over the system.” I changed my common purse float, to preserve our dwindling reserve of dollars. We bought some apples and bottled water, and sauntered around.
“Hey, you guys. We saw your cross. R’you missionaries?” The big man held out his hand. At this point I need to try to explain about Wakey and Americans. He likes them. Or, until coming here, he did. We’d even had a bit of ‘an exchange’ about it in some early conversation. But Joyce Meyer whining on in Carlson’s car (“Radio 318”), hearing first-hand that some US ministries sell bottled water for $35 ‘to solve all your problems’, and witnessing a group being loudly rude at Kigali airport, had dinted his predisposition. He’d even voiced this on the plane yesterday, only to discover that the four rows in front of us were occupied by Americans.
A little guy, not unlike Colonel Sanders, stepped forward and, hearing he was from Rwanda, engaged Rukundo in Congolese. Big Guy enthused about a Jesus thing happening right here in the mall. Okay, so their genuineness was attractive. But more to the point, they were here to set up a whole week of conferences for pastors, ending with a free stadium celebration in preparation for some ‘whole city’ evangelism later in the year. “Tell your guys on Monday,” they pressed. Hmm. If any turn up, with this kind of competition. Wakey sneaked his email address to the young guy in the group.
Now we had a free afternoon. Rukundo was wisely going to take things easy, his endless normal demands being half a continent away. Wakey spoke to Jason and Jonny again, then slept over his Kindle. I knocked out some blogs. I tried out the cotton Rwandan bottoms that Erika had presented as a parting gift. Then we had a power cut. A generator clattered into life. The air-con didn’t respond to Wakey’s attempts to restart it. I think he may feel a bit guilty that it’s been on all the time. For the third time, the wireless connection in reception wasn’t working. I only got a mobile signal in the taxi last night for long enough to load the 151 unread messages I’d had to skip in Nairobi. After that: nothing. And I’d promised Huw some pictures for Heart.
Seven o’clock found us waiting. Jacob phoned to say he was held up, so we ordered some dinner. While we waited Pastor Luvanda appeared. He, too had been busy. We agreed a few more arrangements for tomorrow’s church and he left. Jonny and Jason rang to say they’d both been co-opted to take meetings, too. Dinner took ages, but resulted in all agreeing that we must speak about the Two Kingdoms on Monday. My chin flopped onto my chest. Remembering the chastising mental voices in Rwanda, I wondered what we may just stir up here, a country we had no first-hand knowledge about. So with preparation to do, we all headed to our rooms and got to bed a bit earlier.