“Guhindurwa n’Amakuba” or “Transformed by Trouble”-this is the subject I preached on last Sunday at the healing service, taking the idea, and much of the text from Rick Warren’s Purpose Driven Life, which has been translated into Kinyarwanda. (In fact, the whole country was supposed to read this book this past spring; our church and hospital staff went through it-for the second time-with a lot of positive results). We have Healing Service twice a month on Sunday afternoon for the patients and their caregivers.
I thought this was a good subject for a couple of reasons-Rwanda is really a country that has been transformed by troubles-most notably by the war and genocide in 1994. It really “hit bottom” and now everyone, no matter which people group, wants to build up Rwanda into a peaceful and prosperous country. Secondly, on a more personal level, patients at the hospital by and large, have more troubles than the average Rwandan. For one thing, they’re sick; secondly if they’re sick, they’re more likely to be poor (poverty and sickness are strongly linked); thirdly, if they’re in the hospital, they’re more likely to be HIV positive or have another chronic disease. I used a demonstration to help make my point: I showed some milk in a jar (I have to confess that I did use cream) and then proceeded to shake it, telling them that signified the troubles of life-how we feel shaken and tossed and turned. Then I let Caleb take over, and he continued to shake and shake and shake while I gave the sermon (Matthias Kohls also helped out). A large part of the sermon was on Romans 8:28-29; I also used one of my favorite verses: 2 Corinthians 4:17. Finally, I ended with Romans 5: 3-5: No only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance character, and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. Then people came forward for prayer and we sang some some hymns; in the meantime we were fervently checking the milk to see if there was any change; I was a little nervous, as the milk had not been cooled (see “We Lost our Fridge Today.”) At the end of the service, low and behold, we had butter. Everyone seemed quite interested and Mary Buckler, one or our visitors, walked around and showed people. I reiterated the point that God could bring good out of misfortune. Of course, I always feel a little inadequate talking about misfortune to people who have had so much difficulty in their lives. Nevertheless, as I told them, even my life, which seems to be trouble-free has had its difficulties (loss of my mother at a young age, for example).
After the Healing Service, we came home, had supper-soup,which is what we have almost every Sunday night, and cornbread, with, what else-freshly made butter.