I am home now from Rwanda. The flight was loooong and jet lag is winning, but I’m trying to get back into regular life and this blog post is attempt no. 1.
How do you share all that was experienced? There are no words. We had three talented photographers with us to capture the trip in images and I can’t wait to show you them. For now, I’ll just wrap things all up with my current thoughts as prompted by a blog post series I call currently. (here are a few previous versions, if you’re interested). Here it goes …
LOVING // The girls I traveled with. I mean, could you get a more talented, driven, beautiful group of women?
These women are passionate, kind, funny (so funny) and it made our time extra amazing to have each other to share life with. Paige, Jan, Jennie, Wynne, Raechel, Jessica, Jen, Melissa, Meredith & Kelle – you are the best.
READING // The new Justice study starts today on She Reads Truth (a bible study app that I adore). I’m excited to begin to dig in deeper to learn what the Bible has to say about justice. It is a word with sort of a harsh connotation, so it will be good to get a new perspective in light of our work last week exposing us to injustices beyond thinking.
To keep things light, I’m also reading The Guernsey Literary and Potatoe Peel Pie Society.
WAITING FOR // It all to sink in.
EXCITED ABOUT // the pretty handmade items I brought back with me.
True to my love of neutrals, I came home with black, white and wooden objects – all of them beautifully crafted and little reminders of the beauty of the people and country of Rwanda.
TRYING TO // figure out what’s next. Where do I fit in to making a lasting difference in the lives of the vulnerable? Like I said in this post, now that I know, I can not un-know. What do I do with my life that will make the most impact?
WORKING ON // a new art print with this verse:
He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humblywith your God.
– micah 6:8 –
ENJOYING // my husband and kids. I missed them. They missed me. Thankful for the good life we live.
USING // a lot of ice. It was one of the main things I missed with being out of country. Water, unless bottled, is not safe to drink, which means ice is also not safe. Ice is one of my deepest loves. Therefore, I missed it. And now I’m eating a lot of it.
WEARING // this new bracelet. It’s totally touristy and cheesy, but it’s beautiful and meaningful and I’m embracing it.
PLANNING // a noonday party. I’ve never hosted a trunk show and now that I have learned so much more about the company, I can’t wait to spread the word to my friends. The new fall line comes out in a few weeks and from the few sneek peeks I saw, it looks gorgeous. Plus, we designed a new #styleforjustice collection with the artisans and those will be debuted and voted on August 7th!
NEEDING // first instinct answer is nothing. The friends I met in Kigali have so little, and yet they are so generous and grateful. Just a big reminder that stuff does not equal happiness. Safety, provision, relationships, love – these are true needs and all are met in my life. So now, what I need most is generosity and gratitude.
LEARNING // So many things. And I’m still processing. But here’s a short list:
1. Relationships is where change is made and relationships with those who are different than me are so valuable.
2. Life is unfair.
3. Hope is absolutely necessary.
4. The seats on Brussels airlines are very uncomfortable. Take a different route to Kigali next time.
5. People in Africa use facebook. I now have Rwandan facebook friends. Such a strange world we live in.
DOING // Becoming a Freedom Partner with IJM. This organization is so professional and doing good work, I am honored to take a tiny part in partnering.
To learn more about the work of IJM, read Jen Hatmaker’s well-written post. That girl has a way with words.
DREAMING OF // Returning, of course. With my family. I want them to meet my new Rwandan friends and see for themselves what a resilient, forgiving, hopeful, beautiful country it is.
Such a beautiful country.
“now that I know, I can not un-know”
WOW do I know that feeling! I’ve been there for sure. It’s a terrifying, heartbreaking, beautiful thing. I’ve been doing orphan care for 7 years now, and I feel that way again every time I come home from India, Thailand, Burma, or Swaziland.
Have you heard Brooke Fraser’s song “Albertine” (written after her time in Rwanda?) I know you’ll love it! It’s one of my favorites.
Your comment “stuff does not equal happiness” would make a great art print . . . I’m facing this more and more as I would say I’m a shopaholic. And I don’t need all those things or clothes!
Emily, I loved seeing your updates and reading this afterward. I didn’t get to follow along with all of the women on the trip, but I did get to see your posts in my inbox, and they were so inspiring, convicting, moving… I don’t know what to say. The wheels are still turning. My husband and I have been debating sponsoring a child for a while now, and I know for a lot of people this is something that’s a given, but it’s an exciting step for us and at the same time it’s also just a small first step. We talk a lot of talk about caring about this stuff, and at the same time I’m constantly asking myself, where could my daily life be an offering in this way too? I love how companies like Noonday give us the opportunity to engage in a meaningful exchange of goods that blesses everyone. Best of luck with your trunk show and a very belated welcome home.
Emily – Will you have an ambassador page on the Noonday website? Thanks!
Mmm, I’ve been looking for an art print with Micah 6:8 on it for my 6 year old son’s room. (His name is Micah.) ;-)
I am currently on vacation in South Africa and bought those same salad spoons the other day. So I’m guessing they weren’t made in SA or Rwanda. ;) Still pretty though!
Because of one of your book lists (either 2014 or 2013), my friend and I read The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, this summer. A DELIGHTFUL book. Absolutely, fabulous summer reading!
Have enjoyed following your heart to Rwanda and home. Blessings, Emily, as you now try to process it all. Just remember this, God placed YOU exactly where YOU are – don’t become so overwhelmed with what you just experienced that you overlook your own “lot in life.” I did that when I returned from Cuba in 1999 and made my and my family’s life miserable with my “but they…”
God bless you and your beautiful family. xoxo
I have loved following your adventures. Thank you for sharing. I am struggling too with the knowledge of the injustice in the world and with just what one small woman can contribute to the solution. God has been opening my heart and my eyes to this huge problem. I look forward to hearing more about your thoughts!
I just accidentally scrolled down and left my comment for this post under the twirling one, oh well, another comment. Under learning. Well. It tore me up. So much truth. Learning lots here too. It’s all grace.
Thanks for this post. It’s been so beautiful to “go with you” to Rwanda. wow and wow. And also, thank you for posting about the new SheReadsTruth study! I’ve been doing a study of the prophets, which, y’know, great and all. But it wasn’t resonating with me right now. THIS is exactly where my heart is right now… I’m all a twitter (only not ON twitter, really) about justice studies, and looking at all of it from a deeply Biblical perspective is just perfect. exactly where I want to be. Thank you thank you thank you!
Thank you for sharing your trip and the study you’re doing. I had never heard of she reads truth. I now have the app and have signed up on the mail list. Looking forward to digging deep. ;)
just traveled home from Congo, and I have to say — WHAT is with those seats on Brussels Air??? No amount of free movies could make those comfortable!!
I’m so glad to know I’m not alone!
Thank you for sharing your pictures and words of these beautiful adventures and people and hope.
What a great experience! Just remember that the greatest work you will ever do will be within the walls of your own home. :) By your example of loving and giving, you are teaching your children the greatest lessons they will ever know. Imparting your wisdom, experiences, kindness, and TIME with them is impacting the world in very positive ways. Your goodness will rub off on them, their goodness will rub off on their peers, their neighbors, their future children, and for generations to come! What a legacy you are making. You giving of yourself to them will change the world exponentially. You are an incredible mom. Of all of the hats that you wear, that of mom is the one I admire about you the most.
Is there a Noonday ambassador in our area? I live in Central Washington and would love to have a trunk show also in the future!
You can go to the Noonday site and ask for a local ambassador here: http://www.noondaycollection.com/host-a-trunk-show. There are a few of us in Portland that could make the trek if need be!
I can only imagine how each of you blessed these new friends and, in turn, felt incredibly blessed for the life you have. Beautiful people and such talent! Thanks so much for sharing.
There is a beautiful song by Brooke Fraser called ‘Albertine’ in which she shares a glimpse of her experience in Rwanda.
She says the same thing you said, Emily – “now that I have seen, I am responsible. Faith without deeds is dead.”
It’s really beautiful, I recommend looking it up if you get a chance.
Unfortunately, it never all sinks in. It just stays on the surface, like a bubbling reminder of how you were changed. You just move forward… hoping, doing, changing, impacting. It’s all about choices and using our time and energy for good (at least that’s how I see it). :) Welcome home.