A Feast Day in rural Rwanda
Trip Start Apr 02, 2014
33Trip End May 07, 2014
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As I arrived the goats were already hanging in the kitchen and being carved up. The first thing I noticed was that the head was still attached to one of them. I was told later this is done on purpose. Leaving the head attached as long as possible in the butchering process is proof that the animal is what was ordered, and that the cooks are not trying to substitute, er, some other animal like say, Fido….
The van from Kayenzi arrived quite late. One member had trouble getting a permission slip to take off work, and this made them quite late. Daniel took the opportunity to ask to visit the Sibobugingos home about 10 minutes' walk away. The van finally arrived at 10:30 and by the time we could start the service it was 11:00 more than an hour later than we had planned.
After the hymns and a prayer, Daniel Harper gave a very good offertory sermonette, and then we gave our offering. Offertory music was provided by ancient cassette tapes, at least 20 years-old, of the Geneva Switzerland congregation singing hymns. This is always used for offertory music and I suspect the cassettes may have somehow been blessed. I could never get my old cassettes to last that long (and I don’t miss that technology)!
The adults reconvened for the Q&A Bible study. Here were some of the questions:
1. Fasting on the Day of Atonement is from sunset to sunset, but when we fast at other times, can we start and end at different times. My answer: the Bible generally portrays fasting as a 24-hour act, though there are examples of longer periods, the Church suggests that 24 hours is usually sufficient and we can begin and end such a fast at any time that works best for us.
2. In Rwanda after the mourning period following a death, some people invite their friends to a feast after prayers for the deceased. What should we do if we’re invited to such a feast? My answer: It’s good to comfort the bereaved. Prayers for the dead don’t accomplish anything; they’re in the grave awaiting the resurrection not in hell-fire or purgatory, and no prayers will change that. We don’t want to participate in anything which contradicts the teaching of the Bible. Applying these principles will depend on various circumstances. This question generated a good deal of discussion and some follow-up questions.
3. Daniel Harper answered a question about the meaning of the parable of Lazarus and the rich man starting in Luke 16:20. His answer: It’s a parable to teach certain lessons not a doctrinal explanation of what happens after death. The context shows Jesus was correcting Pharisees for loving money more than God and His law and for thinking they could take liberties with both without any negative results. This parable shows that the way things appear on the outside is not a good representation of how God sees us; and everyone gives account for his life and deeds.
4. If you have a sick gourd plant and someone tells you to plant another plant next to it, and then the gourd recovers, is that science or sorcery? My answer: I’m no expert on gourds; however, some plants do help each other as they grow. If the advice is for any plant of a particular variety, there is no problem. If someone offers you a particular plant with “special powers”, then it should be avoided. This discussion led to more questions about herbal remedies for maladies; are they acceptable or sorcery, and how can we tell them apart?
5. Where did Cain and Abel find their wives? My answer: They found their wives in Genesis 5:4 (this brief answer elicited some laughter…) I then explained that Adam and Eve had both sons and daughters, as the human family began brothers and sisters married to propagate the race. Later on God said this was no longer permissible.
I was also asked a question concerning the identity of the “beast” in Revelation, but we were out of time at this point, and it would take some time to answer that one, so we’ll have to save that one for my next visit.
It was encouraging to see how happy everyone was with this special meal. It will be a memorable Feast day in many ways.
We shook hands all around, and waved goodbye to everyone, and I suggested Daniel ride in the front seat of the Rav4 so he could take better photos on the way down (I had taken mine on the way up). Then as we were loading, Patrick and James asked if they could ride with us, since they were going to Kigali also. We said yes and the three of us squeezed into the back seat. Being a 4WD, the Rav4 floorboards are high, so one cannot stretch his legs very far forward. Daniel is tall so he couldn’t move his seat forward, and with three of us side by side there was no way to stretch laterally. By the time the two our drive back to Kigali was done, I was cramping and quite ready to get out of the vehicle.
I paid Ndeo for the last few days of services, and we said goodbye for this time. Daniel and I headed to the barbecue pit for a salad and a beer to finish off a very full day.
Tomorrow will be a catch-up day, accounting with Mr. Mundeli and one meeting to talk about baptism with a young adult.
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