Guest post by Hannah Dorpfeld from June team 2016
Returning to ROWAN and arriving in the little village of Mawanga to see familiar faces, calling names I had not spoken in so long and embracing believers from an ocean away showed me the meaning of God’s global church. Jesus tangibly showed me what He looks like in community and what it is like to live among believers who give everything to Him.
The ROWAN family taught me many lessons by observing the way they live together in community.
First, life is not a burden when it is lived out in a community of people who do not fear the future but put their hope in God, day in and day out. We watched the ROWAN members give an entire week’s worth of time and energy –energy that is hard-earned for those that are HIV survivors– to rebuild one member’s house. They demonstrated compassion towards Sarah Tibidi by putting aside their individual needs and trusting in God to provide for them while they gave tangible hope. One member’s crops even suffered as he sacrificed his own needs to build up the community.
Second, having a peaceful and prayerful heart while listening to someone express their struggle is being Jesus to them. Just as our Father listens to our prayers in heaven and has compassion on us to answer them, so should we listen to our neighbor’s struggles. For out of listening compassion grows and true compassion creates action.
Third, there are two reactions we can have to the future, hope or fear. I had the honor and privilege to meet Suliaman Byekwaso, the student I sponsor through ROWAN. I sat with him outside his little house under a mango tree with his mother and sisters gathered around and listened to his dreams. As I listened to him express his love of the radio, tell of his desire to be a social/political commentator and name every radio station he knows, I marveled at the radical dreams coming out of a boy in his situation. He had such hope for his future when he could have looked around him and responded in fear, resorting to a reactive lifestyle. Yet he responded by daring to dream with hope for the future. Not only that but he is so resourceful and intelligent! The following pictures are of Suliaman demonstrating to us how to use a radio that he constructed out a jerry can, radio parts he collected and bartered for and a battery he used to charge it. Suliaman is just one of the many inspiring students under ROWAN’s care. I cannot express the joy I felt in meeting him face-to-face and the inspiration I came away with.
Once again, I came away from ROWAN filled with the love of Jesus, love for the people and fully convinced that “Hope does not disappoint”.
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