[two_third]It didn’t take long. Having your heart captivated by Rwanda never does …

Each participant in Wellspring’s 2014 Vision Trip stepped off the plane in the beautiful, humid city of Kigali with different expectations, and different hopes. But each one of us – from young students to retired couples and everyone in between; whether staff members or supporters – came trusting that this trip would prove to be exactly what was promised: A Time for Transformation. And it truly was. As we immersed ourselves in the life of a nation that is being rebuilt, restored and reconciled, we also saw our own hearts and minds change. That was Rwanda’s gift to us.

As a group, we took time early in the trip to understand the country’s history, which gave context to so much of what we experienced there. Having a clearer picture of Rwanda’s past, both ancient and modern, also set the stage for understanding the critical importance of education in guiding the nation into a very different future. Education, once a tool used to create division among a previously united people, is now being transformed into a means of promoting unity and hope. This is where Wellspring comes in.

For me, the greatest privilege of this trip was to see the impact of Wellspring’s work first-hand, and to meet the people who make it all happen. The Wellspring staff in Rwanda love their country deeply, they love the people they serve, and they love the God who has called them to join in His work of redemption and restoration. Each person reflects so much joy as they go about their work, and it was truly infectious to be around them!

In a future post, I will share more detail about this work, and how we were each impacted as we experienced the difference Wellspring is making in communities, schools and individual lives in Rwanda. For now, I want to return to the Vision Trip’s theme, “A Time For Transformation,” and share what this meant for some of our team members …

“I now see that healing and reconciliation is possible. It is happening in Rwanda, and I now have greater hope that it is possible in Canada.”

“I have seen how Wellspring Academy’s motto, “Not To Be Served, But To Serve,” is modeled in the lives of staff.”

“Wellspring has created a culture of love, honour and respect, that is being experienced by all who are involved and impacted by our work. This is central to all we do – in Rwanda, and in Canada.”

“I have come to understand the importance and value of listening. Before we try to make an impact, we need to really hear what people’s needs are, and approach people with a servant’s heart.”

“I have been challenged to be grateful, to grumble less, and to see the blessings in my life for what they are.”

“I realize how often we take education for granted, when so many people have to fight for it.”

“From now on, I will define success differently.”

“Rwanda has been on my heart for many years, but I came here afraid that God wouldn’t have a place for me here. But I realize that I am here for a reason, and that I do have something to give.”

Hope … Servant Hearts … Love and Respect … Vibrant Faith … Vision … Redemption … Community … Humility

These words sum up beautifully both what we experienced in Rwanda, and what we experienced as we engaged with the life and work of The Wellspring Foundation. The organization’s culture is based on these values, and it is such a privilege to be part of this. Wellspring believes that when people around the world partner together to bring change, the transformation that can take place goes both ways. I, along with my 21 fellow travellers, can testify that this is true.

Become part of this amazing journey![/two_third][one_third_last]