JASON & ERIN STEWART

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Monday, July 18, 2005

'The Purpose Driven Life' - Rick Warren

On Saturday we went to the stadium to hear Rick Warren, the author of ‘The Purpose Driven Life’ speak. The president, Paul Kagame, was asked to introduce Mr. Warren. It turns out that Mr. Kagame read the book and then wrote Mr. Warren inviting him to come to Rwanda. As the president spoke I recall thinking how dignified he was and how incredible that such an incredible leader sees the importance of church and state.
Mr. Warren had 3 main points that he talked about:
1)The purpose of life 2) the purpose of Rwanda, and 3) Restoration and Reconciliation.
1)The purpose of life: He did an overview of his book and highlighted the 5 purposes in our life. While he was speaking about service/servanthood, I noticed some street kids in front of me. I had a half filled bottle of water and one of the boys was eyeing it up. I reached over and handed him the bottle. No less than 2 min after I had done that Rick brought up the verse that talks about how serving others is serving Christ. His very first example was this…”If you give a child a glass of water, you are giving me (Jesus) a glass of water.” I looked at the boy, who once hearing the translator, turned to look at me. His smile sunk deep into my heart and I quietly thanked God for His greatness.
2)The Purpose of Rwanda – Rwanda is one of the most unique countries in the world. Mr. Warren said that the country the whole world turned it’s back on, would be the very country that would be an example to the world. I too share this same belief. The people of Rwanda are incredible people, whom I have come to love and respect.
3)Restoration and Reconciliation. Forgiveness is the key to the purpose of Rwanda. Mr. Warren talked of some very key things about forgiveness, comparing the people that tortured and killed the family of the Rwandans to the people that tortured and killed God’s only son Jesus.
I thought Rick Warren spoke fantastically, and spoke words many pople had not heard. I think he did an excellent job reaching the people where they were at and was not a flashy speaker.
When he had finished they had two men give their testimonies. This was a powerful event to be a witness of!
The first man got up and testified that even though he was a christian before 1994, he took part in the genocide. He killed many people in brutal ways. He talked about how he could hardly live with the horrific crimes he had committed, how they consumed him. He talked of how he bagged God for forgiveness and how he asked his victims to forgive him. He humbly told of how God changed his life and made him a new man. As he was finishing he humbled himself and asked the crowd for their forgiveness. He sat back down to the sound of applause.
The second man stood up and testified that before the 1994 genocide he was a Christian. He also testified that he was a survivor of genocide. His family had once been very big but had been exterminated. He himself had been beat with a club and thrown into a deep pit. He spoke of his anger for the murderers. He then told the crowd how he had to face these people, one of them being the very man who had testified before him. He then said something that moved me almost to tears. He said, not by my own strength, but God’s…I forgave him! He amazed me even more by saying that not only had he forgiven this man but that now they are good friends, even visiting each other at their homes. As he sat back down he too was given a thunderous applause. Those two testimonies were so powerful. The combination of Rick Warren and these two men was an incredible powerful testimony to the merciful and awesome God that I love and serve!

The day ended with some traditional dancing. They even inviteed Rick and Kay(his wife) Warren to dance. That’s right I have a few videos of Rick Warren trying to dance the Rwandan traditional dance.

May this blog find you happy and healthy.
With much Love,
Erin

5 Comments:

  • At 1:52 PM , Blogger dan C said...

    erin,

    that was a very powerful story. thank you for sharing it. it definitely is amazing how the Lord can work in people's lives to remake such horrible things into good. i am glad that you are there to experience this, and to be used by Him. hope the end of your time there goes well and you have a good trip back to the north.

     
  • At 5:02 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    What an amazing opportunity you were a part of. It is so awesome to hear how you are following the Holy Spirit's leading even in little things like sharing your water. I'm sure it made a tremendous impact on those kids' lives when it was reinforced moments later by Rick Warren. I love how God works. We are praying that you will not get too tired of the heat and become homesick. We are all looking forward to seeing you come home, but God still has lots to do through you and in you in the next 16 days.
    Kelly

     
  • At 3:39 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    erin! that blog was...well, touching (for lack of a better word).
    God is good!!
    love,

    vaness

     
  • At 1:07 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Enjoyed a lot!
    »

     
  • At 9:37 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    That's a great story. Waiting for more. » »

     

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