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2016: Reconciliation


I hope for Reconciliation in 2016.

I went out with a group of Rwandans and Americans last night in Portland. As we talked, I marveled at how much judgment and separation exists within our epic 15 year journey of “ministry” relationships.  I hear stories within stories of pain and division among people who had formerly participated in a ministry to help others.  However, within each person in the story, I also see goodness:  love and compassion and a yearning not to be distant and wounded.

I wonder why, in a big, diverse family of people who love Jesus, we cannot find the way to draw near to each other with acts of love, instead of withdraw from each other with words of judgment?

I admit that my mistakes contributed to some of the brokenness in this community. I am sorry for the pain my actions caused.   I wonder if my failure should disqualify me from receiving love from people in this community?  Is God’s desire for this story to leave us in a state of splintered relationships?

My hope for 2016 is reconciliation among this special family of Rwandan-American relationships.

This past few months I have been learning about reconciliation and it’s terrifying. Reconciliation is a scary, humbling step beyond forgiveness. Forgiveness is an enormously difficult and powerful act.  Reconciliation is a miracle that can follow forgiveness.

I’ve come to believe that the person wronged should take the first step, and that’s counter intuitive. I feel greatly wronged in our long convoluted Rwanda-America story.  I feel let down by people I thought loved me or who I saw as spiritual leaders.  I couldn’t imagine that my job could be to push through my pain and show the person who wronged me that I love them.  I felt entitled to hold onto my pain.   I feared that if I show love to someone who wronged me, I am telling the world they didn’t do what I believe they did.

I looked to Jesus and saw a different model. Jesus extended the offer of reconciliation to those who unjustly accused him and killed him.  He didn’t wait for people to realize what they had done.  Instead He said, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.”  And he extended an invitation to the worst sinners, to draw near to Him into relationship.  The great news is that we don’t have to be cleaned up to accept His offer.  We don’t have to fix everything we broke.  We don’t have to be correct, or justified, or theologically aligned, or a donor or the change maker.  We don’t have to bring anything to Jesus.  We are simply welcomed to Him.

I recently took a small but very scary step to show love to someone who hurt me.  The action felt like a catalyst.  I believe that God will move through my feeble effort and bring more healing than I can imagine.

I pray that a miracle of reconciliation will start to spread in my Rwandan-American community in 2016.  Everyone one of you who is part of this story, I encourage you to take a tiny step of love toward someone who has caused you pain.  We don’t have to know where it leads.  We don’t have to untangle this ourselves.  Jesus will do the hard work, if we show a willingness to participate.

A dear Rwanda friend, Pastor Elisee, spoke the most powerful words I heard in 2015.  He said to me, “Love Initiates.”

In 2016, my prayer is that Love Initiates Reconciliation.  Serena Morones


(Please share among those in the community.)


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Posted by on December 31, 2015 in Posts from the Group, Uncategorized


Wholeness of Mission: Meeting Donald K. Smith

Donald K. Smith attended our last meeting of the Africa Journey Fellowship, and a whole new world of resources opened up to me. I have much to learn from this man and I’m diving right in!

Don is an expert in cross cultural communication, having served as a missionary and business developer in Africa for more than 30 years, and founder of Daystar University in Kenya, The International Institute for Christian Communication and the WorldView Center.  Don gave quite a few insights on the questions we raised about our Africa partnerships and our plans for missions projects.

Don is working on a revision of a previous book called Make Haste Slowly. In his book he asks questions such as; How do we develop wholeness of mission? How can we learn to communicate in ways that make wholeness of mission possible?

Here is short excerpt from Chapter 2: Chapter Two MAPPING THE JOURNEY

 Introducing fundamental change into another group or society is complex. It is easiest to do only a small part of what needs to be done, and pretend that is all that really matters. So a little part of the need is met by this group of specialists, another part by a band of enthusiasts, new programs are introduced, and still other parts are left untouched. Even when the Christian Message is the central concern, that Message is too often left undemonstrated and thus unheard.

Wholeness in mission is essential. The spiritual must be confirmed by meeting health needs, by encouraging the dignity of self-respect. Fighting famine must not squeeze out the feeding of hearts and minds. All of it must be done together, each part inseparable from all other parts. Wholeness in mission is more than each specialist adding his concerns to the total list of activities, then pasting it together under one administrator. It is very different from aid and advice lavishly dispensed by a skilled and powerful organization of professional development people.

Wholeness in mission only happens when the group itself is a participant in the change process. It doesn’t matter if the change desired is spiritual, social or physical. Without trust and full participation between “helped and helper,” the “best” efforts will result only in superficial change. It is unlikely to be permanent or spread very far in the society. It may, in fact, simply be rejected.

People are not a blackboard on which we draw our designs, but participants in change. They must be involved in determining priorities, choosing personnel, and carrying out programs jointly planned and accepted. How we develop communication that makes possible wholeness in mission is the purpose of this small book.

This book is for the many who are putting their lives into the effort to communicate with very different people. It is useful to the medical worker, the agriculturalist, the teacher, and the Christian evangelist. Whether short term or for a lifetime, following these basic principles will smooth friction at the meeting point of cultures.

 I eagerly await the re-release of this book, Make Haste Slowly and am hungry to glean more from Don’s 30+ years of wisdom.

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Posted by on April 9, 2011 in Uncategorized


The Single Story

If you care about Africa, or developing countries, this speech is excellent, and foundational to understanding full relationship.

The speaker talks about the danger of hearing and believing a single kind of story about our African friends. To truly know those you are care about, you must learn several interconnected stories.

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Posted by on March 4, 2011 in Uncategorized