Today was an interesting day. The women had a spa day. They went to a hotel and set up a mini-salon. Rwandan women from the sewing classes and the cosmetology classes came in on the Africa New Life van and were greeted by the members of our team. Then they were given a facial and a massage. My daughter had one lady go to sleep during the facial and massage and she hated to wake her so that she could relax. She asked another woman if she knew Jesus and the woman shook her head. She then asked if she would like to have a relationship with Jesus and the woman nodded. She was privileged to pray with this lady as she accepted Christ. The ladies also got their nails done and then our team members washed their feet. It was very hard for the Rwandan ladies to accept this because of their perceptions of themselves and of the team. In the debrief that night one of Suzette’s Rwandan daughters noted that it was hard for the Rwandan women to see our team members “come down to their level.” This set our team’s teeth on edge because one of the goals was to show that a separation of levels didn’t exist. All together, two ladies accepted Christ on the first day of spa day.
Meanwhile I began the first day of a chess camp/tournament in Kayonza. The New Life School is already the #1 school in the nation. The plan is that we can use chess to augment their thinking skills and help develop long range strategic thinking. The ultimate goal is to expand this process to other schools and create a climate where long range planning is part of the standard way of life. We began with 32 players – about 12 of them experienced. I gave a basic rundown of how pieces move and their values. Since I’m used to doing that with 4 or 5 kids sitting around a table, working with 32 kids at once made it difficult for me to keep their attention and not wear them out mentally.
I was impressed by the level of play among the experienced players, especially since they only have each other to play with and they don’t see different styles and levels of play. We lost about half the group after lunch. Some just weren’t that interested in chess. Others had study sessions for their upcoming national exams. 16 was a good number to work with, though. One of the emphases we had with the training was teaching the kids how to develop relationships with others over the board and after the game is over so that they might earn the opportunity to share the good news of Jesus. And, of course, I forgot to share with them how I came to Christ. I’ll take care of that tomorrow.
I had a couple of personal goals…in fact, I woke up about 2:45 and stayed awake until about 4:30 agonizing over those goals. The first goal was to help kids develop the ability to use chess as an evangelism tool. The second was to find a way to get the men who were coming along to use their abilities whether or not they could play chess. The first goal could be evaluated after tomorrow. The second goal was where I was unhappy. It may have been unattainable with the situation we had there, but I was still disappointed with the way I planned and executed today. During our debrief, I expressed those opinions. I was told I did a good job teaching the chess. This confirmed my feelings, because I really wanted this to be about more than chess. At the same time, I realize that what we were doing was less direct evangelism and a lot of training of these players in becoming evangelists over the chess board. Our mission today and tomorrow was not primarily the thrill of leading others to Christ but the long term satisfaction that wil eventually lead far more people to Christ in Africa than our team could do in a one week visit.