Photo by Ardian Lumi on Unsplash

When i was in Uganda ten+years ago, i remember being perplexed by the very distinct dance moves the children had. One evening as we were gathered in the common area for music and fun, i asked my friend and host about some harsh treatment i’d witnessed earlier in the preschool from one of the teachers towards a couple of students. She shared with me that those students were from a different tribe than the teacher, that they were working on the issues of prejudice but still had a ways to go. “How does she know what tribe those students are from?” I asked, “They came here as infants.” ”

“Look at them dancing – see how some move their shoulders more, others their feet or hips?” she replied, “each tribe has distinct moves among other distinctions. they can tell.”

My daughter shared with me recently something her pastor had mentioned regarding marriage, the joining of two people from two different families.

“it’s like each family has their own dance moves. now that you are together, you are developing your own unique set from the combo of both. when you go back to visit – you remember the moves you were raised with, and can fall in step at times. At other times you find you stick with your new moves cultivated with the new rhythms of your marriage.”

Pastoral Outreach is one of the programs at Arise Rwanda Ministries. While there, jeremy and i may be called upon to help with a training happening at the time for the Pastor’s and their wives. So we are preparing just in case. The trick is, that we don’t know what their needs are. We don’t know what their questions might be, what unique challenges they face. Most of all, we don’t know the dance of a Rwandan.

In our preparation meetings we have spent a bit of time learning about cultural intelligence along with the differences between Individualism and Collectivism societies. if you hadn’t guessed, we come from an Individualistic society. Rwanda functions as a Collectivism society. Like the dance analogy, it’s not that one is better than the other, just that they are different. Each has good and bad components to them.

This adds another layer to the stretching this preparation has been. There is so much we just don’t know – and so we must depend on the One Whose Understanding is vast, and Whose Wisdom transcends cultures and countries. We will be trusting the Holy Spirit within us in a different way than we are used to.

We are praying that any materials we do prepare are in tune with the right Rhythm, and if not, that we have the wisdom to throw it out and adjust to the need of the moment. How comforting it is to know that as God’s children, we do not go alone. He is with us, He knows the dance. He is a good good teacher. He’ll help us learn.