Debrief with the hosts and the Companionship Committee

Debrief with the hosts and the Companionship Committee

After our goodbye breakfast with our homestay hosts and the Companionship Committee, we talked together about the week. Pastor Fue asked the travelers what went well and what could be improved. Then he asked the hosts and committee what they learned.

All felt deeply blessed and grateful. Upendo wished we could extend our stay for a month.

All agreed hosting travelers in family homes was a success! On some nights, we also had dinner at neighbor's homes. Last year, Kirangare hosted Joseph and I in the Church Rest Home. This year, we spent much more time with people informally, simply visiting and getting to know them and life in the village. Despite some anxiety on both sides in anticipation, it went really well and any fears quickly melted away. We agreed it was the better way.

Our Kirangare companions learned we are just like them! And Mary encouraged them to receive us as equals and not to put us on a pedestal and to put themselves down. All in all, we discovered true kinship across language, culture, and wealth gap. This encouragement was understood and well received.

We also all agreed that we wanted to learn each other's languages. We want to be less dependent on just a few translators and be more free to communicate. We travelers want to find a Swahili tutor in the Quad Cities. Even a little bit of language understanding goes a long way. Wendy found that simply learning the Lord's Prayer in Swahili helped significantly.

All also agreed we felt renewed in the purpose of the companionship—faith in Jesus Christ and growing together in faithfulness. Simply being together makes a witness of God's universal and unconditional love—yes, for Zion people and Kirangare people, and also for others. Our hosts reported that non-Lutheran neighbors said, “Wow, they must really love you to come all that way!” The point of the companionship is trusting Jesus more, following Jesus more completely.

Kirangare invited Zion to return year after year. They invited this year's travelers to return and for new Zion people to come. We shared Zion’s plan to return next year and to host Kirangare travelers in Iowa the year after, 2025.