Read letters from Meg Knight
Long-Term Volunteer in Rwanda since 2013
Serving as an English teacher for the Presbyterian Church of Rwanda
Meg periodically visits the U.S. Email her to extend an invitation to speak at your congregation or organization.
Contact Meg Knight (firstname.lastname@example.org)
About Meg Knight’s ministry
At the invitation of the Presbyterian Church of Rwanda (EPR), Meg will be teaching English as a Second Language at the denominational headquarters in Kigali—teaching English to church leaders as an enabling, capacity-building mission. “I am sure God speaks fluent Kinyarwanda,” she explains, “but most of the world does not. Rwanda is transitioning from French to English as the official second language, English is the language of choice in most of East Africa, and English is the de facto language of the international church. That is why the EPR has asked the PC(USA) to partner with them by providing an English teacher.”
Meg said she hopes for two things in her service:
(1) That as their ability to express themselves in English improves, leaders of the EPR will be better equipped to serve God and the people of Rwanda in the church’s parishes, schools, clinics and hospitals, and that they will become a blessing to all those around the world who also are engaged in ministries focused on forgiveness, healing, reconciliation, and social justice.
(2) That by participating fully in a local congregation, she will be able to find ways to create long-term, personal relationships built on faith, love, and growing understanding that will connect individuals and churches in Rwanda and the United States long after her term of appointment is over.
Meg believes that both the joys and the challenges she will encounter in Rwanda will result from the church’s leadership role in the work of reconciliation taking place in the country. “I expect that I will be privileged to see God’s love transforming lives in ways that I will never fully understand,” she says. If I am able in some small way to enable that work I will count myself blessed.”
Meg’s assignment is one of two new ones for the PC(USA) in a country that has not had a partnership connection with the PC(USA) for 10 years.
“Rwanda is a heartbreakingly beautiful and tragic country that almost destroyed itself in ethnic violence that culminated in the 1994 genocide,” Meg says. The PC(USA)’s principal partner in Rwanda, the Presbyterian Church of Rwanda, has called on the PC(USA) to walk with them as they rebuild after the genocide, a time during which the church lost many pastors and other leaders. The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) joins its partners in Rwanda in a holistic approach to ministry that includes education and leadership development, community development, evangelism and new church development.
About Meg Knight
Meg says her husband’s death from pancreatic cancer in 2006 led her to a rebirth of sorts. “My faith was strengthened as I helped him to die, but it was also tested as I faced the future without him. In 2007, exactly one year after my husband’s death, I travelled to visit a home for former street boys in Rwanda with a group from my stepdaughter Beckie’s church. Experiencing the long-term effects of the genocide from the perspective of my own grief opened my eyes to the profound sadness of that nation and to what I can only call the totally unreasonable hope I saw in the determination of the people to reconcile themselves to God and to each other, and to create a secure future for their children.
"On a day that Beckie and I visited some rural genocide memorials, we stumbled on a women’s basket-making cooperative where former enemies—babies asleep at their feet—were joyfully working side-by-side. The contrast between the memorials with their rows of skulls and piles of shoes and the laughter of the workroom was staggering. I later learned that these women, many of them widows, were part of a fair trade cooperative that was providing them with a decent, dependable wage for their labor, marketing assistance, health care, and opportunities to send their children to school. But what I will never forget—what changed my life—is that on a day filled with the most awful images of evil and death, we had stumbled on life and laughter. I could see that God was at work in Rwanda.
“I returned from Africa determined to learn more about social and economic justice in general and fair trade in particular. I became an advocate in my church and community and a founding member of the Ballston Spa Fair Trade Coalition. At the same time, however, I saw that fair trade alone is not enough. It offers only a small glimpse of the big picture—the redeeming power of God’s love set loose in the world.
“Slowly I began to sense that God had a radically new plan for my life. I had to wait for several years, feeling the ‘pull’ but not yet able to understand what I was being pulled toward. I had never thought of myself as ‘missionary’ material. I’m a writer. I’m not a preacher or healer. But the pull to serve in some capacity grew stronger and stronger. So when I learned about this position in Rwanda—and saw that God could use me—I was so excited I could hardly breathe. During the application and discernment process, I finally saw clearly where I was being led. The wait for an answer was hard, but God’s timing is perfect!
“There’s a saying that goes something like this: ‘During the day God roams the world, but he comes home to sleep in Rwanda.’ In Africa I learned that God doesn’t look for a comfortable place to bed down; he looks for a place where he is loved and needed. I am thrilled and humbled to be headed into the heart of that love.”
Asked about a key Scripture that guides her life and will inform her mission service, Meg says there are two passages that together form the basis for her faith and hope in the Lord. From the Old Testament: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11). And from the New Testament: “ . . . I came that they may have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10).
“I believe that God has created and redeemed us for God’s own purposes,” Meg explains. “Rather than being overwhelmed by a sense of obligation, I believe God intends for us to be blessed with every good thing, to ‘enjoy him forever’ and to live full and meaningful lives serving with joyful abandon. Even when I was most overcome with sadness I knew that God wanted me to be part of this abundance. I think both of these passages are very relevant to the work now going on to build a strong and purposeful church in Rwanda.”
Meg calls the Northeast home: She was born in Connecticut, has lived in northern Vermont, several towns in Connecticut, New York City, and upstate New York. She is a member and ruling elder at First Presbyterian Church of Ballston Spa, N.Y.
Birthday: March 9