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The King is Coming!
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“The King is coming! Prepare the way.”

The message spread by drum beat across the hilltops, and runners carried the word through the villages along the king of Rwanda’s intended route. The news reached the small medical outpost of Ngoma on the hillside above Lake Kivu. My American parents worked there, and King Rudahigwa sent notice that he was coming to visit them and the other foreigners on the mission.

It was 1943 and World War II still raged. To add to their political and tribal troubles, Rwanda and surrounding countries suffered from a devastating famine during 1942-3. Thousands died, but many lives were also saved by the efforts of missionaries (of several denominations) who used their own resources and food supplies to feed the people.

One reason for the king’s visit was to inspect the progress on the dirt road being built between the two main cities on the Kivu shoreline. The road, many years in the making, now led to just beyond the small hospital compound. (Three years earlier, when my parents arrived with an infant and toddler, they had to hike or be carried the last 12 miles to this remote outpost.)

Prepare the Way

“Prepare” meant widening and smoothing the road which was hand-dug from the mountainsides by men wielding short-handled hoes. It meant clearing earth and rock slides after the rains; widening the hairpin curves; and reinforcing or replacing fragile pole bridges with trunks and limbs from newly-felled trees. There were no tools apart from primitive hoes, shovels and axes; no power apart from human muscles.

Preparing our home involved polishing the smooth cement floors with red paste wax until they shone. It meant picking almost all of our precious lemons so Mom would have drink to serve the king and his entourage. (Lemons were about the only puny fruit surviving during the time of drought.) Even at my young age I sensed the nervousness as our parents dressed themselves and us in our go-to-church clothes. What might the king require?

And then he came! Tall, regal in colorful attire, he graciously accepted his glass of lemonade at each home on the mission. In ours, he sat in our best chair and held three-year-old me on his lap and welcomed my parents formally to his country, rewarding them with his thanks for their efforts on behalf of his people and assuring them of his goodwill.

There’s another King coming: King of the Universe! “Behold I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done.” (Revelation 22:12).

The King of Glory is coming to claim us as citizens of the eternal kingdom and bring us to our glorious home. Prepare!

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By Lois Pecce. Copyright © 2011 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture taken from the NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®.

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