Friday, October 19, 2012

You Don't Know Jack (How God Got Me to Rwanda, Part 2)

(If you haven't read Part 1, start here.)

Zachary, me, Frederick - October 2011
Frederick and I have stayed in touch since that first phone call. We've talked about our countries, our families, the weather, but all along, we both knew that God had brought us together for a purpose.

In October 2011, I met Frederick and Zachary, the Ubumwe Center's co-founder, for the first time in Columbus, Ohio. Almost a year later, this September, Frederick and I met again to make it official.

Because we were staying in the same hotel (with our own living rooms and kitchens), we were able to spend a lot of time just hanging out. He taught me how to make Rwandan vegetables. I taught him how to make guacamole. He showed me the passage in Psalm 88 that gave his life purpose. I met his childhood friend.

veggies, Rwandan style
reading Psalm 88
making guacamole
But the big meeting was with Jack Hanna, two attorneys, and our agent, Bill Reeves. Frederick and I were going to sign our agreement, and Bill wanted to "gauge Jack's enthusiasm" for the project. 

Ha, I thought, he doesn't know Jack.

When Jack entered the room, he began talking about Frederick with the same passion he had years ago. Then he stops and looks at me, "Have you been to Rwanda yet?"

"No," I explained, "but we're writing the proposal, and the trip will come out of the publisher's advance." I tapped the agreement to indicate that it had all been decided and written in legalese.

He went on about Frederick, Rwanda, and the Charlie Gibson video that we had to watch. We did. And I think it reiterated to everyone why we were sitting in that room.

As Jack wound down, he turned to me, "But you haven't been to Rwanda yet?"

"No," I explained again, "but when we sell the book--"

"Well, couldn't you write a better proposal if you had actually been there?"

"Yes . . . but . . ."

"Look, you can talk on the phone for a year, or you can just go to Rwanda."

Mouth open.

"Erin, go write Amy Parker a check. . . . Get Frederick's flight schedule. She'll fly back to Rwanda with him."

"But JACK," I spat, "I don't even have a passport!"

"As soon as you get home, go to the post office, send your information to John [the attorney], and he'll have ya a passport in three days."

Mouth shut.

It was pretty much a blur after that. I hugged Jack and told him he was crazy. Frederick and I signed our agreement. (Fortunately, I have a photo to remember that by.) And we all said our goodbyes.

As Bill and I descended the stairs, I pulled it together enough to ask, "So, were you able to gauge Jack's enthusiasm for the project?"

"Yeah," he laughed, "I think I got a pretty good idea."

Turns out, he's not the only one who didn't know Jack.

Please pray for my family as we go on this God-trip. Pray for safe travels, calm nerves, and awakened senses. But most of all, please pray that I am able to live up to, and complete with excellence, this responsibility that I've been given.


Jamie said...

I love this story. :) And I have prayed about your trip every day since I first heard it. I'm so excited for you!

Amy Parker said...

Thank you, Jamie. Your prayers are much appreciated.