Friday, August 2, 2013

In the land of a thousand hills there are so many things that I have seen and experienced during my time here.  Some of these things I can easily describe and put into words, others I simply can’t.  I am having a hard time wrapping my mind around it all.  The brown eyes in this country are so inviting yet some of these eyes are empty and hollow while others are full of joy and clarity.

Our first stop today was at a special needs day care.  These are the absolute outcast of the community.  They are often abandoned if not killed or left to die.  One special woman gave birth to a son who was mentally handicapped and from her decision to treat him like a true child of the kingdom a ministry was birthed where parents could bring these special needs children.  They have a few teachers and even have a therapist that can come during the week.  The parents are responsible to bring their children and the food they will need for that day and depending of the severity of the condition some parents stay all day.  My heart was gripped by this 30 year old father who brought his 2 year old daughter with hydrocephalous.  The 27 year old mother was sick that day but he did not want his daughter to miss her therapy.  This father delighted that we would want to hold his sweet daughter and he even asked us to take her picture with her wearing the bracelet that we made for her.  The story of this family and this ministry is much large than I have time to write about but the bottom line here is one woman is giving her all and she has invited others in her community to join her.  They use an old church building to meet in and have curtains to divide the classroom.  The government has given them a plot of land to build a school on and if they can build the school the government will send teachers and therapist to work there.  The time is limited.  If they don’t begin building in a certain amount of time the land will be taken away.  They need $20,000 to get started and probably $80,000 to complete it.  It would be 3 classrooms, an office and a therapy room.  The children in this current facility are the most affectionate children (except the one little boy who thought that we were going to eat him, he finally held someone’s hand as we were walking out).  What can I (we) do?  Not sure yet but I am certainly praying about this one.

Our next stop was to SPAG, a ministry for street children.  One woman has been serving for over 10 years as the house mother.  This is a place where 34 boys take residency, get educated and then learn vocational skills.  They are go on the streets to help other children get into school and to get them fed.  They have man success stories of children exiting their program.  Many are not able to go onto the university due to finical reason.  They currently do not have sponsorship program but it would cost about $750 per year (plus books) for the kids to move onto the college level. 

I find myself wanting to bring anyone interested in learning more about these places back here.  You just can’t fully understand until you are here and walk into these places, look into these children’s eyes and talk to those that have given all (sacrificed everything) so others could have a chance.  This is even true for the doctors serving at the hospital. 

It has been an interesting time of learning for the group that is here.  We are bringing an upper class group of people who have everything in the world that they need and not enough time to complete everything they want to do into a culture that has nothing but all the time in the world.  The people we have served want also to serve us.  They are not interested in 14 hours of labor a day.  They want you to come along side, help a little and then eat and talk and hug and fellowship together.  They want relationship and the times we sit and communicate, as difficult as it is, they feel the hope and love of the Lord in a way they have not experienced it before.  We cared enough to come and they see it as a sacrifice on our part to fly half way around the world into a land of poverty.

I am so thankful for Legacy Mission Village and I really look forward to partnering with them more in the future.  You can read about what they do but to come and experience this is totally different.  All of the ministries we have served in are a part of the Presbyterian church of Rwanda, even the hospital.  The churches start the schools around here, no separation of church and state in Rwanda, that’s an American thing. 

In the afternoon we took a 3 hour drive to Lake Kivu, a paradise in Rwanda.  It borders 4 countries.  We enjoyed the lakeside, had a nice dinner and then sang and shared together about what we have seen and about where we have seen the Lord during our time here. 

This has been an incredible trip where I have been stretched and have grown and have processed life as we know it in the US.

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