Today was an early wake up day becaus we had to get on the road early,. Kageyo is a long way away! Even though we were serving all of the kids lunch today we made our own lunches. They weren’t sure that we could handle the traditional food cooked in those circumstances. (We had eaten pretty much the same thing last night – but I’m getting ahead of myself) I fixed peanut butter and nutella – maybe my first ever nutella sandwich – and tuna.
Our group was about a third of the whole group. There were two other groups with both being involved in a home visit. One group was the men who worked with the DREAM kids. These kids were living on the streets before Africa New Life Ministries started working with them. The reports are that the kids were well behaved and really enjoyedthe time with our men. When things were over, they didn’t just rush out, they stayed to ask questions and talk with the men. A lot of encouragement and positive ministry happened.
The other group was the ladies. They spent time doing home visits in the homes of ladies taking classes in the Dream Center. Two were from the cosmetology classes and two were from the sewing classes. They talked with each lady and spent time with them in their homes. All of the ladies were excited that someone had come to their homes, spent time with them and showed them God’s love. One came to know Christ during this time and her whole countenance and attitude changed. When they gaver her a Bible in her language, she squealed with delight. The other ladies who already follow Jesus were also excited to get their Bibles.
Paul got to visit his daughter and all the reports were amazing. That being said, I don’t want to say a lot about what these other groups experienced because I wasn’t there. I just wanted to let you know all that was happening. Hopefully some of the others involved will share their experiences here sometime!
Our trip to Kageyo not only was long, the last part of the trip was on unpaved road. Speed was not so important as making sure that axels didn’t break. The scenery was amazing and I saw lots of beautiful birds. (I love bird pics as you may have noted from the cover photo of the blog. Yes, I took that!) As we passed through towns we got quite a few stares from those a little bit older and the younger ones cried out, “Muzungu! Muzungu!” Some asked for money, some asked for empty bottles, some just called out and waved. I wondered as they called out how many realized how much the Muzungu let them downduring the 1994 genocide. Many people say that if the UN Troops had worked to put down the attacks with force, things might have stopped. Instead, they betrayed the Rwandan people often giving help, equipping, and training the guerillas. Still, they seemed excited and kept waving and running after the bus.
Let’s fast forward to Kageyo, because that was the main plan of the day. We rolled into the Kageyo New Life Church. I thought I saw Jesca sitting outside, but my American daughter ran inside because she saw some of the kids there in the church. Her plan was to greet Jesca since she had been with her before and then let Jesca know that she had brought her American parents to meet her. Jesca wasn’t in the church and Liz was disappointed. Lucy and I told her to look outside by the tree. Liz started walking and ran when she saw Jesca. Jesca made a beeline for Liz and didn’t notice us. When she did though, she ran to Lucy. I thought Jesca would squeeze Lucy hard enough to break ribs. Then, after about an hour, or so it seemed, Jesca saw me and hugged me as well. The ribs should heal soon. From that time on Jesca was either holding on to Liz, Lucy or me as much as possible. We had an amazing visit and she is a wonderful young lady. She is graceful. I saw her caring for some of the smaller children during the time that kids were playing outside after lunch.
But before lunch we were able to make a home visit. In addition to a supply of food for the family we gave her a couple of dresses, sandals, a necklace and a compact mirror. She is such a beautiful young lady and we think it’s important for her to feel as beautiful on the outside as she is on the inside. We made other home visits as well, and while none was personally as important as the one with Jesca, there were some amazing visits. On one visit they discovered that the children didn’t have mattresses – at the end of the day we delivered mattresses. While we are at the homes, children from the neighborhood gather around to see what’s happening. Their parents would come along sometimes and we had the opportunity to hand out Bibles and bags of rice. One of the men who walked up saw that the ladies were getting Bibles and asked if he could have one also. It took all of two seconds for us to find one and give it to him. We had what is called a hope visit. When a family waiting for a sponsor for their child Africa New Life makes a special visit called a hope visit. They bring the family some kind of food and pray for their needs. Tina had another friend who gave money for someone here to get a goat. This hope visit was where we brought the goat along with some food. As we prayed, another lady in the group offered to sponsor one of her children. So, this hope visit saw some of the hope fulfilled.
After that we headed for lunch. The children had typical Rwandan food. We had the lunches that we packed. We sat with Jesca and found out that she had never eaten apples. So, after Lucy gave her a small taste of an apple we convinced Liz to get her apple, which she had said she didn’t want, so she could give it to Jesca. After lunch the kids went outside to play and Lucy spent some time talking with some of the staff. One of the things we found out that Jesca helps lead music in the church. We are so proud of her and her love for Jesus. She also thanked Lucy for all of the gifts we had given her by name. One of the exciting things was that she told Lucy that she had written “from my American momma and poppa” in the Bible we had given her. We asked her what she needed or wanted that we could help her with. All she asked us for was a light so that she could study at night when it was dark. Did I tell you that most of the houses don’t have electricty…or running water? She is studying for her national exams that will be given in October. If she passes, as every single one of the staff members assured us she will, she will head to secondary school which is a boarding school.
When it was time to go, we prayed as a family in the church before we left. Then we reluctantly made our way to the bus. Then, they decided that we would give a few of the kids a ride home on the bus and that included Jesca. While we were waiting, she held our hands and told us that she wanted to pray for us. She prayed in Kinyirwandan and while we didn’t understand what she said, we could feel her spirit. Lucy did an amazingly ood job of not crying during departure until after Jesca left. She asked us repeatedly during the visit to come back again. When we explained the cost in her own cultural perspective – 10 cows – she just put her head down as she realized how important she is to us.
We left the first Kageyo location – Kageyo is comprised of Rwandans who had been refugees in Tanzania during some of the persecutions who had been kicked out of Tanzania with nothing but the clothes on their backs. The Rwandan government has provided help to get them resettled but they have had to restart their lives. – and went to a second Kageyo location. We thought we were just supposed to drop off some gifts for a few kids. It turns outwe had another hope visit here. The husband had left the family, married another woman, and had contracted HIV. He returned a while ago and ended up infecting his wife. The family had one child registered for sponsorship and another who needed to be. Both children were sponsored by members of our team. One of the members of our team asked the father if he knew Jesus. He said he did. At that point our interpreter took over and noted in no uncertain terms that she had seen mother, wife and children in church but had never seen him at church. After a while he admitted that he needed Jesus in his life and turned to him. We stressed his responsibility as a father and encouraged and admonished him. This visit truly was a “hope fulfilled” visit.
Tomorrow is the first of two days of chess for a small group and spa days for the women and some of the men. They will treat students at the New Life schools to a facial and massage, manicure and fingernail painting, pedicure and foot washing. In the past, the spa days have been extremely moving. The chess days will be something new. I’m concerned about integrating all the people who will be there into a ministry aspect.