Written by Carol
Nine years ago Africa New Life came to my church and shared about the need to sponsor children. My husband and I selected a boy named Patrick, living in the Timothy home, and the first step of today’s meeting was taken. Much has happened over the intervening years. The letters and pictures went back and forth and the prayers were never ceasing. Each day I pray for my three children and then I pray for Patrick. I’ve prayed that he would know the Lord, that he would grow into a responsible young man, that he would do well in school. Those prayers have been answered.
I have wanted to meet Patrick for some time, but one just doesn’t take off to Rwanda. One wonderful benefit of the participating in the teacher training team was that I would, at last, meet the boy that has come to mean so much to me. The anticipation and excitement built so much that by the time that I was told we would be driving to the Dream Center to pick him up and take him to his grandmother’s home, I was in tears.
I quickly hugged him and thanked God for this moment. He had been anticipating this moment as well. He climbed onto the bus with me and we had our first opportunity to talk in person. He asked about the other family members and I shared a recent photo album. It included a picture of my late husband,Tom, and we both wept again that Patrick would not meet him on earth but we had the firm assurance that there would be a future meeting in heaven. We praised God for his faithfulness in all circumstances. After some time visiting, I asked Patrick if he had any special prayer requests he would like me to pray for. Here was his list: Pray that I will know God more and become closer to him. Pray that I will be a good person. Pray that I will do well in school and achieve my dream to be a doctor. Those were the same requests that I have been praying for him. God is good.
We continued to drive through the outskirts of Kigali to his grandmother’s house. Patrick’s parents died when we was very small. His grandmother has struggled with her health and poverty all of Patrick’s life which is why he came to live in the Timothy home. He returns home to help his grandmother on school breaks. We turned down a bumpy road to find an older Rwandan woman struggling down the road with her cane. She could not simply wait at home when a visit she had long anticipated was about to happen as well. Patrick lept out and helped her onto the bus. She began crying and proclaiming her thanksgiving to God for the opportunity to meet us and thank me for sponsoring Patrick.
The bus stopped and we walked together down a path to her house with Patrick, his grandmother, and I walking together. She graciously welcomed us into her home. I looked up and on the one cabinet in the room was a picture of Tom and I myself that I had sent Patrick several years before. This sweet woman had placed it there with all the other people that she felt were important in her life. More tears!
She shared how much knowing that Patrick had a sponsor who would be faithful to care for Patrick meant to her. She knew that her time on earth could end soon, but that someone would there for Patrick. She did not have to worry what would become of him for together we had become family. We shared the hope of Jesus and the hope of Heaven together. She raised her arms in praise to God. She asked me to pray for her before we left. The group sang together and we prayed together. More hugs and a last picture together.
I find I am still moved by the goodness of the Lord in allowing me this moment. To think that God allowed me to sponsor Patrick so he could be a part of the Africa New Life Ministries is such an honor. I have done so little and the Lord has used that little to do so much! Patrick knows and loves the Lord Jesus. He earns top grades in school and dreams of more. His grandmother knows that God will continue to care for provide for Patrick and knows peace for his future. Together, we love this boy and pray for him. Africa New Life has done just what it has set out to do: transform a life through the power of the gospel and acts of compassion. What you may not know that it is not only the sponsored child’s life that is transformed but the life of the sponsor as well.