Day 12: Safari

Written by Connie

4 am: Wake up, get dressed, go eat breakfast.
4:15 am: 2 jeeps arrive to take us to the Akagera National Park
5 am: get in jeeps to head out on our safari
5:20 am: 1 jeep gets a flat tire
5:40 am: both jeeps get back on the road and head west towards the park
8:15 am: Both jeeps make it safely to the park and we’re ready for our adventure with animals.

It was an early morning today, but we had many adventures and got to see lots of animals.

Some highlights for me were:

1. Hearing everyone’s reactions to their favorite animals. Carol’s reactions were especially fun and exciting to listen to as I sat next to her in the back seat.

2. Carol had some amazing animal sounds.

3. We filmed footage for our “Africa” music video. Thank you Toto for such a perfect song.

4. We got SUPER close to some giraffes and zebras.

5. Best part of the day was the first few minutes when we saw the biggest elephant ever with a little white bird sitting on top of him. Amazing!

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6 pm: We arrived safely back to the guest house.
9 pm: We all fell into bed fast asleep.

Tomorrow we must say goodbye and head home. This part is always challenging. Pray for safe travels and not too tearful goodbyes.

Day 10: A day in Kayonza

By Carol

If I had to sum up all the emotions and experiences from today, or even this trip, it would be with the words, “God is good.” He has blessed me in so many ways.

Today’s trip to Africa New Life High School had some very special meaning for me. My dear husband, Tom Harms, died unexpectedly in Sept. 2013. The memorial funds given in Tom’s honor were sent to Africa New Life to help finish the construction of the high school.

Today I was able to visit this school in person. The school is beautiful and I could see my husband’s legacy of investing in the lives of others continuing right in front of my eyes. I think he would be so pleased to be a part of this school. Needless to say, there were some tears shed! They were tears not of sadness, but acknowledging the great and generous God we serve. That I was allowed to be here and see this work of God and honor my husband was a gift beyond description. I don’t think it is possible to put in words how full my heart was.

God is good!

Day 9: Kageyo

Written by Lizzie.

Today was another early day. The day began with breakfast at 6, followed by everyone going to the bathroom as many times as possible before getting on the road to Kageyo — a 3 hour ride. For those of you that have not read Connie’s infamous Kageyo bathroom post, it’s a must read to explain exactly what we were preparing ourselves for. We arrived in Kageyo around 10:30, and after braving the bathroom, I threw my hands in the air and exclaimed, “Now I’m African!” Not as bad as I thought it would be. Enough bathroom talk.

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All nine of us were matched with a teacher most closely to what we teach. I was paired with Paul who teaches P6 English just like I do, and who also happens to be the Africa New Life photographer. I walked in to him already in a lesson on active and passive voice. It is amazing to see how much these teachers can do with so little. I watched him write a sample sentence on the board, and his students chanted the rules that he had taught them. Even though they don’t have a “copy of notes” from the teacher or textbooks to reference at home, these students are taught in a way that the concepts are easily remembered and studied. He finished with his part of the lesson, and invited me to teach. It’s always a little scary to get in front a class for the first time, but add to it that English is their second language, and I am a muzungu (white person). The students giggled as I went to the front of the room, and I began with helping verbs. I wrote them on the board just as I teach my students, and we counted them together to see that we had all 23. Then I had them open their notebooks to write a sentence in passive voice. When they finished, I had them switch with a neighbor to convert their sentences to active. They stared at me blankly. Was I being clear? Could they understand my English? No, this method is just so foreign to them, they weren’t sure I was being serious. Paul ran to get his camera, and took hundreds of photos while I gave the lesson. Afterwards he thanked me over and over again for teaching him that method. He told me he would be using it soon. Who would have thought something so small could have meant so much to him?

After a quick lunch in the Africa New Life Sponsorship Office, I had the opportunity to talk with one of the women from the office, Janet. I began asking her lots of questions about Olga, the child I sponsor, who I knew I would get to see later that afternoon. But little did I know, she was already there! I quickly went outside to meet her, and as I glimpsed her sweet face, she began running towards me. She jumped into my arms and I was instantly crying. To explain the love that I immediately felt for that child would be impossible. From that moment on, she was by my side and holding my hand. Olga is 6 years old and in Top class (Kindergarten).

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We all loaded into the bus, and first went to Carol’s home visit. Olga sat by my side and smiled from ear to ear as we watched Carol and Juliette’s family have such a sweet first visit. Then we were off to Olga’s home. She was so excited to show it to me. I was greeted by Olga’s grandmother and grandfather with open arms. Her family came from Tanzania, and she was born shortly after. Her grandparents let me know they came with nothing, but because of the help of Africa New Life, they are born again Christians, involved with their church, her aunt has just completed S6 (12th grade) and is headed to university. So exciting for them! Love to hear these stories of how ANLM is able to turn lives around. As we continued to talk, her grandfather spoke up and told me: they had no hope before being here. They wouldn’t make it without me. They have a reason to live because of my help. I was speechless and in tears. I feel like I do so little, and my small contribution for their family helps them so much.

It was unbelievably hard to say goodbye to Olga. I did not want to let go of her. If I could, I would have kidnapped her and brought her back to Texas with me. As I was getting into the bus, they let me know she had to go back to school for choir. So I got to have one more bus ride with her! We held hands, sang songs, and took a couple of selfies. Then it was time to say goodbye for real.

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As we began our trek back to Kigali, Marilyn let me in on a little secret. Olga didn’t have choir practice. They just found a tricky way to let us have a few more minutes together. Emotional overload. I am beyond thankful that the Lord blessed me with this trip, and seeing Olga today is easily the best part.

Day 8: Home visits

Written by Connie and Kayla

We spent today in our first Africa New Life School. We went to the school in Bugesera called Kibenga Primary School. It was built by the government, but soon after it was built it was unsuccessful and deserted. The government asked Africa New Life to run the school since they did so well with the school in Kayonza. Now this school is the number 2 school in the district of 103 schools. Very exciting changes here and a lot of positive classroom practices too.

The students are speaking English very well starting in Primary 1, which is not happening in many of the schools. Many of the classrooms we observed today had already begun implementing the ideas we shared with them this weekend.

We served the students lunch to help the staff of the school. All the students loved receiving lunch from the muzungus. Lauren’s devotional this morning talked about having a servant heart, and it was totally appropriate for serving lunch this afternoon.

The best part of the day came from the home visits. I had my home visit with Eric and Kayla had hers with Valentine.

Eric’s family is in a bit of a crisis right now. His mother has been drinking a lot. She had problems with the neighbors and the family. She is no longer at home and has been in a rehab center for a few weeks. The family misses her so much and wants her to come home. They also have no idea how she is doing or if she is coming home. The Shema family was very concerned and stressed about their mom. The visit today came at a great time for them. They desperately needed encouragement, love, and a reminder to trust in Jesus through this tough time.

The encouraging thing for me though, is Eric is now in the Kibenga school, in Primary 3, and speaking English VERY well. I gave him my favorite book when I was a child, “Go, Dog. Go!” Eric was able to read it to me on the bus, and I was so proud of his improvement.

When we were taking photos of the family, Sandrine hugged me so tightly and then the whole family and I had a group hug. She squeezed me so tightly that all the tears came out. I could feel the pain their family was experiencing. Lots of things to pray for and lots of love to send to them when I get home.

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After saying goodbye we hopped back on the bus, prepared to drive for a while to Valentine’s house. We drove past three houses and stopped. Who knew they were neighbors?! (It was almost like the very beginning of My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 when the dad backs out of the driveway and drives next door to pick up Toula and her daughter.)

(Kayla writing now)
I had the chance to spend time with Valentine during Connie’s home visit and on the bus. I showed Valentine pictures of my family and she had remembered many of them from pictures! She is very shy and doesn’t speak much English but somehow I convinced her to read me a book while we road on the bus! I have the privilege of teaching my students how to read. It brings me such great joy when they read their first book to me. Hearing Valentine read was such an incredible gift! It was so special to hear her voice and see how much she has learned this past year.

In the backpack I brought for Valentine, there was a game using a ball and two plastic mitts that were gifted to Valentine through my students from last year. I got to play catch with Valentine and her siblings in the yard outside of Eric’s house. I never would have dreamed we would have been able to play together in that way!

Once we arrived at her home I was so thrilled to meet her mother, Betty. Last summer when I visited, her mother had moved to Uganda. Meeting her mom today brought me to tears. Her grandmother thanked me that all of the prayers that brought her mother back. God is so good!

We talked a little about her school year and how exciting it was for her to pass grade 2 and move to grade 3! I got to share with her about one of my soccer players, Lexi, who wrote to her this year as if she were a student at her school, just passing notes in the hall. Valentine remembered getting her note, and I could tell how much it meant to her!

At the end of our time together I had the chance to pray for her family. As we were praying, Valentine wrapped her arm around my back and held my hand. It was one of the sweetest moments of my time with her. I am beyond thankful that God blessed me with this trip and the opportunity to see her and her family again!

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(Connie again)
Tomorrow we head to Kageyo (the school far away), and we’ll have a few more home visits. Keep your prayers coming. We are definitely feeling them.

A break from our regularly scheduled postings…

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I would like to take this opportunity to break the mold on this blog and write about my personal favorite daily occurrence… mealtime. Here at the Africa New Life guest house, we are spoiled by the most talented chef in all of Africa. His name is Emma. He has mastered cuisines from nations near and far, the best of which (in my humble opinion) is Emma’s delicious rendition of the Mexican enchilada. Let us first discuss the perfectly home-made tortilla. It is melt-in-your-mouth good. Once you get past its rich flavor and delightfully flaky texture, your taste buds are greeted with subtly, yet profoundly seasoned ground beef. The only addition necessary to perfect this meal is the fresh and crisp house-made guacamole! This guacamole is a game-changer. This guacamole is the only thing that can change Kayla’s cardboard flavored, gluten-free chips into a savory snack. By the end of this meal, all travelers staying at the guest house can thank Emma for the opportunity to taste a morsel of heaven. Not only does he satisfy the cravings of hungry Texans, Emma has introduced a life-changing meal to visitors from far and wide.

Day 6 and 7: Teacher Conference

Written by Connie with idea help from the team

The last two days have been filled with relationship growth, making new friends, and challenging others while at the same time being challenged myself. We have been attending the teacher conference that we help run alongside Africa New Life. Their leadership runs the conference but we lead a few of the sessions.

This year, we led sessions on communication, modern teaching, and methodology. We also broke up the 170 attendees into small discussion groups to help model how they could use small groups in their classrooms of more than 60 students in some cases.

Overall, they are very receptive to learning new ideas that they can implement in the classroom right away. They love that we come and share ideas with them, and we love coming and building relationships with them.

The team’s top 10 thoughts from the conference:

1. African tea (tea made with milk) and African food is delicious. The food is all starch which is probably why I love it. (again with the #worstdiabeticever) Matoke, posho, dodo, rice, beans, and some form of random meat. YUM. Not everyone shares my love, however.

2. Africa time would never be ok in the US. We had a couple morning breaks with Africa tea, but we did not eat lunch until 2 pm. If American teachers had to sit at a conference and not eat lunch until 2 pm, they would revolt. Neat new perspective.

3. Keep it simple. When you’re leading a conference where everyone is speaking English with a different accent and English is their second language, keep it simple and talk slower than you normally would.

4. I need to be praying for my students more. We talked a lot about redemptive teaching and spreading the light of Jesus to our students. Teaching in a public school in the US makes this challenging, but I cannot use this as an excuse to avoid shining the light of Jesus every day even when it’s hard.

5. Conferences with breaks where we sing worship music, clapping, and dancing with a great musician in 11th grade should happen everywhere.

6. Ok so the bathroom situation is interesting. There were two women’s bathrooms for the whole conference of 170 people. Now more than half of the attendees were men, but still. You learned to go during a session instead of being polite and waiting until the end. Also, these were flushy toilets but sometimes the hotel ran out of water which meant you used a bucket and dumped water in to flush it manually. A little gross and I may have missed the toilet bowl and spilled water on the floor. Oops. They were super tiny stalls and one toilet didn’t have a seat, but it definitely beats the squatty potty.

7. There was a sweet and very talented young man in Senior 5 (11th grade) leading some worship time. He had some music that he recorded and sang along to that was in Kinyarwanda. As he was singing, A LOT of people started walking up and sticking money in his pocket. Like he was in a night club…All of the muzungus (white people) were confused and asking, “Did that just happen?” Yes. Yes it did. Apparently it is a cultural thing where you show you like something and support it by sticking money in the pockets. I was voted to put money in his pocket by the team. I’m 100% sure my face was a tomato.

8. Leading any session at a conference like this helps you to learn the importance of modeling. Don’t just talk. Act it out, draw pictures, use anything you can find to help explain your message. When you are teaching teachers, it is important to teach as if you had students in your room.

9. Sam is the Dean of Students at New Life Christian Academy in Kayonza. He has some talent with computers as well. By talent, I mean, he really loves powerpoint transitions. Every time someone new gave him a computer or a flash drive to run the powerpoint, he would quickly go through each slide and add transitions. My personal favorite was the one that looked like curtains opening. The presenter generally didn’t know that is was happening until the whole room would laugh at the transitions. John Africa however, thought his slides had disappeared instead of just a transition. The entertainment was so real.

10. Maybe the greatest part of the conference is the end. At the end we take pictures. Like so many. I had people who I had not met yet come up to me like I was a celebrity and take pictures with me. There would be 10 cameras in front of you taking the same picture. They also really liked to change the background and then proceed to take the same picture.

Tomorrow I see my sweet Eric and we go to Bugesera. Cannot wait! Hugs to all of you!

Day 5: God is so Good

Written by Connie

Today has been a little strange. As with anything in Rwanda or Africa, you have to be flexible. We started the day on time and were ready to go when we found out a student who just graduated from the New Life Academy with our mission director, Alice, and my friend Cyusa passed away during the night. Since John Africa, the liaison between Africa New Life and the Kigali partner schools, used to be the headmaster at New Life Academy, he knew this student and was a mentor to him. He was busy all day dealing with the family and arrangements that needed to be made, so we didn’t have our leader for the schools like the other days this week. This has been a sad day for our friends, but they have been faithful to serving the Lord despite the difficult time.

We left a little later than originally planned and were only able to go one school, but it was so productive! We sat in a circle with all the teachers and allowed them to ask us questions about the US and how we structure our schools. They asked very intelligent questions and were thoughtful about why they asked them. We were able to offer advise and give suggestions to the struggles they are facing daily. I also learned things from our team which is great too.

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The last question that was asked was, “We can’t let these conversations end. How do we keep them going?” Such a great question and EXACTLY what our goal is for being in Rwanda and especially in Kigali. God has gone before us and prepared their hearts and ours to do exactly what He has planned. It’s really beautiful. I love being part of something so much bigger than myself.

Lunch was fun because it is Alan Hotchkiss’ birthday (the executive director of Africa New Life) and the staff brought him an ice cream cake. Africans know how to party.

This afternoon we have been working on our presentations for the conference tomorrow and Sunday. We totally redid what we had planned, and it is going to flow so much better than our original thoughts. God has laid that out too. I also got to use I notice, I wonder that I learned at TMC13 (a math training I have been attending for 4 years) a few years ago in our presentation.

I have loved being a part of this team and a part of God’s plan for this ministry.

Such a great day in this beautiful country and it’s not over yet!

Day 4: Morning Glow

Written by Kayla

For those of you who know me well you know my typical bedtime usually falls around 9:00 pm! I am an early riser but I love my sleep. Sometimes I feel like the odd man out when 8:30 rolls around and I am ready for bed. Praise Jesus for putting me in a room with three ladies who have suffered from an interesting case of jet lag and have somehow formed to the schedule I usually follow. Why do I mention this?….

My day began at 4:00 this morning, as it has the rest of the mornings, with a lot of laughter. Each morning when I wake up I can’t help but laughing when I roll over to see tiny glows about the head of each of my roommates. No one wants to get out of bed at 4:00 so we lay there hoping maybe, just maybe we will fall back asleep since breakfast isn’t for another 3 1/2 hours. That never happens! So I made a decision to not get out of bed until 5:00. Sure, I could have stayed in bed for a couple more hours but then I would have missed the chance to sit on the balcony of the guest house and watch the sunrise with some of my dearest friends. As I sat on the balcony this morning with my delicious cup of hot tea I kept thinking to myself, “I can’t believe I’m here again, if only I could have this view everyday.” I just couldn’t believe I was sitting with the view of one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been to with nothing but time to spend with my Savior. In that moment my good friend, Lauren, turned to me and said, “I wish I could have this view everyday!” We are kind of the same.

What happened next was pretty special. As we sat on the balcony we began to talk about God’s goodness and how his plan is so perfect. With so much time to reflect I began to talk about the amazing things I have seen the Lord do in my life over the last 8 years. It was such a joy to look back on my time from living in Colorado to transitioning back to Texas, switching jobs, meeting new friends and experiencing new adventures and being able to see so much growth in my life. Wow! So much growth! If you would have asked me when I was 20 what I thought I would be doing in 10 years, I’m 100% sure teaching in Rwanda would not have been my answer. And I wouldn’t be here if it wouldn’t have been for the ways the Lord has molded me and transformed my life. I could go on and on about the details of that conversation but that’s not necessary. The point is to relay that I couldn’t have had a better start to this day!

Most people who have been up for 5 hours are already halfway through their work day. Not us! At 9:00 we headed off to the schools and oh, were we in for a treat! I spent the first hour in a class of young three year olds. Precious, precious, three year olds. The teachers were so energetic and the students were so excited to sing and dance and play with the “muzungu”(white person). I felt so welcomed as a visitor and couldn’t help but smile as we marched around the room and chanted different things! When it was time for that class to go on their break I went into a P3 (3rd grade) Science class. I thought I would be sitting in on a science lesson but instead I got to witness a class of third graders lifting up praises to the Lord. What happened next I will never forget. I’m not sure how it happened but the teacher disappeared and Lauren and I found ourselves at the front of the class singing songs to Jesus with our new friends. It didn’t stop with the one class. Slowly, students from other classes made their way into our classroom to sing with us. Every time we finished singing a song together they would plead for another. After some amazing worship and some entertaining rounds of “Simon Says”, it was time for the rest of the classes to go on break. Before we left the school we had the honor of meeting the 6 students in that school that our sponsored through Africa New Life. Even though they are not specifically sponsored by one of us, it is still so special to get to see them.

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It truly was an incredible morning! We arrived back at the guest house around 1:00 for lunch, delicious as always, and then spent the afternoon shopping at “Umucyo”, the Noonday Co-op and at the Africa New Life Family Center. Both places allowed us to bring in fabrics or buy fabrics to have tailor-made bags and clothes. We cannot wait to see how everything turns out. Until then we have something even more exciting to look forward to tonight…. enchiladas!!! Writing about the food in this house would need it’s own blog post, which will probably be written by Lauren since she claims every meal is her “favorite meal”. Needless to say we are all looking to another great night of fellowship and another wonderful morning filled with tiny glows and lots of laughter.

P.S. When I began writing this blog I was dominating in Phase 10… I am not anymore!

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Day 3: My life is not my own.

Written by Connie

Picture it. A cool Rwandan morning sitting on the balcony eating breakfast looking out over the beautiful hillside. Suddenly, you decide to ask a question and the person sitting across from you could potentially change your life forever. This was my morning.

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I sat talking with Alan Hotchkiss (Executive Director of ANLM) this morning and told him about my history with Africa New Life and the trips that I had participated in. I then shared with him about how the Lord has placed Rwanda on my heart and how much I would love to move and teach here. Let me tell you. This. Is. Terrifying. (In the words of Carol: If its not a little terrifying, it’s probably not the right path.)

He suggested that I spend a couple of months next summer in Rwanda where I wouldn’t have a team, but I would work directly with John Africa to test the waters before making a huge life changing decision. Very wise man. Lots to think and pray about in the coming months.

After breakfast, we went to the Africa New Life staff devotional. I don’t know how to describe this except the most beautiful singing, dancing, praying, praising, and joy I have ever experienced. I think this is as close to what Heaven will look like on this side of it. Within a minute I was in full on ugly crying…and then laughter when Lauren turned around to ask me something and I was already a weepy mess. It also might have had something to do with the words of the song and the conversation I had just had at breakfast.

I truly wish every morning started with Rwandan worship. In an odd way, I feel like this is how I am most fully worshipping the Lord on this earth. Singing loudly, in beautiful harmony, with dancing and clapping going on around.

Cyusa!

Cyusa!

Going to the staff devotional also meant seeing John (my driver for the last two trips), Cyusa (a sponsored child who has graduated and is now working in the ANL offices), JJ (the team’s mission director last year), and many other sweet faces we recognized. The highlight for me though was seeing John. John has type 2 diabetes, and on the last trip I found out this information. He revealed to me that the only time he checked his blood sugar was when he visited the doctor. When I got home, I mailed a glucometer to him so he could check his blood sugars. The reason this was so critical for him was because on the last trip he drank a RedBull every day. Those things have SO MUCH sugar and I wanted to impress upon him how important controlling his blood sugar is. Today when I saw him, he had lost weight and looked very fit and trim and looked so happy to see me. The rest of the team believes I might have saved his life. I don’t know how extreme we need to get, but I definitely enjoyed playing a role to help extend and improve his life. We hugged for longer than an appropriate time, but I don’t care. This is what true Godly love looks like.

This was all before 9 am. Phew.

We did more observations in the school today, which went very well. I watched a teacher really struggle in her first class of 55 7th graders because of how she was structuring her checking of answers. She had one student show all the steps to a fairly long problem and also check the answer. I could tell she was bored and the kids were bored, and I just wanted to make it better. We chatted between classes when I suggested to her that she could try having one student do a step, then call on another student to work the next step, and so on. I was thrilled to see her immediately implement the strategy. She was more engaged in her own lesson and so were the kids.

It is an encouragement and challenge for me as I go forward to be present and ready for all of my lessons even when it’s hard or its May, and I don’t want to.

After lunch, we went on Ranelle’s home visit to see Ange. She is the sweetest little girl who is 1 of 10 children. Needless to say, there were many children running around. Their time together was perfect and Ange was so excited and nervous that she didn’t know what to say. The one question she did ask was what the football was in the pack of athletic balls Ranelle brought. All the muzungus (white people) had a good laugh.

We shopped some more after that in the crazy Kimironko market. Pro bargaining tip: make a stink face and say NOOOO and threaten to walk away if the price is too high. I have perfected this art a little too much.

A long but beautiful day. Thank you Jesus for blessing us with your Spirit and faithful, loving people.

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Day Two A long anticipated meeting

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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