Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Work and Ministry in Rwanda

If one word stood out to me while we were in Rwanda it would be "determined".  The people we observed and came into contact with are extremely determined, resolute, tenacious, steadfast and purposeful--making the most out of every resource they have whether they are reusing plastic water bottles or gathering old calendars to make "paper beads" used in jewelry designs.  These people are talented, crafty and skilled in many ways.


Several days we got to see the skills of women at work whether we were visiting the women Annie is discipling, who sew each day for their livelihood or seeing a group of young people whose families cannot afford to send them to college so Annie has employed them to make jewelry which is sent back to the States and sold at a fair wage for their labor.  Whichever group Annie is with, it is clear that she desires to invest in them, teach them skills that can improve their way of life while also sharing the hope that is within her.  She is living out I Peter 3:15 "Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have."  Her heart and example of opening her life and her home to any and everyone in need is an example I hope to emulate.
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I couldn't pick just one piece, I ended up purchasing several!
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Here, she is working on the tassel's for the earrings picture above and left.  I bought the teal and green ones, Carol got the navy and bronze, they are adorable and I've worn them the past two days!
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Another afternoon was spent on Africa New Life's campus, where they have seminary classes, a sewing and beauty school, child sponsorships and an up and coming medical facility that will be known as the first hospital in all of Rwanda to give epidurals for women during child birth.  It's a 60 bed medical facility with hopes of growing and expanding to optometry and other specialties.  Adam had the chance to speak with Pastor Fred and Dr. Sam who are leading the medical facilities construction and planning.  He enjoyed getting to hear their plans as well as hearing what needs still remain.  According to Dr. Sam, most all of the facilities costs are already covered, there is a small portion still that is needed but the greatest need is for leadership, for people with expertise in medical areas to invest time and energy and for teachability in the people they employ to run and support the hospitals operations.  Since Hospital Administration is Adam's forte he very much enjoyed the time discussing and contemplating ways that U.S. organizations might come alongside Rwandans who work here.

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While John and Adam met with Dr. Sam and Pastor Fred, Carol and I (along with our 8 kids) took a tour of the sewing ministry and beauty school that Africa New Life (ANL) has started for women who survived the genocide or have had trauma in their past.  Both are year long training programs that teaches the women specific skills then ANL sets them up with their own sewing machine or scissors and beauty instruments at the end of the year which is a huge blessing to these women, as this is their sole way of earning an income.  Most of the women have children who ANL keep in the child development center.  It's a huge gift for these women because otherwise, the only option is to leave their young children locked in their homes all day long while they go to work.  (Unsupervised children is a very normal occurrence, there are no choices, moms and dad's literally leave young children, alone, all day long, in order to make ends meet.)  Thanks to ANL, these women don't have to worry about their children, they are in a loving, educational environment that is safe for them and in close proximity as well.
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We got a tour of the campus with JJ and Pastor Fred.  Pictured below is the seminary building where professors from American universities come and spend a few weeks at a time teaching the students.  The founders of our church, Robert Lewis and Bill Parkinson have taught many classes here.  Again, it's phenomenal to see the intertwining of people from Little Rock, AR and Kigali, Rwanda.
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This is the ANL chapel, where Pastor Charles preaches each week.  He spent time in the States and studied at Multnomah University in Portland, Oregon.  He is a life long friend of Joel Sengoga, again, the connections never cease to amaze me.
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And while we were doing all this observing, listening and learning our children were doing their thing, running around, playing duck duck goose and of course having a snack.  To their credit, we were there for about three or four hours and they honestly, did so well entertaining themselves.
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Rolly-Polly's, whether in America or Africa, are always fun for kids!

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