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Something miraculous is occurring throughout Rwanda. Orphanages once full of children are being shut down as children are being adopted into families of their own. These children who have experienced great trauma and loss require a greater level of connection and care from their parents and families. To meet this need, local churches throughout Rwanda are now sharing the life-changing tools and training of Trust-Based Relational Interventions (TBRI).

Researched and developed at Texas Christian University, the skills taught through TBRI have enabled adoptive families to connect with their children in healing ways, fostered healthy reunification of families, and encouraged families at risk of separation. Parents are being equipped and supported by their churches to build healthy connections with their children. Take a look at this video highlighting the power of transformation TBRI has had in local churches throughout Rwanda!

Are you interested in helping equip more churches in Rwanda with the life-changing tools of TBRI? You can serve on an Orphan Care PEACE trip and support the local church in emptying orphanages and adopting children. Email orphans@saddleback.com or call 949-609-8555. 

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In October 2016, a group of women from Saddleback Church took a PEACE trip to Rwanda to serve local churches in the areas of Orphan Care and HIV/AIDS. Comprised of core women’s ministry leaders, the trip brought together women ranging from college students and recent graduates, to young mothers and career women, to grandmothers and great-grandmothers. Together, these women found that their diverse hearts were weaved together by the common vision of empowering the local churches of Rwanda and living out the Great Commission in their daily lives. 

Many of the women who served on this trip harbored deep insecurities and questions as to whether God could use them in Rwanda. Whether they felt too young, too old, too sensitive, too feminine, too inexperienced, or too small in the kingdom, God met them in their doubts and empowered them to serve His Church. As Lauren Franco, Women’s Communities intern and team member stated, “The Great Commission isn't subject to one gender, or one age group. It’s all of us. We’re all called to go to make disciples of all nations.” These women discovered the truth that everyone can be used on a PEACE trip. No matter what your background, family history, or experiences are, God can use you!

Take a look at this discussion about the HIV and Orphan Care PEACE trip featuring several women who served on this trip as they discuss what God taught them in the process:

Are you ready to take your next step of faith by going on a PEACE trip? Join us January 22nd at PEACE Practical on the Saddleback Lake Forest campus to learn more about Orphan Care and HIV ministries and how you can GO or support what our church is doing to live life on mission. Please email orphans@saddleback.com or call 949-609-8555 with any questions! 

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The Karongi District of Western Rwanda is where the Orphan Care Initiative began the charge with local churches to get children out of orphanages and into loving, lasting families 3 years ago. In a country that did not have a word for “adoption” when deinstitutionalization began, so many families have stepped up to open their hearts and homes to children that there was no longer any need for the orphanages in their region. All three of the region’s orphanages, which were once home to hundreds of children, are now emptied – the abandoned dormitories now testaments to God’s amazing work in Rwanda through his church and the generosity of sponsorship donors like you!

The success is so profound that the Rwandan government has now asked the Orphan Care Initiative to play a larger leading role in 3 other regions of the country. This year, PEACE teams were mobilized to vision cast God’s heart for the orphan to local churches in these new areas, providing them with the training they need to reunite families and raise up families for adoption. The churches of Karongi are now a shining example to the rest of the nation, teaching their brothers and sisters what it looks like to offer radical love through adoption.

Orphan Care PEACE Teams Deliver the Very Best in Evidence-Based Adoptive Parent Training

Life in an orphanage leaves a legacy of trauma in the life of a child – emotional pain and learned behaviors that can only be healed in the arms of a permanent family. The adoptive families in Rwandan local churches are trained in the best practices of parenting children coming out of trauma – a set of unique transformative tools called Trust Based Relational Interventions (TBRI®), developed and tested at Texas Christian University’s Institute of Child Development.

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Through a train the trainer model, local churches are equipped to not only empower families, but also empower skilled lay social workers to come alongside families as they bring home a child from the orphanage. This year, 79 members on 9 PEACE trips delivered this training in Rwanda.

The Orphan Care Initiative’s work in this field was recently recognized as Initiative founder Elizabeth Styffe was awarded the TCU Green Honors Chair for 2017.

Check out this video to watch how churches are putting TBRI into practice in Rwanda:

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Thank you to those of you who gave so generously to Rwanda Sponsorship in 2016. To set up monthly giving for the new year, visit saddleback.com/sponsorship. Let’s help another region get to zero in 2017!


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Is your family experiencing infertility? Find community and hope with other couples walking the same journey at the Embracing Hope retreat at Saddleback Church on Jan. 27-28!

Join couples like Phillip and Alex, a couple who found support, community, and healing through the church in the midst of their infertility story. They will be sharing their journey at the retreat, and you can hear a bit of their story below...

 

Embracing Hope is an overnight retreat for husbands and wives experiencing infertility and exploring the many ways they can build their family.  We will kick things off on Friday night with an amazing session followed by socializing around fire pits next to the lake. The conference will continue throughout Saturday afternoon with life changing discussions and chances to create meaningful relationships. If you are walking the painful and often lonely road of infertility we would love for you to attend this event!

 

We encourage couples to come together and grow as you embrace the hope that God has for you in this overnight experience. There will be several breakout sessions where attendees can choose to hear about topics closest to their heart and situation, Q & A panel discussions, amazing testimonies, worship, and lots of opportunity for connection.

 

Space is limited so click here to register today. Please, don't hesitate to contact us with any questions or concerns at 949.609.8555 or orphans@saddleback.com. We can't wait to spend time with you!

At the heart of the Orphan Care Initiative at Saddleback is the belief that church and family are God’s remedy for the orphan crisis. Psalm 68:5 says, “God places the lonely in families…” When we were spiritually orphans, God adopted us into His family. In fact, Scripture teaches that the reason God made the world was so He could adopt (see Eph. 1:4-6). It gives us an inheritance and the right to call Him Abba, or “Father” (see Gal. 4, Rom. 8). As a result, as Christians, we are given the joy of reconciling people to God through adoption (spiritual adoption), and helping children stay in their families, be reunited with their families or find a new family through adoption (physical adoption). In this blog (originally posted to Daily Hope), Pastor Rick Warren shares how we are adopted into God’s family, the Church.

 

“There are only two ways to get into a family: You can either be born into it, or you can be adopted into it. God does both for you! It’s called being born again, and it’s called being adopted into the family of God. God does both.

In Roman law, which people followed in the New Testament, you could disown a child you birthed. But if you adopted a child, you were forbidden to ever disown them. God says you are not only born again into his family, but he has adopted you, and there is no way he could ever disown you. That’s good news!

You may ask, “No matter what I do? Really?” That’s right — no matter what you do!

Once you’re born, you cannot be unborn. Once you are born again, you cannot be unborn again. You can grieve the Father, just like we often do to our earthly parents. The fellowship may be broken, but no matter what your parents say, everybody knows you are still their child. In the same way, once you become a child in the family of God, you’re in!

The Bible says in 1 Timothy 3:15, “I want you to know how people who are members of God’s family must live. God’s family is the church” (GW). We are the family of God. Church is not something you go to. Church is something you belong to. You’re welded into the building of the temple of God. You’re grafted into the vine and the tree of life. You’re born again and adopted into the family of God. You’re joined into the body of Christ. These are all connection models.

Most people think that Christianity is a belief system. There are beliefs that are involved, but it’s more than that. It’s a belong system. It means you belong to the family of God. It means you are a part of the body of Christ. The Bible says it’s like being born into a family.

Romans 15:6-7 says, “You will all be joined together, and you will give glory to God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Christ accepted you, so you should accept each other, which will bring glory to God” (NCV).

To learn more on God’s heart for the orphan, check out this video of Rick and Kay Warren. For more information on how you can be involved in helping children remain, regain, or reunite with family, email orphans@saddleback.com or call 949-609-8555.

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