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Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy. Psalm 126:5

An important part of Getting to Zero is helping vulnerable children remain in their families. One such group are the children of commercial sex workers – mothers who will often leave their children alone at night to work the streets.

This month we are celebrating that 44 women in Busanza, Rwanda recently graduated from a program in their church that trained them in income generating tools to help them move out of commercial sex work and into sustainable livelihoods. Orphan Care teams from Saddleback had spoken into the lives of these women during their training, sharing with them the value of their children and their children’s need for attention and care from their mothers. When a team returned again a few months ago, they were given a glimpse into the truly transformative power of that message.

Rwanda Orphan Care

Josephine, a young mother of two, stood to share her testimony. Her life had been marked by extreme loss and pain. Desperate to survive, Josephine entered into commercial sex work as a
means to provide for her and her children. Feeling trapped and hopeless, she could not see how she could care for and love her children. She had already formulated in her mind the plan for where to abandon her children when she walked in to hear the Orphan Care team share their message of hope that day. God opened her eyes to the important role she had to play as a mama to her two little ones.

Rwanda Orphan Care

Through the support of her church, Josephine was ready to become an attentive mother to her children. Josephine’s eyes were opened and her heart towards her children changed when she learned the principles of Trust-Based Relational Intervention, or TBRI®, at her church. Within a community of other women with similar life experiences, Josephine was equipped with knowledge on how to foster connection that builds attachment with her children, disarm fear, and give voice. These practical interventions infused Josephine’s parenting with hope that she could be the loving and supportive mother her children need, and the community at Mama Joy’s encouraged her to persevere through the challenges this paradigm shift would bring.

Rwanda Orphan Care

Coupled with their newfound parenting skills through TBRI® education, the women at Mama Joy’s church also learned income-generating modalities that would enable them to have a trade that could support their families. The women were taught how to use sewing machine to make beautiful clothing, purses, and other goods and also learned how to handcraft jewelry. These life skills offer the women holistic interventions to generate wealth outside of commercial sex work. The women are also equipped with knowledge on wealth stewardship through savings groups, allowing them to learn how to manage their income, invest, and grow their wealth, helping build a solid foundation for future financial stability and success.

The support of their local church and Mama Joy has equipped 44 women just like Josephine to learn practical life skills to provide for their families, leave commercial sex work, and be caring, present mothers to their children. We praise God for how He’s re-writing their stories, taking them from pain and desperation, to joy!

If you would like to become a Rwanda sponsor, connect with us via email at orphans@saddleback.com or learn more about giving now at  www.saddleback.com/sponsorship

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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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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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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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If you’ve ever thought about adopting or fostering, you are not alone. Did you know that one out of four couples have considered adoption or foster care. No matter why you have considered it, there is a place where you can get accurate information, simple overviews, and your questions answered. During the month of November, Saddleback Church will be hosting an informational seminar called, Exploring Adoption and Foster Care for My Family, at six locations in Southern California....
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