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For the past two weeks an Orphan Care PEACE team has been serving in Rwanda, working with the local church to train social workers, teach churches about orphan care, and visit the homes of families who have adopted.

We asked one of our team members, Amy, to share a little of her experience on an orphan care PEACE trip and what it has meant to her. Below she recounts a day of home visits in Kigali:

 

"Pure & genuine religion in the sight of God means caring for orphans and widows in their distress." James 1:27

Today our Orphan Care PEACE team visited two homes and witnessed firsthand widows and orphans in distress. They are struggling each day for survival. I am in tears as I type this - words cannot describe the conditions they live in and the problems they face each day. Today definitely put things into perspective for me. 

We met an amazing woman named Josephine. Her husband was killed in the genocide and she was left alone with one son. Despite her own hardship, over the years she has taken in four additional kids whose parents died of AIDS. They don't have a house to call their own... so they have moved around a lot! Right now they are renting a space for 6 about the size of my closet. She struggles each trimester to pay the tuition for school.

When we visited her family, she had tears the whole time we were there because she felt like somebody cared. We brought a small bag filled with some basic food staples, and spent some time listening and praying for her.  

We also met Odetta, a grandmother caring for her grandchildren. Her daughter and son-in-law both died of AIDS. She also has taken in additional kids whose parents died of AIDS - five children all together. Her story is also filled with heartache from the genocide: her husband was killed and she has ongoing medical problems from her injuries. She was very grateful for the visit from us and the local church members, as well as the food that we provided.

I am humbled beyond measure to meet these sweet families who have very little, but have all taken in orphans. It has been an amazing day.

- Amy, Orphan Care PEACE trip member August 2013

Since Amy's visit, Josephine, Odetta and their families have been receiving support from the Rwanda Orphan Sponsorship. They now are able to provide for basic necessities, as well as school fees and medical insurance for their children. To learn how you can support an adoptive family in Rwanda, visit www.saddleback.com/sponsorship.

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Our monthly Global Night is around the corner!  Join us Saturday, August 24 at 6:30 pm at the Lake Forest campus to learn more about PEACE and how you can get involved and go on an orphan care PEACE trip. The night will start in Tent 3, and then move to Rwanda breakout time in Tent 1.

Because of the great interest from Rwanda Rocks we are expecting a large crowd for the Rwanda gathering, and we invite you to come and be part of the evening and potluck! Join us to be encouraged and energized by a meeting filled with prayer, testimonies, and exciting stories of previous trip experiences. This is a great opportunity to learn more about Rwanda and get your questions answered by people who have already been. Sign up for an orphan care trip, and get information on what’s happening in 2014!

If you are interested in going on a PEACE Trip to Rwanda, have a heart to obey the Great Commission, or are passionate about praying for Rwanda; Global Night is for you! We hope to see you there!

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At last weekend’s Rwanda Rocks Rally, Pastor Rick introduced Saddleback to the new Board of Directors of the PEACE Plan Rwanda. The Board, which is comprised of leaders of all the major denominations in Rwanda, demonstrates the amazing and unprecedented unity that has been fostered in Rwanda as the Church comes together to address the needs of the community.

The Board thanked the over 1,200 Saddleback members who have traveled to Rwanda through PEACE. They shared the progress that the PEACE Plan has been making across the country, and cast vision for the future of PEACE as the movement spreads throughout the country and even is used as a model for other nations.

One of the major highlights of the developments being made is the work that is being done for the “Getting to Zero” campaign – the effort to empty all the orphanages across Rwanda by 2014 and place those children into caring, permanent families. Mary Kamanzi, who heads up the orphan care work in the Rwanda PEACE office, shared that the government is very grateful that the local churches are stepping up to support this goal and catching the vision that every child deserves a family of their own. 

If you would like to learn more about how you can see the amazing transformation for yourself by participating in an orphan care PEACE trip to Rwanda, email orphans@saddleback.com or call the orphan care line at 949-609-8555.

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Mark your calendars because you won’t want to miss Pastor Rick’s Rwanda Rocks Rally!

Gather your friends and family and head over to the Lake Forest Worship Center at 2pm on August 4th to hear what God is doing in the nation of Rwanda! Look forward to hearing from Pastor Rick and the Rwanda leadership team as they share how PEACE has dramatically impacted Rwanda over the last 7 years, and reveal their fresh vision for PEACE in Rwanda. This will be an incredible opportunity for our members to meet the new Rwandan PEACE Board of Directors, and hear from the leaders of the PEACE Plan in Rwanda, including Eric Munyemana, Moses Ndahiro , Pastor Emmanuel Karegyesa, and Mary Kamanzi, who heads up the orphan care work in the Rwanda PEACE office.

The Rwanda Rocks Rally is an exciting church-wide event where members of ALL regional campuses are invited to unite at the Lake Forest campus to celebrate! Come be encouraged by what God has done, experience Rwandan dancing, and get excited about what God has in store for Rwanda! If you have any questions, call the orphan care line at 949-609-8555. We hope to see you there!

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Orphan Care Initiative will be sharing our knowledge and resources with adoptive families and other churches – and you can help!

Together 4 Adoption is a national conference that provides gospel-centered resources to mobilize the Church for global Orphan Care. Saddleback Church Orphan Care Initiative will be an exhibitor at the conference and will host breakout sessions on three different topics taught by Elizabeth Styffe:

  • The Story of Rwanda: Transferable Truths. Churches everywhere can help countries empty their orphanages and mobilize the local church. Learn real strategies from a country that is trying to be the first country in Africa without orphanages.

  • When the Story is Struggling: How We Love. Ordinary people and churches can help adoptive or foster families who are struggling with insights and tools that are innovative, church-initiated and applicable in every culture and every context.

  • Expanding the Story Wherever You Are: Grow an orphan care ministry locally and globally and learn how to end the orphan crisis.

This year's conference will be held on October 4-5th at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY.

We are looking for a team of volunteers to travel with Orphan Care to the conference to represent Saddleback and empower other churches to care for orphans. You can help other churches learn about the PEACE Plan and expand their impact. If you like meeting new people and equipping others, this may be the opportunity for you!

Email orphans@saddleback.com or call the orphan care line at 949-609-8555 to get involved.

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