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.
Years ago, a 13 year old boy in Rwanda suffered the loss of both his parents. Left without an adult caretaker, he then watched as his infant siblings - just two and three years old - were taken away and placed into an orphanage.
Today, that young boy has grown into a young man living in rural Kigali with a wife and a three-year-old son. A loving couple of little means, when they heard that the Rwandan government is working to empty all the orphanages, they agreed to adopt his long-lost younger siblings and bring them home. After a history filled with so much loss, these siblings now live together once again as a family! No longer on their own, once lonely children are now secure in the care of a family that loves them.
With the support of Saddleback sponsors, this couple has been able to reunite with children who would have spent their entire childhood in an orphanage, perhaps never knowing they had family in the community. This is just one example of the amazing transformation that is taking place across the country as a result of the partnership between the Rwandan government, local churches and the generous support of Saddleback families who have given to the Rwanda Sponsorship Program.
To learn more about how you can help a family in Rwanda reunite or adopt through the Rwanda Sponsorship Program, please visit saddleback.com/sponsorship.
If you are interested in going on an Orphan Care PEACE trip to Rwanda to see the transformation for yourself and be a part of the amazing work that is being done, email email@example.com or call 949-609-8555 for more information.
Thank you to the over 700 families who have contributed to emptying orphanages in Rwanda. Your gifts are making a difference helping 3000 children leave the orphanages! 5 of Rwanda's 35 orphanages have already been emptied and 800 children now have a permanent loving family in Rwanda to call their own. With your help, the PEACE plan is training and equipping local churches to empower and support Rwandan families for life-long, self-sustaining adoption. Children now have a family of their own! Let’s get to zero children in orphanages!
Here are two opportunties to be a part of this exciting time in Rwanda:
You and your family can make a lasting difference by traveling to Rwanda! Teams are going year round, and we’ll provide all the training you need.
Come hear from all the Rwanda teams – including orphan care – and learn how you can get involved at our monthly Global PEACE Night on Saturday May 25th at 6:30pm in Tent 1.
For more information on Orphan Care Rwanda trips, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For $38 a month, you can have a major impact in the life of an orphan as Rwanda continues to empty their remaining orphanages by the end of 2014!
Your sponsorship helps provide: A FAMILY, school fees, medical insurance, sustainable income-generating skills, church-based lay social worker support, and family training through the local church
Unlike other sponsorship programs, your sponsorship goes to the family through the local church. Working through our long-standing network of PEACE Plan local churches allows for high accountability and integrity.
The PEACE Plan is the only effort that is not just caring for orphans, but ENDING the orphan crisis by reuniting children with parents in the community or raising up and training adoptive families in Rwanda
Visit http://saddleback.com/giving/opportunities/emptyorphanages/ to sign up.
If you haven't gotten involved yet, you still can! Here are two options:
To learn more about going on Rwanda PEACE trip, email email@example.com or attend one of our trip info meetings: