country of Rwanda is approaching its goal of closing all orphanages throughout
the country as children are being placed in families out of the orphanage or
reunited with their families. Despite this progress, in some orphanages children
remain waiting to receive a family – either because finding a willing family is
a challenge or often times, there are orphans ages 18 and older who grew up in
the orphanage, never learned life skills to survive on their own, and therefore
feel unable to leave the orphanage setting. What does all this mean for the
work of “Getting to Zero”? Even when orphanages have closed, the task of caring
for vulnerable and orphaned children is far from done.
work of the Orphan Care Initiative goes far beyond simply “closing orphanages.”
The tools and training we provide through the work of the local churches in
Rwanda is developing a child welfare system for a country that will ensure that
no children grow up outside of family care. If you take the case of the United
States, we have no orphanages – in their place we have a system for identifying
vulnerable and parentless children, sourcing families to foster and adopt them,
and training and monitoring those families so that they are successful. If you
look at Rwanda through that view, the work has only begun. There is now a
stellar example in Western Rwanda – where the Orphan Care Initiative has
focused our efforts at the request of the government – of what it looks like to
reintegrate children into families well with the wrap around support of the
much of the rest of the nation returned children to families without the
wrap-around support of the churches, which is so critical to the long-term
success of an orphanage-free child welfare system. Our most recent Orphan Care
PEACE trip saw this firsthand as they conducted trainings in Kimonyi, an
example of an area where the orphanage recently closed but families had never
received any information on how to address the trauma their children have
experienced in the institution. When the government realized these families
were struggling, they specifically asked for the Orphan Care Initiative to
intervene with training and support.
a child out of an orphanage and into a family is only the start of the journey
of helping that child and family succeed long term. In that way, future Orphan
Care PEACE teams remain critical to delivering several important, world-view
1) The value and need for adoption in a culture coming
out of dependence on orphanages.
2) Teaching churches how to deliver the evidence-based
adoptive parent training that allows families to help heal hurts of children
who have come from the orphanage and other hard places.
3) The truth that EVERYONE in the church is called to
care for the orphan, and the church can help members get on mission in this
area in a variety of ways.
The Rwanda Orphan Sponsorship is a
piece of this support system designed to help children remain in, reunite with
or regain family through adoption. Families brought into the sponsorship
program receive support to help care for their child in the form of a monthly
amount from their local church. As part of sponsorship, parents become part of
a savings group to learn how to grow and manage their money, and they receive
lay social work support from the church and agree to attend parenting training.
In return, the families agree to use the funds to pay their child’s school
fees, enroll them in medical insurance and tithe back to their local church.
Because these funds go directly to the family from their local church, many
families receiving sponsorship don’t know there is a Western donor on the other
end, they just see it as their local church coming alongside to support them.
you would like to help families who are adopting children out of orphanages
through the Rwanda Orphan Sponsorship, please visit saddleback.com/sponsorship for more information on how your giving can help in
Getting to Zero.
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.
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 ameans 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.
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.
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 email@example.com or learn more about giving now at www.saddleback.com/sponsorship!
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.
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:
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!
parent is one too many. For Josiah, losing his mom to HIV/AIDS in 2014 almost
prevented him from remaining in his family. Josiah was only 3 years old. He and his 3 brothers and sister were living
with their sickly father named Emmanuel. A carpenter by profession, Emmanuel
did casual construction jobs to get by. However, after losing his wife, Emmanuel's
health began to decline and his body weakened.
He was unable to provide for his family. Emmanuel's mother and oldest daughter took on the responsibility of
caring for the young family- three of whom were still in elementary school.
reality has provided a powerful opportunity for the local church to bring hope
and support. Emmanuel attends a local
Anglican church in their community where his late wife also attended. The church reached out to little Josiah, his
Dad Emmanuel and the rest of the family.
The church explained that while he was recovering from ill health, the
church could help. They could see that the
family was vulnerable not only to disease, but to being separated out of
desperation and poverty. An orphanage
would have been one fo the few options if Josiah's family did not have the
support of the local church.
Rwanda Sponsorship, the local church has wholistically come alongside Josiah's
family. They are being supported by their church community and are frequently
visited by the members in their church family. Through God's mercy, Emmanuel is
now recovering and his family has remained together - largely in response to the
relationship they've developed with their local church.
The Church is the hope of
the world and the hope for every orphan and vulnerable child. Ending the orphan crisis is not just about getting
children out of orphanages - it's also about helping keep children out of
orphanages in the first place by helping vulnerable children remain in
families. By giving through the local church, sponsorship enables the
entire church to come alongside families like Josiah's, serving them in every
facet of life. Because of Sponsorship, care and support reached these
siblings before they became orphans, and the family is able to grow together!
If you are interested in impacting the life of a child through sponsorship, you can become a Rwanda sponsor at www.saddleback.com/sponsorship today! Connect with us at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn about the ways you can help end the orphan crisis and prevent children from becoming orphaned.
In Gicumbi Byumba, Rwanda, 29 church leaders gathered to hear God’s Heart for the Orphan and consider the implementation of PEACE within their churches. Following breakout sessions, the leaders were prompted to identify the number one problem in caring for orphans and how their churches could solve it. Baptist leaders congregated on one side of the room while Anglicans gathered along the other. As they mulled over these questions, they realized their solution was to do physically for the orphan what God has done for believers spiritually. Their churches would adopt orphans, and as soon as possible!
Yet there was one last problem to solve. The Baptist leaders piped up, “We don’t have an orphanage; we don’t have a place to go get kids…” Then speaking to the Anglican leaders they asked, “Can we go to your orphanage, the Anglican orphanage, and adopt the children there?” After a tense pause seeming to last an eternity the Anglicans agreed, “Yes, yes you can!” The Baptists leaders announced they were sending members that same day to bring children home as their sons and daughters. In the family of God, mercy triumphs over judgment, and unity triumphs over division. Caring for the orphan is bringing together the family of God both here and in Rwanda as we serve the Kingdom together!
As a result of the unity of these Rwandan churches, orphans have been united with families. The Rwanda Orphan Sponsorship Program equips these families who are responding with daring faith to answer God’s call to care for the orphan. You can be a part of the transformation taking place - start giving today online.
If you would like to go on an Orphan Care PEACE trip to Rwanda, email email@example.com or call the Orphan Care line at 949-609-8555.