Karen and Marv Quinn are ordinary Saddleback Church
members who took a daring faith step to travel on an Orphan Care PEACE trip to
Rwanda. What they saw of the people, country, and the power of the local church changed their worldview,
and we asked them to share their experiences in their own words:
A PEACE trip to Rwanda in
some ways feels like a trip back in time to first century Christianity. The
entire country in unashamed about being on fire for Christ. There is an
unspoken dignity among the people and a palpable presence of the local church
Leaving Kigali we traveled
to the western province and the city of Kibuye. Rwanda is the country of a
thousand hills and we must have passed by 500 of them on our three hour drive
We had the privilege of
meeting with a pastor who leads a rural church in this farming sector of
Rwanda. His church has implemented the Orphan Care Initiative in a way that so
reflects his congregation. We were greeted with worship and the clamoring of
loving children who could not wait to sit next to us. The pastor spoke about
how families in his church were adopting orphans, attending parenting classes
and forming savings groups. Four of his members shared their testimonies, their
love for their church, their love for the pastor, and their dependence upon
Christ. One lady had overcome alcohol, accepted Christ, then found her self-
worth in Jesus and not in the bottle. Once healthy, she had gone on to adopt
and to participate in a savings group. Another had adopted, added to her own
biological family, participated in a savings group and with that money had
bought a pig because pigs reproduce quickly. Investing in livestock was a
ticket out of poverty. Her son is now completing his university education. All
four church members had adopted and given orphaned children loving mommies and
daddies. They all proudly held up their savings books because savings groups had
pulled them out of poverty. It was beautiful to see how Orphan Care initiative
and Savings Groups Initiative work hand in hand to help families, with the
church being the center of their success.
We followed the pastor to
a home visit whereby he regularly visits his members who have adopted to check
in on the family and the welfare of the children. Five of us were invited in to
this humble home with a dirt floor, mud construction and love that just exuded.
The husband was working and the wife invited us in to share her testimony and
to minister to us with her remarkable story. Years ago she and a man in her
village found a seven month old abandoned baby girl and brought her to the
local orphanage. They kept thinking about the baby all the time, and their love
for her prompted them to get married and then to adopt her. She is their oldest
child is now 12 years old. Since that time, the mother and her husband had two
biological boys. When we asked her daughter about school she beamed and the
pastor praised her on how much hard work she puts into her learning. The family
had joined a savings group, bought a cow and some chickens, and added onto
their one room home. The church is a family to families who adopt, orphanages
are closing, children are being raised in loving families and the church is the
hub of it all.
We witnessed the PEACE
Plan in action.
When Amerita learned from her local church that there were children in her community who needed loving families, she took a step of faith and made the courageous decision to adopt 13-year-old Felix from the orphanage. One year later, Felix now enjoys life as a much-loved son and spends his days playing with his three siblings - Claude (also age 13), Diane (10), and Fifi (8).
Amerita is excited to share via video all she has been able to do to care for her growing family through the generosity of her local church and Orphan Care Sponsorship.
WATCH THIS VIDEO to hear how sponsorship has impacted her family and her ability to care for her new son.
“GETTING TO ZERO” UPDATES
To begin sponsoring a family like Amerita's, visit Saddleback.com/Sponsorship.
Adapted from a
blog that originally appeared on www.EmpoweredtoConnect.org
are no perfect parents, only growing parents. When parents make mistakes it can
actually be healthy for both them and their children, so long as parents are
quick to repair the ruptured connection. This is certainly good news, given
that all parents are prone to their fair share of mistakes.
here’s a challenge for all parents — let’s practice making mistakes with our
children (not intentionally, of course) and repairing them so that we and our
children can grow and learn, and our connection can be strengthened. Here’s how
a two to three day period when you will be with your child for most, if not
all, of the waking hours in the day. Over the course of these days, be mindful
to repair each and every mistake you make when interacting with your child.
Whether you lose your temper, raise your voice, speak sarcastically, become
frustrated, cut them off, fail to give them voice, ignore them, hurt their
feelings…the list could go on. Regardless of whether the mistake is big or
small, intentional or unintentional, be sure to quickly, humbly, and sincerely
repair each and every mistake you make.
you do this, make a mental note of (or actually write down) any observations
that stand out, particularly in terms of your own feelings and your child’s
response (to both your mistake and your repair). Also make a note of any
changes in your relationship with your child that you witness throughout the
course of this time. We have a hunch that by practicing making mistakes and
repairing them, your relationship with your child will grow.
more on the importance of parents repairing their mistakes, watch
this video featuring Dr. Karyn Purvis.
More than 1 billion children—half of all the children in the
world—are victims of violence every year, according to data just released by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) Division of Violence Prevention. That amounts to 2 of every 3 girls and 3 of
every 4 boys globally who experience violence in childhood.
To understand the nature of this violence, the
CDC’s Violence against Children Surveys (VACS)
works to measure
physical, emotional, and sexual violence against girls and boys through surveys
that have been completed in five countries, and are underway in nine more. The
surveys have highlighted the tragic correlation between exposure to childhood
sexual violence and the increase in negative health conditions, including HIV
In each of the five countries studied – Haiti,
Zimbabwe, Kenya, Tanzania, and Swaziland –
than 1 in 4 girls experienced sexual violence.
In one country surveyed,
those that experienced sexual violence were
3.7 times more likely to be infected with sexually transmitted
infections, including HIV.
In addition to these negative outcomes, children who
experience violence are at greater risk for destructive yet preventable
consequences, including chronic diseases, crime and drug abuse, as well as
serious mental health problems.
The CDC has composed a group of complementary strategies
they believe are critical components for preventing violence against children. These
strategies – termed THRIVES - highlight the need for mobilizing multiple
sectors of the community. The THRIVES strategy includes: Training in parenting,
Household and economic strengthening, Reduced violence through protective
policies, Improved services, Values and norms that protect children, Education
and life skills, and Surveillance and evaluation. These focus areas illustrate that
churches have a key role to play in this important issue given that in many communities
they are the voice of influence in areas such as values toward children,
parenting, and finances.
To learn how you can participate in an Orphan Care PEACE
trip to Rwanda and help train local churches in parenting and getting children out of orphanages and into the care of families, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call the
Orphan Care Initiative at 949-609-8555.
As the distribution center for hope in the community, the local church is uniquely positioned to intervene on behalf of the orphan. In Saddleback’s Rwanda Orphan Sponsorship program, the local church in Rwanda determines which families will receive sponsorship and is responsible for providing families with volunteer social worker support. The partnership between Saddleback Sponsors and the local church is changing lives-getting children out of orphanages and into lifelong families! This month, check out a sponsorship update filmed by local Rwandan church volunteers highlighting the difference the program is making.
(The children) were very young when they first came, and they were 4 and 6 years old. They were very happy. They called me their mom and they were very comfortable. I made sure they went to school. One is in primary 5 and the other one in primary 6.
The Church and the Pastor started to come to visit the children. I didn’t even know the pastor, but I believe that it’s God who sent him to us. We were blessed by what God was doing through the support from the church.
When the support came from the church, I bought a cow so that it could help the children and built two more rooms in my home. I tell the children to always praise God and thank him because he’s the one who did this for us.
We thank God for the support and very grateful for the church. We thank God for the church, they visit us very often. And we always go to church to praise and thank God.
We no longer live a lonely life; we live a peaceful and happy life.
To learn more or become a Sponsor, visit www.saddleback.com/sponsorship.