Remembering Rwanda

Her words touched my heart.

As she shared her story, her eyes revealed years of struggle and hardship.  A survivor of the genocide. A single mom of 3 kids.  A woman fighting HIV+.  Her frail, weak body poured out her heart to us as we crammed together inside a tiny room she called home.  

We asked how we could pray for her and she said, “Please remember.  Remember me and my family in your prayers when you return home.”  Her words keep ringing in my head.

Please Remember!

It has been one year since our life changing trip to Rwanda.  I thought it would be special to share and remember the God moments, the heart felt stories, and especially the people.  Below are some special people that we met and want to remember.

Florence, the single mom that I described above.  

As I stared into her eyes, I could see that life had been very tough.  She shared her husband left her when she became sick and paralyzed by the illness.  Thankfully the church stepped in to help with her children and get her medication. On my hard days as a single mom when I am tempted to complain or get frustrated, I want to picture Florence.  My hard days do not even compare to her struggles.  We truly have so much to be grateful for. 

We want to remember to choose gratitude!

Joseph, a twenty-year old who we met him on another home visit.

Sadly, he lost his father and siblings in the genocide. This young man is seeking.  As we sat in his home with his mother, he asked lots of questions.  He showed an interest in learning more about Jesus and being baptized.  Even after sharing our faith, he was not quite ready to make a decision.  Before we left, we prayed for him.  It was special that we were able to plant seeds in this young man’s heart and I know God will continue to water them.  Praying for God’s perfect timing for him.  We were thrilled to hear that he attended church the following week- God is so good!

We want to remember the power of prayer! 

 Innocent, a preschool teacher who we met while helping at his school.

When we asked about the challenges he faced as a teacher, he shared that they don’t have any visual aids or hands on supplies to teach.  Only a pencil and paper. As a fellow teacher, my heart just broke as a pictured my classroom full of colorful posters, manipulatives, and hands on supplies.  To help, we began saving our bottle caps from our water bottles as math manipulatives.  In addition, before we left, we gifted this school with crayons, soccer balls, stickers, and colored construction paper.  I will never forget their smiles as they received these teaching aids.  Helping meet others’ needs is a priceless gift.

We want to remember the importance of helping others.

The sweet, smiling faces of the children.

It is wonderful to see how much joy they have.  I remember meeting Divine and his younger brother, Jeffrey at church.  Divine was only 10 years old and he was holding and taking care of his 18 month old brother.  Jeffrey had fallen asleep on his lap so he could not participate in the singing or bible story activity. To help, I held his brother so he could participate.   This is not uncommon in Rwanda to see young children caring for even younger children. The older siblings don’t complain about the additional responsibilities whether it is walking to get water or taking care of younger siblings. 

We want to remember to have joy no matter what the circumstances.

As I think back to one year ago, my heart is grateful for the many life lessons we learned and the amazing people we met on this life-changing trip. Our hearts are forever changed! Thank you for Remembering Rwanda with us! 

Love, Jodi

Give Us Eyes To See

As I read the words on the page, something ignited in me.  The stories, the statistics, all of these pulled on my heart strings.  

A desire to make a difference and a hope to help those in need awakened.

I hope to awaken the same spark in you too.  You see, this past weekend, I read Max Lucado’s book: *Out Live Your Life: You Were Made to Make a Difference.

Do you believe that?  Do you know deep in your heart that God created you for a unique purpose?

Today, I want to remind you that you were made to make a difference.

For some of us, that means serving others locally in our neighborhood and city; for others, that means going on a global mission’s trip.  Honestly, it could even be a mixture of both.

I had the privilege to go to Rwanda with each of my sons.  Both trips were life-changing and opened my eyes to see the needs of those around me. 

One of the greatest needs in Africa is clean water.  I was humbled as I watched kids walk miles to the nearest well to get water for their family.  Honestly, I had never thought about how easily this resource flows for our tap until I saw with my eyes people balancing heavy containers of water on their head and shoulders as they began to walk back home with their treasured supply.

Clean Water!  My eyes had been opened to a need!  Something that I take for granted at home was a valuable quantity across the globe.

This ignited something in me!  Reading Max’s book, re-ignited this spark!  I want to make a difference!

My friend, Yvonne also has a heart to help provide clean water and after reading Max’s book, we want to partner together to make a difference.

Together, our families have made a goal to sponsor two wells!   

We would love to invite you to come along side and help us!  Over the next couple months, we will be doing some creative fundraisers like selling succulents, washing cars, bake sales, and other ideas that God places on our hearts.   Below is a link to our home page if you want to give directly to our well fund.

Lastly, we would love for you to pray!   Here is my prayer for both you and me:  Dear God, please give us eyes to see the needs around us.  Ignite a spark in our hearts to make a difference.  We give you all the glory. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Friends, I cannot wait to see God move!

Love, Jodi

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