One of the things that I have been doing for the last few years in Rwanda is helping people communicate. I have worked a lot with Amiss on newsletters and different updates. (His spoken English is really good, but when he tries to write… it is very difficult to decipher.) (Sorry Amiss.)
He is a great storyteller and communicator – so usually he dictates and I type – I make small grammar changes or ask him to clarify if I think things are hard to understand. So the rest of this post is one of the recent updates we wrote together. I thought it would also give you a good idea of how the project is continuing (but nearly in someone else’s words).
We are thankful for what God is doing among the support group [for people with HIV/AIDS]. They are growing in their relationship with God, and they are building their families on God’s foundation.
We have several members whose spouses did not want to attend the group, because they were afraid for people to know that they are affected by HIV. However, because of what our members have been learning, they have wanted their spouses to come. We are very thankful that four people have convinced their spouses to join us, so we have 4 couples attending together. The more people come out to the support group, the more we can reduce the spread of HIV by teaching them not to sleep with multiple partners. Also, the more we interact with people, the more we know how we can assist them.
There is one lady who has come to the support group; her name is Ainna. She came to the group as a Muslim. A few months ago, she received Christ into her life. It impacted me deeply to see the big change in her life.
About 1 year ago, we gave 6 families female goats to help them begin to earn income. Once each female has 2 babies, they give one back to the support group (which we pass on to someone else), and then they can sell one, as well as future offspring. They can use the profits to start another business or to buy health insurance. Another benefit of the goats is that they can use the manure as fertilizer. Currently, three families have goats they are preparing to give back to the support group, and so the next round will begin. (Ainna’s family was one family who received a goat.)
In January, we started a preschool in Ryabega. Forty percent of the children are children of support group members. We are glad that they are going to this school – it is a good school. They are receiving quality education and care in an environment that focuses on child development and supporting the whole family. One of the children loves his teacher so much; he tried to put some of his breakfast in his pocket, to take as a gift to share with Teacher Robert. (He is the boy in the orange shirt.)
As we have been trying to get the proper papers to establish the preschool, it has lead to visits by leaders from various levels. They were excited to see what we are doing, and are happy to collaborate with us. We have struggled to make the right connections with leaders who can make the recommendations we need, so that our ministries can have official approval. The visit to the preschool is a big breakthrough for us.
During the long school holiday from November to January, we had many students who returned from school to our football team. It was a good time of discipleship, and some of the students gave their lives to Christ and joined churches. Some of students also stopped drinking and/or smoking. As more people from this generation come clean, it brings hope for our nation.
Five of our sponsor kids had national exams this year. Three passed and will move on to the next grade level at a good school. The ones that didn’t pass will take their next grade level at a lower quality school.
On a personal note, Nathan is doing physio. We have good insurance for him, which helps us cover his medical treatments for now. Friends and family have been standing with us to make sure we can care for Nathan well. The YWAM leaders in Kigali have helped us by providing daily transportation to and from the hospital for our family. The doctor we are working with is professional, helpful, and good at answering questions and providing additional information. We are seeing improvement in Nathan’s condition, and are so encouraged by that.
Finally, we are thankful to welcome our friends Mike and Amanda back to Rwanda. They have spent time with us in Kigali, and it has been good for us to stay together and share our lives again.