Saturday, December 21, 2013

Building Homes of Hope

We are not allowed to take pictures of the children at the Home of Hope Orphanage. Even though that makes my trigger finger itch as a photo addict, I understand and applaud that rule that honors dignity and privacy.

And do I even need to post the pictures anyway? Or tell about the experience. Whether any of us have  been to a place like that or not (and everyone should), we know.

Can't you see the kiss given to a blind crippled boy sitting in a chair in the corner of the blue room with the cement floors - the room designated for "disabled" toddlers? This boy was about 7. He responds to touch - backrubs, head massage and singing. When he was kissed on the cheek, his blank face turned to a joyful smile.

Or the little one with the twisted legs who scooted on his bottom to the one who would hold him - sing him a song and gently rub a finger around his ears, his nose, his lips and hug him and hold him and rock him like a mama would.

There was the little girl who had on a pink Old Navy skirt. Lydia and I had matching skirts just like it many years ago. She held our hands as we walked through the orphanage.

Whether here in Africa, or home, we know. Each story brings us to tears or brings us to shut our minds and hearts to it. The injustices make us pound our fists. We cheer for the ones who get to go home, we ache for those who dont. We call out to God for them to not just survive but thrive and to bless the ones who care for them every day. Some of us adopt, some send money. Some volunteer. Momma T's words should remind us to do something - wherever we are.

In the house I am in tonight, in Kigali, two toddlers are sleeping in their cribs (well, almost sleeping - Glo is still singing). As newborns, one was found in a field and one in the jungle. They didn't go to the orphanage. They came to this family.  The word was out that the "Muzungu" (Western) family would take them - first one, and then a few months later, the other. After all, the missionary family had two sons already from the Home of Hope.

Sure. New to a country. Four kids already. TIGHT tight tight budget without full support from their home congregation. Two more mouths to feed! Did they have a choice? Yes (not really). Could they "afford" it? NO. Did it work in their busy lifestyle of ministry 24/7? NO. But Keli tells me about friends here who send her diapers, and friends at home who send cash, and an extremely loving extended family who sacrificially help. Glo turns two in January!

Before we went to the orphanage this week,  Keli got out the photobooks and had a moment with B and N. It was time for them to visit again. They were both gentlemen at Home of Hope charming the nuns, and taking up with all of the kids on the playground, as kids do.

Building homes of hope.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013


For such a blabber mouth, I'm somewhat at a loss for what to write. I know, right?  
 I thought I'd come here and blab blab blab and post post post. 

No. Limited access to wifi is part of the reason. 

But really, I'm processing it. And living it. To the full. 

So here's a picture of a water bottle sized delicious avocado. 

The beauty of unplugged

Electricity. Lights. THE COFFEE MAKER.  Battery chargers for phones, laptops, cameras.  We need the power. We want the power. But when it's off, life MUST go on in Rwanda. So sometimes the coffee doesn't brew and you don't get a morning shower. Or candles get lit and flashlights get brought out at dinner time. It might be dark for ten minutes or four hours or all day. But it happens here. A lot. And no one freaks out. 

Happened our first morning here. A Sunday. 

At Christ's Church Rwanda, the generator was hooked up to power the stage - microphones, a projector to share words to songs and scripture, amps and lights. But when the generator failed right when all the music had been sung and played, everyone leaned in a little closer to hear Bryan's devotion and Brett's sermon. 

Granted, no power is a drag here and it  hampers businesses, restaurants and other ventures. It's a growing pain of a quickly developing nation. 

So if it takes a little unplugged to be flexible and patient ... Isn't that a decent silver lining? 

This is not Luther

To market to market ,,,

I've heard plenty about the extreme amount of consumerism in America. I've nodded when missionaries, expats and international students explain that all of choices of cereal at Wal-Mart are overwhelming and I totally agree. I'm here to say that is nothing compared to fabric shopping at the Kimironko market in Kigali. 


Our last flight from Istanbul to Kigali was uneventful and we made it to Kigali on time with all if our bags. Joy. 

Can't process it all. And I can't sleep. But I am under a mosquito net in Kassidy's room. The beautiful birds are starting to sing. It's just after 5 am. We'd been warned about this cacophony and I'm thrilled to finally hear it. Sigh.  

Church at Christ Church Rwanda in a few hours!