Monday, December 9, 2013

Dreams Come True

It was more than 25 years ago. I went to one of those college meetings about going to Africa. It was to Zimbabwe, and Kent Allen was leading the group. I so wanted to go but I was timid. I had just returned from the Vienna Studies Program at Oklahoma Christian University, where I had met that handsome feller, Stan Shelton. I was tapped out financially on adventure. It wasn't the right time, I guess. And I was ABSOLUTELY certain that I would be a world traveler.

Then there was college graduation, a career to start, that Stan to marry and his return to school, then more career, AND THEN BABIES ... and then homeschooling and then moving to the country to garden and raise chickens and children ...  and then, and then, and then ...
Aug. 2006, our first Sunday with Alain. Look at my tiny kids!

In 2006, God gave us a new son. Alain Shema! He was among the first ten Presidential Scholars to come to OC from Rwanda. And we "adopted" him as a local family who would look after him. He spent Christmases and breaks with us - including a couple of trips to Michigan. We had chats about Jesus, X-Men and how to cook cassava. We navigated WalMart together to find lotion for his skin and hair products - and milk and bananas. We got him some eye glasses thanks to the love at Cross & Crown Mission. 

I fretted about whether he had a warm coat and whether he had friends. So we got him a coat, and I joined Facebook to stalk him (it was 2006!). 

And we talked about 1994. Hesitantly.

I wanted to know everything and I was at home reading every book I could find and crying about it: 
We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will be Killed With Our Families: Stories from Rwanda,
Left to Tell and Land of a Thousand Hills: My Life in Rwanda. 

We were sort of advised not to badger him with questions (or that's what we thought was communicated to us). Later, Alain told me that he didn't think we cared much about the genocide. Sigh. But the deep conversations happened eventually.  

first time to ice-skate. Alain in green hat.
Stan tried to teach him to drive, but after Alain told him that the red octagon signs were optional, we left that job to the professionals. However, I do recall, when college had barely begun and his English was adorable, that we drove him from our home at the time in Gatewood, back to campus. A fellow motorist at NW 23rd and Classen was stranded, so Stan and Alain pushed the guy off the busy street and out of danger. The man was 
Asian and didn't speak English. So we had Stan, Alain and the gentleman working together and then nodding heads at each other and shaking hands. It was beautiful.
The graduates: Alain and Placide, and top,
Rwandan Pres Kagame shaking Philibert's hand.

My children LOVED and LOVE him. And he worked SO hard at OC as an electrical engineering major. He graduated with TOP (the toppest!) honors. And, he was accepted to Purdue to pursue graduate studies. A rockstar!

That's enough about this Rwanda connection story because there are more. Alain is working in Livonia, MI and won't be in Kigali for this visit. BUT I GET TO MEET HIS FAMILY. At long last. Two mothers who love a boy with all of their hearts. I can't wait to look into her eyes and thank her for raising such a strong man who loves the Lord. 

We moved out to the Back Forty right after graduation.

Dreams Come True

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