Happy New Year! I trust you had a wonderful season celebrating our Savior’s birth and sharing His love and salvation.
I am always grateful for the opportunities the Christmas season affords us to celebrate His birth and show His love.
When I show you this picture of these mountains, can you imagine that 600 children came from these hills to a little church and crammed in with us for a Christmas celebration? Five years ago, I first became friends with a group of 10 churches in Ramba. We taught a Sunday School training to all teachers and pastors. We had several saved in the training. During the church-shutdowns the next year, we were able to finance the reopening of 3 of those churches. I have a special love for the children in these hills, and while the roads are 4 hours of 4-wheel drive on dirt and rock, the children are so very worth it.
We had a wonderful time, singing, sharing the Gospel, acting out the nativity and sharing a meal with these children. Many accepted Salvation.
I am so proud of the Sunday school teachers who have remained faithful guides to these children each week over the past several years. Their work Impacts an entire generation in these mountains.
Christmas also affords us the opportunity to provide special blessings of food, mattresses and small gifts to many in our community and in our programs. I thank each person who specifically gives for a sponsored student or in general to help a family at Christmas. More than one mother fell to her knees, arms raised, tears streaming as she prayed and thanked God for gifts as simple as a foam mattress to sleep on or a sack of rice to feed her family. Thank you for being a channel of God’s blessings to these families.
Additionally, this season gives us opportunities to connect with children and families in our ministries. Of course, preparing for Christmas in our preschool is such fun. Many in our 3-year pre-k had never heard of Christmas let alone what the season is all about.
What a great teaching opportunity! Christmas weekend, we rented a bus, and took 25 children into the capital city to see the Christmas lights and experience the city. Though our ministries are only about 15 kilometers from the capital, most children never have the opportunity to see this, so it is quite an adventure for them. For the past 3 years we have set up a large Christmas display in the center of our community with nativity and messages reminding us of the Christ of Christmas. Our staff enjoys our annual Christmas party for staff and families. As I looked at our staff picture this year, I notice how much we have grown. God has graciously provided Rwandan teachers, caregivers, administrator, and various staff to carry out this ministry. I am ever grateful.
My most special Christmas gift arrived to me on Christmas afternoon when Bella and her family arrived at my home to visit. Impanoyimana Bella “Beautiful Gift of God” was the first baby we ever cared for in our Baby Love program. She was the baby that the hospital originally called me and asked me to care for her. She weighed only 1.5 lb., was abandoned, and not given much hope. But God. What a privilege to hold and rock and pray over that baby girl every day for 6 months until she was adopted into a forever home. She is now in the second grade, bright, humorous and thriving.
Since Bella, the phone rings quite often with our local hospital requesting our intervention with an orphaned or abandoned infant. We graciously accept every time. What a privilege to love, nurture and provide for these little ones in such a critical time. At this time, we are caring for 7-week-old Niyomwungeri “The Lord is my shepherd” David who was placed in our care the day he was born and found in the woods. God is so good to allow us to care for His children.
Thank you to each and every one of you for every prayer, every word of encouragement and every gift to continue sharing Christ and His love here in Rwanda. Thank you for choosing to be used of God to bless others and shine His light.