Whew! Between Cyber Monday, Amazon deals and shipping deadlines I am wiped! All the presents are wrapped under the tree now, but as I look at them under the sparkly lights I can’t help but think of one little girl thousands of miles away whom we consider a dear part of our family.
Hajariti lives in Rwanda, Africa. She lives in a small home with her mother, father and siblings within walking distance of her school in Kayonza. She has attended this school since we started sponsoring her in 2007. The majority of schools outside of the US are not free and Rwanda is no exception.
Yet, Hajariti’s school is unique in that it was founded out of tragedy and one man’s desire to change his country. After the Rwandan genocide in 1994, a refugee named Charles Mugisha Buregeya decided to help the orphaned children, widows and homeless people. Charles then received an opportunity to attend Multnomah Bible Seminary in Portland, Oregon, but his heart’s desire remained for the impoverished people of his country. Africa New Life Minsitry was soon founded and now more than 4,800 children are in school, 100 women in vocational training and 100 street boys are either in school or vocational training.
This past July I had the amazing opportunity to visit many of these schools and children whose lives and the lives of their families have been dramatically changed through ANLM. On this trip, two girls in our group were able to visit their sponsored children whom they received as a Christmas gift two years ago. Here is their story in the words of their mother:
When my girls were 13 and 11 years old, my husband and I decided we wanted to give them meaningful Christmas gifts. Something other than “stuff”, something that would bless others and hopefully impact their hearts for others as well.
We selected two girls from the Africa New Life website who needed sponsors. We chose girls who were the same age as our girls and who had similar interests. My husband and I sponsored Mary on behalf of our daughter Lexi and Deborah on behalf of our daughter Payton. We printed out their photo’s/info sheets and wrapped them up in packages and placed them under our Christmas tree.
The girls were so excited when they opened their gifts! It was their favorite gifts that year. By the end of Christmas break they had both written to their girls and were excited to hear back from them. A few months later letters came in the mail to each of them from Mary and Deborah in Rwanda. Over the years the letters have continued and this year one of my girls is asking for stationary so that she can continue to write letters to her sponsor girl!
I had the privilege of going on Payton’s home visit to see her sponsor girl and family. Despite the language barrier, there was a true bond between the girls. Upon leaving, both were in tears at the thought of having to say goodbye after such a short time. It was a beautiful visit.
Payton (13) and Deborah
Lexi (15) and Mary
I was also able to visit with Angela’s sponsored child and see that through her sponsorship, he is receiving an education, a uniform and shoes, and basic medical insurance. And my favorite part of this organization – the Rwandan people are the ones teaching, preaching and loving these precious children as 90% of monthly sponsorship goes directly to the child!
As Christmas comes tomorrow and we take care of the final preparations for celebration, here is one last gift, something meaningful that you too can wrap to place under your Christmas tree. The life of one child changed, a way to break the poverty in his/her world and a chance to dream in what they can become and do for their family and country. Now that is one amazing Christmas gift!
To pick out a child for your family to sponsor, visit Africa New Life Ministry today.
If sponsoring a child is an overwhelming commitment, you can always give the gift of a goat in honor of your uncle, who might just be the last one on your list!
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