Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Home at Last!

Home at last! Over a year ago I left Rwanda with my husband and oldest daughter to travel to Nairobi for 2 weeks to find some answers to my sever abdominal pain. That journey ended up taking us to the States, where the rest of the family joined us and where we have been this last year.

As I sat on one of the four planes that would transport me back to Rwanda, I  begin the process of shifting from my life in America to my Africa life. Sometimes I feel that I live two parallel lives....It is like  all my furloughs run together with some of my childhood in America------- one continues timeline although in reality it is broken up with long periods of life lived thousands of miles away in Africa. Conversely, my time in Africa seems like it has piled up all together without the reality of several stints in America.

Recently, my son Caleb and I went to see the movie “ Inception”----where real life and the dream world sometimes blur, as we left the theater we were both struck how our life living in two worlds ----America and Africa sometimes feels similar.

As a result of this phenomena, the longer I was living in the States the further my Africa life became. I began to get into the rhythm of America life....where business sometime eludes relationships.....where you can get so caught up in your church life that you do not notice the unchurched or d-churched. Where things can become so important..... Though there were several things that I really enjoyed..... movie dates with Dave, fast food ( a little to much) and an ease to living----being able to turn water on and not have to wonder wether it is hot or going to be there. What I really enjoyed most about our time in the States was quality time with family and friends. During the last few months it was especially nice to reconnect with old friends that Dave and I had not seen in a long while.

Sweet memories to savor but now I am shifting gears and will land in Rwanda soon. I am already anticipating the smells of home---open cooking fires mixed with diesel fuel and exotic foliage. My mind races as I think about all the relationships to renew and cups of coffee to drink.

What has God in store for this tour? Fresh starts and new beginnings are a nice by- product to my parallel life!  Africa home here I come!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

My Dream for Vulnerable Children

It is early in the morning and I am cuddling with my youngest son, Timothy. We are exchanging our ritual morning greetings. “I am so glad that you are in our family”, I say. “I am so glad to be in this family,” he squeals. “I love you sooooo much,” I say. He says, “I love you more.” “No, I love you more,” and it goes back and forth. I am sure many of you have similar morning rituals with your children. I feel so thankful in my heart that Timothy has a family and I am saddened as I remember that there are so many children who are not a part of a family.

I believe that all children should have forever families and I am committing my time, energy and life to make this happen in Rwanda, the part of the world God has planted me.

I have a passion for adoption that has been nurtured throughout my entire life as my younger brother is adopted and as I have seen the most vulnerable up close throughout my time in Africa. Yet from this state of vulnerability I see hope beyond human imagination. I see my role in Rwanda as the culmination of the Lord's intentions to use my experience to help find families for these most vulnerable.

What can one mother do when faced with 687,000 orphans in Rwanda (total number of orphans according to estimation in 2010 by Children on the Brink 2002)?

Possibly, I can break it down smaller to 140,000 double orphans (Also done by Children on the Brink 2002.)

Sometimes these numbers are fuzzy and overwhelming. Often we can feel paralyzed to act but I am reminded, as I look back at history that individuals and communities alike can make a difference!

As many of you may know I have been helping several American families adopt these precious orphans and will continue to help. However, I recognize this is just a small solution to this crisis. I have also been an advocate for Rwandan families to adopt. Many take care of their extended families but some have not been exposed to taking a child that is not blood related into their family as their very own child with all the rights that this entails. There are several Rwandan families that have adopted but sometimes they chose to keep this quiet as there is sadly still some stigma that orphans carry. It is my hope to be an advocate for orphans ---getting the information out, brainstorming with the community, and encouraging adoptions.

Sometimes this task seems daunting but I know that with the help of our church family in Rwanda, our friends around the world, and God’s faithfulness this will be possible.

God compared His love of Israel to that of an orphan child, “When you were born, no one cared for you. When I first saw you, your umbilical cord was uncut, and you had been neither washed ...nor clothed. No one had the slightest interest in you; no one pitied you or cared for you. On that day when you were born, you were dumped out into a field and left to die, unwanted. But I came by and saw you there...and I said, “Live! Thrive...!” and you did (Ezekiel 16:4-7)!”

God has set the example for us in Ephesians 1: 5, “In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons (and daughters) through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will. “

Why am I sharing this all with you? As Dave, our children, and I head back to Rwanda, I would like to ask you to prayerfully consider joining me in this task----whether you would like to give a onetime gift, help in an ongoing monthly gift, or open your home to one of these precious children; I know we can with His help find forever families for these cherished children of the King!