Sunday, January 17, 2010

From Natalie

Natalie is just a bit more descriptive than my husband :) so here is her day 3 (with him)

Muraho friends!

Oh, how I wish I could bottle the sights, smells, tastes and voices of Rwanda and send it your way through this blog post.

The people of Rwanda are truly beautiful. How can I articulate in words the resilience and joy in their eyes and spirits?Their worship to our Lord pours out through their voices, in their dancing, and in kneeling down before our Maker…no matter the age.

Our third day started with a visit to Africa New Life Ministries’ Dream Center in Kigali. The children who are sponsored in and around Kigali are invited to attend “Center Day” three of the four Saturdays each month. (The last Saturday of the month is a mandatory “cleaning” day enforced by the government.) The children arrive on foot in the morning and are lined up by age for roll call and to be checked for good health and clothing. The difference between these children and the street children we visited on Thursday is obvious…and the difference is sponsorship. The sponsored children are visibly healthier and full of more energy because of their access to education, health care, spiritual nurturing and food.

After roll call, the children were separated by age to attend worship and bible class. Zac, Andrew and I went with the older children to worship and bible class. I loved looking across the room at the children as they worshipped our Lord and Savior. Their sweet voices were full of genuine love and dependent pleas to our Heavenly Father. We also popped in to see the younger children worship...PRECIOUS! Little ones falling on their knees and dancing without inhibition to sing of their love for Him….oh, how we have so much to learn from them.

Our lunch at the Mission House was a quick one (fried potatoes and fresh salad) as we had many things to try to squeeze in before dinner. Our first stop was the local outdoor market to purchase food for our visit to “Home of Hope” Orphanage later in the day. All I can say is…thank God for our friend Stephen! He works for ANLM and graciously assisted us in negotiating with the folks at the market to get fair prices on $250 worth of food. (Rice, Beans, Maize Flour, Salt, Sugar, Cooking Oil and Mangoes) The inside of the market was a sight to see! Fresh and colorful produce stacked high with hardly any space to walk or move at all. Some local Rwandans say that they do not like to go in there…but we all enjoyed it. (Even the oily ducks charging my legs! Thanks for the cover, Pastor Zac!)

The second market we visited was full of local artisans’ work displayed throughout several small stalls, which are arranged in a small “U.” My wonderful and dear friend, Samantha, helped Zac and Andrew navigate the stalls to find the best deals on Rwandan gifts for their families. (Be excited!)

Our next stop was one that we have been praying for with great hope and expectant favor. We pulled up to the gates of “Home of Hope” at 3:30pm and were welcome by Sister Gracias. Our new friend, Bonita, called to advise her of our visit---which was such a blessing. We introduced ourselves and gave Sister Gracias our food gifts from the market and were then escorted down to the children’s facilities. Andrew spent some time talking with another Sister about the Schulz’s adoption journey, and we all had the opportunity to spend time with the children. We spent the majority of our time in the 12 month-old room. Our sweet friend, Anne Kelley, joined us at the orphanage with Jessica Taylor and Jessica’s friend, Molly. We all sat around in a circle and loved on these precious ones. I particularly loved the sight of two grown men sitting on the floor, legs criss-crossed, with precious ones in their arms. It is a vision I will carry with me as it was exemplified a Father’s heart. How He loves for us to crawl into His heavenly lap and be loved on by Him.

Our visit to Home of Hope felt very fruitful, and our prayers will continue as we walk alongside each other in building a friendship with HOH…and as we encourage and support those one their adoption journeys.

Our day ended with a wonderful dinner at a local restaurant with Pastor Charles (New Life Bible Church) and his wife, Florence. We were also joined by Samantha Blair, (and three of her friends) and Anne Kelley. How wonderful to share a meal with so many friends so far from home!

Thank you for your continued prayers. We feel them in the land of a thousand hills!

~Natalie Green

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