I have been spending a lot of time with the children served by Association Mwana Ukundwa who are all just so precious. I continue to experience a range of emotions from joy to sadness - with the Lord's ever-present peace residing in my heart.
This past Saturday in Kigali close to one hundred of the students attended the Saturday program which AMU offers for children impacted/affected by HIV/AIDS and also kids who live in their transition housing (for kids who formerly lived on the streets.) They come every other Saturday during the school year. They also come more frequently during the week when school is out and they are on holiday which will begin in late June.
During my time on Saturday with the kids I conducted Bible study lesson on Waiting on and Working with the Holy Spirit given that on Sunday was Pentecost. The kids were familiar with Pentecost. I then read them a story about the life of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The children’s illustrated book is entitled “Martin’s Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by Doreen Rappaport and illustrated by Bryan Collier.” Several of the kids were aware of the story of Dr. King. This is a beautifully written and illustrated children’s book which captures the heart and soul of this peaceful spiritual civil rights icon and leader. Prior to reading the book I provided the children with a short historical lesson on American slavery and how we came to the Civil Rights Movement. The book emphasized the spiritual countenance of Rev. Dr. King as a man of peace, who studied the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi and, of course, Jesus. I expressed and even acted out the narrative of marching, praying, and singing. After reading the book I led the kids in a discussion. What really stood out to them was how much Dr. King loved people and prayed.
After reading the Bible study lesson and storytelling time was “Gift Giving” time. With
all of the wonderful donations I received I was able to purchase many school supplies and other gifts. Each child received a pencil, pencil sharpener, book marker with spiritual saying, stickers, erasers with smiley faces, and cross necklace. They were quite happy and pleased. It was a blessing to be a blessing. They call me Auntie “Anty” Angie which is a sign of respect and endearment. In my heart they are my beloved. I told them once before, when I first met them, that I saw them all in my dreams before I came to Rwanda, and
loved them before I ever met them. Afterward another volunteer/former intern gave them other gifts and chalk to draw so it was really and truly a fun-filled day which I was happy to be a part of.
A few days later, not on the same happy note, I traveled to Butare to meet with several children who are impacted and/or infected by HIV/AIDS. All of the children were age 14 or under and experienced great pains in their young lives. As they shared their stories, I learned about their challenges with poverty, physical and sexual abuse, parental abandonment, homelessness (living in the streets), and sickness, etc. Despite their painful histories, these children were filled with hope for their future as they have benefited from the help of Association Mwana Ukundwa and others. They consider this help to be from
In my short time here in Rwanda, I have been so moved by the people. Their stories of pain, resilience, and hope leave me in awe of what God can do if even with just a little bit of faith and courage. My heart has found roots in this place. I could say that it has been stolen, but it would be more accurate to say that I have really freely relinquished my heart and love.
I feel inextricably linked somehow to Rwanda and most of all to these children and families. I pray for God’s continued direction and strength as I serve these children and families.
Peace, Love, and Blessings,