Quote from Ben, RCRI Leader and Founder: “Stacking one brick may be the brick that builds villages”
Hey there, it’s I’ve already lost count of what day we’re on in Rwanda week! Trying to go back through these memories and get them somewhat digestible to you has been extremely tough, but I pray these messages have brought you closer to the Lord and this mission He has us on! This message I send to you today is one that I have tried to type multiple times this week and just haven’t been able to find the words.
Home visits. For those who have been on these trips and went on home visits, they know how emotional and eye opening this time is. I’m going to do my best to paint you a picture of what this experience of doing home visits in the country side communities of Rwanda was like. Seat belts on, hands inside the vehicle, next stop, RWANDA!!!!
Usually after doing manual labor type jobs throughout the morning into lunch, the afternoons in Rwanda are usually spent doing home visits. It’s already so cool that RCRI is doing all that they do but to set aside time for missionaries to visit the homes of the students families, what an intentional way to grow and leave an everlasting impact not just on students, but their families and the surrounding communities as a whole! Usually Ben, Kenny and the other workers of RCRI do home visits from week to week to check up on families, see how they are doing, what needs they have, and offer all the resources available to help these families in whatever way they can.
I had heard stories about home visits and how emotional they were but had no idea what I was walking into. Usually the goal in home visits is to meet the families, building relationships with them, ask what needs they have, offer as much encouragement as possible and offer to pray for them over their needs! That doesn’t sound like anything crazy, until you begin visiting homes.
Coming from a country like America, where abundance of literally EVERYTHING is in supply. The houses we have, the cars we drive, the food we eat. Even the clothes we wear. I had no idea of how desperate the need was there until these home visits. As we stepped into the homes, we stepped into peoples lives and hearts, take this step with me!
On my first trip, waking into the first houses, here are the notes I had from these first home visits;
“homes were like a mud brick with either tin sheet roof or whatever they could use (usually holes), floor is dirt, very small, bathroom is a hole in the floor”
Just imagine that for a moment. Let that sink in. I was confused honestly. Why do I have all I have and these people have so little? What caused them to live this way? Was it jobs, money? I wanted to know why because after seeing their need first hand, I wanted it to be fixed! But how? Why? Here’s some more notes:
“most people don’t have permanent jobs, go out in morning and wait in lines for people to ask them to do work, don’t always get work and struggle to provide food for children”
Work is very scarce in Rwanda and super hard to find. What I saw in these parents was such a level of persistence like I’ve never imagined. Walking out to the street EVERY day, putting their families needs of food, medicine along with other necessities on the hopes that they get picked to work that day. It wasn’t that these people weren’t trying, they try with all they have but some days they get work and some days they don’t. I asked myself, “how do these people continue making that walk? How do they have any hope at all?” I know if it was me in that position I would probably want to give up. But they put their families needs above the chance of failing, they kept the faith and continued striving forward. What an example that is from these men and women!
As we would go house to house, each home we entered brought its own form of need to our eyes. Just from the view that stuck out to me over the trips, families without mattresses or room to sleep, a student was forced to sleep in a hole dug in the floor with their goat that they were raising for food.
With money going towards food for survival many kids would become sick and the families had no money for doctors visits or medicine for the child. Many students become sick mostly from malnutrition, not getting enough food, all of the nutrients they need to remain healthy. One little boy was dealing with an infection and with the family having no money for medicine, the child went blind. Then, we heard the story of a family that was in such a tough place with work and being able to provide food, just to give their child something to eat, they would take the leaves of poisonous plants, boil them to get the poison out and give those leaves to children.
My heart breaks every time I think about these families and little ones going through all of these struggles. These kids who are so undeserving having to go through this. The question I kept asking myself, “how can this be fixed? How can they be helped?” It’s hard to write this and really give you the picture I saw there in those homes. As much as I wanted to feel guilty for all the blessings I had, I became thankful. Thankful for what God has given me because in His blessings I was able to see that these blessings I have, they aren’t for my enjoyment, God’s blessings come from Him and are to be used for Him.
At the time I felt helpless, watching the kids and families there go through the need and battle to survive like they were. What do I have to give? What could I ever do to help? It was in watching how these people handled their tough situations that I saw how God wanted me to help, how God wants all of us to help each and every person in need which is everyone since we are all human beings.
Perseverance. They had grit, they didn’t let their circumstances stop them from continuing to strive forward and doing everything they could to provide in whatever way they could.
Joy. In each home I went in, each family I met. Despite their home, their desperate need, they smiled. They carried such a great level of joy with them. They were immensely thankful for the all they had even though it wasn’t much. They remained thankful and joyful in the Lord which led them to be humble people. Willing to serve and help in whatever way God placed in front of them.
In all of these lessons from them, with the big question of what could I, one young guy do to ever make a difference for these people who had captured my heart. Persevere, continue striving forward in this mission the Lord has given us, using every available opportunity to strive forward, to push God’s love into new and unknown places. Especially when the resistance comes, keep pushing because the prize of Christ and others receiving His love and provision is worth whatever pain we have to endure.
Joy, have joy in everything. Being joyful about all that God has done in my life and continues to do in the lives of others. This joy and thankfulness brings out a whole new perspective on life. I see my blessings and instead of trying to strive for more, how does God want to use His blessings to help out His people? How can we use our blessings for the purpose God has blessed us for?
The answers have been real this week. Getting to share the love I have for these people with you. Getting to share and give you a picture of how beautiful these people are and the needs they face every day. God has blessed me with these God Gold messages and through His blessings He’s worked to bring blessings to people who are living in what seems like another world. I hope in some way these messages have helped this week, has broadened your view of not just missions but this MISSION God has us on and brought you to a closer, deeper relationship with the Lord.
Today, I’m placing the links to the RCRI website and ways for you to support this mission for these children and their families! I’m excited to see how God will use this in blessing the needs of these people and bringing His provision to their lives! All of the info you’ll need is detailed in depth on the RCRI website and if you have any questions just shoot me a message or visit my contact info!
Link to RCRI Website: https://rcrirwanda.org/
Link to learn more about the main school/ Nyabihu Christian Academy:
How Sponsoring a child in RCRI works: https://rcrirwanda.org/nyabihu-christian-academy/
Link to sponsor a Child: https://rcrirwanda.org/sponsor-a-child-2/