Mother/Daughter Volunteer Trip to Rwanda:
"The Lord is Faithful"
By Faith Shaw


(Editor’s Note: On April 7, 1994, the country of Rwanda suffered a mass genocide where 937,000 of people were slaughtered in 100 days by government extremists. Tens of thousands of parents were killed at random leaving countless numbers of children homeless and orphaned. Campbell resident Faith Shaw recounts her epic story to BAFT as she returns to her homeland with her daughter on a very specific mission.)


Walking through Rwanda, Africa, my home country, in June 2000, God pricked my heart. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a thing looking like a leg of a very small person behind a dirty cardboard box. As I approached, it moved towards me, and a little hand jutted out, begging for peanuts.

I was overwhelmed with emotion because the child was also so very young, smaller than ten. At that moment I was reminded of the Word of God that even these little ones are created in His image. I asked myself what I could do, and right away the answer came from my mouth that I could help to rescue a few from ending up on the streets by starting an orphanage.

A DREAM REALIZED


Since then, my family and I started praying and planning. In 2003 we managed to buy a home for my parents who live in Rwanda, which was big enough to accommodate a few abandoned children. In May 2004, Mutoni, age 5; Emanuel, age 4; Alice, age 3; and Ann, age 2, came to live with my parents. I employed a nanny and a cook for them and an occasional gardener. We hope to get two more children to fill the available space in this special home.
My vision was and still is to multiply this kind of home many times over so that more children can have a place they call N’ iwacu (which means ‘this is my home’ in Rwandan). I pray the Lord will unite us with like-minded supporters so that we can care and give them what they need to survive: financial provision, a loving family, and the knowledge of Christ Jesus.

DAUGHTER AND MOTHER


It had been my greatest wish and prayer to share my experiences in Rwanda with my immediate family and also with some people from my church. The Lord answered both these prayers this summer 2004.

My teenage daughter Murika, then 15-years-old, and I left in June to spend a week with my parents and the orphan children, now the new members of our family. It was the first time for Murika to see Africa, and it was also the first time we saw the children. We wanted to get acquainted before we went to the ten-day mission we were to participate in at the capital city Kigali.

MISSION OF RECONCILIATION


Meanwhile, the local branch of the African Enterprise ministry had put together a massive program involving many churches, schools and government officials to celebrate 10 years of healing and reconciliation since the Genocide of 1994. Several groups came from all over the world; Canada, Australia, Belgium, United Kingdom, United States, South Africa and many countries in Africa to join in these celebrations.

It was a joyous and glorious sight to see so many lifting their hands in praise and worship to our great God, contributing through their speaking engagements, sharing their testimonies, dancing together and rejoicing with the local people.

My husband Roger and nine other friends from our church arrived in Kigali in time for this mission, joining myself and my daughter. Our group comprised 4 young people, 14—17 years, and 8 adults. We witnessed how the Lord was using AE to help so many people to heal and be reconciled both to God and the people around them through the love of Jesus and the knowledge of his word.

On previous visit, I had seen this country on her knees completely, in the grip of death and destruction, when over 900,000 of her people were killed in only 100 days, and as many or more fled the country. Around the world, we saw this in the news. Fear, despair and distrust were thick in the atmosphere and in the hearts of Rwandans. The only remedy for us all lies in the power of the Love of Jesus and the truth he only represents.

The atmosphere we encountered this time around however was a very different story. The drooping hands were lifted up in worship and gratitude for many are thanking God for seeing them through the difficult times. Some of those who attacked and killed have been forgiven even by the Government (20,000 prisoners were released in 2003) and have returned to live among those they harmed. People have had to face their enemies and are challenged to live with them in peace. How can they do it without the power of the love of Christ Jesus? We saw the evidence of this forgiveness among the Christians we served with in this mission. Having had this experience in Rwanda, we are now in a good position to pray more accurately for their needs.

We came back so much the richer for having been in Rwanda, and having my daughter and husband with me there made the experience doubly meaningful.

Faith Shaw continues to return to Rwanda to visit the orphanage she founded. This is her first article for BAFT
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