Thursday, March 18, 2010

Rwanda Beautiful Rwanda March 2010

Shyogo Village

Further down the village we walked to another family home, the parade of women and children remained with us. They welcomed us with a full audience and a dozen more neighbors came out. There was just this great sense of love and excitement filtering around us. We left them after a long conversation

moving on...

Our second visit was to the home of the poorest lady in the sector. She is widowed with six children. We walked to her hut with a parade of children and women. So surreal. The sector leaders introduced us to her and explained that we wanted to address her need for a home. She was weighed down with this gesture and didn’t quite know how to respond. We left her with her eyes bright and glossed over with tears and her smile big..

Shyogo Village - Lolance's New Home

Today we visited the Shyogo Sector in Kayonza – we purchased the home for the Refugee Woman from Tanzania. Sector leaders greeted and welcomed us. Our sponsor son, from Tanzania, was with us and to his surprise and ours – she was in his village and he knew her. He was overwhelmed with gratefulness for the gesture and so happy in his heart!

Dancing together...

In celebration of International Women's Day!!!

Finding HOPE in a broken world.

Family Love

Sunday Butare

Spending the day with Esther’s family in Butare. They have finally shifted to their new home… They are overwhelmingly happy and feel so very blessed. After 16 years of separation, this family is now complete and together. The transformation of these lives and the new beginning for this family is so significant and powerful.
A big thank you for goes to Robert and Violate for their work and efforts with this. Thank you to Loice for creating a space of trust with them - giving them a voice and listening. Once again, an emotional and heart filling day!

Meet Lolance...

In honor of 50 years of marriage - my brother and sister-in-law wanted to share their blessings of life and marriage. To honor this, they have bought a home for a woman with four children. She is a refugee from Tanzania, who came back to Rwanda and instead of going with the other refugees to Kageyo refugee camp she went to Kayonza to look for her land - which was no longer. She was given a small parcel to settle on, so she built her thatched hut out of banana leaves - where she now resides with her family. Her children are with great hunger and malnourished. Her eyes held great sadness. Our hearts were torn and our eyes were filled with tears. Robert translated to her that she will be in a home soon before the heavy rains commence and that this was a gift of great love from Duane & Mary… Thank you for making a difference in the lives of this family! I am a proud sister! Thank you Loice for your compassion and for creating a save and caring space for her to share her story. Thank you Robert for finding this family in need and for leading us to her.


Meet Bunny’s sponsor family. It started with a new roof, then two parcels of land, and then a new little hut was built on her property so she can rent it for income. She has been lifted out of poverty and is now providing food for her family. She lives with HIVAides and has progressed to a balance state of health. Our eyes held such sweet tears as we visited about Bunny. She would have been proud that her empowerment of this woman has lifted her and her family to another level. Bunny you continue to make a difference and your work is not finished here on earth!

Kayonza March 2010

Saturday March 6, 2010

We had an awesome greeting at Kayonza when we picked up Esther at the orphanage … Sweet Esther – it was so wonderful to have her in our arms and with us again!!! Lots and lots of hugs going on here!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Farewell To Rwanda

Thank you to everyone who has made this journey with us. We realize that before you get started, you own the journey but after you begin, the journey owns you.

Once again, our time here with everyone, especially Robert, Esther, Emma, Carol, Steven, Violate, Rebecca and the beautiful daughters of the Esther Home, has been profound. Our hearts are a bit tender today as we say our goodbyes.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Love Is In The Air

Valentine Gifts From Glacier to the Esther Home Girls.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day From Rwanda!

Love through their eyes!

Mentoring Hearts

Pictured above are the mentoring partners of the Esther Home Girls. The girls selected mentors to help them reach their fullest potential. It was a wonderful afternoon and a great start for this new Esther Home Mentorship Program.

Friday, February 13, 2009

We Shall Be Free

When the last child cries for a crust of bread…
When there is shelter over the poorest of heads…
We shall be free.

When the last thing we notice is the color of skin.
When the first thing we look for is the beauty within.
We shall be free.
Maria Muldaur

Believing in the Power of "One"

“one “ can make a difference and she truly did...
Our dear friend Bunny, who could not join us this trip, sent funds and requested us to do something that would lessen the burdens of everyday life for someone. As we made our way to Kayonza we asked Rebecca, who is responsible for 1,000 students at the New Life Academy, if she would assist us with this mission. Without much thought she directed us to this loving and needy family.

Vestine, a child sponsored through ANLM, took us to her family’s home. She was excited to have us visit with her family. Vestine is a good student and is the only one in her family that has ever had the opportunity to have a sponsored education.

Vestine’s mother, Damarce, was waiting outside for us. Her slight figure was dressed to greet visitors. Her eyes were bright with excitement and she warmly welcomed us inside her home. Her older son brought in a bench for us to sit on and then our conversation started. Damarce wanted to share her story with us, thinking that we were Vestine’s sponsors. She informed us that she was HIV positive but with the government allocation of drugs she is able to maintain her health. Her big challenge was finding enough food to feed her family and herself; the drugs require her to eat regulary, which is not always possible. Her husband died of aides and left her with five children, three boys and two girls. Unfortunate circumstances left her 15 year old daughter with a young baby; who she now is carrying for too. One could look around and see the home was in great need of a roof. A tarp covered most of the roof and other large holes were covered with bricks, banana leaves and wood.

We then shared with her our intent for the visit and that our dear friend Bunny wanted to gift her a new roof to lessen her burden. She held herself very still, hardly daring to breathe; her eyes were wide and brimming with tears and so was ours. She embraced us with great affection and asked us to give her love and prayers to our dearest friend. So thank you our dear friend Bunny; you have made a difference once again.
It was an end to a beautiful day – the day was crisp and sunny; the sky was a soft cerulean blue, intersected with puffy clusters of white clouds – once again, our hearts were swelled with overwhelming love.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

God is Great!

Our morning started at 5:30 am; it was a sleepless night as we knew that the morning woud take us to the hospital to get Doreen’s biopsy results. We reached the hospital at 7:30 where we waited for an hour and a half. We sat in silence watching the corridors being filled with people seeking medical care. As we sat across from Dr Joseph Vyankandondera’s desk one could feel the heaviness in the air. As he pulled up the lab results on the computer he turned to us with a soft look on his face and a hint of a smile on his face and informed us that all was well. The smile on Doreen’s face was as wide as I have ever seen. Ron and I, choked up, let out a sigh of relief. I looked upward and thanked God for his blessing! God is truly great!

Moving to Kayonza

With joy in our hearts we then moved to the village in Kayonza. 45 minutes later, we arrived at the school to pick up our sponsor children and to see our sweet Esther. The children came out from nowhere; some remembering us from our previous visits and were so excited to see us once again.
Dan Andrews, our youngest sponsor child, greeted us with his big smile. His mother, a cook at the school, was surprised and pleased at our visit. Little hands were reaching up touching my hair and stroking my white skin. The crowd of children just kept on growing and growing.