Christmas in Rwanda
On Christmas Eve, Roger became Santa Claus at Christ Church Rwanda for a few hundred children, including 70 from the HIV/AIDs ward. It's a pretty safe bet that most of these children have not met Santa before, or have ever received gifts. It was wonderful to see so many big smiles. A few of the tinier ones were rather frightened. It was a hot afternoon, perfect for wearing a fur lined suit, a furry hat, and a fake fat tummy. After that we went into the church for a candlelit carol service. By the time we came home, we were too tired to finish gift wrapping, so we got up early on Christmas Day to do it.
Last year we gave our children their first "really good Christmas", so we had to at least match it. We opened presents, cooked and ate, watched "Sound of Music" again, played outside with balls and frisbees, then came back inside for more games and songs. With 23 of us at home, it was a lively and unforgettable day.
First Ishimwe Community Center Event
Our first community event was a blow-out success. Pastor Eddie is our pastor at Christ Church Rwanda in Kigali. We took him to the Ishimwe Community Center (which for this event was a few old tarps and borrowed chairs in the Lakeside parking lot.
About 300 people came, plus countless children. Some were two hours early. They were hungry to hear the Christmas story. There was beautiful singing and dancing. After the message (which was in Kinyarwanda), about 30 people gave their lives to Christ.
Unknown to us, the guy building the Ishimwe children’s home, Karangwa, turns out to be a committed Christian. Pastor Eddie asked new believers to seek Karangwa out for guidance. Faith and I were totally blessed. It’s hard to imagine a better outcome.
Good Samaritan Judith
Judith (senior nanny) noticed some bedraggled children sleeping in the bushes not far from our home. People were walking past without any concern for them. She went for a closer look and found three girls, the oldest one looked about nine. Judith asked the child if she was OK. The girl explained that they had come a very long way through bush Their father had attacked their mother with a machete or knife and the mother had run away. He then threw the oldest child down a latrine. These three sneaked off and walked overnight to get to the safety of Ruhengeri.
Judith took the three girls into our home, bathed them and gave them warm food. All our children gathered around to make them feel safe. At this point, we wondered if our family was about to grow a bit more. However, as the oldest girl became more lucid, she related precise facts, which Judith then passed on to the police. Their father was identified and hopefully apprehended. An uncle came and took the girls back home.
Children hanging out at Lakeside Fish Farm
Establishing the Ishimwe Garden
Ultimate Come Back Story
They have made a movie about it. Stories don't get any more inspiring than this one. They are hoping to get it picked up by one of the film festivals. Here is a 90 second clip.