Love for Young People

boys singing.jpg

Day Eight
October 28, 2015

Day 8 began with breakfast, then off for a visit to Pastor Cyprian who, for the last 8 years, has been the  Director of The Street Children Ministry. This french name of the center translates into "Love for Young People." There are 40 residents at this center.

The center was started by the Presbytery in 1998, after the Genocide in 1994, many young people were left without parents. Some of the parents were involved in the Genocide and were imprisoned, others fled the country or died. The children were left with nowhere to go. They lived in the streets and went to the dumpsters to look for food.

The church wanted to do something to help these children. The Presbytery purchased the land near the dumpster to reach out to these children and take care of them. In the beginning they put up tents for the children to have a place to sleep, next small buildings were built for dorms. Even though the Genocide has ended there have been other circumstances that have left children homeless. One being poverty, which causes so many complications in these families. Because of the small size, this center houses boys only, girls go to another center. 

The center employs social workers to counsel the children, who are back in their school environment within three months. This is a transition center, not a school and not an orphanage. The center works with family members of the children to get them back into the family by teaching them how to live in the family and look ahead to the future.
They also keep in touch with the children to ensure that they are in a good family environment and that they are doing well.

The center has a vocational program for children who cannot afford school but need a vocation. 140 older children attend various programs that are of interest to them. The younger children engage in outdoor activities, such a as games, sports, singing and dancing. 

It was a delightful morning touring the grounds of the center and the church, which has been under construction for 14 years, after having lost their donor who passed away ceasing construction for years. Most recently they have completed the roof, which will enable them to continue to move forward with their building. 

The children sang "Sitting at the foot of the King" and "Jesus loved Me first before I even knew Him," under a pavilion and were simply adorable. 

We ended our time there with Rob telling the boys "they are growing into the young men that God created them to be." And Heidi, telling them she was "glad that they had a safe and happy place to grow up and meet their dreams." 

Next we enjoyed lunch with Pastor Cyprian before heading off to a visit at the Kigali Presbytery with Reverend Juvenal Rwamunyana and Pastor Julius Gaspar. This parish is made up of 20 full parishes and 12 sub parishes, which hosts  19,035 members. 

After a visit and power point presentation at their current office we left to visit the future Presbytery office, which has recently broken ground. 

Next we began our tour of the first of three churches that Pastor Julius
leads in Ndera. The first being a house church, while they continue to pray for a permanent site. We joined in as the members sang and danced for us. We also delivered Bibles and hymnals from First Presbyterian Church Huntsville, AL, bringing enthusiastic applause from the members.

The next stop of the day was the second church in Busanza where we were immediately greeted by the beautiful sound of voices coming from the sanctuary and excited young children who ran to give us all hugs! We worshiped with the members and once again gave out Bibles and hymnals from FPC Huntsville, which were gratefully received.

By this time night had fallen and we were off to a delicious supper at one of the Kanombe member's homes. After leaving there we had a quick stop at the Kanombe Church, delivering the last of the Bibles.

Our final day of visiting with the lovely people of Rwanda was quite busy, from 9am until after 9pm, but a day full of amazing landscapes, beautiful sounds, very special people and many Blessings that we will all take home with us ! 

1 Thessalonians 5:16
Rejoice always......

Andi Gaskins

The Outreach Foundation