Stories from Africa

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Today on our way to church the road was riddled with rocks and potholes and the incline was steep. Our trusted taxi bus just couldn’t handle it with the extra weight of 10 Westerners and it died about half way to our destination. We jumped out of the bus and were greeted by the stares of about 20 children and men. We exhausted our Kinyarwanda knowledge quickly and the bus still wouldn’t start so I started singing “Imana Ni Nziza” (God is so good) a few times through. The kids just continued to stare at us blankly and whisper to each other. I went to check with Odeth on our status and when I turned back around the remaining 9 of my team were enthusiastically singing “Father Abraham” complete with body actions, while the children stood on the opposite side of the road with gaping mouths and giggles watching the silly muzugus!  You have to learn to laugh at yourself here…

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When you lay your dreams at the alter, God will take them and resurrect them into something so much greater than you could have imagined.

I’m sitting here amidst the most beautiful time of worship. In His presence is fullness of joy and I am certainly feeling that right now! Today has been unbelievable. This afternoon we prepared ourselves for a program with some youth who live on the streets, thinking it would be just a handful of teenage boys. When we showed up we were greeted by the squeals and delight of over 100 children. They hugged us and pressed their little hands into ours,  then crammed into a classroom full of chalk dust and dirt. They started singing and dancing in unison to the beat of a single drum and we watched in awe at the smiling sea of faces. CATCH UP SCHOOL is what they call this ministry offering education, hope and dreams to hundreds of children who would not have it otherwise. The room quickly overheated so we carried out onto the grass and shared a few songs of our own. Maddy shared a lesson around the story of Zacchaeus. Bethany and Zach shared personal testimonies too. Pastor Denis, who we were working with spoke about dreams and not giving up. We couldn’t understand because of the language barrier and then all a sudden a bunch of the kids ran up and crowded around him. Our host, Odeth, whispered to me that he asked them who wanted to be saved by Jesus and ask Him into their hearts. Goodness! I’ve never seen that happen so…easily! There must have been about 30 kids/youth fervently repeating the prayer.

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Most of the children are orphans or street kids so they have no homes. The people who started this school have be able to rent 3 houses to shelter many of the older boys. We brought 4 mattresses as a gift knowing they have nothing inside. As we personally delivered each mattress, one of the guys – an 18 year old named Alfred told me in English how much he loves music and how he’s learned to play the guitar and piano. He said he loved our music! It’s beautiful to see how such simple acts can give people so much hope. And I was overwhelmed seeing how these people have sacrificed themselves on behalf of these kids — to show them the love of Jesus, educate them, feed, clothe and teach them to dream big — because with God, all things are possible. What a contrast to a school I visited in Palestine where they taught their kids that dreaming is futile. I’m so thankful for this day. It has changed us, I know it.

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(Catch up School) Photo copyrights: Christa Curry and Jenn Finch
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