God answered that question again and again as we just spent the last couple weeks loving the orphan in Rwanda.
He first answered it through Mike.
(on the right)
Mike started Ten Talents International in Rwanda which is a program that helps children stay in their families through sponsorship and provides a home for boys who used to live on the streets.
Mike shared that as the only person in his family who became a Christian at a young age, he grew up not knowing what a christian looked like. It wasn't until he was a young adult and found a church that he saw how a christian lived.
For the boys at the Home of Innocence, some of them lost their families during the genocide and so they have never had a family. They do not know what a mom and dad is supposed to look like. What living in a family is like.
They don't even know what to hope for.
So Mike shared that when we come, these boys SEE a family. They see a husband and wife, a mom and dad and it gives them a picture of what to hope for as they grow up and someday start their own families.
We spent one afternoon sitting in the living room at the Home of Innocence sharing stories of our lives with one another. We listened to the stories of about 20 boys and young men. They listened to our story. When asked of them, "What is your favorite part about having teams come visit?"
They responded without hesitation,
This question was answered in a little girl named Shema and her single mother. Shema is the sponsor child of Jeff and Marissa Anderson through Compassion International. Jeff and our team was able to meet Shema and her mother one afternoon. Jeff brought them pictures and gifts for both of them from his family. She showed him her school, their small home, and the goat the Anderson's had bought for them last year.
Shema's mother is HIV positive. She has no husband and no other family. Their home was very small, dark, and empty.
She told Jeff,
"Thank you for coming. Seeing your love and care for us gives me HOPE."
Money given to this family for school fees, food, and a goat provided much needed help, but it was Jeff's visit that gave them hope and light to their darkness.
Michael Jr answered this question for us one evening over dinner. Michael (we call him Michael Jr at times) lost his family in the genocide and he now lives with Mike and Lisa McColm as their son. As a young boy he lived in a home much like the Home of Innocence. He remembers teams coming to visit from America. We asked him what he thought about the teams and this is what he shared...
(Michael Jr in the middle)