Just a few miles outside of Kigali, the capital city of Rwanda, is a humble community of low-income residents who work very hard to make ends meet. This community may not be in the slums, but those living here must work hard to ensure that they have the basic necessities for life – daily meals, clothing, and shelter. Here, things such as motorized transportation and electricity are considered luxuries. The humble homes in this hillside community are spaced at random along the dirt roads. The small rectangle residences consist of concrete walls and floors, shielded by a tin roof. Most children living in this community are able to go to school, but this too is a luxury in Rwanda. Still, many families cannot afford to pay the minimal school fees nor can they afford basic medical insurance. For those families who live with the additional challenges of raising a child with severe disabilities, the specialized schooling and specialized medical attention that is required is certainly well beyond any financial capabilities that these families can afford.
Living in this community is a young couple who are raising five children of their own. Two of their grade school aged children are twins. One of the twins attends the local primary school, but the other twin is not able to because she was born with a spinal chord disability that prohibits her from being able to walk. As is the case with many high-risk pregnancies such as twins, one twin will often be more dominant while the other will struggle to grow and survive. Such was the case with this young mother’s pregnancy, and although both her twins survived her emergency C-section surgery, one of her twin daughters was confined to an incubator for many months after her birth due to hindered in utero development, coupled with complications at birth.
This young family is faced with difficult challenges, but they beam with hope as they have built their family on the firm foundation of Jesus Christ. Their faith is strong, they look forward to their eternal inheritance in heaven, but their daily struggle of raising a disabled daughter is very difficult and burdensome.
Our team was invited into this young couple’s home to hear their story firsthand. These hopeful parents expressed their dream of being able to one day see their daughter healed, able to walk, and able to work. We had the privilege of laying hands on this couple and we prayed for their daughter’s healing and future success as a child of God.
As this family continues to trust God, they are able to receive much needed support through their local church so that their daughter is able to receive the specialized schooling and specialized medical attention that she needs. The local church is able to tangibly help this family, offer this girl hope, and is a bright light of hope to this entire Rwandan community.
As local churches are able to offer support to discouraged families, the church plays a key role in ensuring that orphanages remain empty in Rwanda. Many families are tempted to give up and are even tempted to abandon their children as they struggle to find hope and purpose. However, the local church is able to help ensure that families remain full of hope and purpose, that they remain intact, and that whenever possible, children are raised by their family of origin. As families are strengthened and learn that they can survive together, they are able to offer the same hope and encouragement to other families in their communities. Communities are being transformed! Faith is being strengthened! Christ is at the center, and Hope is alive!
*If you would like to help financially support families in Rwanda, click here.
Posted by TRENT ARMSTRONG