Did you know that over 45% of Rwanda’s population is children? 38% of children live in poverty and 38% suffer from malnutrition due to not having enough food to eat. Rwanda has overcome so many obstacles since the horrific genocide of 1994 which wiped out nearly 1 million of its citizens and sent the country into collapse.
Center days have started back again for the students in our program in Kigali. The students who are a part of our Ten Talents International program come to our local office with their parents or guardians and participate in, what is essentially, a group check-in day. The staff can meet with the families and/or students, provide direction, and answer any questions the student might have. This is a time when students, families, and staff get to know one another better and can share experiences with each other. There is also a time for sharing of God’s word and teaching of the bible. Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, the center days were the first and second Saturday each month and we’re so glad that these days have started again!
During the first center day at the beginning of August, the students learned about Psalm 146 1-10 as Mama Ishimwe led the bible preaching. When that was over they were able to spend some time in prayer for fellow parents who had lost a spouse. One of the newer students mother’s said this time was unlike anything else she had participated in during her previous NGO (Non-Governmental Organization… which are organizations like Ten Talents who help struggling families). It’s so important to us that our students know God and we love that this time can be a blessing to so many families.
After their prayer and bible time, they spoke about things relating to the students like school fee payments, health insurance, rent issues, and anything else that they might have questions about. Many of the families and students expressed eagerness to see the US team again and the parents shared appreciation for food support during Covid-19 and other programs that supported their children’s educations.
Thank you for supporting these students and their families, because of you days like this can happen and students can not only feel comfortable with the upcoming school year but also find fellowship with other families and hear the hope of Jesus Christ and his love for them.
Sponsorship updates have been sent! Did you get yours?
We still have children and young people who are unsponsored. Have you wanted to make a difference in someone’s life, but weren’t sure how? Your sponsorship directly connects you to a student in Rwanda. These young people are receiving school fees, educational supplies, medical care, and more; in the hopes of providing a better life for their family and their future. Visit our website to see waiting children!
We recently sent out a newsletter with some good news about recent graduates. It is so wonderful to see these young people defy the odds and grasp the opportunities in front of them. If you didn’t receive it, you can read more about it by clicking here.
Its all because of you and people just like you, who give and link arms with people they may never met. This is true religion and we are so blessed to be a part of it.
God Bless You,
If you are within driving distance to Vancouver, Washington, we would love to have you come to our event happening on December 1st. We are calling it Gifts of Joy! Our Christmas volunteer team will have just returned from Rwanda and will provide us with an update on the work going on there. We will also have available our “virtual gift” catalog which will provide you with an opportunity to give life changing gifts in honor of someone in your life, or for yourself. Please visit our event page on Facebook (here) to find out more and to let us know you are coming.
Our annual Christmas party volunteer team is working hard in Rwanda right now. They have actually been working hard for months leading up to this trip: collecting donated supplies and gifts, keeping inventory, making plans and preparations. We are so thankful for all of their hard work which will mean hundreds of children in Rwanda will get an extra special holiday this year. Our team will host parties for all of the children in our sponsorship program, all of the children in both our boy’s and girl’s homes, and will also provide a party for the children of a separate organization that provides a home and education for former street children. In addition to all of this, they have already hosted a conference for the parents of the children in our sponsorship program, and they will also work with our college volunteers and staff as well. All this adds up to a very busy week for them, but one that is full of joy! We are so thankful to be able to provide this for the children and families that we work with, and those who are on the team always report what a gift it is to them to be a part of this.
We look forward to hearing more from the team members at our event on December 1st.
God Bless You,
If you’ve been on our social media pages (find us on Facebook or Instagram) you will see something we’re calling the Apple Cider Vinegar Challenge. The challenge we have presented is to take a straight shot of apple cider vinegar (1 or 2 tablespoons- -really, it is good for you!). Do it (on video) and donate $10 to Ten Talents International, and tag 10 friends challenging them to do the same. For some people, downing some ACV is not a big deal at all- and for others, well, some people are still trying to work up the nerve to do it all… The question has been posed, why the apple cider vinegar? This challenge was my brainstorm, so I will do my best to answer that.
Initially, it was just a random thought. I take ACV sometimes to help ward off getting sick, and when I do I involuntarily make a face and react. I thought it might be fun to challenge other people to do the same, and for them to challenge others, and so on. How does it relate to Rwanda though? When Mike and I first talked about it, we discussed how the color of ACV reminds us of muddy water in Rwanda. This muddy water is what many families have no choice but to use everyday – for cooking, bathing, cleaning, etc. But our ministry is not about clean water, its about getting children off of the streets. TTI was started because of Mike’s first hand experience seeing children living on the streets in Rwanda.
You might be surprised if you visit Rwanda to find that 10 months out of the year it is very green and lush. Some people think that Africa means being hot, dry, dusty, but that is not the case everywhere. It rains in Rwanda, and many times it rains hard. Rain will come in fast and heavy. The dirt in Rwanda is a reddish brown clay. As the downpour of rainwater runs over the dirt it produces reddish brown rivers that pour over the streets and sidewalks. People who are out will take shelter under businesses or wherever they can find a dry spot. Now imagine if you are a child spending your days out on the streets. You get soaked. Not only that, but many children have told us that when they need someplace to sleep they will use the drainage ditches that run along the side of the road. They look like this:
Except where there is a driveway there will be a slab of concrete going over the ditch to connect to the driveway, and it is in those secluded spots where the children will lay down to get some sleep. Unless its raining. Then there will be no sleeping, as the ditches become streams of muddy water.
The other connection I noticed between ACV and the children living on the streets is connected to the smell. Children living on the streets have a common drug of choice. It is liquid glue. This powerful chemical glue makes them high when they sniff it (the term for this type of substance abuse by inhaling fumes is called “huffing” in the US). The reason they do it is not just so they can be high and maybe not think so much about their current circumstances, its because when they are high they don’t feel hungry anymore. Many kids living on the streets carry around small bottles of glue under their shirts and keep inhaling it throughout the day.
Nothing of what I have described for you so far should be a part of a child’s life. Children should be in a home where they can feel safe, loved, and cared for. They should be able to go to school and not have to work or beg to help provide for the basic needs of their family. I realize that we cannot change the whole world. We cannot make this problem simply go away, but for some children we can. We can change their world. We can offer them a safe place to sleep and adults who will love them and care for them. For those who have families, we can provide school fees, school supplies, medical care, and a daily nourishing meal so they can learn, stay off the streets, and have a better future.
This is what the #ACVChallenge is all about. Its about trying to get the word out to more people so that we can do more and help more children and families. Its about changing stories and bringing hope. Please help us spread the word.
Thank you & God bless you,
We could see them working hard and always smiling, because they are having so much fun. They continued having parties and sharing with many more young people in Rwanda. They had the party for all of the children in our At Risk program and their families (over a hundred children plus their parents!) They were entertained and blessed by singing and dancing put on by the children and parents also! Their agenda also included a trip to a center run by Rwanda Orphans Project (now known as Imizi Children’s Center) where they shared testimony, encouragement, soda and sambosa (handheld meat pies). They also visited a home for children from the now closed Noel Orphanage (a place we used to visit with our teams). Time was also made to be spent with our Rwandan staff and a little bit of down-time in between! We are so proud of the team, how hard they worked and all they were able to accomplish. Isn’t a mystery how you can leave a place with a full heart, even though you know you’re leaving a piece of your heart there? This is what happens to everyone who visits Rwanda with us. We would love for you to experience this with us next year.
We are so thankful that all our teammates arrived on time along with all their luggage (so much luggage- we are thankful for all the donations)! They are part way into their trip already, here are some highlights so far:
Day 1: The team hosted a party for Home of Innocence and Home of Purpose. We have some very talented students who honored our team with dances, songs and a poem. The party also included games and giving them their backpacks, shoes, clothes and good food!
Day 2: Church service in the morning and then time spent with the girls at the Home of Purpose. The girls all shared how they were doing in school, and we are so proud of them. The day also included gifts and a craft project of sponsor thank you notes.
Day 3: We hosted a conference for the parents of the children in the At Risk program. Mike, Jordan and Kelly spoke about the purpose of Ten Talents, what they can and cannot do for the kids and their family. Kelly gave a great talk on parenting, tips on supporting their children and encouraging them to tell and show their children love. Larry and I gave a sponsors prospective on what it means to us hearing from and about our children. We had a Q&A at the end and many parents spoke.
Our team member adds: My thought after that continues to be WE NEED MORE SPONSORS!!! My heart aches and I wish I could afford to help them all. At the Q&A it was clear there are many more who want the opportunity to go to school but we currently have a waiting list for children to be added to the program…today it got longer. Mike and his team have done a wonderful thing here but they can’t do it without the support of others.
Thank you for continuing to pray for our team, those in Rwanda, and for more sponsors. Our students have also asked we pray for them this week as everyone who is in grade 6, 9, or 12 has to take national exams which will determine where they continue their schooling (score well, you attend good schools, score poorly, not so much…)
God bless you!