As we shared dinner with Matt and Natasha Harris Thursday evening, they lamented the fact that they only had one more evening at Hope Haven. After spending 8 days serving at the school and throughout the community, they explored Rwanda for a few days and were spending their last night in the country with us.
We decided to cap off their trip with a “walk” to the well the next morning. Although Hope Haven provides water to many in our community, we do not have the capacity to help every family in need. Many still walk long distances to the local watering hole. The spring which flows into a basin where many people fetch water, was significantly improved by another Hope Haven family, the Linderman’s, in 2019, but it is still deep in the valley. Gabby, one of our interns, affectionately calls the trip back up the hill ”the death hike.”
Following the steep hike, and a few trips carrying water for some residents of surrounding villages, Matt reflected on the experience: “The people of Rwanda work extremely hard—especially the women…it’s a grueling uphill climb, especially with the water, and to think that, that is what is needed to get yourself going to start the day, is pretty humbling.”
As we reflected together on the experience, we recognized that our help that day wasn’t going to change much. It was more about us learning from them, understanding more of what their world is like every day, than carrying gallons of water.
Thankfully, Hope Haven’s direct investment in the education and discipleship of hundreds of students will bear eternal and material fruit for generations to come. While they face the “uphill climb” of breaking generational poverty, we are walking with them and giving them life-changing opportunities along the way.
As another Hope Angel family, Mike and Natalie, put it following their experience two weeks ago, “We are so humbled to have God deliver us into such a wonderful place, with such wonderful people, and to be able to share a portion of what he has blessed us with, with other children of His in need. It is all by and and for Him, just sometimes through us, as we make ourselves available to serve as he sees fit.”
As 1 John 4:19 reminds us, “Our love for others is our grateful response to the love God first demonstrated to us.”
How can you demonstrate love this week to someone who may be facing “an uphill climb” in their life?