At 4:30 AM on Thursday morning while jostling in the shuttle to Denver International Airport, Austin and Katy Van Wyk may have been rethinking their decision to come to the “Fabric of Hope — Barn Edition.”
But I doubt it.
This inspirational couple left Phoenix early Wednesday morning for a quick trip to Denver to celebrate with Hope Haven Rwanda. They were there for a purpose. They wanted to see first-hand how their investments were doing.
They were not disappointed!
They were able to meet some Hope Haven students, engage with our leadership team and observe the joy and energy of hundreds of people gathered to partner in this important work.
One thing I love about Austin is his grasp of numbers and his analytical prowess. He stuns me with his quick recall and lighting-fast math skills. Trust me, there is a reason that I have often joked that “I don’t do math in public.“
As an analyst by profession and skillset, Austin leads his family to take an analytical approach to their charitable giving. They long to be good stewards, and to model generosity well for their three daughters.
Before they gave a dime to Hope Haven, they did their research. As experienced overseas missionaries, Austin and Katy knew the need, and they knew the dynamics of cross-cultural missions work. They knew that Rwanda has had a steep uphill path to recovery, following the tragic 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. It has been difficult to rebuild an entire nation, accomplish a successful reconciliation program, and overcome deep cultural divides.
Not surprisingly, education has suffered because of these changes. A World Bank report pointed to a “highly unfavorable pattern of progression in early grades” and high drop-out rates. It warned that “most children in primary school do not acquire age-appropriate literacy and numeracy skills”—partly due to challenges associated with Rwanda’s switch from Kinyarwanda and French to English, which many teachers do not speak, as the language of instruction.
Today, Rwandan leaders are strategically emphasizing education, and Hope Haven Rwanda is poised to continue playing a key role.
But there’s more. As a beacon of God’s light among the shadows of hardship, Hope Haven is creatively addressing educational and community development gaps. We intentionally disciple every faculty member, staff member and student. Only Jesus can ultimately transform the community we serve!
With innovative techniques, vigorous teacher training and some of the most modern classrooms in the country, we are producing exceptional scholars and men and women of godly character who will lead the Rwanda of tomorrow.
That’s a solid investment!
May the examples of so many like Austin and Katy inspire each one of us to live generously! How is God asking you to to step into generosity today?