During the month of June, six young women had the opportunity to intern at Hope Haven Rwanda. In addition to showing tremendous amounts of love and kindness daily to our students, teachers and staff, the interns helped with various projects such as rebuilding a mud-home, mentoring our youth camp kids, leading daily devotionals for visitors, painting a new mural for the Kugaba Initiative, organizing and beautifying our new library, teaching summer art classes and serving as teacher aides in classrooms.
Sarah tells of her experience teaching in the nursery, “It’s remarkable how much those three-year-olds taught me; looking into their eyes and seeing so much excitement for life exemplified how alive Jesus already was in their little hearts.”
Relationships are key in Rwandan culture and that also holds true at Hope Haven Rwanda. Claire said, “I had the honor of cultivating lifelong relationships with not only the students, but also the staff that I will forever cherish. Each person at Hope Haven exemplifies the Lord’s love and joy so effortlessly.”
For many visitors, whether they have been to Hope Haven once or many times, it becomes like a second home. Jessica said, “Hope Haven Rwanda is home. It’s a place where I can be fully myself without caring who is watching or what I look like. I’ve been able to see God move and work throughout the lives of those who live here and those who visit. This place changed my life and set me on fire for the Lord like I never knew before.”
Each teacher and student taught the interns something new. Lauren said, “I have learned so much from the people here about love, hope, community and a joy that’s rooted deeply in the Lord, and I continue to be in awe of this place, country and these people every day.” Julayne elaborated, “The students have taught me so much about being kind and loving each other. As I have gotten to know the students during my month here, I have watched them help, love and support each other in everything no matter who they were or their age.”
We said “tuzongera,” or “see you later,” to our interns last week. Leaving Hope Haven was bittersweet but the joy of Rwanda will follow them closely wherever they go.
In summary, Jilian said, “The past month I’ve spent at Hope Haven will be something I cherish for the rest of my life. The students and staff know how to love people well and they have taught me much more than I’ve taught them. This is a hard goodbye but how sweet the Lord is for giving me friendships that make saying goodbye so hard. Hope Haven Rwanda is such a special place and I will forever be grateful for this experience.”
We are so thankful and blessed by the work and new relationships of our special team of interns and look forward to watching what the Lord continues to do in their lives!
(Contributed by Paige Steel, Internship Director, and 2019 Intern Claire Casey)