One of the high points of every Friday for me is opening Priscillah Kembabazi’s weekly report from Rwanda. As I eagerly click on the attachment, I know that I am in for a special treat!
Priscillah is one of those remarkable people that we rarely meet. She combines a serious, focused intensity with a deep compassion. Just this week as I opened her report, I read that she was visiting sick families and preparing student medical records for the next group of physicians who will serve at Hope Haven Rwanda. The Family Director’s office that she leads is responsible to check on every child and to make sure they are in school. If a child is absent, the parent is contacted. If a student is absent for two days, one of the team members walks into the village to complete a home visit and to check on their welfare. The team member checks to see if the child is sick, and they check on their hygiene. Most importantly, they don’t condemn the parents—Priscillah knows first-hand how hard it is for these parents. Instead, they work with the family to get the student back to school and toward the goal of lifting the family out of poverty.
When Hope Haven Rwanda first launched, seven years ago, Priscillah was there. She taught students under a tree. And instead of complaining about the lack of proper facilities, she took advantage of this outdoor “lab” and led the kids through the jungle, teaching them about plants and trees. Then she would return to the makeshift classroom and give them pieces of paper so that they could draw the sky, animals and other interesting things they had seen on their walk. She tapped into their imaginations in ways that no one had ever done before.
Priscillah has known many of our 650 students since they were 3-year-olds—she knows their homes, she knows their families, and she knows how to help them escape the clutches of extreme poverty. The most intriguing part of Priscillah’s story to me is that she has the same story they have. Priscillah speaks with authority. She has walked the steep village paths that they walk every day.
Priscillah Kembabazi is a living reflection of this biblical truth:“Whoever is kind to the needy honors God. . .Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will reward them for what they have done.”(Proverbs 14: 31; 19: 17).
Priscillah approaches vulnerable families with compassion because she knows first-hand how difficult their journey is. She is kind, and is willing to “lend” to them and, today, she is experiencing the rich bounty of God’s provision in her own life. Priscillah’s story parallels the stories of many of our students, and she models what it means to flourish with hope.
Priscillah also has a strong heart for ministry—she loves Jesus! She demonstrates the love and the hope of Jesus—and that is what Hope Haven is all about. As Susan Hollern reflected on Priscillah today, after journeying with her for more than 7 years, she said, “Priscillah is incredibly compassionate—she takes each and every child and loves on them like it was her life. She knows from the depths what it is like to be vulnerable and she just treasures each and every heart for Jesus. She wants them to be the top students in the nation, she wants them to fulfill God’s purpose in their lives!”
Today, Priscillah is a successful Christian entrepreneur and she encourages parents to come to Hope Haven Rwanda to “earn and learn” through our work-for-tuition program. She is a lynchpin in our efforts to transform Rwandan families!
I don’t want to give away too much of her story before she shares it live in Denver on April 24th, but let me just say you will be blown away by the stories of God’s faithfulness and her life. A victim of violence in a war-torn country, growing into a strong woman of God, earning a Master’s Degree in Psychology, serving as Family Director in one of the top schools on Rwanda, a successful entrepreneur…You will be deeply encouraged and challenged by her amazing story!
This will be Priscillah’s first time traveling to the US. Please remember her in your prayers and join us in anxious expectation of all that God will do as she shares her remarkable story and lifts the name of Jesus high, showcasing how He is at work in some of the most desperate places in our world! Her passion for our families and students is extraordinary and her bright smile is certain to warm your heart. There are still seats available! Visit hopehavenrwanda.org/fabric-of-hope to join us for this special evening with author April Graney, our Hope Haven Rwanda team and hundreds of other characters in this incredible story!