“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13).
Is there anything more astonishingly beautiful than the joy of a child on Christmas Day? I love watching the anticipation of children around the world as they wait for this special morning. Their anticipation should mirror ours as we remember the Advent of Jesus Christ, and the hope, joy, peace and love that He brings!
As we age, instead of losing our belief and expectancy, I pray that we will grow deeper in love with Jesus because we recognize the countless gifts (both tangible and intangible) He has given. The true CHRISTmas spirit is based on our faith, and leads us to value other human begins as image bearers of God and to live lives filled with gratitude and hope.
During the recent dedication of a new section of our campus just outside of Kigali, Rwanda, the Honorable Dr. Isaac Munyakazi, the Minister of State for all Primary and Secondary Education for the Government of Rwanda, randomly challenged, Kevinne, one of our students in the computer lab. Knowing that the tendency of any student would be to do something familiar on the computer while this intimidating leader was watching, Dr. Munyakazi asked the student to turn the computer off entirely. Then he asked Kevinne to restart the computer and guided her through a series of tests her to demonstrate her high level of computer literacy. As the crowd watched on, Kevinne was filled with increasing levels of joy as she successfully completed the tasks. The joy of a child—what a beautiful gift!
As we reflect on the year behind us, we joyfully remember each one of the partners who shared the journey with us. We are filled with thankfulness! Here are some things we are thankful for:
- Last year we educated 529 students and completed our first Primary 6 class! Those students took the National Exam and we will be sharing those results in January. We expect for our students to be among the top students in Rwanda. We also provided 110,000 meals to these students and our staff.
- In January, we will begin the year with more than 650 students and 70 staff and faculty on campus each day. We are also providing much-needed nutrition by serving more than 234,000 meals per year, along with family social work, spiritual formation and vocational training programs.
- We finished two new buildings totaling 18,000 square feet. These buildings provided 12 additional classrooms, bathrooms, library, a new kitchen to provide all the meals, a dining area/multipurpose area used for extracurricular activities for the children and places to meet for discipleship and savings groups. In January, we will launch our Secondary school with this new classroom space!
- In addition to school, we continue to develop creative programs to transform this vulnerable community. In August, we started vocational training with our first class of 50 young adults. We also launched the “Men of Hope” program which specifically serves the most vulnerable men in our community and provides a way for them to gain traction and to lift their families out of poverty.
We are also thankful for your support and friendship. May the true CHRISTmas spirit lead you to reflect and to praise! Maybe God is leading you to reach out to someone during this season to simply say, “Thanks. I am really grateful that God decided to allow you to be part of my life.” Merry Christmas to you and your family and we look forward to a wonderful year of ministry together in 2019!