Glory to God in the Highest,
And on earth peace to men
On whom his favor rests
Merry Christmas from Shyira, Rwanda from all of us! We usually think of Christmas as a celebration that is especially fun for children. Our children are really looking forward to it: Sara, 12, is home from school at Rift Valley Academy, where she seems to be doing well; Hannah, 10, is busy knitting presents for her friends and family, when she doesn’t have her nose in a book; Caleb Jr got one of his Christmas presents early—a mini machete (at last count he still had 10 fingers and 10 toes); Lydia likes making Christmas cards for people (and stuffed animals) and can be heard singing Christmas carols in Kinyarwanda.
In the US, we often take for granted the value placed on children. Here in Rwanda, their value is not always so high—many may be forced to work long hours, given little to eat, and educated only if their family can afford to release them from household and agricultural duties. We realize how revolutionary Jesus’ words “Let the little children come unto me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these (Luke 18: 16)” must have seemed to his disciples.
Here at Shyira we give thanks for the progress that has been made in demonstrating that Christ-like love for children—the efforts to raise money for a Sunday School building (the children currently sit outside), a grant from the ProVision Foundation to refurbish our children’s wards, help from friends in Canada for an improved school house for early child eductation, efforts in our HIV program to treat more HIV positive children, and the successful heart surgeries for 5 girls with otherwise terminal conditions. At right, Muhayimana Apolline looks great after mitral valve repair by an Australian surgeon who came with the Hope Rwanda Project to a hospital in the capital.
On a more personal note, we continue to pray for the children who are frequent visitors at our house: Moses, the orphan who was found about 4 years ago abandoned in a latrine, Nkurunziza an HIV orphan who has done spectacularly well on anti-retroviral treatment and is now more than twice his weight before taking medicines and first in his class; Maniriho (which means “God is there”) a handicapped boy who is caught in the middle of divorced parents, both alcoholics, and neither of whom want to have responsibility for him; and, most recently, Nsengiyumva a 55 pound fifteen year old orphan who has diabetes and no one to care for him. We pray that 2008 will be a blessed year for them.
We are thankful for the hydroelectric project which is now underway in the valley (email us for more information), the Houses for Hope Project with which we have now built five houses for HIV positive widows, as well as refurbished nursing housing, and a UNICEF grant for a new surgical center. We are still waiting for permanent visas, but at least received our passports back with a visa until April.
For donations: DOCS (earmarked Kings/Shyira), PO Box 24597, St. Simon’s Island, GA 31522
(Call Caroline 912-634-0065 with questions)