The metal can covered in yellow paper read a simple sentence that changed my world.
“Help boys and girls who can’t go to school.”
My Sunday School was starting a new offering to raise money to support children who go to Thahidi School in Lebanon. Although I was only seven years old, the idea of boys and girls not being able to go to school was a foreign concept. I didn’t understand that children around the world were struggling against things I couldn’t even imagine.
Fast forward seven years. I am 14 and browsing on Compassion International’s website at numerous children that are just waiting to be sponsored. But as of then, I could only choose one. But which country? Where do I begin?
God sent His answer the next day. I was on the news page and saw an article that caught my eye: “20 Years Since the Rwandan Genocide” After reading the news article, I continued to research this atrocity that occurred in 1944. Upon typing the words, “Rwandan Genocide”, I found and read stories and eyewitness accounts. My heart was moved.
But what about raising financial support? A few months before that, I had gotten into something called upcycling. I took colorful magazine pages out of magazines that were going to be thrown away, cut them into thin triangles and rolled them into beads. After glazing them in a varnish, I strung them on elastic mixed with tiny glass seed beads. This fundraising idea was simple enough. But there were a lot of things that delayed the process of starting to support my Compassion International child. I had school. Materials like elastic, varnish and glass beads costed money; money that I didn’t have. I sold a couple of bracelets and pairs of earrings every now and then, but it sure wasn’t enough to start supporting.
God told me to wait. To be patient and let Him do the main work. It was hard. I didn’t want to wait. I wanted to do.
A year later, on February 10, 2015 I began to support 6-year-old Abayisenga Diane in Rwanda, Africa. I had a sale in my sister’s college dorm room and made $75! It was a great start, despite it being a small one.
In this four month period of supporting Abayisenga, I have learned just how important education is. Education for her and her family means a way to support themselves. There she will also be able to learn about how she can have an intimate relationship with the Father, who loves her and calls her His own. Hunger, generational poverty, early death are closely linked to lack of education. With a set of skills provided by an education, Abayisenga and millions of children can find a career that will help them out of poverty. In a couple of years I hope to not only meet Abayisenga, but to also open a school there for all ages. It’s a work in progress. And wherever He leads me, I hope to shine His love to dark places, whether it be in my high school, at home or in Rwanda.