Monthly Archives: October 2013

It’s time to think about Christmas!

October 30, 2013 | Janie

Give the gift that keeps on giving

A couple years ago, when my kids wondered what I would like for Christmas, I asked them to pick out something from World Vision’s Christmas gift catalog. I don’t remember now what the gift was—ducks or chickens maybe—that would be given to a far-away family in need. What I do remember is the sense of joy I felt on Christmas morning when I opened a World Vision card informing me that something so life-sustaining had been given in my name. Surely gifts that meet genuine needs are the best gifts of all!

Many of you may have received the World Vision Gift Catalog in the mail for Christmas 2013. Today’s brief post is meant to serve as a reminder that the slogan on the cover of the catalog couldn’t  be more true or hold more promise: Give a gift. Change a life.

No worries if you didn’t receive a catalog. You can easily learn more, shop, and order your gift online here. I would love to hear your comments if you—or members of  your family—have also found this type of giving to be meaningful.

An Educator’s Perspective

October 25, 2013 | Janie

Kids are everywhere

On the most recent trip to Kivuruga, nothing was more enjoyable for Brad than hanging out with the kids.

For more than 28 years Brad Wold has taught in the Biology Department at the Cambridge Campus of the Anoka Ramsey Community College. Brad was one of the educators who joined in the trip to Kivuruga, Rwanda, this past August. When I asked him to share his thoughts about the trip from the point of view of someone committed to education, here’s what he had to say:

I was immediately interested in Our Response when I heard of it several years ago. I have made two trips to Mexico that concerned humanitarian issues, so the work in Africa intrigued me. When my wife, Marie, had the opportunity to travel to Ethiopia two years ago, my interest in the African people was piqued even more. I was and still am extremely impressed with the World Vision model of helping communities. Because our family sponsors a seven-year-old girl in Kivuruga, I was so pleased that educators were encouraged to join the trip team, thus allowing me to meet our sponsored child and her father.

I enjoyed the trip immensely in a variety of ways. Since I teach classes in human anatomy and physiology, microbiology and environmental science, there were many things I saw and heard that were of interest to me and related directly to what I teach. I was pleased to view the clean water project and hear how thankful the people were for having their time freed up. Now they walk one-half hour versus four hours a day to get clean water.

Visting the clean water project in Kivuruga

A visit to the clean water site.

Also, with my farm boy background, it was interesting to see how farming is being done in Rwanda. Kent and I were fortunate to able to spend a little time with the district agronomist, asking him questions about current practices and what he sees for the future in the area. When I asked about coffee—I do have a little coffee addiction that I am cultivating—he was very proud to point me to a local coffee that had recently won the Coffee Cup of Excellence Award. It lived up to its award. And, no, I don’t have any for sale.

Farming in Kivuruga, Rwanda

Land must be terraced in order to farm every square inch of the hills of Rwanda.

with Kent and the sector agronomist, Mr. Jean de la Paix Sengabo

Brad and Kent meet with the sector agronomist.

Brad with sugarcane

Brad learns how to cut sugarcane.

Kent and I were harassed, primarily by Shelby and Amy, the young ladies in our group, for being bird-watching geeks, (or nerds, whichever shoe fits). I admit I was more than a little excited to identify the African pied crow and marabou stork. We probably saw 25 new birds.

African pied croc

Pied crow.

As fun as all that was, my greatest memories are those involving the children. Meeting our sponsored child was wonderful, but my favorite times involved walking along with a group of ragamuffins, holding their hands and listening to them sing. Or, camera in hand, kicking the soccer ball around with them, and then showing them their pictures.

Trading soccer balls, new for homemade.

Soccer ball trade.

Meeting Immaculine

Brad shares gifts and conversation with his sponsored child, Immaculine, and her father.

I hope we all want to be “good Samaritans” to people in need, both close to home and far away. We can do much locally, but through organizations like World Vision, we can also help do much globally. People everywhere are our neighbors. It was so rewarding to be in Kivuruga in person to encourage the World Vision staff. They do incredible work with an amazing joyful, thankful attitude. I am so pleased to be able to financially support them as “the hands and feet of Jesus” in Rwanda.

What’s your one thing?

October 21, 2013 | Janie

Our Response is all about helping children in need, specifically the children—and their families—of Kivuruga, Rwanda. Child sponsorship is the means by which we “respond” to extreme poverty and its disastrous effects on children. In partnership with World Vision, those of us who are sponsoring a child supply critical funds that end up improving entire communities.

There’s a member of our East Central community who has demonstrated consistent care and concern for children, not only through adoption (10 years ago, Barb and her husband, Tim, added five children to their home), but also through encouraging others to meet the needs of children, orphaned children in particular. Barb played a significant volunteer role in last year’s Step into Africa, the Experience. She also heads up the Orphan Care Committee of Cambridge First Baptist. She would like you to know about a special event that her committee has planned for early November. It’s called 1 Thing, and in the remainder of this post she will tell you all about it…

Barb cares about children

Barb with her grandkids

Throughout history Christians have been known as a people who band together to take special care of those who are fatherless. It’s thrilling to see believers doing the 1THING they can do for orphans, children in foster care, and children around the world in need of sponsorship. Any individual, family, church, or organization can be a part of this growing movement.

The Orphan Care Committee at First Baptist Church would like to invite you to participate in the 1 THING event being held on Saturday, November 2. We want to help you determine what 1 THING God would have you do to change the world!

The day will begin with a Fun Run/Walk at the Cambridge Isanti High School outdoor track. Registration will begin at 7:30 a.m.; the run starts at 8:00 a.m. sharp. The registration fee is $10 per person, or $25 per family. The entire fee will be used to purchase water filters for Robin’s Nest Children’s Home in Montego Bay, Jamaica. Snacks and water will be provided for all participants and prizes will be awarded at the conclusion.

Following the Fun Run/Walk, everyone is invited to First Baptist Church for workshops on adoption, foster care, and child sponsorships. We will also get updates from members of our community who have recently travelled to Rwanda, the Philippines, and Jamaica.

There is something you can do to share God’s love with the world! You can pray, you can speak up, you can provide for needs, you can support those who have adopted or who have foster children in their homes, you can visit an orphanage, you can give, you can encourage, you can adopt, you can sponsor and there is so much more. What 1 THING will you do?

You may pre-register for this event by calling the First Baptist Church office at 763-689-1173.




A Holocaust Memoir

October 15, 2013 | Janie

Left to Tell

Before our team left for Kivuruga in 2011, we were encouraged to learn more about Rwanda and its history, including the incredibly sad story of the 1994 genocide. One book in particular fleshed out the horror of Rwanda’s civil war by detailing its impact on an individual life and the fate of her family.

Left to Tell: Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust is the story of Immaculée Ilibagiza. How this young woman survived the violence that swept her country and destroyed most of her family is riveting in and of itself. Equally remarkable, though, is the way in which Immaculée’s relationship with God was deepened. Find out what sustained Immaculée as she and seven other women hid for three months in a tiny, cramped bathroom, hoping to save themselves from certain destruction.

Immaculée’s story will also help you to understand how post-civil war Rwanda has managed to find an astonishing path towards peace and reconciliation. You can listen to Immaculée herself on this clip from youtube. Warning: this video is inspiring, but it is not for the faint of heart.