Well, the day is finally here. After delaying since February due to Ebola concerns, we finally leave to reconnect with friends and experience the beauty, hardship, and hope of Kivuruga, Rwanda. Our days will be filled with great experiences ranging from an understanding of the national vision for Rwanda, to the historical impact of the genocide, through active projects happening in Kivuruga. The 2015 trip team is made up of the following members:
- Steve Fredlund (Director of Our Response; trip team 2009, 2011, 2013)
- Shannon Lynch (participant on 2011 trip team)
- Shane Buff
- Tracy Vaselaar
- Terri Bouley
Here are a few thoughts from team members as we prepare to begin this journey:
Steve Fredlund: On this trip we will encounter wonderful people, see the impact made by East Central Minnesota, and struggle with how can we possibly help even more,all the while wrestling with what it means to be human, or at least American. How will we reconcile the wealth of our home country with the poverty of these people? What is our response? How will this affect us? Will we turn a blind eye? Will we become bitter? Can we go on as if we hadn’t seen anything? Will we become more grateful? Where is God in the midst of the Rwandan poverty, American affluence, and our wrestling? All these questions and more await our team.
Please keep us in your thoughts & prayers for safety, reduced anxiety for our family and friends, opportunities to encourage those in Kivuruga, understanding of the impact we are having, and personal transformation. Thank you to everyone who donated rain boots and soccer balls, sewed dresses, provided financial support, helped with logistics, participated or volunteered at events, sponsored children, or in any other way has helped impact Kivuruga and make this trip happen.
Tracy Vaselaar: I am looking forward to meeting my sponsored children and their families, and see glimpses of God’s love in the lives of the people in Kivuruga and throughout our travels. I pray that the hope and joy of the community that I’ve heard about from other trip team members reaches a place in my heart that changes me forever. I’ve been looking forward to this day since January 2011, after hearing Sara Groves talk about her stories of meeting her sponsored child. I am SO excited, and can’t believe the day is finally here!
Shannon Lynch: Having been a part of the 2011 trip team, for me the excitement lies in seeing the improvements/changes that have taken place over the last four years. Also SUPER excited to visit and learn about the Orphan and Vulnerable Children Tailoring Cooperative, and the Corn Farmers Cooperative. And seeing my sponsored child Sifa again , of course!!
Terri Bouley: I am hoping that God will open my heart, my eyes and my ears to all the wonders of his beautiful creation of the country and the people of Rwanda. I hope that He will bless me with the ability to shine his light though me and give me the words to express my emotions so that I am forever changed.
Shane Buff: Expecting to see what breaks God’s heart. To have my eyes open to something that will impact my life going forward. To hear whatever it is He has been wanting to tell me when I get there.