Year-End Update from Steve

December 8, 2015 | Steve Fredlund


On Saturday, December 5th, we were honored to play host for the only Minnesota performance of the nationwide, “Jason Gray Christmas Stories Tour,” featuring Jason Gray, Carrollton, and Jonny Diaz. What a wonderful “welcome home” to our team just back from Rwanda—and what a great way to prepare our community for Christmas. The concert served to bring continued awareness and support for Our Response and World Vision’s efforts in Kivuruga, Rwanda.

An estimated 400 people participated in an evening filled with music, stories, and laughter. In addition to providing great entertainment and a sense of community, 24 more children were sponsored in Kivuruga, Rwanda. The number of Kivurugan kids sponsored via World Vision by people connected to Our Response now totals 725! These sponsorships alone account for over $300,000 every year being directed to an area where most people live on less than $1 per day. Thank you to everyone involved in this unified effort; I have never been more proud of my hometown community.

After an incredibly busy fall with a major event every month, it’s time to enjoy the Christmas season and finalize plans for 2016. To recap: In September, we hosted the “World Vision Experience,” where hundreds gained a deeper understanding of global poverty, and about 40 people either sponsored children or became partners to help Syrian refugees. In October, OR hosted Tonic Sol-Fa in concert, and another eight children were sponsored either at the event or later. In November, five of us spent 11 days travelling and visiting the people of Kivuruga, Rwanda, in an unforgettable several days (check out the blogs for those days). Then, finally, in December, we hosted the Christmas Stories Tour, which included a 16.5 hour day of set-up, discussions, prep, decisions, concert, and ultimately tear-down—finally sending the crew on their way to Waukesha for their next stop.

There have been many people who have put in a ton of hours the past few months, increasing the impact we are seeing in Kivuruga. To all of you, thank you so much for your diligence and commitment to what we are doing. For those of you sponsoring children, whether recently or from the very beginning, thank you for both the emotional impact you are having on these families, as well as for the financial impact being made not only on the families themselves, but on their entire communities.

For those of you who have made up the four teams that have travelled to Rwanda with me, “Murakoze cyane.”

For all of you, may you feel incredible peace, joy and contentment over this Christmas season and carrying forward into 2016.