September 27th will go down as a memorable date in the short history of Our Response, which is saying quite a lot. After months of planning and effort, the day for the Caregivers Kit Build and Sara Groves concert finally arrived. Things got started early Saturday morning with the arrival of the set-up volunteers; it was their job to unpack the medical supplies purchased from World Vision and get them arranged on tables.
Washcloths, soap, surgical gloves…
As you can imagine, there were a lot of empty boxes.
Which meant that there was also a whole lot of box cutting going on.
Thank you to all the set-up volunteers who showed up and faithfully got things ready for the the kit build that would take place a few hours later.
At 3:00, our 100 volunteer kit builders began arriving.
They gathered together for a brief orientation from Steve Fredlund and Barb Holmberg.
Steve never fails to inspire with his passion for the people of Rwanda.
Barb served as an outstanding leader of the Kit Build Committee. Those who know Barb do not find this in the least bit surprising!
We can’t thank Barb and her committee enough for their work in organizing the build!
Time for the assembly to begin!
Folks of all ages joined together to bring encouragement to Kivurugans suffering from HIV/AIDS. The caregivers who provide for these patients will also find it tremendously helpful to have these supplies for their patients.
These two won the “cute” award!
Everyone who put together bags wrote personal notes to the Rwandan caregivers who will make use of these medical kits for their patients. These notes were lovingly tucked inside each kit and were an important part of the experience.
Sara Groves and her children participated in both the build and the note writing.
The bags—all 824 of them, were packed into boxes.
And then the boxes were wound with shrink wrap, ready for shipment to Rwanda. Good work, Jennifer!
There was time for everyone to head out for dinner before the concert. Thank you, Susan Morris, for catering—free of charge—a meal for Sara, her family, and a few others. Dee-licious!
7 pm came quickly. Janelle Guitelli and her worship team got the evening off to a great start, which included the sharing of Janelle’s personal faith adventures in Africa.
Then it was time for the ever amazing Sara Groves.
Sara’s son, Kirby, joined her for a few numbers.
Songs and stories reflecting Sara’s own transformative experiences in Rwanda were as moving as ever. Was it my imagination, or did this concert have something exceptional about it?
Thank you, Sara. Your heart for God and for the people of Rwanda shines through your music. Thanks for uniting with Our Response and the East Central community for the sake of Kivuruga and a better quality of life for all who live there. You are gracious in every way.
Time to close with a few words from Steve:
Thank you Janelle Guitelli, Sara Groves, the 100 volunteers who packed caregiver kits, and the 300-plus who came to the benefit concert. What an amazing day of making a real impact for the people of Rwanda, sharing about Our Response, being surrounded by people of compassion, and engaging in the music of Janelle and Sara. From 10 am to 11 pm, the day was saturated by the positivity of those who live lives of radical generosity. Truly inspiring. Thank you to everyone involved. I am overwhelmed. I just met with the team going to Rwanda in February, where we will experience gratitude from the people of Rwanda for the work we did yesterday. What a weekend!