I am so sorry I will not be able to see all of you today (for me today anyway). I do however want to give ya'll a little insight to the mission work happening. I think it might just make you smile.
I had mentioned before I left on this trip that I was not really sure what was going to happen on this trip. I thought I may be observing more than anything,but just maybe there would be an opportunity to come up with some economic solutions for those graduating the school program here... well man has God been present. Yesterday I had the amazing, energizing opportunity to be a part of Gods work. He truly just poured out his blessing like a waterfall all over my soul. The crazy thing is ... I was in meetings all day long... it was perfect!
The day started with an orientation of the Campus in Kigali. Africa New Life has three schools that belong to them. They teach english using the bible stories as the text book. The schools run Pre-K through 12. They are taught a full education with a Biblical world view. There are 7000 students throughout Rwanda that are currently in the program. These schools are performing well and the department of education has taken notice. A few years ago UNICEF came in and built a brand new school in Kayonza, about 3 hours from Kigali. Within 6 months the school had failed. The Department of ed called ANL and asked them if they wanted to take it over.... no joke. God provided a BRAND SPANKING NEW SCHOOL... FREE. Within 30 days Africa New Life had the ribbon cutting and present were 500 kids all with sponsorships for education... in uniforms ready to attend. The Africa new life schools are required to participate in the same national standardized testing as all the other schools in Rwanda. Consistently the ANL students score the highest in the country and this new school was no exception. For a kid to qualify for the program they have some minimum requirements. One of which is The family has to be employed in some fashion or looking for employment. You can not just let the system take care of your responsibilities. Some kids are not ready for the program. They are called dream kids. These kids can get sponsorship for one year while they are prepared to enter the education program. This might mean getting them healthy, teaching personal hygiene, or creating a stable family environment where a relationship with the family is build and everyone learns to take part in this family member's opportunity for success. Children's education is sponsored by someone in the US... this is the only part of this program that has no intention of becoming independently self sustaining. Sponsoring a child's education is $39.00 per month. For that they get one new uniform, books, and a meal everyday of school. You have the opportunity to walk with your child on the journey of their education and of course the freedom and encouragement to attend graduation.
There is SO much opportunity here I could not possible encapsulate all of it in an email so I am going to hit the highlights. ...
Africa New Life's Kigali campus has:
A bible college:
A Sewing Center:
It was determined at this meeting that while our women are quite capable of sewing uniforms, some of the ladies are ready to go to the next level. This department will need to buy a few newer higher grade sewing machines in order to match the quality that is competing at that level. Leisha is her name and her and another lady came up with at least 3 product that look super fashionable and are going to be tested in the market for viability. In addition it was determined that the lighting conditions and work environment need some improvement. Lastly... because of the reputation of ANL in the Kigali area... and the countries heartbeat for rebuilding the country... we have identified 50 schools in close proximity to Kigali that all wear uniforms to school. Instead of the schools purchasing their uniforms from China we need to secure those contracts and build the country from within.
Thus crating jobs and more money into the local economy that can additionally fund and support further education. This appears to be low hanging fruit in this culture. There is a new lady that has been in this department for a week who has been brought in to over see business development of this ministry department. She was very excited to hear all the ideas at the table and will have a business plan submitted for review for implementation at the commencement of 2016.
The department is in the red over 9,000. this year alone. (Remember a year tuition is only 3K to put this number in perspective) We have come up with a preliminary sketch of how to restructure this in moving forward. For starters we will have an opportunity for people to support a prostitute. The monthly expense for education is about $200. This is currently a one year program. So, for a measly $200 per month someone can personally help a person... with a name... and a soul... out of the sex trade and literally help change someones life. Now I am proposing we change this into a two year program... In the first year they receive trade training and discipleship much like they get now.
Lastly, we would love to find a corporate sponsor (perhaps a hair product company like Revlon) that will do a saving matching at the completion of the 2 year program. So if a woman has saved $800 over her year with training and use of her savings ledger... she will be awarded a bonus of $800 at graduation toward something of equitable gain...She then has $1600 toward a home, car, or location to open her own shop etc. We know that there are a couple of defects o iron out with the new plan and we are working on some of those numbers... such as... what about the 30% that wash out? Then 30% of the new students would not have a sponsor... With a two year program, even though the second year earns an income, with there be an increased wash out rate? Etc... many of these will be ironed out as this new plan out line gets written into a more comprehensive business plan.
A medical clinic under construction: The medical building is under construction. This will be a specialized clinic including operating rooms, clinic rooms, and delivery rooms. They will be able to house medical missionaries and give basic care to the members of the community. This will of course be used as an outreach center to introduce people to the Great Physician. While it may appear premature at this point, it may be a good time for others like Barney to get involved with what is happening with the numbers of this clinic.
Specifically I can tell you that this project is being led by a small group of 5 physicians ( I am sure there is more to the story) and a small concern is that notoriously physicians are not typically the best business men. These comments were made and I am just regurgitating. I too am out classed in respect to the economics of health care so it might just need a special person who happened to be interested in coming along side. *Hint, wink, smile* The building is a 3 story building under construction on the same campus in Kigali. Many people are very excited about this.
A guest house:
A THRIVING church: The church at Africa New Life has approximately 1000 in regular attendance. The church is self sustaining off of member giving. It is in the black and the congregation is in strong support and devotion to their pastoral leadership. It is a beautiful thing.
Today we are going to the Congo boarder to purchase a 3 acer parcel of land for a new school. You read that right... we have the funds, the land was selected and negotiations have been happening with the seller and the board. Last night the seller finally agreed to the price and the board gave advance unanimous approval if terms could be met... so today we are headed into the most dangerous area of Rwanda to carry the light of Christ into an otherwise dark and war ridden area. This is the area where the fighters from the Hutu tribe from the genocide fled 20 years ago and as I understand it the culture of violence has been hard grained into the people. I honestly have no more expectations for today other than a long car ride in the to the mountainous rainforest... but hey yesterday was all meetings and it was glorious!
On Wednesday we will have our second day of meeting with coffee plantations looking at additional employment opportunities for graduates... Also on table for discussions have been adding trade centers for welding, bicycle repair shop. These are ideas sustainable economic business ministries that teach a trade, create employment, and spread the gospel.
Broker / Owner