Grant gave a short message that was translated by our interpreter Sharon. After his message, Jonathan shared his testimony with the group. Some of our team knew it already, some of us only knew a part of it; all-in-all it was an incredible story showing how quickly our lives can change and no matter how many obstacles we face, no matter how many times we turn our back on God we can always return to him. And having good Christian friends that you can open yourself up to can and will make all the difference.
Two students from the Catch-Up school came forward to share their testimonies, first Jean- Claude spoke of being rejected by his father after a disease was discovered in his family, his father left which led his mother to take her own life. The only family that he had was his grandma, who he stayed with until his was 5-years old. At that time, he was rejected again by his father. He said he had never felt happiness during his childhood. He has no happy memories; just rejection. After being rejected by his father the second time, his grandma abandoned him and left him to fend for himself by living off the street. Offering to help people for food or money and/or stealing food to survive. He had no access to shelter, food or clean water. His malnutrition shows on his short stature and small frame. He lived this way for 5-years until he came to the Catch-Up school. It was there he was saved. He hasn’t stolen anything since then. The Catch-Up school is his home.
The second testimony was from a girl that was abandoned by her father twice, once while she was in the womb and he didn’t return for a year and a half. The second time was when her mom was pregnant with her sister. She stayed with her mom and helped take care of her sister. They moved in with an old woman in another city and this woman encouraged her to go to the Catch-Up school. She went and felt out of place, she felt so far behind that she didn’t deserve to learn. She return to helping at home and not going to school. It was not until 3-years later when her mom encouraged her to return to school that she did. She started in Level 1 (P. 1), learning her numbers and alphabet at the the age of 13 years old. She retreated this class twice and has been promoted each year since. She is afraid to fail, she has been supported by her mom and the old woman, who buys her books. Her story was so moving and an incredible story on how Satan can take a foothold and cause us to doubt ourselves. No matter hold strong of a hold he may have on us, God perseveres. God loves us through our darkest and is always with us.
When we returned, to the school after lunch we knew and tried to prepare ourselves to say goodbye to these amazing kids. No matter how much we tried saying goodbye is so hard. In a few short days we have grown attached to these kids who believe themselves unloveable and unwanted. Through hugs and tears we drove away, saying one last goodbye from the bus windows and looking back down the road as they followed and chased the bus.
God had so much to teach each of us, through the time, the tears and the laughter with the amazing and loveable kids. We pray that He will continue to work through the teachers and staff at the school and that the students and our team will keep them in our hearts forever!
Much love from Rwanda!