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Rwanda: fresh hope for families in need. And your church can help

Vulnerable families are getting a fresh lease of life thanks to a new church-based initiative from Samaritan’s Purse. And you can help …

Vulnerable families are getting a fresh lease of life thanks to a new church-based initiative from Samaritan’s Purse. And you can help …

“We're going back to the church in the book of Acts by bringing all our resources together, even though we have very little, and we’re sharing it,” explains Pastor Celestine in the Rwandan Parish of Kamweru.

“In the past most families in our village could only afford one meal a day. But today people who once felt doomed to a life of poverty are working in groups – planting and growing crops, raising livestock and joining savings groups.

“Those who once had nothing are now making a living and helping out their needy neighbours too. Because of this generosity countless lives have been turned around and many people have regained their faith in God.”

A wonderful example of this happening is the story of grandmother Cecile from Rwanda.

At a time in her life when she should have been able to count on being looked after by her children, Cecile had to take on the responsibility of raising five orphaned grandchildren, the youngest of whom was just four years old. Understandably, Cecile felt incapable of bringing up her grandchildren on her own.

However, the local church in Ruhanga, Rwanda, trained by Samaritan’s Purse, introduced Cecile to other vulnerable families in her community. They prayed together, encouraged each other, shared their knowledge and pooled their money and other resources.

Cecile said: “When I look back and see all that I have been able to do, it’s all due to the encouragement I received from the group at church … the group also helped me in cultivating crops which helped me earn money in the harvest to pay for school fees and healthcare.

“I want my grandchildren to know God, to pray to Him and to understand that He is able to meet all their needs.”

Another lady, Imakurata, was widowed in 2002, when she was five months pregnant with her youngest child. She was forced to demean herself in order to find the money to provide for her children.

But that all changed when volunteers from her local church, trained by Samaritan’s Purse through Raising Families, reached out to her. Imakurata was invited to join the church, to experience God’s love through prayer, Bible study and fellowship. They also offered her a loan, with no strings attached, through the church’s savings group.

Now Imakurata is a different woman – she has a smile on her face and a sparkle in her eyes.
With the money she received from the loan she invested in chickens, and through selling the eggs she has paid back the loan to the savings group.

Samaritan’s Purse is calling on UK churches at Harvest to join this quiet revolution of churches like those in Rwanda, sharing what they have to help many more vulnerable families like Cecile’s and Imakurata’s.

Just as the first century Church ensured there wasn’t a needy person among them by sharing all that they had, Samaritan’s Purse is not only challenging UK churches to get involved this Harvest but also providing the means to do so – the Raising Families Harvest Resource Pack.

Each pack is free and contains a variety of resources for churches and their communities to bring hope to needy families in Sub-Saharan Africa and Central Asia. These include ideas for your Harvest Sunday service and how to run a My Promise event where practical tasks are put up for auction.

An inspiring DVD, featuring Cecile and Imakurata, shows the impact Raising Families has made in their lives, and the transformation made possible in their broader communities through the local church.

• For more information on Raising Families, to view the DVD (also on YouTube) and to order your Harvest Resource Pack, please visit www.samaritans-purse.org.uk/raising-families-harvest

• Facebook: www.facebook.com/SamaritansPurseUK

• Twitter: @samspurseuk

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To find back issues of the INSPIRE mini-mag - seasonal and themed issues - go to https://www.cpo.org.uk/search.aspx?q=Inspire

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