Friday, January 4, 2013

This Makes it Real

Ahhh!  These smiles.

They make this whole thing become real.  Thank you TINA for all the photos of this day of adventure!
Yesterday was a big day!  We got updates every few minutes as the kids traveled to school for the first time yesterday.  Of course, this was in the middle of the night Texas time.  So, as Claver would get off the phone with the group, he would text us from his room to let us know how things were going.

One of my favorite texts said "The children are so loud, that I cannot hear Christine.  She will call again later."  He told us they were loud because many had NEVER ridden in a car or bus to go anywhere!  So, the movement was making them so excited!  And they were yelling "The mountains are moving!  The mountains are moving!"
Y'all.  Seriously.  These kids had never ever ridden anywhere.  Let that sink in a minute.  It keeps hitting me again and again.

After a great bus experience {with no kids throwing up!  Yay!}, they arrived at Sonrise and got a Fanta treat to start the day.  Let's stop again on this little detail.  These kids get Fanta only once a year on Christmas or maybe Easter.  The kids got TWO yesterday.  :)
I've never been happier to see kids holding sugary drinks in my life.
Don't you just want to slurp them up with that straw?  They are too cute!!
They received a welcome and introduction talk from the Headmaster and the Pastor who works with the school.
Then, they were arranged by grade levels and ages for testing.
This is why we are thankful for the various schools we work with.  They have a passion for these kids that goes beyond academics.  And, thank the LORD for that.  Because they need people who believe they are capable of much more than a test shows.

We are truly praising God for this today.  Because many of the children tested rather low, as we expected.  But, instead of that causing any of the Sonrise staff to waver, they were immediately working on placing each student in a grade level where they will thrive.  This means that many of our students will begin a grade or two behind where they had been previously, and work their way back up.  This will actually be very, very good for their spirits and their stress levels.  And, we are very, very thankful for the opportunity they are giving these kids to be SUCCESSFUL.
Then, there were a few who surprised us all and tested VERY well!  In fact, we're already claiming that a student from Noel will be the top of each class at Sonrise in the next year!  We believe they have been given amazing gifts and these will be shown clearly as they are given the chance to succeed!
After testing, the children got comfy and waited for the bus.
Which was supposed to be there at 3:00.

It didn't happen exactly that way.  It was more like, oh, you know, 8:00 at night!!! And, let's just say that our house was going a little crazy all the way from Texas as we talked with the group as they continued to wait...and wait...and wait.  There is nothing more frustrating.

It was after dark, the kids had not eaten, and they were tired and cold.  And, we were waiting on buses that we had no control over.

However, the most amazing leaders are a part of this crew and stepped right up.  Claver, who helped us arrange for food delivery, and talked with Madam Director to make sure she knew we were all trying to get the kids home to her!  Christine, our dear friend from Noel, who escorted the kids, kept working with the bus company, and walked to get cases of Fanta for the kids.  Tina, oh my dear Tina, who also traveled with the kids, ended up being our momma bear who did the necessary part of yelling {after hours of patience} at the bus company when she discovered an EMPTY bus ready to take kids home sitting at the bus terminal.  Needless to say, the buses were there within MINUTES of her taking things in her own hands.  THANK YOU, Tina.
And, our dear Jane, who traveled to Ruhengeri to help the kids, after just having led a Visiting Orphans trip, and worked tirelessly all day to sort out these details.  And, then went straight to the head of the entire bus company when she returned to Kigali to let them know this will not happen again.  :)

So, this is how I like to see this whole bus-not-coming-and-stranding-our-kids situation.

The stress at the close of the day could be seen as things going wrong.  But, a few things happened that make me smile.

First, many people began praying for their safety, their comfort, and for every detail to line up to get them HOME.  So, they were brought before the Father again and again yesterday.

Second, those kids now have an adventure to share with others.  A memory of their first day.  And, isn't that what kids love?  A good story to share?! :)

And, third, they watched those who were with them as leaders that day provide for them, fight for them, and not stop working until they were safely delivered home.  Every single message they received the entire day was that they were VERY important people and they would be taken care of, no matter what it took.  There were smiles all the way home.
And, that makes it a really good day.
We pray it's the first day of many good days for these precious ones!

***If you are still deciding if you want to join in this fun by being a prayer warrior or sponsor, please do.  You don't know what you're missing.  We have 100 more kids who need sponsors---they could be needing you!!***