....to family, friends, colleagues, and a few complete strangers who donated over $87,000 (new updated total!!) for my 40th birthday??? Honestly, I have struggled to find the words that appropriately convey how truly amazed, humbled, and grateful I truly am. A thank you blog and posts on social media simply don't seem sufficient and if I could, I would give all of you a HUGE hug. But since hugging 150 different people who donated is not possible, I will do my best on this blog post to share how much this means to His Chase and the students in Rwanda who we are blessed to love and support.
When the big reveal of over $80,000 happened:
...I thought of Theogene, who was in the original group of 56 high school students that His Chase was able to enroll in school in 2012. His grades steadily went from middle of the pack, to top third, to eventually scoring in the highest quartile on the national exam earlier this year! Even after limited educational opportunity in his life at Noel Orphanage, Theogene worked HARD to catch up and rise above. Because of that hard work and dedication to studying, he is headed to Mbale, Uganda next week as a freshman attending Livingstone University, where he will work to earn a degree in Business...from an American accredited, Christian institution! .
... I thought of Diane, Amelie, and Pascasie, our first His Chase college graduates, who complete their degrees from Akilah Women's Institute this week! And, Claver is even able to attend their graduation and celebrate with them!!
...I thought of Claver, when in December 2012, His Chase was asked to enroll the remaining 200 children at Noel that were at least 10 years old.....We had only a handful of financial sponsors at the time and he said: "I think this could be very difficult. Maybe you should enroll only 15 students!!" I wish you all could have experienced Claver and his ELATED responses each time the needs for funding all 240 students have been met over the past 3 years. He loves each and every one of the His Chase students with all of his HUGE heart and is truly the BIG BROTHER to them all. His faith and belief in God's goodness has increased with each and every GENEROUS donation you have given, to keep his friends in school.
All of you make it possible for us to continue to say YES to these students in Rwanda because you said YES to giving generously. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for making my 40th birthday the best one yet!! And when I see you, don't be alarmed if I still give you a big hug!!
I love you all so much - Mark