By Amanda Johnson
On Thursday Nicole and I received a phone call that our drivers had arrived to our guest house to pick us up ten minutes early and they were waiting for us outside. What?! I didn’t know that drivers ever came early in Rwanda (considering that has never been my experience before). It was 7:50 A.M. and Nicole and I were on our way with two Compassion International workers to visit my sponsor child, Resituda in Southwest Rwanda. I was nervous and excited as I prayed that the Holy Spirit would richly bless my time with Resituda. We drove an hour on a paved road up and through the beautiful hills of Rwanda and then nearly two hours on rough, dirt roads with potholes everywhere. After seeing dozens of children along the road point and with excitement and say “Muzungu” (which means white person), we finally arrived to the Compassion Project Center. My heart was beating quickly with the anticipation of meeting Resituda for the second time. Three years ago I met her when I was in Rwanda with Karen and a team from Gustavus Adolphus College and a City Hill team. The first thing I could say when I saw her was “She’s so beautiful!” She quickly ran up to me with a beautiful, bright smile and we embraced each other for a while. What a privilege and blessing to actually be with her in person again!
After Resituda and I greeted each other warmly, Nicole (my friend and photographer for the day) and I were introduced to three more Compassion workers and they brought us into their office to share about their mission. It was incredible to hear how well they take care of the 200 plus sponsor children in the community. They make sure they are healthy physically and spiritually and doing well in school. It was such an encouragement to hear my prayers for her health, school progress, and relationship with Jesus have been getting answered! Praise God!
Then we left for Resituda’s house, which was about an 8 minute drive up hill. When we arrived to her home the whole neighborhood of kids soon came over out of curiosity of the two white visitors. Over a period of about 30 minutes we met all of the family members, which consists of her mother, father, two brothers, and two sisters. When all of the family members arrived in the room the father and mother shared for quite a while about the impact that my support has had on Resituda. How powerful! For example, Adam (my husband) and I gave her an extra Christmas gift that was used for her baptism and the celebration after. Then they shared with me how our support has impacted their whole family. The father shared how they had no money and were very poor and life was extremely difficult. At the same time that my support started coming in God began to bring new life and joy to not just Resituda but to her whole family. Thank the Lord!
Finally we finished our visit by praying for each other. The father prayed for me and I was blessed by the opportunity to pray for them in person. The whole experience was so heart moving to me that when I started praying it was hard for me to even get the words out. Soon after our prayers were finished it was time to head out. We hugged and said our goodbyes, knowing in my heart that I will be back again. They told me to come back and to bring my husband and our babies next time, even though we don’t have children yet.
On the way back to the guest house that we are staying at, I felt so overwhelmed by God’s heart for Resituda and her whole family. They are such a precious and God fearing family! I wish I could better articulate my feelings and what God was doing in me during this whole visit and is still doing 3 days later. I need more time to pray and process. One thing I do is that God is faithful and loves this family so much! I feel like I got a taste of what it will be like in heaven when we see the impact that we have had on the lives of others. I can easily say that this is one of the most impactful moments of my life. To God be the glory!