Friday, May 27, 2005

Claudine and bedtime prayers

Claudine is a sick child but she is a blessed child. Claudine is a 12 year old orphan at the Imbabazi Orphanage in Gisenyi, Rwanda.

When I visited the orphanage in March, Claudine was in a hospital across the border in Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo. Previously she had developed a tumor on her knee. It was removed and tested benign at a lab in Rwanda. Just before I was there the tumor redeveloped and she was put in the Goma hospital. Subsequent to my trip they had to amputate most of her leg as it was learned that she actually did have cancer. Claudine has a disease attacking her body that was unfortunately misdiagnosed and she is now behind in the game of fighting this cancer.

The good news..... Partners in Health, The Clinton Foundation, and Massachussets General Hospital have learned of Claudine's plight and those three working with the Imbabazi Foundation have made a way for Claudine to receive free chemo treatment in Boston. She has just received a 10 year visa and should be making the flight over within a week or two. She is going from one of the worst medical care locations in the world to one of the best.

Claudine has already lived a terrible life. She was just an infant when nearly a million people were murdered all around her. Somehow she survived but her parents did not. I wish I knew her whole story but Claudine probably doesn't even know her whole story. What I know, Claudine's life has just been given a new and bright outlook.

I was thinking about Claudine when my two little boys and I were saying our bedtime prayers earlier this week. As usual they thanked God for their family, their friends, and their many toys. I decided to make a habit to also be thankful for things that so many African children don't have. We now thank God every night for clean water to drink, many sets of clothes, free school, the police who protect us, a doctor to visit when we get all of our ear infections, and medicine when we're sick.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Manry Family

Speaking of proximity and going to a land full of poverty....... Mark and Lori Manry, along with their three small children, traveled to Jinja, Uganda last week to view the town and meet the people they plan to share their lives with over the next several years. They will be there for one month and then plan to return in October. Mark has some great ideas on wholistic development.

They have a great family website where you can read and keep up with their experiences. They speak of sharing God's love in a land full of poverty and the impact of experiencing a drastically different economy. They are experiencing a comfort-shocking, faith-expanding experience at this very moment.

Be a fly on the wall of their lives and read of their experiences first hand at

Friday, May 13, 2005

The Power of Proximity

People who have witnessed African poverty firsthand often have an overwhelming desire to do something about it. It's impacting to meet people just like yourself who don't have a good chance to survive long in life simply because of where they were born. I'm thankful that a few influential people have seen the horrors of African poverty firsthand and have made it their mission to make a difference. Oklahoma Senator Jim Inhofe is one of several I'm thankful for.

I recently heard Senator Inhofe speak to an Oklahoma Christian University group interested in going as missionaries to Rwanda. He spoke first of his unwillingness to go to Africa despite his friend's repeated requests. He finally made that trip and he was forever affected by it.

I loved the advice he gave (coming from his Baptist background of which there are many different Baptist groups working in Africa). Paraphrasing, he said, "Don't go as just another church organization. Don't make it your mission to start the churches of Christ in Rwanda. Go and simply share Jesus. They don't need another church organization. They need Jesus." He went on to tell powerful stories of how African leaders became close to Jesus and how that positively affected peace initiatives, poverty alleviation, etc.

And I was reminded.... Proximity to God first and then proximity to His people in need, which is another way of describing Jesus. We should do more of it ourselves.

If you ever get a chance, visit a third world country. It will change your life.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Roz on NPR

Click on the title for a link to a great NPR interview with Roz Carr on her life in Rwanda and starting up the Imbabazi Orphanage. She lives a fascinating and inspiring life of service.

And help is on the way......

In about six weeks my friends Rebecca, Cari and Heath will arrive at the Imbabazi Orphanage to begin a six week stint of working at the orphanage so that Roz, at nearly 93, can relax just a little. (Our goal is for Roz to be able to sleep in for at least one day, her request when I last saw her.) These three and others are going this summer with hearts wide open to possibly live there someday on a longer term basis. Please pray for God to work His will in their lives.

If you would like to donate to help these three this summer my new non-profit, The Kibo Group, that is focused on African development projects, has set a goal to raise $2,000 to help with their living expenses while there. Donations are tax deductible. Checks can be made out to The Kibo Group and mailed to 604 S Redwood Ave, Broken Arrow, OK 74012.