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Rwanda: One Brother

It's been nearly six years since we started sponsoring our first child through Compassion International. We chose the youngest child in Rwanda, because we wanted to walk the entire length of the journey with our first kiddo. A couple of years later, I learned that older males are typically the last-chosen sponsored children. We wanted to help change that reality for at least one young man, and we added Rabuma to our family. We wanted to make sure that he didn't walk the last few years of his journey with Compassion alone.

Last year, when a letter arrived alerting me to the fact that Rabuma would be graduating soon, tears sprang into my eyes. I had honestly not considered the fact that, at some point, his Compassion sponsorship would end. I mean, if I had been thinking through the process logically, then of course I would have realized that fact. However, I had been moving through the process with my heart...and the thought of losing contact with him, suddenly being disconnected from regular updates about his life, shook me. How would I be sure that he was okay? How would I know if he had what he needed? How would I be able to support him? What was life like...after Compassion?

I sent him our final letter, told him how incredibly proud we were and how thankful we were to have been able to get to know him and support him. I included a graduation gift, and I surrendered his future to God. Since then, we have prayed for him daily. The kids ask about him on a regular basis, and I have truly begged God on Rabuma's behalf.

When I flew to Rwanda in September, God gave me an incredible gift.

His name is Abrahamu.

For more than 12 years, Abrahamu was sponsored by our trip leader, Greg, and his family. Abrahamu and Greg had met before on a previous sponsor tour that Greg had led, and it was really, really incredible to see their it had grown, how it stood the test of time:

Abrahamu has graduated from Secondary School and, therefore, graduated from the Compassion Program. He and Greg had arranged, on their own, to meet up while Greg was in Rwanda.

I did not even know that was possible.

My entire time with Compassion, I have been told, repeatedly, not to divulge any personal information to my children. I have been instructed, repeatedly, to contact my kiddos *only* through Compassion. So I asked Greg, was continued contact with a graduated sponsored child a special perk for Compassion employees?

No. Anyone can have continued contact with their children after they graduate from Compassion!

There are risks. And there are rules to mitigate those risks. But. it. is. possible. That was incredible, encouraging information to gain.

But the best part of meeting Abrahamu was seeing honest-to-goodness living proof of what life is like after Compassion.

Abrahamu is happy and healthy. He is kind and gentle. He is intelligent and eager to learn. He loves his family and beams with pride when he speaks of them. And he seeks God with his whole heart.

Every single moment I spent with Abrahamu was a joy. :) I loved learning more about his family and his dreams. He wants to go to University and study Computer Science and Website Development. Right now, he's working as a sound engineer and DJ in order to save the money he'll need to reach that goal. I am so proud of him, and I want, more than anything, to see him get the opportunity to reach his goals.

Right now, the only thing I can do is pray for him. However, God has planted a dream in my heart, and I'm hopeful that, one day, I will be able to play a part in providing opportunities for Abrahamu and Dariah. I love them, and I hope that God will give me the chance to continue to be in their lives. I pray that, one day, I'll be flying over to Rwanda to attend their college graduations, to be at their weddings, to meet their children. They are amazing, and I am so, so, so glad I got to meet them.

And they are not alone. There are approximately 6,000 Compassion Kids in Rwanda who will graduate from their Child Development Programs this year. Some of them (<10%) will be accepted into Compassion's Leadership Development Program in Rwanda. The other 90% will go on to pursue their dreams with the support of their family and their local church. Wouldn't it be great if we could increase the percentage of kids who go on to University *with* the support of Compassion? 

We can! By making a one-time donation to the LDP or by committing to sponsor a University student through the completion of their degree, we can come alongside Compassion and provide opportunities for those who need them the most. Want to learn more? You can start here

And keep coming back to visit me here on the blog. I've still got *tons* more friends to introduce. The people of Rwanda are incredible, and I'm so thankful I had the chance to become friends with so many of them.

Thank you, God. Thank you.