The July 2007 Newsletter

Newsletter #3 Volume #3 June/July 2007

It is unbelievable but true! The number of children in our homes has grown to twenty-eight. We now have fifteen girls and thirteen boys. We have room for two more girls and three more boys. Those places will be filled as soon as God sends children our way. This brings our total, counting the staff and myself, to forty. We make quite a picture walking to church on Sunday morning.

The need to care of one’s own soul became my deep need as this population explosion took place. Living with forty people on a 24/7 basis can be wearing. II realized that I needed more solitude in order to remain healthy and to do the job God means for me to do.

As always God presented me with the perfect solution. A house opposite the girls home became available. When the owner approached me to rent it I was shocked. This small house would give me a quiet space to rest and still allow me to remain close to the children.

I now live in the house. The little ones love it because they can come and have time alone with me. The house has a three-room attached apartment. One room is now a classroom, and the other two rooms house a medical clinic and our staff nurse.

This has been a month with many changes for me and for the Urukundo Foundation. We celebrated National Children's Day in Rwanda. Urukundo was issued a special invitation by the mayor to bring five boys and five girls to the District Office. It was a delightful celebration for John Kevin, Juilette, myself, and Hope who accompanied the children. It was awesome to see hundreds of children dressed out in their school uniforms.

Kevin is now in United States. This is the sad song my children sing. They are happy for him but miss their big brother very much.
Yes, this is the same Kevin who has been with me since the day I arrived in Gitarama. He has been my constant companion as driver, interpreter, bodyguard and all around right-hand man. I consider him a co-founder of Urukundo. Without him I could not have accomplished the things that God has sent me here to do.

Kevin is a very intelligent young man who, with education, can return to be a leader in Rwanda. Praise God, and thanks to several people in America who have come to know him, Kevin has been given the opportunity to attend University in Kentucky. It was hard to let him go but his welfare is what counts and I look forward to the day when he will return to Rwanda to work with Urukundo and me again. Please keep him in prayer as he adjusts to a new culture.

During April we found and rented a house where we could keep orphaned boys. Each time we met people and told them about our home for girls we were asked why there were no boys at Urukundo since it was a home for children. We rented a house close by and the District brought seven boys who were found begging in the streets. Our number is now at fourteen.

Along with the boy’s house we purchased the chicken business that was on the property. As it becomes profitable it will add income to support the education expenses of our children as we prepare to send them to secondary school and later University. The problem is that the chickens live inside the boy’s compound running free and for me this was too close to the boys. (As many of you know I have a weird fear of chickens that I think goes back to my childhood.) I proceeded to fence off an area for the chickens, but that cut down on the boys’ play area. They love kick ball (soccer), basketball and running games and now there was no room. Fourteen active kids need a yard. I tried to think of a solution to grow the poultry business and still have space for the children to play. This was when the thought of owning land. John, our administrator, began to investigate the region for property where we might build a play ground and move the chickens. He located a possibility. The land was owned by the Friends Church in the Muhanga –Gitarama District who had changed their building plans and needed to sell this property.

THE GOOD NEWS is that I have now acquired this land to be given to Urukundo. It is designated as a farm (an acreage to be developed). The land is prime meters (acreage) situated in a developing area where values are going up. Everything about this land is two good to be true—but then, “God is in Charge.” The property line is close to a paved road that leads to Kigali and south to Burundi. And the road far enough away so that the noise of heavy trucks will not bother us. It is close to the water source, phone line, and electricity. This is hard to imagine in Rwanda. There is additional property adjoining ours that could be purchased at a later date. And the Rwanda government is considering giving us the land on our side of the road that is presently government owned. The large gift to purchase this land was made possible from Christian friends of Urukundo.

Now I need a lot of help and am praying for teams to come clear the land and begin construction. We need an architect to design our buildings and help us create a plan for the best use of the land. We need planners, gardeners, construction workers and laborers. There is enough land to build a chicken compound, to cultivate a large garden, construct a play area where the children can play in safety and build a home for our current children and those to come.

I also pray for someone to come and give me a hand managing Urukundo, long-term or short-term. Please pray for this mission and me. I know God will provide a way but just now I need encouragement and affirmation from you

May God continue to bless you and yours in your everyday walk with Christ. Amen and Shalom, Arlene