Arlene in Rwanda Newsletter - September 2007

Urukundo Home for Children Newsletter – September 2007
Arlene in Rwanda
NOTE: See eight (8) photos at the end of the newsletter.
Greetings Brothers and Sisters in Christ and Partners in mission:

The New Urukundo Children's Village
Thanks to you, the land for the Urukundo Children’s Village is now purchased and the chicken buildings are almost completed. God is faithful. Now it is time to move to our first building project. I believe that it is vital to welcome the community to our Christian home. Therefore, our next project is a chapel. I am reminded that the early settlers in America first erected the church building and the community was then built around it. This is our hope for Urukundo Village.
If it is God’s, will we hope to begin building the Children's Chapel in mid-September. The completion of the chapel will then be surrounded by the children’s cottages. The Chapel will be both for the children and the community. The importance of building the Chapel now is to let the community know we are a Christian Village and that we love children and serve the Lord in everything we do. The Chapel will sit in the center of a flower garden with paths leading to the entrances and will greet our visitors in Jesus name. The garden will be designated as a Honor/Memorial Garden in honor of those who have supported Urukundo Home for Children with prayers and gifts.
Inside the Children’s Chapel: "The Vision"
Go with me on a virtual tour. As you enter the chapel you immediately come upon the baptismal and must go around it to get to your seat. This says, "It is time to slow down. This is a special sacred space." Next you see the big Christ Candle on the stand that reminds children that Christ is the "Light of the World". It is lit for all services. We will need a simple wooden stand for the LARGE house Bible. NO PULPIT. People can speak from the center table. This says that all God's children are invited to surround the banquet table of God now and in the kingdom to come. Nothing goes on the table except when communion is served. Then a white cloth is draped. A single cup and a single loaf are on the small stand until it is time for communion after the lesson.

Every service, including Sundays, is to be "Children's Church" filled with music with motions, drums and shaker instruments, and telling a Bible story. Prayer times will be kneeling times for children with their concerns prayed. I think a woman pastor assigned by the bishop would be good for us.
Toddler and Infant area: A simple low railing and little gate will keep it designated and the toddlers’ safe. Rocking chairs and a mat to crawl upon and some toys that are washable are needed.
Chairs and Benches: Older individuals need chairs with low backs. Some benches can also be used. We must make sure the benches are of different lengths so they can be arranged with everyone not looking at someone's back. People should be able to see each other's faces.
BUT... this is important... each child who is a family member of the orphanage will have his or her own individual stool with his or her name on it somewhere. "Belonging" is so, so important. Our children need to know that something belongs to them. It is children who are never allowed to have their own possessions, who later in life don't know how to share and give. It is as we have been given abundantly that we are then able to give in the same manner.
BIG Gates: These, at the rear of the chapel, facing the lawn next to the road can then be swung open so that we can seat more people; it will serve as an overflow seating area. This also allows us to build on later when adjoining property becomes available.
Windows: Again, these will be long and high to give light to the building but not interfere with the seating. The height also serves as a protective measure.
Book Shelves: These sit in the back for bibles and song books or what ever needs to be set here. This can be a built-in shelf when the building is constructed.
Lighting: I want anything but bare bulb florescent lighting! We could create our own hanging ceiling lights in cans. Or, we could build wooden boxes along the ceiling to use fluorescents that would illuminate upward. But, I don't want to kill the feeling of holiness of the room by creating glaring light.
Our Present (Rented) Home

Home for the Girls
There is no more room at the Home for Girls with the new addition of Esperance Savoronia We have no more beds. There are many orphans who want to come live with us so it is hard to say “there is no room at the inn”. The new site will provide for many more of these needy children. With the increase it was necessary this week to move the dinning room into the larger of our two main rooms of the girls’ home. Visitors also eat at our tables when they come. Each table has a name: The American Table, The African Table, and The Canadian Table in honor of David Ottier and Kirsten Cavendish & Bill Ginter, our visitors from Canada.

“Puppy”, one of our new guard dogs is a four-week-old African mix. The second, “Babe” is a four-month-old German Shepherd. Babe is already a good watch dog and when grown Puppy will be a strong dog as well. The dogs intimidate the children who will learn to trust them with time.

Home for the Boys
The boys have decided to get serious about the Chicken business. They, with the guidance of Papa John, have set about ten hens and we have over fifty chicks in the shed with more hatching every day. Chickens don’t thrill me, but the boys love the project. Bill Graf a visitor from Colorado introduced them to the Frisbee and it has become a new pass time. Bill also witnessed the signing of the property deed. God has blessed us by having Americans present at all our transactions. Creditability is very important.

This week the boys were challenged by a school soccer team so they are excit4d about Saturday’s game. I am learning more about soccer everyday and will be there to cheer them on.

The Chicken Project
This to has been a learning experience. I have discovered how much I don’t know about construction and chickens in Rwanda. I think in terms of chickens on my Grandfather Stiners’ farrm. The metal roof is ready to be put on thanks to Pastor Ed Wentz his wife, Norma and his brother Bob in Hanover. Thank you all!

United Methodist Woman Gitarama
It gave me great pleasure to meet the President and Secretary of the UMW in Gitarama. Together we presented twenty goats to an HIV/AID Association in the United Methodist Church. This is the fourth church group we have been able to assist in helping HIV/Aids affected families. The churches are: Mpushi Presbyterian Church, Byimana Pentecostal Church, Gitarama United Methodist Church, and Gitarama Lutheran Church.

Bishop of East Africa Conference: It was my pleasure and honor to meet UMC Bishop Daniel Wandabula of the East Africa Conference. The worship service took place in Kigali City. It was a privilege to hear him speak and to listen to his plans for the future of the United Methodist Church in Rwanda. This unscheduled service was attended by several hundred Christians.
Rwanda UMC continues to struggle after the unfortunate events caused by the past district superintendent, Jupa. He did so much harm to many supporting church families and the UMC Rwanda in general. The Bishop is working to have the UMC once again registered with the government. Please include him in your prayers as you pray for all the churches in Rwanda.
IN CLOSING: In closing, I am asking for your help to make the vision become a reality. There are so many dreams that God has set before us and I thank each of you for your continuing faithful support of all that is happening. So, have fun and choose a project and support it. Designate on your gift where your heart is and how you want to help. You can direct questions to me at I love hearing from you. Remember to pray for the vulnerable children in Rwanda and throughout the world. There are so many. If you would like to be a partner with me in mission I would be happy to welcome you as would my Lord.
Gifts can be sent to the mission through: Spiritworks-Rwanda Fund, 823 West Cremona St, Seattle, Washington 98119 Web site: www
OR -- Rwanda Support, Saint Johns-Newberry UMC, 2101 Newberry Street, Williamsport Pa 17701
Arlene D Brown, Founder
BP 179
Urukundo Home for Children
Muhanga District, Rwanda
Cell 08769422