Happy New Years Day from Mama Arlene in Rwanda


Newsletter New Years Day, 2008

Greetings My Partners in Ministry,

I begin this letter to you by telling you that Divine now has her Rwandan passport and American visa and on January 13 she will journey with me from Kigali to the United States. There were moments when we were not sure we could secure the necessary documents. Then a friend in Immigration went to bat for us shorting the usual time from many months to two weeks. At the US Embassy I was required to prove custody. This sounds simple but it is not. Recently a group in Chad were caught stealing children from parents and transporting them out of the country as orphans causing tighter restrictions when traveling with a child out of the country. I am thankful that The U.S. Consular, Emily Shafer, and her assistant Bettena bent over backward to get permission for me to bring Divine to the United States. God has made a way.

An Interesting Side Note
Rwanda has finally issued a 2000 franc bill. How exciting for us. We now have a 1000, 2000, 5000 note. Next I am hoping for a 10,000 that will eliminate the bulk in paper money here.

Progress Report on Aline.
What a difference five weeks has made for Aline. If you recall, she came to us suffering with severe malnutrition. Now, with special food, medicine, prayers, and lots of love you can see from the photos posted below how much she has improved thanks to all of you and a loving God.

Christmas for the Children
img_1022.jpgimg_1102.jpgimg_1143.jpgimg_1146.jpgimg_1161.jpgimg_1261.jpg The non-profit organization, People to People, made Christmas very special for our children at Urukundo Home for Children. The day was filled with many “firsts” for the kids:
First ride on a big bus.
First long trip away from our home.
First visit to the Kings’ Palace in Inyanza.
First meal in a restaurant
First Christmas celebration ever for many!
Each of the children received a new school uniform and a ball These uniforms are made by the sewing school at Pastor Joseph’s United Methodist Church in Gitarama. So as we take care of our kids we also help their students earn money to support their families. God is good. It was a glorious day and I thank all who care about our little ones and made it a very special Christmas.

“I never get pulled over by the traffic police in Rwanda. For me it is rather scary because I don't speak the language. Returning or guest Craig to Kigali the early morning after Christmas was a happening. The policeman standing in the middle of the road waving me over took me by surprise. I was glad Etienne my translator was with me. The officer asked for my driving permit. Digging it out of the glove compartment I handed him the envelope with all my papers. He took out the permit and a smile played on his lips. His words in English were "How you can drive with seventy?" What a question. I replied "no seventy seven". His face broke into a big grin he started to laugh and waving his hands he responded "In Rwanda is impossible." He then wished us a Merry Christmas and waved me on. Ok after dropping Craig at his dwelling place I started back and nearly home I was waved over by two different police. Now this was getting hairy. I could not believe it when the officer simply said in broken English ‘Merry Christmas and a good New Year Madam’. I relaxed and laughed with him and marveled at his kindness all the way home.”

The schedule is a busy one. Keep Divine and me in your prayers as we travel.

January 14 Arrive at Dullas DC. 7:30am Breakfast with Reston fellowship.
January 15 Travel to Williamsport, PA Informal gathering Barner home. Elimsport
January 16 Evening Phelps Chapel Avis area.
January 19 Evening service Saint Johns/Newberry
January 20 Morning Sunday Worship, Saint Johns/Newberry UMC, Williamsport
January 22 Luncheon, Montoursville
January 27 Locust St UMC, Wrightsville PA
January 30 Ecumenical Luncheon, Pine Street UMC, Williamsport
February 2 Luncheon, McConnelstown UMC, State College Area
February 10 Morning Worship, New Bloomfield
February 11-15 Spokane, Washington
February 16 Breakfast, Bethlehem Area
February 17 Lohrs UMC, Hanover Area
February 17 Evening Event, Linglestown, Harrisburg Area
February 20 United Churches Breakfast, Hanover
February 22 Dinner Team Event, Bethlehem Area
February 23 Supporters Event, Bethlehem Area
February 24 Fairplay Gospel, Jersey Shore
February 29 Home to Rwanda

This schedule is not written in stone. Please add your events soon. To do so contact Terry at TAOM1959@comcast.net I look forward to visiting with you while I am home in the U.S.