Friday, August 1, 2014

Know your children well

by Andy Waters

This group of 13 young people from Faith Lutheran Church are wonderful people. I can tell from the replies you think these kids are wonderful too. We love hearing Doug read the responses from the blogs after meals and debriefings. Please spread the news; we love hearing the responses.

Each night we have a “debriefing”. We talk about the days events and respond to well thought out questions. These oftentimes generate great conversations. Here is a sample:

After being in the refugee camp we talked about why people had to live temporarily for 18 years in mud huts. It wasn’t right. This flowed into a discussion about our own border with Mexico. 

The president of JCM, which operates the library at the Kiziba refugee camp talked about the library being Christ's light into the camp where there is no hope and no life. He described the bible as something that can give one knowledge but living out your faith creates a paradise like the library. Rich words for rich conversations. 

We heard Serge’s story of joining the RPF to become a solder. He asked those who were 17 years old to raise their hand. He was 17 when he joined. We heard more about young solders training for war and it became very real.

We see poverty like nothing before. There are kids who have no place to live and have to steal to get food. I learned a security guard budgets 42 cents a day for food. We see lots of people walking with heavy loads normally carried by a vehicle or truck. We talk about these things and the equitable distribution of wealth. 

The memorial visits were very hard. Debriefing brought out a lot like; Where was God? What bothered us the most? Why are the memorials not sanitized? What can we do to try and stop this? 

There is good - Jen and Serge Kamari serve these people so well. Kids have homes, food and an education. People have jobs. AID victims receive support. Refugees get support from the library. This leads us to talk about what we can do when we get home.

There are many other things you don’t read about like the van rides filled with conversations, fun and  music from the 1,600 pound teenage jukebox. I get to listen to Queen, Les Mis and Mighty to Save. 

This trip has changed us. You can expect to see 13 charged teenagers ready to make this a better world. You can expect to see them in a closer relationship with Jesus  living out their faith. What a great group to make that happen.

Did I mention they like hearing the responses to their blogs?


  1. Andy - What a treat to get another blog post today as you begin your journey home early tomorrow morning. We have become dependent on these posts. They obviously tell us much more than the schedule. They are also much more than a list of events, which helps us better understand the experience.

    Thanks to you, Kathy, Jen and Doug for watching out for the 13 on the trip and for all the months of planning involved. And thanks to all of the kids who raised money, read books, journaled "daily" and committed two weeks of summer to then come home and share the experience with the rest of us.

    Safe flights and safe travel. And I hope you are all able to get comfortable enough to sleep some on the way home. See you tomorrow.

  2. Thank you for taking our kids on this amazing journey! We cannot wait to hear all about it when you return. By the time you read this you may already be close to heading to the airport. Have safe travels home, we look forward to seeing you all tomorrow!!!!!!!

  3. Thank you for the insight into your discussions. We have so many questions to ask -- RPF, mud huts and how to help... I am so thankful the International team is there, that Serge and Jen are there, and that Serge helped save his country. God bless you for a safe trip.

  4. How can the two weeks be over so quickly?! Thank you to each and every one of you! You've put in a full day serving others, you've learned about a world so very different from your own, and you've taken the time to express yourselves every day to each other in your discussions and to us at home in your blog. Our comments may mean a lot to you (and I know they do!), but your words mean even more to us. (Sorry for your internet glitches, I think everyone's F5 key has been getting a workout here!). I can only imagine how you are feeling as you prepare to head home. Take time to soak in those feelings and know you are changed. And prepare make a difference at home. We can't wait to see what the future has in store for you! Safe journey, FLY babies (that includes the adult leaders!)

  5. I'm glad they are in such good hands. Connor will roll his eyes at this but, great kids come from great parents and an engaged support network (FLY). We are all truly blessed to be part of this. Keep learning and help us pay it forward.

  6. Andy, you -- specifically -- were in my middle-of-the-night-can't-get-back-to-sleep prayers. I thanked God that you chose to go along on this mission. Of course I am thankful for Jen and Doug and Kathy, too. All four of you are courageous servants and great models for us all.

    But the way you are giving of yourself, Andy, is rare and wonderful. Your kids are grown. You could adopt an attitude of "been there done that." But you stay in, up to your elbows and down on your knees, to serve alongside our children. Thank you. And thank God for you.

  7. I can't believe your time is almost over! Wow that went fast. I have been away from the internet for a week and couldn't wait to come back and catch up on my reading! It's funny what we take for granted. Just like the water - we now take for granted the internet to keep us connected! So exciting to read about your adventures - can't wait to see you and talk more about them in person! Have a safe trip back!

  8. I can't tell you how much I missed all of the blogs every day! I am truly blessed to know all of you, to be a part of Faith Lutheran Church, to know that God loves His children, and to be ready to welcome you home! Nancy Burch

  9. Many thanks Andy for your feedback, insight and dedication to this group of 13 teens. We greatly appreciate your and Jen, Doug and Kathy's caring and nurturing them through this adventure. Glad all are safe and healthy. Smooth travels home. Can't wait to see u all! Marty & Cherri

  10. I can't think of a better group of adults to help and guide our precious children. You each have different characteristics that make this an amazing team. Thank you! I can't wait to greet you all at the airport tomorrow!

  11. Those who know me also know that I am rarely at a loss for words, but I have had little to say because I have been in awe of all of you--your courage, your talents, your open minds, your questioning spirits, your willing service, and the grace you have shown to one another and the people you have met in Rwanda. You make us proud to be part of Faith!