Today was the most amazing day yet. We finally were able to start building gardens!! Kageyo is definitely a rural community. No electricity, no running water, no nothing. Only one main road with a handful of small businesses. It is what I imagine the Wild West looking like, except with mud brick huts instead of wooden structures.
The story of the two gardens we built today were unbelievable! The first was for a 73 year old woman who lives with her teenage son. The woman has been asking Theo (the agronomist) to build her a garden for sometime. She said that she knows she is old, but her and her grandson will work it everyday and treat it as one of their prized possessions. She had the spirit of a child. She was so happy at one point that she actually jumped up and down. When the garden was finished and we asked to pray for her, she got down on her knees and lifted her arms in the air. I was totally shocked, it was like that she knew God was going to be faithful to her and she couldn’t wait to thank him. We all got down beside her and prayed. It honestly gave me goosebumps! I have been praying that the Holy Spirit would show up on this trip and show me the true power of God. The Holy Spirit showed me His power today and it is so much greater than I ever imagined!
With the second garden we were able to procure a slightly better set of materials. It took us less time to construct the second garden, an hour and 20 minutes verse the 2 hours it took us on the first. Once it was completed, the family, husband, wife, and 4 children gathered around the garden. Theo then told us that the husband, probably in his late 30s/ early 40s, asked if he could receive Christ as his Lord and Savior. Wyatt, a member of our team, led us all in prayer for this husband to proclaim that Jesus is his Lord and Savior! I cannot believe that someone was saved during our trip. God is truly unbelievable! The husband will be baptized on Sunday in the church at Kageyo, which we are planning to attend. Can you believe that? Can you? Because I was standing right next to this man and I didn’t believe what was going on in front of my eyes!! The Holy Spirit has true power in this world.
Today was an amazing day, given to us by God, for his glory, and I believe His glory was shown throughout Kageyo, Rwanda. All I can say is THANK YOU GOD!!
P.S. – I know that some people will look at the pictures of the gardens and think they are aesthetically unappealing, but I feel that these gardens are the most beautiful thing I have ever helped build.
Written by Will Hold, KGP Team Member
Today was an incredible day in that we were able to witness how the hand of God moves in the lives of His people EVERYWHERE near and far, collectively.
This is my first experience in Rwanda. Visiting Kayonza today has been a gift.
My husband Eddie and I have been sponsoring a child from Kayonza for approximately three years. Our sponsored child, Jean de Dieu has recently graduated from grade 12 and will be enrolled in vocational training this September.
Earlier this year, we had received word that Jean de Dieu’s mother had become very ill and Jean was struggling with his studies as he was spending time caring for his family. With great concern we sent a speedy letter of support as well as some food supplies to aid the family in their crisis moment. We felt helpless and prayed fervently for God to see this family through.
I never would have imagined that a little over 3 months later, we would meet this family through a series of crazy but ordained events where I could witness the other side of the story first hand.
Today we visited the Kayonza school and I spoke with Sarah, one of the staff. I heard the most amazing words that reaffirmed me that God loves us all and cares for us all, even in the struggles. He sends many to see us through, whether we live near or across oceans.
Sarah’s words went something like this: “You cannot imagine how timely your letter to Jean was. It encouraged him to know that there were those who cared and supported him during his difficult time. Jean is so excited that you have come to visit.”
Sarah’s care for Jean and his family were quite evident. She conveyed her heart-felt thanks that we were able to support this student and his family.
We felt surprised and thankful for her care and influence for Jean and his family. I was grateful for her physical presence during this crucial time of study. Rather than give up, Jean was able to persevere and pass his exams. God had also blessed us with the privilege of meeting and extending our love in person today. He is ever present both near and afar. Dare we doubt that our all-knowing God works in many amazing ways through all of us.
The fact that we are all used in specific ways, at specific times to move, motivate and strengthen the human heart amazes me. God had used Sarah’s love near – and our love from afar – to speak hope and life to Jean and his family.
Today I am ever changed by the confirmation that what we do small or large, makes a difference with God as the author.
Written by Lerryn DeJong, our friend from Vita Gardens
Our first day here has been amazing, exciting, emotional, and LONG.
Everybody was up between 2:30 and 3:40 AM! We started the day with a walk near the guest house here in Kigali, just hanging out as a team.
From there, we headed over to the Africa New Life Dream Center. We sang worship songs (some of the same ones we sing on the other side of the world, which is pretty cool!) and learned more about sponsorship and what that means for the kids and families of Rwanda.
We also spent some time at the Genocide Memorial. Even though this was my second time, it was a really tough place to visit. The entire museum is filled with stories of injustice.
The quote I really remember was, ‘If you had really knew me and really knew yourself, you would not have killed me.'”
They had these plaques for some of the small kids. Each one had 5 things on it. Sometimes the questions were different. One was, “Age: 6 yrs. Favorite Food: Chocolate & Milk, Personality type: Loves playing with friends, Last Words: My Dad will come for us, Killed by: Machete.”
We weren’t allowed to take any pictures, but you can probably Google it to see just some of what we experienced.
[If you are interested in seeing pictures, you can check out this Pinterest link: https://www.pinterest.com/search/pins/?q=genocide+memorial+rwanda]
On a less serious note, I was really excited to be able to visit one of my family’s sponsored kids today! This is one part of the trip I have been most excited about! This is David. (He’s eating a piece of beef jerky that I brought. He didn’t like it.)
David was really shy, and honestly, some of our visit was a little awkward since we don’t speak the same language, but it was a lot of fun! His mom and grandma expressed several times how grateful they are for our sponsorship. What they didn’t know is how grateful I am to meet with them and spend time together in their home. It was such an awesome experience getting to see them again and to see how much David has grown!
We also visited one of the Haley’s sponsored kids, and had a lot of fun with them too! We played soccer and hung out. Here’s a picture of Craig busting out his basketball skills! 🙂
Today was a really great day. Thank you for your prayers, for thinking of us, being for excited for us and for the project we’ve come here to do!
Blog post written by Chris Bennett.
24 hours is a long time to travel! But, we made it! We’re excited to be here, and can’t wait to share with you what God is doing here in Rwanda!
Family breakfast at Rudy’s getting ready to take off!
The team ready to head to the airport!
Henry and Tazz on the plane to DC!
Washington to Brussels, 7.5 hours!
Playing cards at 1 AM in Brussels.
Brussels to Kigali, another 8 hours!
We’re here! We made it! And we’re excited to see what God will do over the next week and a half! Thanks for your prayers!
“The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. Though they stumble, they will never fall for the Lord holds them by the hand.” Psalms 37: 23-24
With only one week remaining before we head on this journey to the other side of the planet, I find myself still asking the question, ”Why Africa?” One would think this question would be answered by now, but I cannot honestly say it is.
Naturally, when I envisioned my first trip outside of the United States, I saw blue waters surrounding my bride and me on a Caribbean island or my kids bouncing around with some kangaroos on the Australian Outback. I had dreams of indulging in every comfort and luxury I felt deserved for my years of waiting and working hard. Finally, I get the opportunity to go to……….(wait for it)…(drum roll please)…Rwanda!?!
About 10 years ago, I heard of this African country from the award-winning movie Hotel Rwanda. The movie documents the mass genocide that took place in 1994 where tragically between 500,000 – 1,000,000 people lost their lives. Although I don’t remember much about the movie, I just remember feeling really uncomfortable.
Fast forward to Spring 2015. That is when I first learned about this group of men stepping out on faith to build gardens thousands of miles away from their Central Texas families. The thought of Hotel Rwanda, mosquitos the size of Mississippi, blistering temperatures, miles away from my wife/kids and performing manual labor while on my “vacation” from my real job wasn’t my idea of fun. But I have been living long enough to know that God is God and my plan is not always His plan. That being said, guess who trumps this guy? Yeah, God does!
I already know this trip is going to be life changing. There is going to be an encounter with God that has never happened before; that makes the long trek across the globe, fighting monster mosquitos and experiencing the unknown all worth it.
This trip, much like watching Hotel Rwanda almost 10 years ago, is sure to take me out of my comfort zone but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It may not be the honeymoon-style getaway I would have envisioned or the southern-style easy living I’d like to enjoy day-by-day. But just as God has made it clear he called my heart to this mission and He, through many faithful donors, allowed this trip to be FULLY FUNDED, I believe God and all His goodness will grow our hearts and the gardens to flourish beyond our wildest dreams.
So, for that I ask the question, “Why not Africa?
Written by E.J. Patterson, KGP Team Member
Learn more about E.J. and the rest of the team on our Meet the Team page!
Why Am I Doing This?
I feel like that’s a question I’m going to be asking for the rest of my life. Why am I here; why am I doing this; and why does it matter? There have been too many decisions I’ve made without knowing the answer to this question that have ended… unhappily. But that’s not true in this case. I know why I am here and why I am on this team. Simply put, it’s to glorify God. I don’t mind wrestling with what that really means. I’m not bothered by how cheesy and overtly “Christian” it sounds. I don’t care to argue it’s validity. I know that I’m going to Kageyo, Rwanda because God is doing something magnificent there. And He’s called me to be a part of it.
What Am I Supposed To Do?
I feel like I’m supposed to tell this story. I’ve recently picked up videography and it is slowly becoming my passion… and my mission field. I think everyone has a blockbuster movie of a life. But we’ve become so accustomed to stories being told on a million dollar budget, that we pigeonhole the idea that our own lives are really not that impressive. But if we could clearly see our stories in the grand scheme of eternity. If we could get a bird’s eye view of how perfectly our lives fit into God’s story, not only would we glorify God more, but we would embrace each other with a love and understanding that surpasses culture and age, and goes down to the very core of the human condition. We desire to be loved. But more than that, we desire to be known. And isn’t that what the Gospel is all about? The revelation that we are more loved and known than we could ever imagine.
This is the story of the Kageyo Gardens Project: We are nine men whose lives have been divinely knit together for the purpose of God’s glory. We are not simply going to accomplish a task (though planting gardens that will sustain families for an entire year is absolutely amazing). We are going, however, to live the Gospel. And when we are arrive in Kageyo, I believe we will be met by a people whose stories have been on a collision course with our own since the day we were born. And together, we will glorify God. We live out the Gospel, prayerfully for the rest of our lives. And I will be there to tell the story.
Written by Tazz Kelly, KGP Team Member
Learn more about Tazz and the rest of the team on our Meet the Team page!
Hey friends! We cannot thank you enough for all of your prayers and support over the last couple of months! Our fundraising is drawing to a close, and we are so thankful for all of you!
Just to let you know, we have an email list. If you would like to receive updates, especially when we are in Kageyo this Summer, simply sign up on this form and you’ll automatically get our blog updates.
Thank you again for partnering with us! We couldn’t be doing this without all of you!
We have about 3 1/2 weeks until our fundraising deadline, and we have some exciting events coming up! If you are in the Austin area, we would love to see you and have some fun together!
May 16 Pancake Breakfast in Cedar Park
Click here to buy tickets! There will also be a gluten-free option for $1 more!
Sewing God’s Seeds Trunk Show at K&N Management Corporate Office
11570 Research Blvd.
Or shop online at Sewing God’s Seeds & comment with “Garden” at checkout. 100% of profits will benefit KGP!
Thank you, thank you for partnering with us!
All of our friends and family really came through! On May 1, $3,570 was raised through 76 supporters for the Kageyo Gardens Project! The YouCaring page was shared 210 times!
We appreciate all of your “likes” and “shares,” ALL of your prayers and support! Thank you!
I went to Rwanda for the fist time in June of 2013. Any time you experience people or culture differently from your norm, you take notice. But, of course, Rwanda is not just a little different from my everyday life so I didn’t just take notice. A small part of me was changed.
I went on a vision trip with the company I work for to visit all of our sponsored kids. My family and I sponsor two kids, Robert and David, and I was able to meet them and their families. I brought gifts, met their families, gave hugs, and saw their homes. It was an amazing experience.
While we were there, we also had a big party for all of K&N’s sponsored kids, along with our own sponsored kids that live nearby. We brought them food, we had bubbles, we danced, and played, and laughed. The kids ate, and ate, and ate some more!
Many of them had never had soda, and at the party they drank their sodas while singing songs about having a Fanta with Jesus when they get to Heaven.
As we drove through the streets, the kids would run to meet us, and would scream “Mzungu, mzungu!” as they saw us drive by. They were so excited to meet us because they think the United States is just like Heaven. Of course, I’d run to meet some one who lived in Heaven too!
These children were exuberant and joyful, and filled with hope even though most of them know the kind of suffering and pain that we don’t wish on any one. Many of them have experienced deep, aching hunger. Many of them have had terrible sickness. Many of them have watched parents or close family members die because they just didn’t have what they needed.
Many of the kids we met have had their lives completely changed because of their sponsorship with Africa New Life, and so when I was approached with an idea to also help change the lives of their families and their entire village, of course I jumped on board.
You see, God cares about the needs of the poor. He cares about this village of Kageyo. And, so he has crafted this plan, put together 9 men and gave a vision for a new Kageyo.
So we will go. We will work hard, we will give hugs, we will build gardens, we will bring Jesus’ message of hope, and make a strong and lasting difference in lives of the people of Kageyo.
Will you help us?
The easiest way right now is to share our “Together we DO” campaign on Facebook, and plan to support us on May 1 as we aim to raise $10,000 in ONE day with no one giving more than $25. TOGETHER we will do this. So we need your help!
On May 1, you can give at www.youcaring.com/together and SHARE on Facebook to let your friends and family know that you have partnered with Kageyo Gardens Project.
“Like” us at www.facebook.com/kageyo!
Please pray, share, and give to the Kageyo Gardens Project in order to change this community forever.
-Written by Chris Bennett, KGP Team Member
Learn more about Chris and the rest of the team on our Meet the Team page!