Rwanda 20 years: The story that almost got away

Post Summary: 

When writer Kari Costanza first went to Rwanda in 2007, she heard about an amazing story of reconciliation, but wasn't able to capture it. Last fall, she returned ... and the story found her!

Sometimes God shows you the story He wants told, often when you least expect it. Watch the story of friendship and redemption after the Rwanda genocide that He gave Kari a second chance to tell.

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The first time I went to Rwanda, in 2007, I met Juliette and Emmanuel. I’d been asked to shoot a short video with two people who had reconciled after the genocide. We were so busy that we didn’t have much time to spend with them—just enough to know how powerful their story was.

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    A bright future ahead

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    Gihozo is only 4 years old, but he has to walk up to three hours a day alone to fetch dirty water for his family members, who struggle to provide enough food. But the future is looking brighter for him — he was recently registered for World Vision sponsorship!

    World Vision’s Laura Reinhardt writes about meeting Gihozo and the hope she has for his future.

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    In January, my grandson turned 4. We met at a pizza parlor where gifts from family and friends covered one whole table. Everyone ate plenty of pizza and chocolate cake, and even then there were leftovers. He was giddy with all the excitement surrounding his special day.

    A little over a month later, I met another 4-year-old boy, Gihozo. He lives in southern Rwanda with his two sisters, mom, and dad.

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      All in: A single gift that changed a life

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      World Vision videographer Brian Crass reflects on a trip to Zambia, where he met former sponsored child Mazuba, whose sponsor had given him a special gift of a cow.

      Read how Mazuba multiplied that gift into 20 cows, and what his plans are for the future!

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      I’ve always liked the Bible story of the woman who gave two coins (Mark 12:41-44). She made a decision to give and she was all in. It’s a story about humility and obedience. It’s a story about faith.

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        Rwanda 20 years: The story in the corner

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        Next Monday marks 20 years since the Rwanda genocide began. This month, we'll be sharing photos, videos, and perspectives that together tell the 20-year story of recovery and reconciliation in Rwanda, and the role World Vision has played in that story these past 20 years.

        One of our wonderful storytellers, Kari Costanza, writes today about one of her trips to Rwanda and Jean Marie – the meek man standing in the corner – who was able to show her the story she was aiming to tell.

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        People often ask me how I go about finding stories for World Vision.

        I could tell them how I’d been a television newscast producer for 10 years, and how I moved to World Vision where I worked for the magazine, learning to hone in on the perfect story for the World Vision audience—a story that is compelling, representative of the broader community, and has—or will have—some sort of World Vision involvement.

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          Margaret in my heart

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          Our wonderful writer Kari Costanza reflects today in memoriam of her friend Margaret from Uganda on her recent return trip to Gulu.

          Read how World Vision sponsors brought joy and fresh hope to the families Kari visited, as they had to Margaret, and how memories of their friendship strengthened Kari on her trip.

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          I was just in Gulu, Uganda, a place made infamous by Joseph Kony and the Lord’s Resistance Army. From the 1990s until 2006, Kony made life a living hell in northern Uganda, abducting children—both boys and girls—into his army. The boys he forced into fighting; the girls he made soldiers’ “wives.”

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            Godly giving through relationship

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            What does it mean to give biblically? The Old Testament models a 10-percent tithe — but what about the New Testament? Anna Goodworth, a member of the Hartford Women of Vision chapter, reflects on that today: "Without a consistent relationship with the poor, we cannot sustain giving or the desire to give as God intended."

            Read more about how God called Anna into relationship…and what He wanted of her.

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            Do remember the first time you went on a missions trip or saw poverty up close through a trip, a story, or a cause? Remember that passion?

            I remember coming home from a trip to Haiti in college, and I wanted to sell all my stuff, live simply, and give all I had to the poor. Yet slowly my previous spending habits came back and my heart was dulled.

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              The contagious joy of sponsorship

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              Over the past 9 years, our partnership with Family Christian stores has changed the lives of 150,000 children through sponsorship! Come celebrate this landmark with us this weekend!

              Today, Carrie Caddell – administrator for this partnership – tells the story of Jennifer, a Family Christian employee who has found joy through her relationship with a child.

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              Jennifer’s joy is contagious. When you walk into the Family Christian store where she works, the mood is light and uplifting. Worship music plays over the audio system and Jennifer is helping a customer complete a purchase. She begins talking with them about World Vision child sponsorship and tells them her own story …

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                A safe harbor

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                World Vision writer Kari Costanza reflects on taking sanctuary in her church's parking lot while being stuck in a snow storm last weekend, and how World Vision and our supporters are able to provide a safe harbor for millions of children around the world.

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                Last Saturday, I celebrated a milestone birthday with my dear friend Laura Reinhardt, also celebrating a milestone birthday. I won’t tell you which. We did our favorite things – walking and talking for five miles around Green Lake, following by a dinner at a spectacular restaurant to which we also walked called Tilth. At Tilth, I discovered Porcini Brulee – my new favorite of the Brulee family.

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                  This is love

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                  Valentine's Day is an occasion to show love, but it's also a time to recognize love that's already been demonstrated. In honor of today, Rich Stearns, president of World Vision U.S., writes about the many ways we show love — to each other and around the world — and how he's inspired again and again by the amazing love of our supporters!

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                  I was on my game this year. A full two weeks ago, I had Valentine’s Day dinner reservations in place at not one but two restaurants — in case I needed a back-up plan. Now, why would I do this?

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                    My 4-year-old sponsors a child in Zambia

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                    For World Radio Day today, Arik Korman – Executive Director of The Bob Rivers Show on 95.7 KJR-FM in Seattle – writes about how his son AJ has grown up with sponsored children in his family, which has inspired AJ to want to help! The Bob Rivers Show is a long-time partner of World Vision, and has helped to connect more than 4,700 children around the world with sponsors.

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                    Leaving your child behind when you travel to the other side of the world is tough on a parent. You want to lend your hand to help families in need, but at the same time you know you’re taking a calculated risk.

                    I have been blessed to have journeyed with World Vision to developing countries eight times, the last three as a father to my 4-year-old son, AJ.

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