We didn’t expect to start the New Year with both celebration and tears. And yet we find ourselves almost daily with both a smile on our face and tears in our eyes.
2015 was a year of major accomplishment. We transitioned to local Rwandan leadership, watched our community in the States reach new heights of generosity, witnessed a six-year-old take his first steps, and cheered as seven-year-old Benjamin met his relatives for the first time. In the midst of these successes, no one expected to also have to say goodbye to a member of our family.
Brothers from left to right: Patrick, Mahoro, and Olivier.
Patrick, 12, moved to our neighborhood a year ago with his mom and brother to escape eviction and be closer to his oldest brother, Olivier, who lives at our home. Patrick and his older brother, Mahoro, were both part of our preventative sponsorship program and therefore could attend school. Life was looking better.
In early November, however, Patrick suddenly fell ill. As his fever grew worse, he was brought to our home so staff could better monitor him. On their own initiative, our boys took turns washing his clothes and keeping him company. Many days, you could find three or four boys in his room at a time constructing with Legos in bed, or surrounding Patrick in prayer. One day, one of our older boys voluntarily carried him all the way to the clinic and back.
Patrick being voluntarily carried by one of our older boys to the clinic.
When treatment wasn’t working, Patrick was transferred to a hospital where his condition continued to advance. Despite the best care and treatments available, Patrick passed away without a cause of death. This has been very hard on Patrick’s family and our staff who have done everything they could for Patrick. A day later, we arranged a burial and participated in our first funeral alongside his family and our neighboring community.
In the midst of tragedy, we are reminded that life is precious, that God’s plans are greater than we can understand, and that your partnership is vital. Your generosity saves lives and offers second chances to build better futures. While we will greatly miss Patrick and his gentle, caring spirit, we rejoice in the fact that we will see him again someday. Please continue to keep the boys and staff in prayer as we navigate life without our friend.