“There’s an emergency, come quick!” exclaimed Yassipi, one of the boys at HFLM. Staff rushed into the home and saw orange flames emerging from one of the bedrooms. Only moments earlier, Yassipi heard a “pop” in the bedroom and entered to find a wooden chair caught on fire by a faulty voltage regulator and a sparking outlet. He rushed to tell staff and by the time they arrived the room was ablaze.
|Isiaka and Baby grieving over their destroyed room and lost belongings|
Immediately staff evacuated the children from the building. They started filling buckets of water and throwing it on the fire, but soon discovered the fire was growing much quicker than the dribbling water pressure could combat. For a brief moment, everyone despaired, believing that the whole home would burn down. In the midst of prayers, neighbors came rushing over and yelled, “Dirt! Throw dirt on the fire!” The neighbors, staff, and children worked in unison, filling buckets and any accessible container with dirt. After 15 minutes of throwing dirt on the fire, the flames began to die down. Staff was able to re-enter the smoldering house and continued to pile soil on the burning furniture until all of the flames were extinguished.
The neighbors, kids, and staff all joined each other outside and began praising the Lord for saving the house from burning down, and most importantly, that no one was hurt. We are so grateful for our neighbors, without whom all would surely have been lost. There were only two things that made it out of the fiery room unscathed; one was an integrated mathematics book, and the other was the Bible. When the Bible was discovered, a few of the boys began singing “there is power in the name of Jesus!” It was a powerful moment that will not soon be forgotten.
|Baby holding his Kinyarwanda bible that survived the fire|
Although we are extremely grateful there were not greater losses, the fire has been a setback to HFLM and has shaken the boys. After taking inventory of all that was destroyed by the fire, we’ve estimated it will cost $1,450 to rebuild the three rooms scathed by the fire, and $350 for lost materials. We will be starting the rebuilding process soon and hope to have the boys back in their bedrooms by Christmas. It took a whole community to put the flames out and it will take help from our HFLM community to rebuild.
|One of the rooms damaged by the fire|
In light of the losses we experienced, we would love to make this Christmas special for the boys. Here’s how you can help:
- Rebuilding HFLM: Give towards the $1,450 we need to rebuild and repair our home.
- Replacing Materials: Give towards purchasing $350 worth of items lost in the fire: $100 for clothing, $90 for mattresses and bedding, $40 for school materials, and $120 for furniture and curtains.
- Christmas: Help us host a Christmas celebration that will cost $100 and will include a special meal for all children and staff.
- Education: We’d like to send all of our boys to a private school where they will receive a higher quality education. With a lower teacher to student ratio, the children will receive more specialized instruction and attention that will have a lasting impact on their future. The first trimester begins in January and we need to raise $3,500 to cover their first trimester of tuition.
To make donations towards these needs, visit HFLM’s website.
In other news, thank you for your prayers regarding our Executive Director, Torey, and her plight in obtaining a visa. Immigration has allowed her to remain in Rwanda while she is in the appeal process, as previously they were threatening to force her immediate departure. Please continue to pray for God’s providence in this situation as we wait for immigration’s final decision. Thank you for playing your part in HFLM. We couldn’t succeed without such a generous, faithful, and loving community to support us!
To see the complete story of the fire, visit Ryan Dalbey’s blog here.