Monday, October 27, 2014

New stories coming!!!

So much is happening to connect children, youth and college students with the ministry in Rwanda. I want to let you know what you can look forward to in future stories.

Penn State Christian sorority, Kappa Phi, is working on several projects. Last week they helped sew and stuff Nativity Story felt pieces so the children at St. Paul's United Methodist Church can decorate them. These will be used for telling bible stories at devotions and Sunday School in Rwanda. Noah's Ark was so successful last year we are doing the story of Jesus' birth.

In November the sorority will sell peace birds to provide funding to send Lucie to school to study to be a pastor. The sale of the birds will also provide income to Peter, the carver, so he can support his family.

Next Amy Frank's Secret Seamstress Society is having a special night for young girls to make super hero and story capes for the Urukundo School. Last year they made fish for teaching math.

Also this fall K-Cafe, St. Paul's junior and senior high students are having a 1,000 Toothbrush Challenge to collect tooth brushes for the dental clinic.

It's wonderful to partner with these groups each year on exciting creative projects!!!

Monday, October 20, 2014

African Map Project

Isn't it wonderful how God brings people together. I was visiting with Anne Pelikan to pick up her donated watercolor for Art for Rwanda and chatting over coffee I shared some ideas about the Everything Rwanda Kids area. I shared that it would be great to have an interactive, educational project that could go with me to Rwanda.

Well Anne had an amazing idea. She would draw a huge 6 foot map of Africa with the countries. Did you know there were 54 countries? We all do now! And it took her 2 full days to make it. Look how fantastic it is!!! Anne is on the left and Joanna, a kids room volunteer is on the right.

We decided to have the children write and draw messages for the children at the Urukundo Children's Home and School, then glue them to the map. Grace shows how its done. The map will travel with me when I speak at the local State College schools. They can write messages to be added to the map. Then it will go with me in March when I return to Rwanda.

Messages reach across the world! I love it!

Art for Rwanda

When people say "it takes a village" to make things have an lasting impact, it really does. The idea for an art event began with Pat Elliott. His church Park Forest Village United Methodist Church has been having community events to support local organizations. This year they were looking for an international organization. And since they have a long-term relationship with Hope Made Real in Rwanda plans began.

After I reconnected with a few members of their church, Art for Rwanda came into being. All along it was to be a community-wide, family friendly cultural experience. Opportunities for learning and giving back.

So thank you all for coming, almost 225!!! And thank you for buying ALL the Rwandan baskets and most of the Rwandan sewing items. We loved that you visited the Everything Rwanda Kids room, enjoyed dancing and drumming AND even tasted goat stew.

And most of all we loved that you shopped and donated to make a difference. You helped us raise just over $9,500 that will go to Hope Made Real towards the furnishing and building of a 3rd grade classroom. We need to raise more to reach $27,000 for one of the classrooms but what a great start!

Keep reading my next BLOG stories about the event and make sure you see all who helped to make Art for Rwanda a success!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

"Everything Rwanda" Kids Area

Since Art for Rwanda was a cultural experience we decided there would be a room specifically for children and their families. But it was actually visited by almost everyone.

This "Everything Rwanda" room had framed pictures drawn by children in Rwanda, baskets to play with and carry on your head, drums and other musical instruments to play and an art area. It focused on interactive learning. And of course there was the huge African map I wrote about.

Our hope is that the children and parents learned about this beautiful country and it's culture.

Thank you to our kids volunteers Joanna, Anne, Laura, Jill, Nina and Rachel.

*Joshua, Yannick and Peter balancing baskets
*Rachel who has helped with Rwanda mission projects through St. Paul's United Methodist Church for several years.
*Lise, after dancing, is trying her hand at drumming

Traditional Rwandan Dance

Anytime a local event is planned supporting Rwanda, I am thrilled that the Rwandan community is a part of it. I first met Judith Mukaruziga 4 years ago through a good friend Mary Pat Dolan. They are realtors in the same office. After preparing a wonderful Rwandan lunch before I left for my first trip to Rwanda we became friends. And since then I have met many Rwandans that she and her husband have sponsored bringing them to the US.

At Art for Rwanda those attending were fortunate to see one of their performances. Grace, Janviere and Marie as well as Marie's daughter Lise wearing traditional dress and carrying traditional baskets swept gracefully through the sanctuary of the church as sun streamed through the stained glass windows.

Afterwards Judith and the girls answered questions about Rwanda and the culture of their beautiful country.


The afternoon at Art for Rwanda came alive with drumming as Jeff Martin and Barafo Tena Drum and Dance Ensemble enlisted kids help for the performance. The interactive, lively entertainment brought smiles to kids faces and hands to some of their ears but they played away!!! What a wonderful opportunity for the kids to be a part of.

Afterwards you could see the kids playing the drums with more enthusiasm in the "Everything Rwanda" kids area.

*Jeff Martin
*Barafo Tena Drum and Dance Ensemble
*Jeff and a volunteer drummer
*Peter and Joshua in the kids area

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Art for Rwanda Thanks

This community-wide event would not have been possible without the help from so many. THANK YOU!!!!!

~Committee members- Pat Elliott, Nickie Askov, Bev Sutley and Carol Falke

~Park Forest Village United Methodist Church and it's congregation for hosting the event as well as set up and take down.

~Centre County Caterers - Cori and Patrick Donaghy for the delicious lunch and goat stew!!

~Elliott Family for coordinating the bake sale

~Art Alliance, CDT and the Centre County Gazette for promoting our event

~Penn State Bookstore for providing retail bags and art bags

~Home Goods and manager Jason Smith for providing large display easels

~Holly Fritchman and Liz Lasher for many displays

~John McQueary/State College Framing Company and Bev Sutley for matting donated art

~Lori Dundon for creating an amazing poster

~All the artists and supporters of Hope Made Real for donating art

~Our Rwandan friends, dancers and drummers.

You all made this a huge success reaching just over $9,500 in sales.

Photos of Pastor Lee / Caterers / Bake Sale / Rwandan friends