Friday, January 30, 2015

Scouts Pack Layettes

Thank you Troop #40412 for all your help packing 25 kits. What a delight it was watching you so carefully choose the right things that would go together! Fun matching colors and finding just the right doll.

The last step was folding everything into a flannel receiving blanket made by Betty Knouse. She has lovingly made them for me each year. Now they will have touched many people here and in Rwanda.

I can't wait to see the mom's faces when they receive the kits of much needed baby items.

Scouts: Cassie, Abigail, Amanda, Mia and Erin. Leader: Beth.

Girl Scouts

Taking layette kit items is great but I knew something was missing. Waking up I thought "let's connect girl scout troops". So I contacted several troop leaders and asked if the girls would be willing to draw and write cards for the new babies. I received a resounding yes!!!

The idea was to be creative when welcoming the new baby. I gave them suggestions in English with Kinyarwanda translation that they may choose to write in the cards.

You are loved! Urakunzwe!
God loves you! Imana iragukunda!
Jesus loves you! Yezu aragukunda!

I also had the wonderful opportunity to meet the girls to share about Rwanda and explain how they will be connected as the little baby grows up. Thank you girls and leaders!!!

*Troop 4045
*Troop 40397
*Troop 40067
*Troop 40067

Thursday, January 29, 2015


"Knitting4Peace is a grassroots organization dedicated to crafting hope, healing and peace one stitch at a time through non-violent compassionate action.we are committed to the well-being of women and children we may never meet; we plant seeds of hope for a future we will never see. We are non-violent revolutionaries armed with the power of prayer, crochet hooks and knitting needles, engaged in a compassionate fight for hope, healing, justice and peace for all woke and children. No exceptions."

"Knitters throughout the US and Canada work one person at a stitch at a delivery at a day at a time. As we knit, crochet or weave each item, we pray for each other; we pray for the recipients of the items we create; we pray for those who deliver our items; and we pray for hope, healing and peace throughout our world."

Since it's founding in 2006 over 56,614 items have been created by more than 86 Peace Pods throughout the US and Canada. 608 delivery agents have completed personal deliveries in 57 countries around the world!!!!

Let me know if you have a group of knitters that would like to connect with Knitting4Peace.

I am thrilled to be a new delivery agent taking many items for the first time to Rwanda March 2015.

*Knit items and other things for layettes
*Women4Women - Knitting4Peace, Denver, Colorado

Knitters Everywhere!

God has truly been bringing many women together for the layette project. There is no other way to explain all that has happened. A friend of mine who knits, Casey Goodall, told me about Chris Murphy who knits baby hats and sends them to Knitting4Peace in Denver. She also mentioned Jane Childs who we worked with at Penn State who is part of a Peace Pod with Knitting4Peace. Jane then told me about another Peace Pod at St. Andrews Episcopal Church that sends knit items to Knitting4Peace too.

Well, I connected with all of them and even found a knitting group at Penn State called Knitivism. Instead of sending their items to Denver to Knitting4Peace we have arranged for the Peace Pods to give them to me directly to take to Rwanda. Saves on the postage. So now I am a delivery agent for Knitting4Peace!!!

What do they make for the babies? Hats, washcloths, blankets, sweaters and peace dolls. Babies can lose body heat at the 7,000 ft elevation. Cool nights and no heating means babies need to be bundled.

Thank you to the many women sharing their many gifts!!!

*Chris Murphy's adorable hats and washcloths
*Jane Childs with Faith United Church of Christ Peace Pod and her peace pals
*Anne Hoag with St. Andrews Episcopal Church Peace Pod and advisor to Penn State Knitivism
*Knitivism - Penn State students knit

Mom & Baby Love Home

Opening this spring is the new Mom and Baby Love House!!! It will provide one Rwandan nurse to care for up to 5 new moms staying 2-3 days after delivery. They will come from several local clinics, hospitals and home births.

Rwandan volunteers with specific training and skills will provide education to promote breastfeeding, good nutrition, personal hygiene, feeding and food safety, new born health and illnesses, home care and counseling on family planning.

Safe motherhood is a key objective for developing countries but, despite improvements, Africa is still one of the most dangerous places in the world to give birth.

The leading cause of maternal mortality in Africa - accounting for 34% of the deaths- is hemorrhage, the majority of which occurs postnatal. Approximately 50% of maternal deaths take place within one day of childbirth. 30-50% of newborn deaths are on the first day of life.

The postnatal period - defined as the first 6 weeks after birth- is crucial to the health and survival of a mother and her newborn. Lack of care in this time period may result In death or disability as well as missed opportunities to promote healthy behaviors affecting women, newborns and children.

Upcoming stories will share about the layette kits that we will bring to Rwanda. Many are involved including girl scouts, women's bible study groups, knitters and a group from Denver called Knitting4Peace.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Kappa Phi & Nativity

Connecting Penn State students with the mission in Rwanda is growing. Rotaract bought desks for classrooms, Penn State Music education students wrote curriculum for the school, Wesley students raised funds for an education fund and now Kappa Phi is stepping up.

Kappa Phi is a Christ-centered organization for university women. It focuses on four areas: Service, Worship, Fellowship and Study. They meet at the Wesley Student Center at St. Paul's United Methodist Church on Mondays at 6:30pm.

Kappa Phi sold Birds of Peace for the education fund to support students from the Urukundo Children's Home that will attend university and technical school.

Recently they were a part of making Nativity figures for Sunday School children to decorate. They sewed and stuffed basic figures. What would they look like when a month later they would return full circle for them to attach wooden stick handles? How surprised they were and thrilled to be a part of kids giving back to kids.

Nativity 1

Slow Down. Listen. During those quiet moments I know God is there and moments of clarity come through. There have been many of those moments this year when praying, "God how can relationship continue to grow between children in Rwanda and children in the US." The Nativity project is just one of many that will be shared this year when I go to Rwanda. Stories of children serving in missions, children giving back, children sharing love and children wanting to learn about kids in another country.

I met with Tori, the director of Sunday School at St. Paul, at the end of the summer to discuss making an interactive bible story. Since 4 stations at Sunday School were being created for the Advent season this Nativity making project came into being. Many hands helped!!!

Women who worked for the church Shoe Bank cut the patterns, Kappa Phi (see story) sewed and stuffed the figures, members donated embellishments for decorating, kids decorated, parents and teachers all helped. Rachel Foster a 5th grader and Nancy Guild coordinated the station and lesson.

The lesson focused on the Shepherds. What were their thoughts when "The angel of the Lord came to the shepherd in the fields."

Read my next entry to see what the kids thought about the shepherds.........

Nativity 2

The angel of the Lord came to the shepherds in the fields. When the kids were asked what their thoughts would have been if they were one of the shepherds they said,

"If I was a shepherd I would have done exactly what the Lord asked and spread the word."

"They were amazed there was an angel in front of them."

"The way the Lord communicated with them it seemed like a huge deal so I would have done what they asked."

"They probably wondered why the angels loved the baby so much."

Words of wisdom to follow!!! Thank you St. Paul's kids for your gifts.

Sunday School kids, Kindergarten through 5th grade made the 4 sets of Nativity figures. Two will go to Rwanda and two will stay at the church. Next Christmas when they share the story of Jesus birth they use these beautiful figures at St. Paul's and in Rwanda. That's sharing the story of Jesus' birth across the world!!