It is difficult for us to believe our beginnings with Spark4Change is just a coincidence. In the summer of 2013 a friend of the organization, Mitch, posted on Facebook that he was looking to put together for a fundraiser and needed guidance on how it could be tax deductible. We sent a message saying we had some expertise in this area and told Mitch to give us a call if he wanted to talk through it. After a few discussions we were running to support our newest subsidiary. In the fall of 2015 we decided it was time to see Rwanda with our own eyes (never having met any of the beneficiaries or program leaders in person before). It was an incredible journey to arrive for 2-weeks in Kigali and embrace brothers and sisters we didn’t know we had. We believe deeply here, Leaders don’t Send They Go.

I believe the most powerful aspect of Spark4Change is that we operate out of love. We were able to have a get-together for the current and past beneficiaries. On a dusty road, plastic lawn chairs in a concrete room off of a bar the 45 of us sat together, broke bread and drank coca-cola. We wanted to provide time for everyone to speak. A young woman got up in front of the whole group and related how when she got IMG_6268pregnant out of wedlock that the group did not shun her or speak poorly of her, they still loved her. Another young man stood and related how hard the struggle has become and that he had been contemplating suicide but the family in attendance had helped him through it. These are great burdens society tells us not to talk about. Yet, both these individuals related to us and everyone there how they were able to get through their situation due to everyone around them. Due to the Spark4Change family.

With 15 current beneficiaries (8 girls and 7 boys) in school we continue to help the next generations. To sit with these men and women, with their families, to hear the harrowing experiences that in such a short period of life they have had to endure.  It certainly put into perspective the blessing it is to live in Nebraska where, in context, real problems are few and far between. It was inspiring to remember it’s not what you’ve gone through but how you go through it that makes the difference. These are some resilient individuals we can all learn from.

Getting to be a part of a story like this we had to share it! So after our return to America it was off to New York where the majority of our donors are located. Drinks, celebration and conversation around what Spark4Change is enabling in Rwanda was uplifting. Incredible to see how little it takes to literally change a life a world away. You can’t do life alone is a principal we live by – this family, in America and in Rwanda is proof of that.