I am responsible

A little over a week ago, I started to write about my Africa New Life sponsor child.  After wiping the tears streaming down my face, I opted to wimp out and just post a few adorable pictures.  I also included a video at the end, encouraging readers to consider sponsoring another kid I met named Claudine.

Almost immediately, IHGB reader Amy had emailed me to sponsor Stephen.

Stephen?  What in the world?  I hadn’t even posted his video yet.  Amy explained that she filed through all of our team’s videos on the site (clearly I had no idea this was a feature) and was drawn to Steven.  She wanted to sponsor him and help give the little boy hope.  I was shocked, ecstatic and figured the only way to control my euphoria was to eat my weight in the holiday version of Reece’s Peanut Butter Cups that come in the shape of Christmas trees.

Later that day IHGB reader Jennifer emailed me asking how she could sponsor Claudine.  I’m pretty sure I started crying at my desk.  I thanked her for her compassionate spirit and hooked her up with my friends over at Africa New Life.

Moments later, IHGB reader Amber asked to sponsor Claudine as well.  Since I was not willing to have Jen and Amber duke it out with Facebook likes on my page, I let Amber know that Claudine had already been sponsored.  This is my favorite part…Amber said she wanted to sponsor another kid. I love that she didn’t consider that a closed door.  She wanted a kid who had been on the list the longest.  My heart might have melted.  I continue to be blessed by relative strangers writing me from the website.  These are the days that it’s extremely clear to me why I do what I do.

Several times a week, I sit down at my computer and try to write about my trip to Rwanda.  I want to share the memories, the stories, the heartache and the hope.  But how do you accurately describe the simple joy sparkling in the eyes of little ones who are chasing bubbles?  How can I specifically explain the sweet ringing of elementary school giggling?  I could never communicate the sadness that strikes your heart with each child’s family visit when you enter the place they call home.  To detail the palpable excitement of a toddler running behind the bus when it comes rolling through a remote village in Bugesera would be equally impossible.  Recalling the emotions I felt when a small child thanks God for his many blessings is still convicting.  That’s probably because he didn’t own shoes.  Yeah.  My burden is pretty light, if not non-existent.

For a place that has every right to feel abused, forgotten and broken, the people I met in Rwanda are courageous, passionate, hopeful and living a life that shows what it means to be in a desperate relationship with Jesus.  They are the picture of love.

This is the time of year when we are inundated with naughty elves refusing to stay on their shelves, beautifully decorated trees with brightly wrapped presents underneath, jam packed parking lots full of people in search of stuffers for their stockings and a mental calendar that counts down the days left until it’s time to turn off the computers, graciously accept the “Jelly of the Month” coupon from our bosses before heading on over to Grandma’s house for a slice of questionable fruitcake and steaming hot cup of hot chocolate with extra marshmallows.   Obviously it’s the most wonderful time of the year, but I encourage you to remember those who may not have the luxuries that you and I take for granted.  Whether this person is begging on the streets in Rwanda for food, stationed overseas to protect our freedom or huddled cold under the bridge on the other side of town, remember those in need.  Remember them even beyond the holidays.

Yes.  I have Christmas decorations up and have an unnecessary addiction to nativity scenes.  Of course I have yet to do any shopping, so I will be one of those people in the crowded mall parking lot if I choose to not buy my niece and nephew a goat in Rwanda instead of some cologne I’ve never heard of and a plush Junior from VeggieTales.   My cool boss is taking us to see the new James Bond and Mimi does not make fruitcake, but she always has those random candies in the shape of ribbons.  They taste like Pepto-Bismol and I eat one every year. My point?  I’m all about Christmas.

With that said, I have several faces that float in and out of my subconscious of those who are in need.  But now that I have seen…I am responsible. As I said before, there are no words that can properly convey what I saw, heard, smelled, touched and felt when I was in Africa.

Luckily, my friend and fellow mission mate Emily put together a video that comes pretty close. After you watch some of the highlights from our trip and you find yourself interested in learning more about how to sponsor a child from Africa New Life, please email me and I’ll answer any questions or walk you through the process.

I’m off to buy a goat for Christmas.  Best aunt ever.

I Am Responsible from emily fraker on Vimeo.

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December 13, 2012 8:03 pm

Such beautiful words. But such an amazing God.

Africa changed me too. And the Mocha Club said it best. I need Africa more than Africa needs me. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tAB-zJPsJjs

I wish giving a goat for Christmas was more of a norm. When I did it for my nephews, I used giveananimal.com, because they also get a tshirt to foster a conversation about their giving.

Thanks for sharing your heart!

December 13, 2012 9:01 pm

love love love!!!

December 14, 2012 12:25 am

Thank you for taking a fun platform for a silly little show we all love to make fun of and using it for a far greater good. I would love to meet you some day and give you a big hug – thank you for making our days a little brighter during bachelor/ette seasons and yet also reminding us of what is TRULY important in the big picture of life. You inspire me and make my heart smile.

December 14, 2012 8:02 am

How can you explain your how your perception of the world and your place in it has been transformed? How do you explain that God has led you to you find true beauty? I don’t know.
Africa beats in my heart as well. Kenya changed me. That part of myself is one of my most treasured possessions.
Thank you for sharing this. Thank you for your efforts. May God continue to bless the people of Rawanda and everywhere in the ways that they and we need it most, and may He continue to bless us with opportunities to recognize how we can lift another –and in turn be lifted.
Merry Christmastime, Lincee!

Amy K
December 14, 2012 9:11 am

I am so touched by your story, and the amazing video that I know only captures a small part of your journey. My running coach, Gilbert, was a member of the Tutsi tribe, and escaped a horrific attack on his school in 1993. You can read his story here: http://gilbertsgazelles.com/gilbert_bio.php

He escaped to the US, and started a foundation that builds water projects for Burundi in eastern Africa. I have been a part of his group for a year now, but am inspired to do even more. I know any of us can make one or two small changes in our budget to accommodate for $39 a month. I have not had a chance to browse the site, but I promise to do so and make a commitment.

Thank you Lincee for sharing this amazing story, and I hope you have the opportunity to go on this journey again.

December 14, 2012 10:01 am

Thanks for the comments everyone. I’m so glad you took the time to read and watch!

December 14, 2012 3:23 pm

Ah – that song by Brooke Fraser is the absolute best for capturing the sentiments of moments like this. I think of it so often – “Now that I have seen, I am responsible. Faith without deeds is dead.”

December 14, 2012 4:51 pm

The world is indeed a better place because you are in it. Especially need to hear your words today. I will be inspired by your pure and giving heart and find ways to give back.

Sue in Ohio
Sue in Ohio
December 14, 2012 7:21 pm

Thank you.

It’s said that I am the Best Aunt Ever. But, for your my friend, for your wonderful words, for your heart, and for your sharing, I will gladly share the title. Fantastic.

Like Bri above, I’m so thankful that you have used this silly platform of the bach series to also share your true heart with the world. While I enjoy your tongue and cheek take on that show, I LOVE your ability to share the stuff that matters the most.

Now, where do I sign up for a goat?

December 16, 2012 10:30 am

thank you for sharing and for all that you do. The sponsorship links on the Africa New Life site are down. Do you have a link through your site, showing the children available for sponsorship? Thank you. Merry Christmas Lincee!

Sara S
Sara S
December 17, 2012 1:07 am

Wow, Emily did a beautiful job capturing Rwanda! My heart was smiling as I watched. While many believe Africa is a placed filled with hate, crime and violence I challenge them to look deeper. It is a country filled with hope, joy and people with a faith that’s unshakeable. So proud of your boldness friend. God uses so many avenues to share His sweet grace, mercy and never ending love!

December 17, 2012 7:52 am

Here is a link to Heifer International for those interested. http://www.heifer.org

My daughter asked for a donkey for Christmas, so instead she is getting a goat!! Thanks Lincee for touching my heart and spreading the love of Jesus!

December 17, 2012 1:00 pm

Lincee, my daughter, Anne, works for the IDP Foundation and she is in charge of their program of microfinance loans to underprivileged private schools in Ghana. It is a wonderful cause. http://www.idpfoundation.org. I will pass on your video to her. I know she will love it.

Quilting Hottie
December 17, 2012 10:03 pm

You are amazing.

December 19, 2012 12:31 pm

Thank you.

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