Losing one parent is one too many. For Josiah, a young boy in Rwanda, Africa, losing his mother to HIV/AIDS in 2014 almost prevented him from remaining in his family. Josiah was only 3 years old. He and his 3 brothers and sister were living with their father named Emmanuel, who was also unwell. A carpenter by profession, Emmanuel did casual construction jobs to get by. However, after losing his wife, Emmanuel’s health began to decline and his body weakened. He was unable to provide for his family. Emmanuel’s mother and oldest daughter took on the responsibility of caring for the young family- three of whom were still in elementary school.
This sad situation provided a powerful opportunity for the local church to bring hope and support. Emmanuel attends a local Anglican church in their community where his late wife also attended. The church reached out to little Josiah, his father Emmanuel and the rest of the family. The church explained that while Emmanuel recovered, the church could help support his family. They could see that the family was vulnerable not only to disease, but to being separated out of desperation and poverty. An orphanage would have been one fo the few options if little Josiah’s family did not have the support of the local church.
Through Rwanda Sponsorship, the local church has wholistically come alongside Josiah’s family. They are being supported by their church community and are frequently visited by the members in their church family. Through God’s mercy, Emmanuel is now recovering and his family has remained together - largely in response to the relationship they’ve developed with their local church.
The Church is the hope of the world and the hope for struggling families. Ending the orphan crisis is not just about getting children out of orphanages – it’s also about helping keep children out of orphanages in the first place by caring for parents impacted by HIV.
Did you know you can support a family like Emmanuel's no matter where you live? Saddleback Rwanda Orphan Care sponsorship helps support families to care for children who otherwise would be in institutional care. By giving through the local church, sponsorship enables the entire church to come alongside families like Josiah’s, serving them in every facet of life. Because of Sponsorship, care and support reached these siblings before they became orphans, and the family is able to grow together!
Additionally, if you would like to go on a Rwanda HIV/Healthcare PEACE Trip to teach churches like Emmanuel's how to care for people living with HIV in their community, email HIV@saddleback.com for more information!