“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Fathers care. And even the very hairs on your head are numbered. So don’t be afraid. You are worth many sparrows.”
One of the most inspiring things that we have gotten to witness in our very short time here is the abundance of different efforts that are taking place to provide for the needs of the people of Rwanda. One method or model of doing this is through co-ops, or groups of local people working together on a project that brings in income or progress. Many of these co-ops are groups of Rwandan women who have been left vulnerable through cultural circumstances, financial distress, human trafficking, or poverty in general. These women are trained in a skill or craft and are then able to create and sell for one specific branded group in order to provide a sustainable income for their families. Many of these groups also have programming and resources available to help the women heal their souls, grow spiritually and develop personally.
One of the co-ops that I have had the opportunity to visit is called More Than Sparrows. An expat woman who has since gone home and left an incredible legacy started it many years ago. Now a Rwandan woman, we’ll call her J, is there pouring her heart and soul into this ministry. She had the opportunity and dream to study sciences in university and be a doctor. Instead the Lord closed doors that eventually steered her towards leading this group of women in healing and learning to value themselves a daughters of the King. Just the way that J talks about her opportunity to share and carry the burdens of these women is inspiring. J devotes her entire life to the growth and development of the women at More than Sparrows. They get to be in a safe place where they feel loved, cared for and cherished, as they learn and lean into the idea that they are more than sparrows to our heavenly Father.
This country has seen heartbreak, pain, suffering and tragedy. But they are resilient. And in our short few days here we have already experienced this. People have hope for today and for a better tomorrow. They inspire me to believe even more earnestly that the Lord will provide for us in his timing and within his plans.
In scripture, Matthew talks about how evident it is that the Lord provides for our needs as we look at the birds of the air: they do not reap or sow. Yet he provides for them. So how much more should we trust that he will provide for us? Later in Matthew he explains even further that even a lowly sparrow is seen and known by our Father. He describes the hairs on our head as being known; that every intimate detail of our hearts is known to a good Father who will meet us in our dark and difficult places. As we have stepped into this new context we have had to refuse the lies of the enemy and hold strong to truth: we are more than sparrows. We have a Savior who knows us intimately and he hears the cries of our hearts. When we aren’t sure how to process all that is happening and we miss our people at home, we are loved deeply by a King who is enough. When visas are complicated, we see dozens of houses, and we adjust to new life here, we know that we can stand on the faithful promises of our great God.
While we have struggled to set up life, we have also been met with the sweetest people who have provided so consistently for our needs in this interim. We have had meals provided for us, a house with the most precious family (who answers every “how to” question with grace and patience!), friends to do brunch with, guys to play basketball with, girls to have coffee with, and rain to reveal the most beautiful landscape. We feel safe and cared for. We feel loved by strangers who will hopefully continue to become close friends. Things here take time, and sometimes a few failed attempts first. But as we battle through the details we are reminded that we are more than sparrows and we are loved and sent by the Creator of the entire universe, and nothing is unknown to Him.