Friday, April 17, 2009

Being 'helpful'

I think one of the highlights for all of us on the team was working together with members of Gesanga to build a house. The community leaders work very closely with Food for the Hungry to identify the people with the most needs. They identified a widow named Anne Marie as having inadequate housing for herself and her five children (four her own, and one adopted). One of the neat things that FFH does with visiting teams is that they add on an additional sum to the cost of the trip for a community project. So the eleven of us basically bought the land and the labor for this home to be built, and then got to work building the home alongside people from the community.

The first day we got to the work site, I was eager to be effective, and wanted to make the best use of the time. Ernest (I can't wait to tell you more about Ernest, the Director of the Child Development Program, and translator for us for most of the trip) demonstrated how to make a mortar ball by pulling and rolling up mud to be taken to the bricklayers. I jumped right in and began rolling a ball, but when I tried to pick it up, it fell apart. I put my little snowball sized mortar ball in the pan, and then tried to lift a brick up to the scaffolding. My arms got as high as my shoulders and then stopped. Two Rwandan men came on each side of me to push my arms and the brick I was holding up onto the scaffolding.

I walked over to Ernest and asked, "How helpful am I when it takes two men to help me help them?" He laughed and pointed down the street and said, "This is how you are helping." Up the street came about fifteen people from the community to watch us, work with us, and laugh at us the rest of the morning. Later I read this quote at the FH office, and it helped me further process this experience...

"If you have come to help me you are wasting your time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together. - Aboriginal activists group, Queensland, 1970s



  1. Wonderful quote! Great story.

    xo, H.

  2. God bless you, Sarah, for being obedient.

  3. I can picture it very well. Lovely.

  4. love the quote.

    miss you guys. say hi next time you are in nashville :)


  5. So glad I found this blog!!! What a wonderful story and quote!

  6. Your brick raising story is so meaningful in more ways than one. Thank you for sharing.

  7. I can't believe that you are in Rwanda! This a weird thing. I am looking to see if I can find some sort of contact information for you because we are wanting to see if you will endorse a book about Rwanda. Baker Publishing House is Publishing and Immaculee is endorsing already. can you email me? Please please, we always use your song in our presentations at our Rwanda dinners. You feel like part of the team. :)

    My email:

  8. Sara, I'm going to Uganda and Somalia in July of this year. It's for a professional trip (I'm a law professor), but while I'm there, I'd like to do what I can to help. Do you have ideas about whom I could contact?

  9. Sara thanks for your blog! Your music and life inspire me so very much. I started listening to your music a few years after the Lord transformed my heart. It has gotten me through the courting of my now husband of five years, through my pregnancies of my two boys 4 & 3 and they now request YOUR music in the car! We noticed as infants that they were relaxed instantly by the sound of your music (I think they heard it a lot while in the womb :). You have taught me scripture and about my sin nature. I am disappointed to have missed your recent concert in Knoxville, TN. I am sure it was beautiful. I just want to thank you for your work you are doing for the Lord. May He bless you as much as you have been a blessing to me and my family. Your music NEVER disappoints! Praise the Lord for gifting your heart and vocal cords :)

  10. Sara- As I watched your Nomad DVD when it first came out, I sat on my couch and cried (in a good way!), just moved by what you said about feeling like your back was to the wall. i am a stay-at-home mom of 3 girls, and I have prayed since that day that the Lord would use me mightily for His glory! I agree with you when you said at the end of your life, you don't even want for there to be wax left- you want to be completly "used up" for Jesus! Thank you for stepping out in faith, I stand with you! My hubby completed his MDiv in 2005 and we are in the midst of church planting- I am scared, but I want so badly to grow the kingdom for HIS glory- i am also very passionate about IJM (since first hearing about it on the DVD) and my husband and I are going to sponsor one of the children Gesanga. Thank you for being about he Gospel- pouring out your life so that others may know HIM.

  11. Sara - I listened to you and your music at a MOPS convention in Orlando in 2007 - your music has touched my life... and I will never forget you standing on stage with baby spit-up on you... you became REAL in that moment. You were a mom up there - just like me. I have your music on my blog, and I never hesitate to give your station wagon CD to new moms. My daughter who is 7 also enjoys your music, and just yesterday borrowed one of your CDs to play in her room. It is great when you sing my favorite songs, but it is even better when my 7 year old worships with me... and her favorite song is also a Sara Groves song. I plan on being at Busch Gardens in May to hear YOU... Thanks for starting a blog... I don't have the opportunity to hear you LIVE much, but a blog reminds me of your "real" moments... wish we could sit and have coffee and talk about our mutual Savior. Keep sharing your heart and singing... and I'll try to wear a clean shirt with no baby spit-up when I see you in Tampa!!!

  12. I'm heading to Liberia in one month with seven other women...this was a wonderful reminder to begin the perspective shift now.

  13. Hey Sara,

    Love your heart for Africa, especially Rwanda! My family is in the process of bringing home our 7 year old son from Ethiopia. At some point, we hope to sponsor and/or run an orphanage. So much work to do, praying that others are inspired by what your family is doing!

    Sweet blessings,
    Amy in OR

  14. Troy, Sara and family:
    I have just sat with a close friend yesterday on her return from Rwanda...a trip for which we have prayed for i received your CD in the mail entitled "Tell Me What You Know" heart is so friable with the precious ones of Rwanda. Thank you for obeying His call to care for these in Gisanga...He is doing something Huge to heal His dear Rwanda. May we hear, see, act and obey whatever He allows for us to join with Him in His work..."Further Up! Further In!" (C.S. Lewis - The Last Battle)

  15. Sara,

    What are the chances our Africa website could use your "I saw what I saw" song on our website???? Not sure how to contact you to ask for trying here since the website didn't have a link.

    Andrea Young:)

  16. The quote by the Aboriginal man is great. Don't help people. Love them, find their heart and work heard to be a blessing with your sweat and tears, not just your money.

    Kim and I lived in Africa 8 years and just moved back to the USA this spring. We miss our Africa family terribly.

    Blessings Sara, and be a blessing!

    Jon & Kim Raines
    '92 & '94 Evangel alums