The Elevation Project: Sponsorship & Families

People often wonder what difference does the $40 a month for sponsorship actually make. The answer is that it makes a big difference – in both Rwanda and Canada!

As the students in Kigali started a new school year in January, our colleagues in Rwanda have been busy updating all the information on the students who are part of the sponsorship program – updating information on the current students, and adding information on students new to the program. As we’ve worked together on this, some exciting news came to our attention. Three Rwandan families whose children have been supported by sponsorship no longer need the financial support of The Elevation Project Sponsorship Program!

This is exciting news. Not only does it mean that these three families financial situations have improved enough that they can now support their children’s education independently, it also means that there are 12 spots open for new children to participate in this life-changing program!

Sponsorship not only makes a difference in the lives of Rwandan families, it also has an impact on the Canadian families who participate as sponsors. Check out what one sponsor has to say about the impact it’s had on their family.

Sponsorship has changed our lives in a way I wouldn’t have expected.

Photo: Students at Kigali Christian School

Sponsorship has changed our lives in a way I wouldn’t have expected. We initially sponsored Aimé as a way to explore the idea of giving with a personal cost. We agreed to set aside one meal a week to both pray for Aimé and eat a simple meal so that we could afford his sponsorship fees. While this has much benefit in expanding our family’s worldview and increasing our children’s personal self-discipline, some things have happened that we did not intentionally encourage. Aimé has become a regular, unprompted focus of prayer, hopes and dreams for our children. One of our kids has consistently put “visiting Aimé’s city” on their wish list. Another routinely prays for him at unexpected times. Sometimes I find the third looking at the side of the bookshelf beside his bed as he falls asleep, and then I realize that it is where the photo of Aimé hangs. Sponsorship turned into a way for me to glimpse the capacity of people (my children) to extend care and concern to someone outside their physical place.

Thank-you for making those lessons possible!

Almost all of the student’s on the program are matched up with sponsors for 2013 – we just have 3 more to go! Click here if you are interested in finding out about The Elevation Project Sponsorship Program.

If you’d like to make a donation to support The Elevation Project, click here.

A Surprise in Richmond

Friends,

I would like to thank you for your support and continuing prayers.  With 2012 over, we look forward to what is in store for 2013.   We are moving forward yet we must also reflect on the past.  Where God has led you in the past may show you where you are going next.  Let us be prepared for our journey with Him.

This year has brought a special surprise to one particular youth that I am working with.  The return of an estranged father into his life!  This has come as a complete surprise, and the simmering anger that used to come out with the mention of “father” now boils over through his face and words.  Please pray for this young man as I continue to minister to him and explain what Jesus’ forgiveness to him and towards his father will bring to their lives.

 

Thank you so much for your unbelievable support of this ministry.

Photo: Richmond

For the Richmond Area, I am excited for the August 2013 Mexico trip where we will be taking almost 40 students and adults to Rancho Milagro, a children’s home, near the San Diego border.  There are 5 teens that I am working with on a consistent basis who will be going.  This is a live changing trip, especially for the numerous teens who have never had the opportunity to serve like this.

Lastly, I am so thankful that Toto Mak has seamlessly joined our Richmond team since Sept 2012.  We continue to serve at Burnett Secondary school and in a variety of other programs.  Her fundraising has allowed her to minister for three days of the week now!

My hope for the Richmond area is to create a network with the local churches and other organizations with whom we can share resources and trade ideas on how to serve the youth in the local community.

If I could make a plea at this time… I would ask you to consider the needs of our ministry, in these following areas:

  1. Staff – still many high schools without youth workers
  2. Volunteers
  3. Financial Support – our funding has decreased due to sponsor changes
  4. Donating Resources (for example, unused cabin space, prizes for teens, etc… I’m still dreaming what this could look like)
  5. Prayer Warriors

Thank you so much again for your unbelievable support of this ministry.

Graduation Day! The Elevation Project

At The Elevation Project, we’ve been blessed to support our friends at Rwanda Youth for Christ as they’ve walked alongside 35 HIV/AIDS affected women from situations of dire poverty, rediscovering dignity and hope for the future.

This year, Rwanda YFC began a sewing school to give some of these women a practical job skill in order that they may support themselves and their families. At Greater Vancouver Youth Unlimited, we were honoured to play a small part in that school by connecting Canadian donors interested in supporting these women to the school through a fund-matching program. As the women learned, they produced goods for sale. We tracked those sales and then matched them with the funds we’d raised here in Canada.

And how did it go this year? Well, check out out what Sarah, a Rwanda YFC staff member had to say about graduation day!

“The day was wonderful and the ladies were so happy.”

Photo: Chantal, one of the of the graduates, celebrating with family.

‘The families of the women were invited and all the staff at Rwanda YFC including pastors from around Kibagabaga [the area where RYFC is located.] We gave certificates to 13 women who successfully completed the training course. All the graduates were given gifts and we gave awards of materials that they can start with to the top 2 who performed excellently. After giving out certificates we shared food and drinks. In brief, the day was wonderful and the ladies were so happy. Thanks for your effort and hard work to improve the program’s sustainability.

In January we are recruiting students, the women and girls who need to join the program so they will start their studies on 4th Feb 2013.’

As we continue to partner with Rwanda YFC in their work with these women, our hope is that the matching funds will help them expand and improve their program for 2013.

Elevation Project, Summer 2012 Trip

The Vision of the Elevation Project is to see transformation in the lives of young Canadians and Rwandans as they grow in understanding God’s heart for His people, offering His hope for a full and abundant life. We do this by building relationships and working together to address all forms of poverty – spiritual, material, and relational. Everything we do is guided by this Vision, as we hope to be a part of God’s healing work in our world.

This summer when we brought together a group of 47 young people (35 Rwandan & 12 Canadian) and 12 leaders (8 Canadian, 2 Rwandan, & 2 American) as a part of the Elevation Project 2012 Trip, we were excited to see how God would use our time. Have a look at the following quotes from some of the trip participants to get a glimpse of the transformation that being a part of the Elevation Project can bring.

Not only has the Elevation Project give me new insight on the world, but I’ve grown to see that God’s heart extends further than I’ll ever be able to grasp. ~ Ros, Canadian Young Person

About God I said, “You are awesome!” God has a wonderful plan for us and His greatness in joining us with the [Canadian] team. ~ Robert, Rwandan Young Person

Photo: Elevation Project, Summer 2012 Trip

As you can see, God did a lot in our team as we had the opportunity to work together and we hope this is just the beginning of that journey for all of us. There is so much more that God has in store – all we have to do is open our ears and listen to His voice as He invites us into His Kingdom work of reconciliation and love.

You can read more about our trip on our Summer 2012 Trip Blog, or watch the video below.

2012 Rwanda Summer trip – Large from Charlotte Browning on Vimeo.

Elevation Project

At the end of March, a small group of Youth Unlimited staff visited our friends in Rwanda as part of the Elevation Project. With us, we took small practical gift bags for every child, filled with basic Canadian themed stationary, bought with donations from our wonderful Canadian sponsors. As part of this trip, Sam Rowland, one of our staff members, and a gifted Christian communicator, was putting on concerts in partnership with YCF Rwanda. One of these concerts was at YFC’s school in which we are greatly invested. The resounding theme of this concert was that each child was special and greatly loved by God. It was after these concerts that the gift bags were distributed.

The following day, one of the teachers shared this story: a young boy from the school had taken the gift bag home, telling his Dad about some friends of his who had come from the other side of the world and how much they loved him. He asked his Dad if he had ever had anyone do that and described how far it was on the map Sam showed. He kept saying, “Dad they really care for me. They really love me and think I’m special.” 

What a beautiful reflection of God’s great love, that like the loaves and fishes, the little we give can be multiplied

Photo: Elevation Project

The young boy wanted to find a way to give a gift back. His granny had given him a goat, which was his greatest possession, so he and his father wanted to bring it to school to give to us as a token of his love.

What a beautiful reflection of God’s great love, that like the loaves and fishes, the little we give can be multiplied. As we offer this small practical gift to the young boy, God multiplied it in the hearts of his family. They got a glimpse of God’s extravagant love through us, so much so, they wanted to give what little they had in return. What a privilege to be part of!