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But Then, We Had Compassion

travel to rwanda It’s Sunday morning, and in the distance I hear the Rwandan Church, lifting its praises to God. Familiar music and smells and sights fill the air and my heart fills with gratitude.

For the first time since my visit here four years ago, I am back in Rwanda.

I’m staying at a small hotel just outside of Kigali, Rwanda. After enjoying a delicious breakfast of eggs, tea and passion fruit, I ask the front desk concierge, Irene, to call me a cab. It’s time for me to meet up with the group of sponsors for the Rwanda Sponsor Tour.


I rummage through my bag and pull out the trip guide to find the name of my destination. Irene notices the Compassion logo on the front cover.

“Oh! I know Compassion! Praise God for Compassion. I was a sponsored child there for 14 years.”

Irene and I hug, like we are long-lost sisters. She shares more of her story with me.

“My parents were both killed in the genocide when I was only 6 years old. It was just me and my brother, and we had no one. But then, we had Compassion.”

Irene’s eyes light up and her smile widens when she begins to talk about her time with Compassion.

“My sponsors, Janet and James, did so much for me. They prayed for me. When it was Christmas and my birthday, they sent me gifts. They helped me get through secondary school.”

Irene graduated from the Compassion child development program in 2009 and continues to pray for her sponsors.

“Even though we no longer write letters, they are close to my heart.”

Irene is now an independent adult, working at the hotel and visiting the local child development center in her spare time. Irene and her country, once torn apart by the evil of genocide, now rise from destruction with songs of praise.