Mzee Samson is 69 years old. He is seen here with his wife. All their children died in the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. In their culture, it is normally the children who look after elderly parents in their old age. So life is difficult.
Mzee has a long term back problem but could never afford medical treatment. They couldn’t even afford the £3 per person per year medical insurance from the government.
They were both amazed and overjoyed to receive the gift of annual medical insurance from RSVP Trust. You can see it on their faces.
Now Mzee can get the medical care he needs.
Total cost of these smiles? £6.
If you want to help us create more smiles like these, please donate any amount here.
Veronica (in the yellow hat) was born in 1925. Most of her family were killed in the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. She is frequently ill. She lives with her daughter and grandson. Her daughter is mentally disabled.
Veronica worries what will happen to her grandson if she dies.
Thanks to RSVP supporters, all three family members now have medical insurance for one year, at £3 per person.
Though they still face many challenges, at least now they can get healthcare when they need it.
If you want to help us to help people like Veronica and her family, please donate here.
‘My soul is exceedingly sorrowful’
Some thoughts by Don Egan
The events of Holy Week are the real roots of Christianity. We follow a suffering Saviour. Much of Christendom has dumbed down the message of Jesus to some Disneyesque-positive-thinking-trite-slogan religion where the idea is, if you pray enough, God will make everything OK and we’ll all live happily ever after. That is not the message of Jesus at all.
Life involves suffering for every man woman and child born on earth.
Some suffer more than others. Some suffering is physical while others suffer emotionally.
For thirty years I was hurting badly. Emotionally traumatised by grief, I somehow got on with life but was only ever firing on two or three cylinders at most. If the Disneyesque Jesus was real, he’d have sent the Fairy Godmother and waved a magic wand and taken my pain away before now. But he didn’t.
When I read the account of Jesus in Gethsemane I am encouraged. I know I’m following a Jesus who understands entirely what it is to be bowed down with grief and sorrow.
This is the mystery of God. While some do get miracles of healing – and I’ve seen many – others continue to suffer badly. In these situations Jesus seems to enter into our suffering rather than taking it away. I don’t know why that is.
One of my frustrations over the years has been seeing many people healed and set free through a healing ministry God seems to have given me, while at the same time I couldn’t get my own wound healed.
If we go beyond the Gospel according Walt Disney, we can see the profound mystery of the wounded healer. There have been many down the ages and even today, a large number of good therapists are themselves wounded healers.
Jesus, of course, is the greatest example of the wounded healer, even quoting a proverb of the time – ‘You will surely say this proverb to me, ‘Physician, heal yourself!’’ Luke 4:23.
I’ve written about my own struggle in a new book Jaded Heart – to be published in a few weeks time. But as I think about Jesus, overwhelmed with sorrow shortly before his arrest, I am encouraged. There is a Saviour who still comes to me, who visits me in the dark times of my soul.
I know so many are facing horrible times just now. I know others, like myself, whose present life is not bad but the past still drags them down. I have no magic wand to take away your pain. But there is great value in meditating on Jesus in the Garden of darkness, and allowing his gentle spirit to connect with our pain. He is the Good Shepherd. He will lead us through to better days ahead.
At the end of May, I will be returning to Rwanda – a place that has known incredible suffering on a scale unimaginable. We will be taking food and bedding to the poor, feeding the hungry and speaking of the Jesus who enters into our world.
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Last week I found myself in a chip shop cafe in East Belfast. Before I left England I made a mental note to avoid East Belfast. Once a year or so, I meet up with a small group of Christians who are trying to make a difference. This group is made up of people who want to think outside the box and pioneer new things. We are not afraid to experiment or to try something that may or may not work. Our passion is to see the life of Christ touch the lives of ordinary people.
So I made my mental note to avoid East Belfast, because of the riots about the flag I had seen every night on the TV news. And you probably have to be Irish to understand the passions stirred up by the changes in when the flag is flown.
However, the Irish members of our little group are ministering at the very heart of East Belfast. They are engaging with the community at street level.
So, to my surprise, we spent most of the 48 hours we were there, in the area where the current troubles are focussed. The Irish are resilient and one hallmark of their character is to keep business as usual in times of riots and bombings.
So we shared our thoughts and ideas on ministry and community, in the chip shops and coffee shops at the various flash points of the current troubles. We found a friendly Irish welcome everywhere.
We wandered around Belfast docks where the Titanic was built and recalled the long history of this place. But the fighting about the flag goes back much further than the Titanic. And really, it is not about a flag at all. But fear and hurt and a broken past.
My paternal ancestry goes back to Ireland and I grew up in Manchester because my ancestors fled the famine that the English inflicted on the Irish.
Down at the chip shop the portions were large. I was struggling to finish my chips. But in a land where potatoes were once valued like gold, I felt it would seem ungrateful not to finish them.
Politicians have a part to play in resolving conflict. But the real solution, I think, is found in the discovery of a new life in Jesus. An encounter that can transform hurting, frightened people into people who can bless and even embrace their enemies.
So this week I am praying for my Irish friends, still there in East Belfast – quietly praying, befriending, helping, feeding the hungry with good things, weeping with those who weep – that Christ may shine through them, and his life and healing be revealed through them.
My abiding memory is, shortly before leaving, we had coffee in a coffee shop at one of the flash points of the riots. An armoured Police Land Rover was parked outside on 24 hour security duty. The owners were glad to have customers. It almost felt like we were doing something positive just being there – making it business as usual.
For we visitors it was an adventure. For my Irish friends it is a life style. Food for thought.
Alison Fenning writes about a lady she prayed with…
A few weeks ago I was speaking at an Ipswich event having been asked to include praying for people to be healed, something they are trying to develop.
One lady asked me if I could pray with her after the event – she waited ages as everyone always wants to chat with the speaker. She explained that she felt led to come to the meeting and had not been before and didn’t know I would be there.
She needed healing as anxiety and depression were taking a hold in her life beginning to take their toll on quality of life and her relationships with others. I prayed gently that Jesus would heal the mind and emotions. I remember being aware of Gods presence.
As I was preaching this last Sunday morning a lady came over at the end and said “Do you remember me?” Indeed I did, she wanted to tell me that since that Saturday morning she has been healed and set free all the fear, anxiety, and the depression had gone and she was beeming! I noted that God had truly planned for her to come and get her freedom that day.
God never ceases to amaze me of His ability on a situation.
Last night I was speaking at a healing Service in Fressingfield, Suffolk. When I arrived I was talking to a lady before the service. She told me of her cousin who has cancer. The lady had given her a copy of my book on Healing. Although her cousin was not a Christian she read my book.
When she got to the section on how to become a Christian she readily prayed the suggested prayer. She had her first session of chemotherapy recently. When the doctors and nurses saw the tests they were shocked. They all said they had never seen anyone respond to chemotherapy so positively. We continue to pray for complete healing.
When I came to set up my bookstall, a couple of the ladies from the church told me they buy my healing books to give away at this service. So I put the books I had brought to one side, as I didn’t want to compete with their book ministry.
Soon lots of people poured into the building – many more than were expected. The presence of God was almost tangible. The church warden said that as we laid hands on the sick, he could feel the power of God moving down the church.
We made mention of the free books and so many took a copy that the ladies took the supply of books I had brought with me and gave them away too! They did offer to pay for them.
As I drove home, I thought of the lady’s cousin who had read the healing book and found Jesus and seemed to be finding a level of unexpected healing in her cancer treatment. If that one little book changed that one life, what stories will transpire from all the books we gave away last night?
Books may preach when the author cannot, when the author may not, when the author dares not, yea, and which is more, when the author is not.
As an extension of RSVP Chaplaincy we are now heading into our third week of launching our Recovery Now program for people with addictions.
This extension is being done in partnership with New Life Church Stowmarket. Over many years Alison and the team have been doing pastoral care and chatting through elements of recovery through one to ones with great success and through partnering with local secular agencies. So this is just an extension of our original vision.
One person has been able to come and begin to get help after many years of not knowing where to turn or how to break the addiction that is ruining his life.
Please pray for this as it grows slowly that God may use this season to bring hope and recovery of life for many.