Published Tue, Sep 03, 2019. Written by Caroline Wilkins.
By: Angel Galvis
After spending nearly 18 hours of travel from Boston to Kigali, Rwanda, my mind was focused on the work ahead with Manchester Christian Church’s mission team. As I sat in the back of our van on our way to Nasho, a village in southeast Rwanda, I was mesmerized by the landscape. I thought, “Wow, this is something else -- the land of a thousand hills!”
We passed by strong women walking miles to fill large yellow jugs with water while carrying babies tied to their backs. Men pushed bicycles full of plantains and sacks of rice. And bumpy red dirt roads leading to villages provided the well-known yet unwanted “African massage.”
The further we went on these dirt roads, the further we got from the quick pace and constant connectedness of the western world. And the happier people seemed.
When we arrived in Nasho, children ran alongside the road screaming, “Muzungu!” (white people), extending their hands to ask for money and empty water bottles. Because clean water is such a rare luxury, kids look for any kind of container where they can store some of the precious liquid -- a struggle Americans don’t usually face.
Every trip provides different opportunities for God’s love to be shared; and at the villages in Rwanda, His love is reflected in the joy and welcoming attitude of these people.
Each morning our team arrived in Nasho, we split into smaller groups to work on different projects. This year, we introduced a concept for water filtration and provided materials to many families in the village. Sanitation is an important matter for us to help with, as dirty water is a large cause of disease in an area where access to clean water is limited.
Over two days, we also visited six homes to equip leaders with resources such as Bibles and devotionals, and to encourage them to start small Bible study groups. The Great Commission click when I stepped into one home -- a mud hut big enough to fit only a few people -- to distribute some of these materials. This was the highest point so far in my trip, and the feeling I got was indescribable. I knew then that we are called to make disciples of all nations, and it was a great feeling of reassurance and love -- love only our Lord and the relationship with Him provides.
In total, we were able to provide the village with about 250 Bibles. We also donated a couple of sewing machines to the women’s cooperative, which enables them to generate income for their families. In addition, the team provided families with 40 goats as a source of food. Each family who received an animal is to share the first female goat offspring with a neighbor, to ensure the project becomes a self-sustaining ministry. We also conducted many activities with the children: We told the story of David and Goliath, which included a coloring activity; played games; and worshipped together to bring them closer to Jesus, and continue building the relationship that MCC has forged for many years. Phase 1was a success!
But there was one child in the village that really stood out to me. His name is Hasan, and for the entire time the mission team played games and interacted with the children, he latched on to my hand and did not leave my side. When I needed both hands for something I would let go of his hand, only to find him holding my index finger (as this was all his little hand could grasp) when I put my hands down again. When the activities were finished and we were ready to leave the village, I headed into the church to sit and rest. But as I walked away from the crowd, I realized he was still attached to my finger, not willing to let go.
He didn’t talk much, as a matter of fact, when I sat in the church he just stood there in front of me, looking like we were meant to have this time to connect. In my limited knowledge of the Kinyarwandan language, I asked him what his name was. His only response came from the pain I saw in his eyes, which appeared to tell of a life of struggle. Mariam, the translator sitting next to me, also tried asking for his name, but there was still no response. Instead, he put his head down and started drawing lines on the coloring paper all the children were given earlier in the day. He shut down any eye contact, but I knew he was holding onto some sort of pain.
One of the village pastors came closer to him and asked for his name, this time with a little more “pressure” for an answer. The child replied in a very, almost inaudible volume, “Hasan.”
I prayed in that moment, asking God what he was trying to tell me by putting Hasan in my path. Even though I don’t know for sure, I got the sense that Hasan was going through a very difficult time, like so many children in homes with multiple siblings and no resources. I thought maybe he was showing signs of abuse or neglect. Then one of my teammates pointed out that this boy found comfort and safety around me -- a complete stranger. In that moment, I knew God’s answer. Going back to Rwanda year after year to visit our friends and church family has given them a sense of community and fellowship, which brings them hope. They know that God loves them and has sent us to share that with them.
But the best part was yet to come as we neared the end of our visit in the villages: It was time to go back to Kigali, where the Child Hope Center was waiting for us with open arms. And Hasan’s story reminded me of the reason that we are helping children in this country -- to overcome life’s obstacles.
Over the past year since my last trip, the Mission Life team and myself have been working together with Bishop Theophile Rugubira and Africa Hope Initiatives to establish a child sponsorship program to address the lack of resources such as food, clothing and money for school supplies and fees.
It’s been less than two months since the Child Hope Center opened its doors, but children's lives are already showing transformation. Every day, kids go to the center after school to receive homework help, learn about Jesus and eat a warm meal.
I had the opportunity to experience it firsthand. Around 5 p.m., kids started arriving, ready to sing praises and hear the good news of God. I saw hope in the eyes of 40 children yelling “theacha me” (teacher me), while snapping their fingers, eager to answer questions the pastor asked. It was magical to see our work and the support of many donors coming to fruition.
I felt a profound sense of joy, knowing that God is using me -- and all of you -- to be a resource for His will to be done in the lives of these children.
I am just one guy, but I am blessed to continue to meet others along this journey who share the same vision. Though I make several trips each year to visit our partners and children -- such as the Child Hope Center -- countless others have found ways to make an impact and increase our reach through gifts of time, resources, knowledge and/or support.
You don’t have to be the boots on the ground to effect change and make an impact, it may be volunteering locally, offering a donation or simply talking.
Published Tue, Apr 30, 2019. Written by Caroline Wilkins.
We at Mission Life thank you for your support. Because of your help, 2019 has proven to be an exciting year already. We are well on our way to funding the Child Hope Center in Kigali, Rwanda. In March, we launched a new partnership in Guatemala with 51 children up for sponsorship - 9 of them are already sponsored! If you would like to sponsor another child, please visit our sponsorship page.
Thanks to Manchester Christian Church, Mission Life was featured at all of their campuses on March 24 where many contacts were made, volunteers recruited, and 12 children sponsored.
Mission Life received an update from our Colombian partner, the Formavida Foundation where we have 79 children on our website, of which 43 are now sponsored. God has blessed our efforts through people like you who have come alongside to fulfill this dream to connect children with people who care, One child at a time.
Here is news from Formavida:
We hope you will enjoy this video update from Formavida. Don’t forget to log in to your profile at by clicking here and send an message to your sponsored child. Any video updates from your child will be in your profile as well.
All of us at Mission Life continue to rejoice in God’s sure and timely provision for what He has called us to do.
God bless you,
Founder & CEO
Published Wed, Mar 27, 2019. Written by Caroline Wilkins.
Mission Life is pleased to announce the newest addition to our partnership family, the Exodo Foundation! Sponsorships are now available!
Based in Villa Canales, Guatemala, the Exodo Foundation is an Umbrella organization that provides support and oversees the different aspects of ministry that includes Church Healing of the Nations, the Norma Ferrell Surgical Center, and village outreach to bring basic resources, evangelize, and provide deworming events.
Stephanie Hawley, the President of Foundation Exodo not only founded two churches, but has also been dedicated, since 1987, to bringing healing on a spiritual and physical level to anyone that she approaches. Stephanie and her team routinely travel hundreds of miles to places where no one else dares to go where they bring the good news of salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Mission Life is excited to come alongside Exodo’s Samuel Ministry through our child sponsorship model. In addition to serving daily hot lunches, Samuel Ministry provides these precious, under-resourced children with Bible knowledge and spiritual growth, homework help and tutoring, arts and crafts, and sports activities. By using trained personnel, Samuel Ministry creates a wonderful, safe, and inviting place for personalized attention which fosters growth in the subjects in which the children need improvement.
In addition to sponsorships, Mission Life is seeking to raise funds to help Exodo expand their Child Center. Please visit our Child Center campaign for more information. Always remember: when we give, lives change.
Published Fri, Mar 15, 2019. Written by Caroline Wilkins.
By: Angel Gavlis
Have you ever asked yourself what is your mission or purpose in life? Well, I believe our mission in life if to find our purpose; to find the reason why we were created (or, were born)!
I once read that the most important days of our lives are the day we were born and the day we die, but I asked myself “what about the time in between?”
Then I found the answer: the most important day in our lives is when you win the lottery...haha just kidding, or maybe not. See, life is a treasure hunt; we all search for something that will give life a meaning, we go through it, for the most part, trying to find happiness, a career, money, or for some, a purpose.
Well, I would like to tell you that the most important day in our lives is the day we find out why we were born. That is the day everything makes sense, even the reason to see death as a good destination, as the fulfillment of your journey.. and this is what I mean.
I am an immigrant from Colombia. I arrived in the States when I was 18 years old, running away from violence and scarcity. I was looking for an opportunity at life and I had an agenda full of ambition and luggage full of dreams. Soon after, I was able put all that I had criticized so harshly in the rear mirror.
I thought that opportunity would translate into wealth of some sort. And I certainly took advantage of it: I achieved success in many aspects of life. I was able to get the education I came looking for and the material things most of us wish for. But when I received my first look at the American Dream, I found that happiness still eluded me.
Has this ever happened to you, that no matter where you are in life: financially, relationally, or wherever you think success lies, a deeper meaning is missing?
Well, I was there, a couple of years into a life transformed in Christ, but still missing something.
Nonetheless, right in the middle of my life (or career), while doing a project for college, I had this spiritual encounter that provided insight into God’s purpose for my life. That turning point was a message through a psychology course project called “Vision Quest”. The Lord used this to give me “self-actualization”, the true meaning of self with Christ as the center of all.
You see, this project had nothing to do with spirituality, or Christianity, it was just a simple exercise to help us realize our purpose as human beings. I remember the instructions said: Just go where your instincts tell you to go. Let your "intuition" carry you. Just wander, but of course, do not do anything dangerous, to which I thought: “so what’s the fun in that?” Keeping in mind the whole time, that I was on a "quest." – a vision quest, and looking for signs on how this "quest" could lead to insight.
That weekend while I was doing that project, I came to my church’s service on Sunday, and in the program handout, there it was (the sign I didn’t even know I was looking for), in the worship program, the name of the message series to start the following week was… take a guess,“Vision Quest” You might think it was coincidence, but we all know God doesn’t do coincidence!
All through that time I realized my purpose was to create a way to give back some hope to the country I came from and to the unprivileged children of the world, so that by changing their lives, we can help change the destination of our world.
My purpose is Mission Life: a non-profit created to answer Jesus’ call to change the world by connecting children in need with people who care about them.
Change one life, change the world.
Published Thu, Mar 14, 2019. Written by Caroline Wilkins.
By: Anita Oswald
A little over three months ago, Angel, the Founder and CEO of Mission Life, asked me if I wanted to be one of a handful of people that would travel to Antigua, Guatemala on a discovery trip to evaluate a potential partner organization. My only question was, “When do we leave?” Thankfully I knew what a discovery trip was, I wasn’t ready to look like an uninformed weirdo… Just yet anyways!
In the weeks leading up to our trip, I had many reservations, one being that there are active volcanoes, what happens if we are too close to one when it erupts? Turns out we were close enough to see them erupt, but not close enough to be in harm's way. This was actually one of the most majestic things I have ever seen in my entire life, to date. Nature can be absolutely stunning, but there is nothing like an erupting volcano to remind you that nature can also be devastating in it’s beauty.
But to stay on track… To say that I was prepared for Guatemala would be an understatement of epic proportions. I expected one experience and left having had an entirely different one. Please do not misinterpret that as a bad thing, because it was definitely not bad. On the contrary, it was amazing and I am entirely grateful to have not had the experience I was expecting!
Stephanie, the Founder of Exodo Foundation, where we stayed and the organization we were evaluating, went above and beyond to make sure that we were welcomed with the warmest reception, had as many creature comforts as she could have available, indulged all of our crazy American tourist habits, taught us all so many things about her faith, shared her testimony, and helped us all become better in our own faith… Though I still miss my Star Wars pajama pants: a story for another day!
In any case, for those reasons above, and because Stephanie was instrumental in introducing this rag-tag team from New Hampshire to the Samuel Ministry and Pastor Eddy, I will forever sing her praises. As a byproduct of Exodo Foundations efforts, the Samuel Ministry has implemented an after school children’s program that fits into exactly what Mission Life is looking for in partner organizations. So after six days of traveling around Guatemala, speaking to so many wonderful people, hearing many amazing testimonies, eating a ton of delicious food, and completing our discovery mission, the decision was made.
Only a few weeks ago it was announced that Exodo Foundation would become the newest partner to join the Mission Life family, and by extension, the Samuel Mission. This is incredible news because it means almost a hundred children will be added into the Mission Life database for sponsorship, that is almost a hundred children that will benefit from someone’s generosity. All of those dreams that we can help foster.
As part of the Mission Life team, and the discovery team responsible for helping our organization grow, it is a very humbling and emotional moment for me to know that the people I spent six days of my life with will not be just that, but will be friends and coworkers for life.
Now, have you ever seen an avocado in the wild? I have, and let me just tell you, it was bigger than my head… almost!!
Published Tue, Mar 12, 2019. Written by Caroline Wilkins.
By: Patricia Carroll
Seven years ago I decided to sponsor a child. I entered into it with the idea that I was going something really good for a child in need, but at the same time, in the back of my mind, I was thinking about how it made me look really kind and good for doing it. (Go ME!!) I proudly sent off my first letter, telling her all about me and my family, and the place I lived, asked a few questions about her and waited impatiently for my first letter from her. It came, just a few dictated and translated lines from a seven year old who could not yet write well, along with a drawing of a ball and a doll, and I proudly showed it off, this letter from MY child. (Go ME!!) I wrote her again, telling her all about things I was doing, asked a few more questions about her schoolwork and again impatiently waited. I had good intentions of writing her once a month, as any good sponsor would. (Go ME!!) Well, I never seemed to actually get around to doing that, but when I got a letter I would reply right away because I was a good sponsor! (Go ME!!) This went on for a couple of years, and I was pleased with myself for the good I was doing (not that I actually KNEW exactly what good I was doing, but I was sending money and that had to be good, so Go ME!!).
But then, I had the opportunity to travel to meet my sponsor child.
I thoughtfully chose gifts to take her (and told all my friends what I was taking her .) (G0 ME!!) Would she like the gifts I brought? Would she remember that I had sent birthday and Christmas gifts through the sponsorship organization every year? (Go ME!!) Would she recognize me? Surely she would, because like a good sponsor I had sent pictures and told her all about me. (Go ME!!)
The van arrived and Kirabo and her translator got out. We did know each other instantly from our pictures. That beautiful girl came to me with a shy smile and hugged me and in that instant all the Go ME!! in me was gone. In that instant I understood that this was never about me. And as we sat and talked, and painted her nails and put together puzzles, and colored in coloring books together it became more and more about her.
I came home and my letters were no longer about ME, they were all about her and all the things she told me; her life, her family, her hopes and dreams. Child sponsorship was no longer about helping a child and making myself look good in the process. It was now about helping a child achieve all she could achieve and be all she could be. It was now about the fact that the money pays for school uniforms and supplies she needs. It was now about the fact that it funds afterschool enrichment programs that improve her study skills and advance her learning. It was now about the fact that it helps pay for more nutritious food than might otherwise be available.
I have been lucky enough to visit with my child every year for the last four years. I take pictures of us when I am there, and send them to her once I have come home. She’s a teenager now. I have been so blessed by having the opportunity to walk through these growing up years with her. I cannot wait to see the adult she becomes. And what’s in it for me? Nothing that matters! What’s in it for her? So much to improve her future! And that is all that matters!
Published Mon, Mar 11, 2019. Written by Caroline Wilkins.
Mission Life's Founder/CEO Angel Galvis and Bishop Theophile Rugubira of Harvest Christian Church talk about the needs of the children in Kigali and why the assistance Mission Life can provide is so important.