“Orphan” in Rwanda might mean something different.
In much of the world, orphans are thought of as those who have lost both parents. Often when referring to orphans in the context of Rwanda, however, single-parent orphans are included in statistics demonstrating the horrific damage inflicted on Tutsi families. While countless Rwandan children across the nation could be described as orphaned under any definition, scores of others suffered the loss of one parent -- in addition to any number of other relatives. Displaced widows and orphans across the brutalized country were forced to rebuild their lives with huge pieces missing. In the midst of unimaginable pain, though, many new family bonds were formed. Emmanuel found his calling in returning to Rwanda, where he helped connect orphans in desperate need of love with widows willing to open their hearts.
Years before he established the Hope Vocational Training Center to meet the long-term goals of these orphans, he was instrumental in meeting their immediate needs. Just two years after he narrowly escaped the mass genocide that left almost his entire family dead, Emmanuel said two spiritual advisors in two separate situations had delivered the same message: God wanted him to fulfill a mission in Rwanda.
“After getting one message from two different people, as a Christian I was just thinking, ‘What is happening right now in my inside? Why this message is coming at this point?” he recalled.
He said he needed to hear from God directly before he returned to the nation where he lost everything. Following three days of prayer and fasting, he got his message.
Upon deciding to obey God’s will, Sitaki said he “miraculously” obtained a plane ticket and soon arrived in a once familiar homeland that appeared entirely foreign.
“When I got there, I was completely lost,” he said. “Lost in my belief, lost in being alone. And I questioned everything. I was asking why. Why, God, did you ask me to come to such a place like this?”
Emmanuel returned to the neighborhoods where his loved ones once lived, finding the streets lined with orphans in desperate need and barely surviving. That sight clarified his mission. He recognized God’s voice and was reminded of James 1:27, which calls on believers to care for orphans and widows.
“When I heard that, I said OK, now I understand the reason why I’m here,” he said.
These broken families have created a generation of orphans still in need of not only resources, but the encouragement and support of someone who wants to see them succeed. Those orphans found it when he placed them with widows back in 1996 -- and then again when they were among the first to learn a marketable trade through the school he went on to establish.
With a donation to the Hope Vocational Training Center, you can make sure another student finds the hope and encouragement he or she so desperately needs!