From November 11, 2012 through January 14, 2013 our Christ Church family was privileged to host the Asante Children’s Choir from Rwanda, Africa. The choir consisted of 18 beautiful children, many of them former orphans, ranging in age from 8 to16. They came to America to say, “Asante,” which means “Thank You” in Swahili.
During this two-month Midwest Tour the choir sang in 35 venues including churches, schools, shopping malls and a Harley Davidson dealership. They visited Como Zoo and the State Capitol. They went on rides at the Mall of America. They traveled from Minneapolis to St. Paul, from Willmar to Cambridge, from Monticello to Northfield. They were blessed with a total of $82,000 in offerings and 138 more children were sponsored in Rwanda at $35/month; a gift that provides healthcare, schooling, food, clothing and a future.
From the Sunday night we first picked them up at the airport until the Monday morning we said our goodbyes, their smiles and hugs, faith and prayers became a tangible expression of the universal love of God. The faces of these children radiated the joy of Jesus. Their special gifts of song, dance and drums inspired us, tired us, and brought tears to our eyes. We will never forget the amazing Christmas Eve services we celebrated together and little Furaha dancing into our hearts with his special rendition of “Joy to the World.”
About 20 Christ Church families took turns hosting the Asante children and chaperones in their homes for more than three weeks of the tour, some even longer. I’m so proud of them! They all made significant sacrifices in order to welcome these kids into their families and provide them with so many wonderful experiences. Countless others from Christ Church provided food, clothing and financial support totaling more than $8,000. Even so, every person would agree that they received far more than they gave!
These amazing children have now returned to their beloved Rwanda. Our thoughts and prayers go with them. They touched our lives and have reminded us again “how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ.” To them, we say, “Asante!” May God continue to bless you all for the many gifts you have given us! The thanks is all ours!
Pastor Greg Pagh