Thursday, February 28, 2013

Just Feedin' Some Kids

Have y'all heard?!!
We started feeding some kiddos this month! 870 of them!!

Yeah, it was kind of amazing.
In a this-is-so-amazing-I-don't-know-what-to-say kind of way.

Sooo...... First, I'll say God is good. Like, really, really we-don't-deseve-these-kind-of-blessings-but-we'll-take-'em good.

Then, I'll say thank you, because this most certainly wouldn't be possible without your prayers, love and support, your purchase of bags, and just flat out donations.

And now, I'm gonna show you a whole bunch of pictures from my unbelievably talented, partner in crime, Alison.

We were so proud to have the girls there. This was all because of them, after all. I don't think they really knew what they were in for at this point. More on them later....

On the menu: Kawunga, cabbage, and beans.

Kawunga looks like mashed potatoes and tastes like bread.

Once you add water and oil it becomes thick. Very thick.
Armed and ready to cook some kawunga.

 Our four sweet cooks show up, bright and early, at 6am to get this show on the road.

The kitchen is tiny and unbearably smokey. Luckily, most of the prep work is done outside and we have since raised the roof and added a few more windows.


As the food started to roll out, we set to work separating the dishes amongst the classes.

 The girls happily jumped in and got to work because they are perfect like that.

And here it comes.....

 We prayed for this day for so long. So long that it didn't even seem real when it happened.

They were eating their first ever school lunch.
And they were oh, so happy!

Y'all, six months ago, our big dream was to get 250 kids fed.
Three months ago, we learned that it was actually going to be closer to 650.
One month ago, the number went up to 750.
This month we fed the exact 870 kids that God had in mind from the beginning.
 It was pretty amazing.

But, more than that, the sweet realization for our girls as they saw, with their own eyes, what was really happening here.

That Tuesday afternoon, our girls found themselves right smack dab in the middle of a move a God.
 What's better than that?

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

it happened.

alisonholcomb photography
Well, today it happened.

Exactly one month shy of our one year anniversary,
No.41 opened our first feeding program.

I don't have words. Just tears.
I am so in awe of this beautiful mess I get to call mine.

I can't imagine why He picked me.
But I'm so thankful He did.

Today, because of your love, prayers and support,
870 students ate their first ever school lunch.
Can't wait to tell you more!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Behind the Bag- Jenn

You know those friends you never knew you were missing until they came along? That is Jenn for me. Our friendship was quick, like most things here-- everything is intensified, and she has been a sounding board for so many of lives twists and turns. Times when you're so excited all you can do is scream, times when the sadness is so thick no words can be found, and all those crazy times in between. Jenn has spoken life directly to my heart. She is a dreamer AND a doer and she inspires me more than she'll ever know. I am so honored to share her story.....

Hi my name is Jennifer. This is my little family.

My No. 41 story begins long before there was a No. 41...When Tara had been in Rwanda for less than a year, still wondering what exactly God had planned for her. When my husband, Chris, and I were walking on Rwandan soil for the first time. Our story, Tara’s story and the story of a beautiful Rwandan boy all collided that day. We had traveled to Rwanda with a Visiting Orphans team. On our last evening in Rwanda, Tara came to dinner. I was a total mess after leaving the children who lived at Noel Orphanage. My heart was broken. I don’t know if I have ever told Tara this, but I wanted so badly to talk to her, I wanted to know what it was like to live in Rwanda. Scoping out the dinner seating, I made sure that we were sitting at her table. Fearing that I wouldn’t be able to contain myself, I didn’t say much that evening, but God had planted a seed and only He knew how it would grow.

After returning home, Chris and I could not stop talking about one sweet boy that we met at Noel. We wanted to help him, to stay connected with him, to bring him home to live with us, but how? Chris and I came up with the idea of getting a student visa for Alain. The only person I knew was Tara, so I quickly looked her up. Praying that she wouldn’t think I was a total crazy person, I sent the first of hundreds of messages. Tara became our lifeline. I don’t think any of us knew at the time how difficult getting a visa can be. She didn’t think we were crazy. She was our eyes and ears and feet.

Right away, she began loving on our boy and helping in every way possible. She believed the impossible with us. God knit together our story with her story. If Tara wasn’t exactly where she was exactly when she was, our lives and the life of one amazing Rwandan boy would be very different. All along our journey to Alain, she was a constant encouragement and a true friend. Tara will forever be a part of our family’s story. The Vermes love you, Tara!!

When Tara told me about No.41, we believed with her. We had many conversations about Rwanda, our boys, and dreaming great big, God-sized dreams. Tara’s big dreams, are making the No.41 girls’ dreams come true and we are so blessed to be a part of it. It has been so beautiful to watch No. 41 grow, to see God send Alison to Rwanda at the perfect time to join the girls and use her gifts. His plans are perfect.

Through No. 41, we have also gained a daughter. We sponsor, Passy (whose brother is one of Alain’s friends). We are so ridiculously proud of her. At the beginning of the year, she moved to Kigali to go to university.

Recently, we were able to visit No.41, to see where all of these beautiful girls learn and work and live together. They have a great thing going. The girls are full of life and never-ending smiles. Passy was so excited to show us the house she was living in and her room, all made possible by her job at No. 41. To even be a small part of what No. 41 is doing is a privilege for our family.

Stylish, colorful bags made with love and bringing hope. Is there anything better? You should hop over the the shop right now and buy a bag!!

If you'd like to purchase a bag, click here.
If you have a story you'd like to tell email