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A Note for New Readers

Urukundo Village is an independent home for Rwandan children created and funded through Hope Made Real and its incredibly kind donors. We are not funded by any particular denomination or organization and welcome all who seek to help the children of Rwanda and create a better world not just for a child, but for us all. 

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Arlene in Rwanda November Newsletter

Volume #7 October/November
Urukundo Home for Children

Greetings from Rwanda to my partners in Mission.

Arrangements for “job-sharing” managers have volunteered and I am coming home in early January for a five-week visit. And there are still others who are planning to come and help manager the home after my return. I expect I will freeze in the Northeast, but this is the only --almost free-- time I have and so winter it is. I know your schedules are busy and I hope to have the opportunity to share with many of you while I am home. To schedule me to come to your church or group, or for a 1-on-1 visit contact Board Member, Terry Marsh at 717-558-8129,TAOM1959@comcast.net, 5137 Clover Court, Harrisburg PA. 17111

I am excited about coming and with your help plan to bring Divine to help me tell the story of Urukundo. Divine was the first child to come to Urukundo Home for Children and is considered my “First Born”. If you would like to sponsor and meet her let Terry Marsh know.

The children’s school fees are due the first of January and school starts for 2008 January10. This means that the tuition money for 2008 needs to reach Spiritworks before the last of November.
Thanks to all who contribute so that many children can receive an education and a better, brighter future.

I know you will enjoy this story about our five-year-old; Bilese.
In October two visitors came for a short visit to Urukundo. They brought a large backpack of clothes for us. When opened we found clothes and shoes for small children. They were the perfect size for Bilese and Annah so they got new clothes and shoes. We then shared the boys and baby clothes with the neighborhood children. Bilese was amazed when she saw the clothing. She sat and stared for a long time. She then turned to Hope our House Mother and with serious big eyes asked, "Mama are we rich now that we have much clothes and many shoes”? The joy on her little face warmed my heart. I am sure it will warm yours also.

Puppy died. We believe she died from food poisoning but we are not sure. It was not deliberate, but our beautiful Puppy is dead. We buried her at the new site. Our kids are heart broken, as am I.
Instantly I said, “No more dogs.” But another puppy appeared at my house from nowhere and of course the kids saw her first and it was love at first sight. She looks a little like Puppy but has a different build. John says she will be bigger than Puppy would have been. Yes, her name is Puppytwo. If you say it fast it sounds okay. The German shepherd, who really missed Puppy came alive again when the new puppy arrived I was outvoted, So, I guess she stays. It was strange how the big dog went into mourning when Puppy died; almost human.

School is finished for the 2007 term and I am pleased to report our girls did very well. Four ranked first in their class. All ranked in the upper 15% and each child has improved over the last grading period. Remember these classes hold 47 to 71 children per classroom. Tutorial evening classes have paid off. I hope you who sponsor their education are as pleased as I am with their progress.

The boys did not do as well in school but this was their first term with us. I know they will do better in 2008. Ben, our oldest, graduated from Secondary School and is enrolled in the Kigali Health Institute. Below is a photo of John, Ben and me after the Graduation Celebration. Additionally, there is more space for the boys to play now at the home for boys now that the chickens have been moved to the site of the new Urukundo Village. The construction on the Chicken Farm is completed.

The play area (field) for basketball and other sports is ready for the cement. Now workers are clearing and leveling the soccer field. We have a team of neighborhood boys waiting to play our boys. Both fields are not only for Urukundo Village but for the neighborhood. Soccer and basketball are popular sport here. We also want to have a running track around the perimeter of the soccer field. These fields will be used for multiple purposes. Below is a photo of the basketball field waiting for cement.

The foundation for the Nursery School is our next project as funds come in. Because of the different areas and the amount of land, we continue clearing and leveling the grounds.

We’ve been blessed with lots of friends visiting. Below are photos of a Presbyterian team, Craig Haas a family friend who was kind enough to carry a new camera to me; Donna, Terry, Betty, and Pastor Boyd from Indiana County; Mary Eisenhower the granddaughter of US President Dwight Eisenhower and myself. She is President and CEO of People to People. We were very pleased to have her and a team from People to People; Dustin Daughherty.

There is also a photo of the People to People Team enjoying dinner at the our guesthouse while listening to the history of Urukundo.
We were indeed blessed by this visit.

If you would like to be a partner with me in mission I would be happy to welcome you as would my Lord. Gifts can be sent to the mission through:
Spiritworks-Rwanda Fund
823 West Cremona St
Seattle, Washington 98119
Rwanda Support
Saint Johns-Newberry UMC
2101 Newberry Street Williamsport Pa 17701


Arlene D Brown
BP 179
Founder Urukundo Home for Children
Muhanga District, Rwanda
Cell 08769422
Friend CraigPeople to People TeamPuppytwoFriends of the ChildrenStaff PhotoOne of our girls.Home for the chickensNew Chicken IndustryOne of our little ones.New athletic court waits for cement.People to People Visit


Dear Friends, It is the time to think about renewing school scholarship gifts for the street children ,genocide orphans, HIV/AIDS orphans, and the poor in our community. These scholarships go to orphans and poor children who do not live in our home and can only attend school with our support. Sending these children to school is central to our work and mission here.

Tuition is due at the end of November. If you are an Education Support Partner it is time to renew your annual gift. If you would like to become an Education Support Partner and support one or more of the children just let us know.

This is what one $15 scholarship provides:

1. school fees for the year
2. one uniform
3. one backpack
4. one jacket
5. pens
6 notebooks
7. one pair of shoes

Below are photos of some of the 200 children we supported last year and are hoping to support in 2008. Please consider making a gift to send each child back to school in January.
Send your gifts to:
823 West Cremona Street
Seattle WA 98119
United States Memo: Education

Thank you for your love and support
Mama Brown, Arlene

Arlene D Brown
BP 179
Founder Urukundo Home for Children
Muhanga District, Rwanda
Cell 08769422

Arlene in Rwanda: October 2007

Volume #6 September/October
Urukundo Home for Children
The vision is a Children’s Village on a beautiful hill in the heart of Gitarama. Rwanda, Africa. This mission is truly a dream that will become a reality with “God in Charge”.

built with love
dedicated to nurture children
There is no limit to the number of children who will pass through our gates in the years to come. Think of the difference you can make in one child’s life… and multiply it by the hundreds. I invite you to make God’s dream a reality.

Each child is a future leader of Rwanda. To that end, it is my dream that every child in Urukundo Village will be given the gift of unbounded love, learn to honor a God of peace, and receive an education that equips them for a better future.

"God in Charge", has been the motto for this mission since my return to Rwanda in April 2006. I am in awe of a God who answers prayers even before they are prayed. Only “Divine Intervention” explains the accomplishments of the last 17 months; a girls’ home, a boys’ home, a guest house, a chicken farm, and a small house for me. We currently rent these houses. But now, with the land God has given us, we can use rental money toward a permanent home for the children.

I all began with a need to house the chickens and provide a play area for the children. I had some money in a mutual fund in the U.S. for “my old age” and decided that this was “my old age”. I figured there was at least $10,000 in the fund. After all, I wasn't saying to God, "Okay, I trust you. But just in case you fail I have some money in reserve.” How is that faith? As I prepared to sell my stock to buy the parcel of land a friend e-mailed me that if I promised not to cash in my mutual fund for the $10,000 and save it for my old age that she and her husband would personally give me $10,000 to purchase the land. We excitedly purchased land enough to build chicken houses, a garden, a Children’s Chapel, a nursery school, and ten cottages to house 100 children.

As the vision grew, so grew our need for more space. The property beside us was to be developed into a 4-star hotel complex. I met with the project manager to ask if they might sell us the hilltop. Without hesitation he declared we could purchase the entire lot and they would sell it to us for what they paid. Unbelievable! I asked for a hill and God gave me a mountain. Now I knew God was in charge. This doesn’t happen in Rwanda, but it did.

The cost of the land was 70,000 US$. Now, we needed $35,000 in two weeks to secure the sale. I spent a lot of hours on my knees. And I contacted my bank about my mutual funds. To my surprise there was $45,000 in the fund. It is my turn to show faith—as well as keep my word to my friend. I had the $35,000 wired through Spiritworks for the land and kept $10,000 in the account for my old age. The money was wired through Spiritworks and the land is secured. We have six months to come up with the remaining $35,000. I don't know where the money will come from, but I always remember, “God in Change.”

Chicken House and Garden
It is the rainy season in Rwanda and so we have already planted our first garden that will give us vegetables for the season. We started our chicken business with sixty-three Chickens and fifty-three chicks. Rwandan chickens are small and produce very small eggs but the eggs sell for $1.20 each locally. The new house has been constructed to house 500 chickens. These will be imported chickens and will cost $2.60 each. The larger eggs from these chickens will sell for much more and the market is the hotels in Kigali. The market is available as soon as we can produce. The projected income after expenses will be $7,973 the first year. We have a breakdown of expenses should anyone want to see it and advise.

Children’s Home Cottages
Each of the ten cottages will house thirteen children. Inside is a central room for relaxing, an family eating area, a kitchen, 3 bedroom each housing four girls or boys and one room for the house mother. Each will have big front porch to play upon in the sunshine or the rain.

Play Grounds
The children will have a place to play. To this end a grassy area for tag and soccer and another area for basketball hoops will be prepared Fencing will protect the children in our care.

Central Kitchen
A cost effective main kitchen will supply the children nutritious food three times daily.

Day Care
When the community leaders were told we would have a Day Care one of the leaders asked "can I bring my little girl to your school." I did not take her seriously, but said of course, it isn't built yet". She replied "I know. But I need a safe place for my child while I work". Three weeks later we transported her little one to the hospital. She had been abused and rape. We can prevent this from happening to other children by providing a safe place. I have the blue prints and the cost estimate for the Day Care is 16,719687 rwf or $33,000 USD

Chapel/ and Flower Garden
We need to care for the spiritual needs of these lovely people. Setting in an area easily accessed by the children from inside and the community on the outside will be a Children’s Chapel surrounded by a flower garden. This house of worship will invited all to come.

Staff House
We have staff members, such as our medic and cooks, who need a place where they belong and can call home.

Missionary House
A house must be built for the mission person(s) who will come to serve after me. I will use it as my home base while I am here. It will also house the medical clinic for the sick.

Learning Center
A library and computer room will be the center piece of our English Primary School. Yes, English is the international language and we need to equip our children for the world of tomorrow.

Guest House
Presently we rent a guest house complete with Wifi to welcome international guests. This business employs and provides healthy insurance for two Rwandan families. Now, we need to build our own guest facility so that work crews and others can come who wish to respond to the great needs of the world.

Children’s Chapel
This interdenominational house of worship will be a place to praise God for all the Spirit has done and will do. I have the blue prints and the cost estimate for the chapel is 16,719687 rwf or $33,000 US$

Other Visions and Dreams
With the additional land, dreams are endless. Could there be a College or University to train community leaders and pastors for the future? Incredible as this may sound, today we started an English class for pastors in the small classroom at my house. There were four students. The seed is already planted. We cannot limit God but pray for wisdom and guidance.

Bit by bit the plans are being drawn and coming together. I sense that there are others like myself who feel the tug of God to work here in Rwanda. Could it be you? I also sense that this dream is just the beginning. We cannot limit God, knowing all that is possible.

In Closing, my love to you all. Please remember to keep the vulnerable children throughout the world in constant prayer. Will you consider becoming a partner with me with the Urukundo Village for Children in Rwanda, Africa? Blessed be, Arlene
Gifts can be sent to support this mission through: Spiritworks-Rwanda Fund, 823 West Cremona St., Seattle, Washington 98119, pdbrown@spiritworks.org; http://www.spiritworks.org.
or Rwanda Support, Saint Johns-Newberry UMC, 2101 Newberry Street, Williamsport Pa 1770. If you wish to work with a particular project add a note.
Support for Arlene’s personal expenses can be sent: Spiritworks-Missionary, 823 West Cremona St., Seattle, WA 98119.
Spiritworks is a non-profit Christian Foundation. Statements are sent on a regular basis and these can be used for exemptions on your tax returns.

Chicken HousesChildrren on the hill top of the new land.

Exciting Message from Arlene in Rwanda

"OUR GOD IS AN AWESOME GOD" Today September 10th we learned even more what an awesome God we have. As you know and are a witness to it's purchase, the land we have bought is beautiful. The land above ours and to the right of our property is even more beautiful. The top of the hill has a view that takes your breath away. It is the perfect place for a Guest House or a House of Worship. The Lord Will decide which. That land was earmarked for a hotel by important men in government. Our President Paul Kagame is one of the group. God did not let that happen any more than he let the Friends Fellowship build a church on the land we now own. That land was being guarded for us. As you know we needed more land because we are going to have a Nursery School, a Primary School and one day a Secondary School with Dorms. God knows, maybe a university. We will not limit what God can do. John and I had a meeting today September 10th with the spokesperson of the group. I shared with him the vision for the land we now have and expressed an interest in the land to the top of the hill. We shared with him about the schools, the playground for the children and community, the guest house built to house teams and visitors, the Chapel where all would be welcomed to worship, the chicken house for income and most important cottages for the children we now have and those yet to be added. He listened to my proposels and looked at the project blue print and agreed to let us purchase the land. I asked for the hill top and God gave us the whole land. This was way beyond my expectations. He said he had authorization to speak for the group and because he believed we were there working to make life better for the children and the community we could have the land at the price they paid for it. I am thinking the top of the hill. This man was offering the whole parcel. That was when he asked would I be interested in all the land with a token payment and an article of agreement. I could not believe my ears. "God is Good." With this land our land will be about ten times the size it was. The price is 35 million RWF. which is about $70,000 USD. Yes it is a lot of money here but with God all things are possible. We can take the time we need to pay for it. The present need is for $20,000 as soon as possible to bind the deal. I am putting my life savings into this God directed project and I know I will not be alone as I pray others will open their hearts and want to help. It would be a blessing to have 6 millionaires who love the Lord. "God in Charge." I do not have 6 millionaires, not even one, but I know the widow's mite is greatly valued in the eyes of God. Working together we can serve God and the children. Each giving our mite can make a difference. Thank you for what I know will be a great future for the children at Urukundo Home for Children. Shalom Arlene Arlene D Brown BP 179 Founder Urukundo Home for Children Muhanga District, Rwanda Cell 08769422

Arlene in Rwanda Newsletter - September 2007

Urukundo Home for Children Newsletter – September 2007
Arlene in Rwanda
NOTE: See eight (8) photos at the end of the newsletter.
Greetings Brothers and Sisters in Christ and Partners in mission:

The New Urukundo Children's Village
Thanks to you, the land for the Urukundo Children’s Village is now purchased and the chicken buildings are almost completed. God is faithful. Now it is time to move to our first building project. I believe that it is vital to welcome the community to our Christian home. Therefore, our next project is a chapel. I am reminded that the early settlers in America first erected the church building and the community was then built around it. This is our hope for Urukundo Village.
If it is God’s, will we hope to begin building the Children's Chapel in mid-September. The completion of the chapel will then be surrounded by the children’s cottages. The Chapel will be both for the children and the community. The importance of building the Chapel now is to let the community know we are a Christian Village and that we love children and serve the Lord in everything we do. The Chapel will sit in the center of a flower garden with paths leading to the entrances and will greet our visitors in Jesus name. The garden will be designated as a Honor/Memorial Garden in honor of those who have supported Urukundo Home for Children with prayers and gifts.
Inside the Children’s Chapel: "The Vision"
Go with me on a virtual tour. As you enter the chapel you immediately come upon the baptismal and must go around it to get to your seat. This says, "It is time to slow down. This is a special sacred space." Next you see the big Christ Candle on the stand that reminds children that Christ is the "Light of the World". It is lit for all services. We will need a simple wooden stand for the LARGE house Bible. NO PULPIT. People can speak from the center table. This says that all God's children are invited to surround the banquet table of God now and in the kingdom to come. Nothing goes on the table except when communion is served. Then a white cloth is draped. A single cup and a single loaf are on the small stand until it is time for communion after the lesson.

Every service, including Sundays, is to be "Children's Church" filled with music with motions, drums and shaker instruments, and telling a Bible story. Prayer times will be kneeling times for children with their concerns prayed. I think a woman pastor assigned by the bishop would be good for us.
Toddler and Infant area: A simple low railing and little gate will keep it designated and the toddlers’ safe. Rocking chairs and a mat to crawl upon and some toys that are washable are needed.
Chairs and Benches: Older individuals need chairs with low backs. Some benches can also be used. We must make sure the benches are of different lengths so they can be arranged with everyone not looking at someone's back. People should be able to see each other's faces.
BUT... this is important... each child who is a family member of the orphanage will have his or her own individual stool with his or her name on it somewhere. "Belonging" is so, so important. Our children need to know that something belongs to them. It is children who are never allowed to have their own possessions, who later in life don't know how to share and give. It is as we have been given abundantly that we are then able to give in the same manner.
BIG Gates: These, at the rear of the chapel, facing the lawn next to the road can then be swung open so that we can seat more people; it will serve as an overflow seating area. This also allows us to build on later when adjoining property becomes available.
Windows: Again, these will be long and high to give light to the building but not interfere with the seating. The height also serves as a protective measure.
Book Shelves: These sit in the back for bibles and song books or what ever needs to be set here. This can be a built-in shelf when the building is constructed.
Lighting: I want anything but bare bulb florescent lighting! We could create our own hanging ceiling lights in cans. Or, we could build wooden boxes along the ceiling to use fluorescents that would illuminate upward. But, I don't want to kill the feeling of holiness of the room by creating glaring light.
Our Present (Rented) Home

Home for the Girls
There is no more room at the Home for Girls with the new addition of Esperance Savoronia We have no more beds. There are many orphans who want to come live with us so it is hard to say “there is no room at the inn”. The new site will provide for many more of these needy children. With the increase it was necessary this week to move the dinning room into the larger of our two main rooms of the girls’ home. Visitors also eat at our tables when they come. Each table has a name: The American Table, The African Table, and The Canadian Table in honor of David Ottier and Kirsten Cavendish & Bill Ginter, our visitors from Canada.

“Puppy”, one of our new guard dogs is a four-week-old African mix. The second, “Babe” is a four-month-old German Shepherd. Babe is already a good watch dog and when grown Puppy will be a strong dog as well. The dogs intimidate the children who will learn to trust them with time.

Home for the Boys
The boys have decided to get serious about the Chicken business. They, with the guidance of Papa John, have set about ten hens and we have over fifty chicks in the shed with more hatching every day. Chickens don’t thrill me, but the boys love the project. Bill Graf a visitor from Colorado introduced them to the Frisbee and it has become a new pass time. Bill also witnessed the signing of the property deed. God has blessed us by having Americans present at all our transactions. Creditability is very important.

This week the boys were challenged by a school soccer team so they are excit4d about Saturday’s game. I am learning more about soccer everyday and will be there to cheer them on.

The Chicken Project
This to has been a learning experience. I have discovered how much I don’t know about construction and chickens in Rwanda. I think in terms of chickens on my Grandfather Stiners’ farrm. The metal roof is ready to be put on thanks to Pastor Ed Wentz his wife, Norma and his brother Bob in Hanover. Thank you all!

United Methodist Woman Gitarama
It gave me great pleasure to meet the President and Secretary of the UMW in Gitarama. Together we presented twenty goats to an HIV/AID Association in the United Methodist Church. This is the fourth church group we have been able to assist in helping HIV/Aids affected families. The churches are: Mpushi Presbyterian Church, Byimana Pentecostal Church, Gitarama United Methodist Church, and Gitarama Lutheran Church.

Bishop of East Africa Conference: It was my pleasure and honor to meet UMC Bishop Daniel Wandabula of the East Africa Conference. The worship service took place in Kigali City. It was a privilege to hear him speak and to listen to his plans for the future of the United Methodist Church in Rwanda. This unscheduled service was attended by several hundred Christians.
Rwanda UMC continues to struggle after the unfortunate events caused by the past district superintendent, Jupa. He did so much harm to many supporting church families and the UMC Rwanda in general. The Bishop is working to have the UMC once again registered with the government. Please include him in your prayers as you pray for all the churches in Rwanda.
IN CLOSING: In closing, I am asking for your help to make the vision become a reality. There are so many dreams that God has set before us and I thank each of you for your continuing faithful support of all that is happening. So, have fun and choose a project and support it. Designate on your gift where your heart is and how you want to help. You can direct questions to me at Arlene@spiritworks.org I love hearing from you. Remember to pray for the vulnerable children in Rwanda and throughout the world. There are so many. If you would like to be a partner with me in mission I would be happy to welcome you as would my Lord.
Gifts can be sent to the mission through: Spiritworks-Rwanda Fund, 823 West Cremona St, Seattle, Washington 98119 Web site: www spiritworks.org
OR -- Rwanda Support, Saint Johns-Newberry UMC, 2101 Newberry Street, Williamsport Pa 17701
Arlene D Brown, Founder
BP 179
Urukundo Home for Children
Muhanga District, Rwanda
Cell 08769422