Many abusers, especially those that are parents, try to find their victims even after they have been ferreted away to various institutions and safe houses. As such, Costa Rican authorities ask that children’s names and domiciles not be identified on websites. I will therefore alter names and not reveal specific identifying information in this or any subsequent entries.

I’m staying at ‘Grace House,’ one of the children’s homes that we helped to fund the construction of approximately ten years ago. Grace provides a warm and loving family environment to 25 children that were abandoned or rescued from sexual violence.

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(Image: Girls in front of Grace House, Costa Rica, 04/07)

I now sit here at Grace House sipping Costa Rican coffee on a cool semi-overcast morning punctuated by the sounds of tropical birds, locusts and children at play. The early chimes of laughter are music to my ears.

As is always the case, however, my world is constantly yanked between multiple realities. A few minutes ago, I received the e-mail below (edited for spelling and grammar) from one of our pastors in Rwanda and ask for your prayers for the afflicted, especially the orphans and street children:

My Dear Friend Paul,

God bless you.

I come to you boldly and ashamed to kindly ask you to put us in your deep prayers. As you know Rwanda went through a period of great genocide. These were the days of darkness. During only 100 days over a million people where butchered. Even now we are still unearthing the remains of our beloved ones who where either thrown in pit latrines or piled into ditches. Others where buried alive; others where burnt alive; others where killed slowly by cutting them into pieces. Children where smashed to death on walls. It’s hard to explain to you how the genocide was carried out. It’s hard to put into words.

In other situations pregnant women where cut to remove the babies out of their bellies. The days are still bad for us in Rwanda as the memories come back afresh. People are traumatized and they go crazy. Many end up in mental hospitals.

It continues to be a hard time for us. Please pray that the spirit of grace walks so that we may not put on the sacks of mourning any longer. We want joy instead.

These are hard days still for us church leaders as we ask ourselves what should we now speak to the people. Please, don’t forget us in your prayers. We still count on you now. We need your prayers for God to comfort the orphans and widows. Please pray for those without legs, hands, and eyes due to them being chopped off or plucked out during the genocide period, and for those who don’t have anything to eat and anywhere to sleep, like the street orphan children. Please pray for them to have food to eat and a place to put their heads, blankets to cover themselves, and mosquito nets to fight the deadly malaria.

Your Brother Moses