When 22-year-old Shanna Spell first traveled to Rwanda, Africa last September on a mission trip, she met two children who touched her heart and changed her life forever. Now, because of them and because of a growing desire to help other children in need, Spell is doing all she can to return to Africa once again.
“These two kids I met really got my attention. I learned they were brother and sister and had never been to school,” shared Spell who was so moved by the siblings that she bought them shoes and started sending money to Africa for their education. “They started school in January. I left a lot of clothes and food with them, but I want to see them again and see if I can help more kids.”
Spell is planning to head to Africa in October for a two week mission trip with a team from Rwanda and Company, the same organization she traveled with the first time.
On her first mission trip, Spell was amazed by the living conditions in Africa.
“In a lot of the villages we went to, the people’s houses were made of mud and they didn’t have electricity or water. In one village, people had to walk six miles just to get water to drink,” recalled Spell.
“Also, bathing isn’t a priority over there,” Spell added, “because when you have to walk that far just to get water to drink that water becomes the priority. The kids often have white spots on their heads from not bathing. I think it’s some kind of bacterial disease.”
Calling Africa “a completely different world,” Spell marveled at the African people’s outlook on life. “I have never seen people so poor but they are also the happiest people I have ever seen. They are always smiling.”
On her return trip, Spell is hoping brighten those smiles even more by helping to meet some of the people’s, particularly the children’s, needs.
“I think getting them an education is definitely important. They learn some English in school and they learn about Jesus. It gives them some kind of hope, hope that they can have a better life,” Spell shared. “School is really a sign of hope for them and they absolutely love going.”
“Shoes are also needed,” stressed Spell, adding that she is collecting shoes at her church to take with her on her return trip.
“They have parasites in the dirt over there and it can be really bad for people who have no shoes to wear. I remember seeing one little girl who had only one flip flop and she’d wear just that one.”
It’s the memories of children like that little girl that drive Spell to work hard to raise funds so that she can return to Rwanda and do what she can to help the people there.
“Last year, it took about $2,500 to go and that included the cost of the plane ticket, the transportation, the accommodations,” reported Spell.
To help with that cost, Spell held a pancake breakfast fundraiser this past weekend at Andy’s in Clinton where she works.
“The fundraiser brought in close to $1,000,” shared Spell, who plans to have another fundraiser in August. “It turned out really good. I was really happy with it.”
Wanting to encourage others do their part as well, Spell mentioned a special ministry through Rwanda and Company that locals could be involved in. “They have a fund called the Joshua Fund that sponsors kids in Africa. So far, I think there are about eight kids who have sponsors.”
“We’re always looking for more sponsors because there are over 5,000 kids in Africa who are homeless. They’re orphaned and just live on the street.”
If you would like to help Spell return to Africa, contributions can be sent to the Roseboro Church of God of Prophecy, 2334 Elizabethtown Hwy., Roseboro, NC 28382.
For more information about Rwanda and Company and their Joshua Fund, please visit their website at www.rwandaandcompany.org. Interested persons can also call 910-627-2141 or send an email to email@example.com.
Lauren Williams can be reached at 910-592-8137, ext. 117 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.