Preface: A note from Azizi Life US Board President, Christi Whitekettle
Our Dear Friends,
Hello from Rwanda, where we are united with you in this tremendous experience. May God protect you and bless you with provision, peace, and joy with your families, housemates, and neighbors. Thank you for your care for us in Rwanda and for our beloved artisan partners.
As a preface to our March Prayer Team Update, I wanted to fill you in on our situation here in Rwanda and some action points you can take.
Our National Situation: Even before the first case of COVID-19 was announced on Saturday, March 14th, the Rwandan government had instructed us to abstain from our cultural practice of greeting through multiple handshakes, and had directed all public buildings to place mandatory hand-washing facilities outside their doors. On the evening of the 14th, schools and churches were closed, and our stay-at-home mandate began at midnight on the 21st. As of today, March 30th, we have 70 reported cases of the virus; none of the people are in critical condition and many were detected right at the airport. Read more on our blog post about COVID-19 HERE.
Our Organizational Situation: We praise God that artisans, Azizi Life staff, and the Azizi Life social enterprises are okay for the time being. However, the financial threats loom large, should the quarantine period be extended beyond the initial two weeks. We already have projected losses of tens of thousands of dollars. Our hope is in the Lord!
While the purpose of the Prayer Team Update is to share our prayer requests with you, some of you might want to take further action. Thank you! Here are four ways:
We believe that God is at work and look to him!
Your donation to Azizi Life Impact can help to sustain us and give us resources to in turn offer assistance to the artisans, if need be.
Support the artisans by buying what they’ve made! The artisans’ goods are ready and waiting to fulfill your dreams for beautiful gifts for all the birthdays, weddings (we hope!), teacher gifts, Christmas giving of 2020. We can also send your gift directly to your recipient. Please use promo code TOGETHER10 to save 10% on all orders through June 2020.
Spread the word about Azizi Life by engaging and sharing on Instagram or Facebook, and by sharing our blog posts and Prayer Team Updates. Take photos of your Azizi Life décor or gifts and tag us in your posts #azizilife.
With love and appreciation,
President, Azizi Life Board of Directors
International Liaison, Azizi Life Rwanda | US
Azizi Life Prayer Team Update
We wait in hope for the LORD;
he is our help and our shield.
In him our hearts rejoice,
for we trust in his holy name.
May your unfailing love rest upon us, O LORD,
even as we put our hope in you.
- Rwanda has taken great steps to help prevent the spread of the virus. However, the reality is that health facilities and medical professionals are limited, especially outside the capital where most people live. We hear that there are only about 40 ICU beds in the country. Thankfully, a shipment of testing kits recently arrived. Please pray for Rwanda’s health systems.
- We know that the people most vulnerable to death from the virus are those with other health complications. Please lift up those in Rwanda whose immune systems are compromised and who are vulnerable because of poor nutrition and lack of supplies like soap and water.
- Even in the midst of this time, other health threats remain, such as malaria. We praise God that one of the artisans who was recently diagnosed with malaria now has medication.
- Many families in Rwanda are in constant survival-mode, with parents making just enough money through small jobs to gain their next meal. The quarantine has meant the end of most jobs. Without God’s intervention and the intervention of his people, many many people will be without food. Without breakfast. Without lunch. Without dinner. Please pray for food for every family, every day.
- Even as our situation is tenuous, we think of those around the world who are in war zones, fleeing for their lives. Please, God, intervene for them!
Our colleague Venantie, head of Azizi Life impact in Rwanda, called every artisan group at the beginning of our quarantine period. The artisans were so thankful for her show of care. It was also clear to Venantie that the artisans are supporting, calling and caring for one another within their cooperatives, and that they are okay for now. They are putting their trust in the Lord. We praise God for this! However, it will be very difficult for the artisans to endure an extended period without pay.
The artisans want to share with you the words of Jesus recorded in John 14:1.
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.”
- The majority of the artisans are farmers. Please ask for God’s blessing on their fields and for favorable weather for abundant crops. Please also pray against the locusts which have swarmed in the region.
- Please continue to pray for weaver Sylverine, who has remained at the rehabilitation center with her daughter, Kevine.
- May God guide the Azizi Life staff and give us discernment about how to best partner with the artisans, even during this time of quarantine.
- Right before the outbreak, there were a few companies expressing an interest in buying large quantities of the artisans’ work. Please pray that these sales would move forward in good time.
AZIZI LIFE IMPACT/ UBI
- Literacy lessons have stopped for the time being. Please lift up the literacy students and their teachers.
- We think of our local prison, where we are partnering for further literacy training. Please pray for God’s protection on the prisoners, who live in very close proximity to one another! Last year, they were in quarantine because of another rampant illness. Perhaps this has prepared them to prevent the spread of the virus?
AZIZI LIFE US
- We praise God for our small US team who are showing an amazing determination to continue to serve the artisans during this time. However, we are of course trying to walk in wisdom and care, so our operations have changed. Last week, one colleague even said, “… the needs of the people in Rwanda way outweigh my needs and I would die for them gladly. But I must reduce exposure for those at home.”
- Please pray for all of our wholesale customers whose own small businesses are significantly impacted by the pandemic. Ask that their work may be preserved and even miraculously strengthened through this time. Please also pray for favor with a new potential customer whose travel business was halted by the virus and is instead engaging her audience by newly offering fair trade artisan goods.
AZIZI LIFE STAFF
We asked the Azizi Life team in Rwanda for their prayer requests. Here are some of the things they shared:
- Please pray for our world, that God would heal us from COVID-19, as it has brought the whole world to a halt. But remember that we also praise God so much because he is our father in heaven and he loves us. – Jean Nepo, security guard
- We know that God knows everything that is happening all over the world. May God turn our eyes to himself so that we might see what he wants to show us. Scripture tells us that the last days will be terrible- worse than this corona virus. Since God has permitted us to go through this, may every person become more prepared for the times to come. God must have a serious reason to allow so many people’s work to be stopped- it is a great blessing we have been given, that we seek shelter from the sorrows of the last days, which are close. We praise God for this great blessing he has given us. My request, therefore, is not for the virus to stop. Instead, I ask for prayer for all people that we might understand the will of God and that he might soften the hearts of people, that each of us might repent and humble ourselves. – Wilson, shopkeeper
- We pray for all people who are affected by COVID-19, that God will provide a treatment which is affordable to all nations and that life will return to normal. – Jeannine, CEO
Thank you, Friends, for joining us in entrusting these things to God and participating with us in what He is doing in the world.
In Him our hearts rejoice,
The Azizi Life Team