By Mark Ellis
Hope For Life Ministry operates a home for street boys in Kigali, Rwanda focused on holistic and long-term care. On November 22nd, a fire caused by a faulty voltage regulator completely destroyed one of the bedrooms in the home and damaged a couple other rooms, but miraculously, two objects emerged intact.
“There’s an emergency, come quick!” cried Yassipi, one of the 16 boys staying at the home. The staff rushed in to find orange flames crackling in one of the bedrooms.
Immediately the children were evacuated and all hands were employed to pass buckets of water to throw on the fire. But the flames continued to grow and the bucket brigade couldn’t keep up due to low water pressure. For a moment, everyone despaired, believing that the whole house might burn down.
The children and staff gathered to pray. “Please God, save our home,” they cried.
Then neighbors rushed over yelling, “Dirt! Throw dirt on the fire!” The neighbors, staff, and children worked together, filling buckets with dirt. After 15 minutes of throwing dirt on the fire, the flames began to subside. Staff was able to re-enter the smoldering house and pile soil on the burning furniture until all the flames were extinguished.
Everyone gathered outside and began praising the Lord for saving the house from complete destruction, and most importantly, no one was hurt. Gratitude was expressed to the neighbors, whose advice helped avert a disastrous outcome.
Bunk beds and other furniture, clothing, and all their school materials were destroyed. There were only two things that made it out of the bedroom; one was a Bible and the other was a math book. When the Bible was discovered, the boys turned to each other and said, “How did this Bible survive?”
Prompted by the Spirit, they began singing “there is power in the name of Jesus!” It was a powerful moment that will not be forgotten by Yassipi and the other boys. “They thought God protected his Word,” notes Hilliary Anderson, co-founder of Hope for Life.
The fire is a setback to Hope for Life and shook up the boys. After taking inventory they estimate it will cost $1,450 to rebuild three rooms damaged by the fire, and another $350 to replace lost materials. They hope to begin the rebuilding process soon and have the boys back in their bedrooms by Christmas.