Power of Relationships {Rwanda week}

I am naming this week Rwanda week!


I have so many stories rolling around in my head about our time at Noel Orphanage
{read about my in country post here}
and I just can’t wait any longer to share them.
I have stories ready for today, tomorrow, Wednesday & then a little bit more about how YOU can get involved later in the week.

{Alison & Patrick}

Plus, my good friend Alison is moving to Noel in May & we are having a garage sale this weekend to support her! So I wanted to tell you a little bit about this place that has captured both of our hearts.


I’ve told you stories about my time with my friends Jenn & Chris, and the boy they brought home to San Antonio on a student visa here and here.  You’ve seen a few pictures, but I want to start a little backwards.

{Chris, Alain & Jenn}

Alison & our other team mate Elise have the privledge of moving to a place where another amazing woman has already paved the way.  That woman is Tara.  Tara also went on a Visiting Orphans trip & also felt God calling her to move to this place called Noel.

{Tara & Innocent}

Home to 600 orphans 3 hours outside of the capital of Kigali, Rwanda.  Noel is unlike any place I’ve ever been.  I fully believe that God connects us with people and places and some places we are connected to on a stronger & deeper level – and Noel is one of those places.  If you’ve been reading my blog the past few months, you know that the place that has totally captured my heart is Korah, in Ethiopia.  There is something about Korah & it’s people that has captured my heart like no where else.  I knew going to Noel that this place has that same affect on people.  including me! 

{me & Evoriste}

{me & Arsene}

I think maybe too it’s the fact that our teams have gotten to spend 2-3 full days there.  There is something about that, real relationships are formed, bonds are made and you feel a connection.  I litereally remember standing on the grounds at Noel this past trip and telling someone on the team that I feel more comfortable and more myself & at home with orphans at places like Noel than I do right at home in Texas.  

{where I spent most of the 2nd day.  hanging with this crew!}

Once you have seen what you see at orphanages, met the kids, and fallen in love – you are responsible.  You can’t sit back anymore and hope someone else steps in – you’ve seen and now you are responsible.  That’s why I love and admire people like Tara, Alison, Elise, Chloe, Jen, Sumer, Denae, Emily and all the other missionaries that have given their lives to bringing hope and restoration to gods children in Africa.

{precious toddlers at Noel}

{this is pretty much what I think of when I think of orphanages, little precious ones tugging on you to pick them up & love them!}

Back to the story, on the bus ride back to Kigali, I got the chance to sit by Tara.
We sort of “knew” each other from the blog/mission/Africa world and she knew that Korah was my place.  and that Eyob was my son.  She asked me a question that forever got me thinking differently about sponsorship & relationships.
She asked me if I was trying to get Eyob to Texas on a student visa.  



Honestly, I hadn’t even thought about it.  I am confident that God is at work in his life right where he is.  I’ve seen him go from a young boy, responsibile for providing for his mom and sister & having leaving school to work and live and collect food on the trash dump, to a confident and happy 16 year old who wants to graduate high school, go to university and eventually have a job that helps others!

{Eyob & I at his boarding school January 2012}

I didn’t know him when he lived on the dump, but I stood at the top of the trash dump with him last summer when he said, “this is my story”.  I’m not his actual sponsor, but I love this kid like my own.  He has a wonderful sponsor, along with others who love and encourage and visit him throughout the year.  I’ve seen him transform!  He now is going to boarding school, has a safe place to sleep, eats every day, goes to church & plays futbol!

{Eyob & I on the trash dump in Korah summer of 2011}

This is all because of the love and care of people who visit him, who encourage him, who write to him, who pour into his life, who sponsor him.  
Then I think of the kids at Noel…  


They don’t have a sponsorship program, they are government run but sweet Tara is making strides!! (crossing my fingers!).  They don’t have parents, they don’t have people to tell them to go to school or people to encourage them in their dreams.  Without those things, and without Jesus, how do you have hope?  There are several of the kids that have connected the visitors (that’s us!), that stay connected through facebook and email.  I am constantly emailing with Evoriste & a few of the others and then Arsene on facebook.  Alain is in San Antonio with the Vermes, and others are working on student visas as well.  I prayed and wanted so badly to bring a sweet boy (Justen) home to Midland.  For now, all we can do is pray for him, encourage him, write to him, and love him through our friends that are there.
I just want you to know how important it is to GO.  To form these relationships, to sponsor a child, to speak into their lives.  Because you CAN make a difference.  You can change a life! 

Way more to tell about Eyob when I get to my time at his school, but just had to post this sweet convo we had on facebook recently.  (this was after our visit when I was there in January)

Wynne 'Trippet' Elder I was SO ENCOURAGED by our visit last time. i’m SO PROUD of you and your dreams!
of helping others!
Eyob Mesfin Job
I am going to succeful?
Wynne 'Trippet' Elder
YES!!!! you are going to be SO sucessful! GOD has GREAT plans for your life. and HE has given you a dream and a vision and HE will carry it to completion! I AM WITH YOU every step of the way, praying for you, encouraging you!!! YOU can make SUCH an impact, Eyob. you can help others!
you are a beautiful child of god. he has RESTORED your life and you will do great things for HIS name!
Eyob Mesfin Job
Thank you mom!!!!
Wynne 'Trippet' Elder
you are so welcome my son. i KNOW we met because GOD has great things in store for you!!! and I’m so glad I can be a part of that!
Eyob Mesfin Job
Thank you!!!
Wynne 'Trippet' Elder
i love you very much & believe in you!
Eyob Mesfin Job
Me to
that is not at all what I planned to write when I sat down this morning.
I guess that is the spirit at work.
more pictures tomorrow.

Hey, I'm Wynne!

Hi, friend! First, I truly am so giddy that you are here. I want you to know I believe in you and all the ways you are growing towards living a more intentional life.  I genuinely hope you are encouraged from our time together here.

A little about me, I’m a type 7 on the enneagram, a total extrovert + people lover, entrepreneur, connector, storyteller, people gatherer, and passionate wife, mama + friend. I feel most alive when I’m exploring new places and surrounded by people I love. Give me a day in the outdoors disconnected from wifi, and I am a happy girl. I run on oat milk lattes, Jesus, gratitude journaling and kitchen dance parties with my four kids.
Welcome, come on in!

let'e be friends

  1. I absolutely love your heart Wynne. You have made Noel come alive for someone that has never been there. Now I want to go to Korah . . .

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