I was living in Singapore preparing to move to Uganda. My friend called me saying, “Kelsey, I have a friend named Raphael who is a professional sport photographer. He is starting a charity in France and you should meet.”
So I did. We met for coffee for about 45 minutes and I shared the vision of ROWAN. He said, “We aren’t ready to move into Africa yet, but once we are I’ll call you.”
3 years after, I get a message from Raphael. “I’m ready to learn more about ROWAN. I’m going to fly there myself and spend some time with the community.”
And he did.
During his stay, he spent a lot of time investing in our older youth, as well as getting to know our fearless volunteer, Juliette. Juliette is HIV+, and struggling to raise her children. After Raphael returned, his charity, SOLIBAD, committed to supporting our high school student scholarships! This was an answer to our prayers.
Then I got a call from Pastor Paul. He shared that Juliette had lost everything: house, land, crops, money, etc. While she was getting HIV treatment, her in laws stole it all. I shared this with Raphael, and he was compelled to help.
Together with Raphael’s board from SOLIBAD, they bought Juliette new land and bricks to build her new home.
We just finished painting SOLIBAD on her home to remember those who invested in her life. Who knew that one coffee meeting can lead to empowering Juliette’s life! She now volunteers full time as a counselor and leader of those living with HIV/AIDS.
A special thank you to SOLIBAD and all those who support SOLIBAD for the tangible hope you give. I wonder what my next coffee meeting will produce! God’s world is truly, small.