Wednesday, December 19, 2012

NINE: An Artist Experience

During our 12 Days of Features, we want to bring people's stories to life, to show how one trip has impacted them.  Some people go, are radically changed, and continue to change the lives of those around them…These are their stories.

An Artist Experience

Kassie  & Ben

I quit my full time job in April of 2012 and started singing full time. I was also looking for something in my life that I hadn’t found yet. My husband, Ben, had heard about “Visiting Orphans” from Amanda (who works there) and he brought it up to me and I was interested. It all worked out that I went to Rwanda with a team in May of 2012. The trip opened my eyes to a previously unseen world. I’ve always loved kids, but I never knew that this trip and these orphans would touch me so fiercely. And one child in particular stole my heart, and her name is Kevine. She is 10 years old and lives at Noel Orphanage in Gisenyi, Rwanda. Kevine is beautiful, quiet and shy, and can be sassy when she doesn’t get her way. She is not one to go out of her way to beg for your attention, but when she does get your friendship, she will be loyal to you. I wanted to go back everyday just to see her. It was an unexplainable connection between us. We stayed in Rwanda for 2 weeks and the trip changed my ways of thinking and opened my eyes. Everything on this trip was amazing, but the thing that was missing was that my husband was not with me. 

I really wanted Kassie to go on this May Rwanda trip because I knew that it would be so meaningful to her. And when she came back, she was in love with Rwanda and it’s culture and the orphans over there (especially Kevine). She was so in love that she had to go back, and soon! So we looked into the next Rwanda trip in November 2012. We both signed up and went to Rwanda in November (the first time for me). 

It was great to be able to go on this trip with my wife, we shared experiences that could not possibly have been articulated with words. While at Noel Orphanage, Kassie got to see Kevine again (which she could not wait for), and Kevine and Kassie were together all the time after that. It just so happened that Kevine’s sister, Muhoza, was also there this time and we met her for the first time. And this is who I fell in love with. Muhoza is outgoing and loves to dance, and waves her hands pretending to conduct her imaginary orchestra. She stole my heart, and Kevine stole Kassie’s heart, and I think it providential that we fell in love with sisters.

Some people have said that once I go on this trip, that my life will be “wrecked”. I really just thought that they were being emotional and clich√© by saying that, but now I know that, for me, it was unmistakably true. I must say, that since I’ve come back from this trip, my thoughts and my life has not been the same. I was so sad to come back to America. On the flight back to America, I’d look out the plane window and see the suburbs in Washington D.C. and just think “why am I back here?” It seemed so lavish and selfish to be in America again. I wanted to be in Rwanda so much. I missed the people, and I missed Muhoza so much. I remember several days waking up in America at 3 o’clock in the morning and walking around our house and just feeling so sad, and wishing I was back at Noel Orphanage giving those orphans a taste of what God intended them to have-a family. I just can’t believe that some of those kids are orphaned, that they have no family support system. They deserve more.

Since our trip, I’ve noticed things about my life and about general human attitudes that disgust me. I’ve noticed how so many people’s lives and actions (including my own) are driven by the desire for success and money. When did a green piece of paper become so important in the grand scheme of things? And why do we feel we have to live for our own selfish successes? There is something so beautiful and right about living for something beyond ourselves! And this is what I want to do. This is how I want to approach our music career. I want my talents and successes to cause a greater good…to cause people to be aware of orphans in need, to cause people to live out a true Christian life involving pure acts of religion (James 1:27), to cause people to see their need for redemption by our Creator.

Please check out our website at to listen to the music, read the blog, and check out pictures of our trip to Rwanda.

And another artist experience: 

Abner & Amanda Ramirez, of the duo Johnnyswim, joined Visiting Orphans on our first ever India trip in 2011. The video below features footage from that trip and the amazing song Hallelujah, written exclusively for VO, by this talented couple. 

as performed by JOHNNYSWIM
featuring Tulsi

for each download on iTunes, 100% of the proceeds go to Visiting Orphans
Download your copy today!!

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