Room for Surprises

How do you prepare for a moment you have worked toward for almost a decade?

Apparently, by leaving room for surprises.

Believe me, we tried our best to prepare.

We marked a special day for celebration: March 10th, 2013. We agreed that the Wellspring Academy community would come together to thank God for the physical completion of their school and reflect on the six years since the school started: to stand together on the once empty Rwandan hillside, now filled with the laughter of hundreds of children.

We invited a team of supporters from Canada, we made sure the banners and pictures were hung, the community was invited, the tour was scheduled, the program was selected, and the refreshments were ordered. The school grounds were at their Sunday best. Everything was ready to go. No surprises.

Except for Samantha Kagabo.

Officially, Samantha is a fifteen-year-old young woman who was selected by her peers to speak on behalf of the Academy students. We had prepared for a few scripted words from a semi-awkward teenager, a nice little addition to a litany of adult sentiments.

Unofficially, Samantha was a revelation. As this beautiful young woman stood, composed and secure at the lectern, I remember thinking: “that’s it!” As she put into her own poetic words what Wellspring Academy meant to her and her fellow students, I saw the vision and mission of a school embodied in her and a group of fellow young people: They want to change their nation. (Watch Samantha’s speech below)

Samantha reminded me that we were not there primarily to celebrate the completion of physical buildings. Or even the attainment of academic excellence. We were there to celebrate the process of changed hearts. And when eager parents spoke to our team after the ceremony about the real difference they saw in their children, how they could not find what they found at the Academy anywhere else, I realized exactly why you couldn’t prepare for these moments.

I guess I won’t long remember what we did prepare for: the banners, the refreshments, the number of guests or the adult sentiments.

But I will always remember a young woman named Samantha, with tears in her eyes, as a school community and her fellow classmates gave her a standing ovation.

Thank goodness for surprises!

Transcript of Samatha's speech

Wellspring started as a dream.

It grew to be a wonderful child out of a Rwandan dream. Because of your warm touch it has matured into a grown-up child.

With your unconditional love that comes from God almighty we have watched it grow; spiritually, academically, the infrastructure which includes the beautiful play courts, the marvellous Ben’s Boathouse, spacious classrooms, the magnificent artworks, the laboratories, and a lot more.

After all God did for us sometimes it is hard to find the right words to thank him. He started the school and made sure it fell into good hands. Let us give a hand clap to Jesus.

There are really no words to express our gratitude for all The Wellspring Foundation did. Many of you are role models and make a huge difference in our lives. When thinking about what you did, and still do, you are exceptional and above the call of duty. You have been an inspiration to us in so many things: the wonderful vision and mission have allowed us to become young Christians, even to the outside World. We are so glad you have been by our sides all these years and helped the school in fulfilling the mission and vision; you are like guides the affect eternity. You can never tell where your influence stops.

We look back in appreciation to our teachers and to those who have touched our human feelings. The curriculum is very necessary but warmth is the vital element for the growing plant and for the soul of the child.

What we have done for ourselves alone lies with us but what we have done for others lies with others and is immortal. Your hard work for us will remain immortal, the lights that we will always follow, the seers of love, patience, forgiveness, responsibility, and above all God-fearing will be our fulfilling adornments.

I would thank you from the bottom of my heart but for you my heart has no bottom. May God bless the seeds you have planted in us, may he produce very good fruits, and may he bless the works of your hands. Thank you.