The 28 Homes Project

One of the most tedious aspects of building a home in one city while residing across the country in another is the decision making. Trust me when I tell you that there are a LOT of decisions that go into building a new home. As the customer and future homeowner, we get to choose things like where we want phone and cable outlets placed. They ask whether our interior doors should have panels or arches and if we want levers or egg-shaped doorknobs. We got to choose from a wide collection of drawer pulls. There were dozens of choices–both paint and stain–for our cabinets. Hardwood in jaka bean or rustic hickory or something else entirely. For lights, did we want a shaded chandelier or an open-cage lantern? R-39 or R-49 open cell sprayfoam insulation?  Garage floor epoxied or not? Beadboard paneling? Coffered ceilings? Stainless appliances? We even had to decide whether our toilets should be standard or comfort height.

We’ve put significant thought into each and every decision. We’ve gone back and forth on what is worth the money to upgrade and what isn’t. Once I even stood in the morning drizzle in my pajamas while Jeff chalked out a full-scale model of our future outdoor kitchen on the driveway.

If I’m being perfectly honest with you, I’ve got to say that I’ve lost perspective. Instead of responding in gratitude for the problem of so many options, I’ve felt pressured and stressed to make perfect decisions I won’t regret in a year or two. Granted, it’s an exciting time in our lives. But when I let that excitement take center stage it’s easy to lose focus on things that matter infinitely more.

A few weeks ago I received a note from Kristi. Kristi works with Compassion International in donor relations. We first struck up an online conversation early this year. Kristi noticed that our family sponsors several children in Rwanda and she reached out to ask what it was about Rwanda that led us to concentrating our support there. There isn’t a grand story behind it; Torri chose our first sponsored child because I couldn’t bear to choose one from among the thousands of hopeful faces staring back at me from the screen. With each additional sponsored child we’ve added since then we’ve chosen a Rwandan child because we hope to be able to visit them someday and meet them in person. In any case, Kristi’s note came with a plea for help on a very special project.

Right now–as you read these words– there are 28 Rwandan children living in great need. The majority of the 28 children that Compassion has identified live in single-parent households. One is an orphan. These are highly-vulnerable young lives currently living in structures that aren’t fit to withstand even moderate amounts of rain and wind. Their makeshift homes are perched in crevices of hilly, red-clay earth on the Rwandan landscape.

The 28 homes project | Compassion International

The crumbling walls and grass-thatched roofs of their shelters are suited only for the most primitive, rudimentary needs. The good news is that there is hope. Compassion is partnering with local contractors to build homes for each of these 28 families. The 28 structures that are to be built over the course of the next ten months will provide stable housing not only for these 28 children that Compassion serves, but also for their 77 collective siblings and 41 caregivers. I’m no math whiz, but even I know that those numbers add up to 146 children of God being served and loved on in a most tangible, fundamental way.

When Kristi reached out to me, she had no idea that I have a blog. She was asking me, personally, to support this very specific fundraising need. I didn’t hesitate to offer monetary support but I wanted to take it a step further. I wanted to share the project on my blog in hopes that the plight of these precious little children of God might move you, too. Pictured below is a little girl by the name of Egidia. Egidia and her family benefited from a similar, previous Compassion project and now call the structure in the photo below their home. Egidia’s father noted that he used to have trouble sleeping because their home was dangerous but now he is able to rest at night, knowing that his family is safe.

The 28 homes project | Compassion International

One of the reasons Jeff and I love supporting Compassion is because our dollars go somewhere very specific. We can’t–on our own–change the lives of each person held captive in poverty, but indeed we can change the lives of a handful. And so can you.

I’m writing this post in hopes that you’ll prayerfully consider doing so.

The 28 children awaiting safe shelter in Rwanda are neither nameless or faceless. There is Henriette. Claudine. Rosette. Clair. Clémentine. Pierre and Emmanuel. Martin and Jean de Dieu. These are the names of but a few of the precious little ones who need help. Today.

Each home costs $5,158 to build. Here’s what the breakdown of that looks like.

The 28 homes project | Compassion International

Will you please consider joining with me in contributing to this project? I know that we are coming up on the holiday season and funds can be tight around this time of year. I know that hearing and reading about people living in such primitive conditions doesn’t contribute to a warm, fuzzy feeling. But I also know that if every one of us contributed even $5, we could fund the building of an entire house, and then some. I don’t know about you, but the thought of coming together in such a small way to change the life of even one precious child of God gives me something vastly greater than a warm fuzzy. It gives me hope. It roots my faith. It stretches my heart.

Please join me in giving by

Or read more about Compassion and its financial integrity. Kristi is also more than happy to answer any detailed questions you might have about the project. You can reach her at


  1. Thank you for sharing this. One of our gifts to the girls each Christmas is money that they then give as they choose. I will present this idea to them tonight at dinner.

  2. I LOVE that you shared this amazing project! As a Realtor and a blogger about buying a home as well as a compassionate soul for world services – this REALLY hits home! Thank you so much for sharing this incredible project.

    – Amy

  3. I came across you blog about Compassion and the Rwandan children you sponsor. Loved reading it! I was blessed to go to Rwanda this past summer and take my two teen daughters. We were a part of a team from our church who went to visit a missionary family we support and an organization they partner with to serve the people of Rwanda. What an amazing experience!! Our missionary family tells of neighborhood children they see who are wearing Compassion clothing, so they know those children are being sponsored. I was also blessed to go in 2012, and my friend traveling with me was able to visit her Compassion child. Do make every effort to go! It will be so rewarding!!


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