** I have edited this post and delted most of the details, images and even some comments to protect her identity and to respect all that she has been through. If you have seen the movie, “Hotel Rwanda” it’s a pretty accurate portrayal of what is going on over there… times a million. **

I spent three weeks in South Africa back in 2008. While I was there I saw extreme poverty, the effects of AIDS, heard stories of rape and murder but it never came close to the stories I’ve heard about the genocide that is going on in areas of Africa like Uganda, Sudan, Namibia and Rwanda.

I was recently introduced to a lady from Rwanda. 

She lived in many refugee camps in Rwanda since her family was killed.  She managed to escape with only her Bible in hand, her only possession tied to her identity.

Her story is one of bravery, courage, and fear.

She left Africa with only her memories and the scars from a machete on her body.

Things that we take for granted — from birthday parties, toys for our kids, to the use of a dishwasher — things she has never experienced. 

Every day she is grateful for everything she has. She says over and over again, “I am so blessed. God has blessed me with so much.”

It really puts things into perspective.

Us and our first world problems… we have nothing to complain or whine about! I have been so bothered as I listen and see people complain on Facebook/Twitter, whine and be so negative about their situations here in the 1st World. “I want this!” –  “I want that!” – “I deserve it!” “I don’t have….” waaahhhhhhhhh!

For what? To have more toys than our neighbour? To have more items to add to our collections? All in an effort to “Keep up with the Jones'”…  Even my own complaining that we are a one-car family has now made my stomach turn. I don’t want to forget this moment and get caught up in the “it’s not enough” game again.

What is it going to take to get us to realize how blessed we truly are?!!!  We need to learn to be satisfied with our present circumstances and with what we have.

“Let your character or moral disposition be free from the love of money [including greed, avarice, lust, and craving from earthly possessions] and be satisfied with your present [circumstances and with what you have]…” Hebrews 15:5a


I'm the Cool Mom of 4, Married to the Preacher Man, but at times I'm a little more Sass than Saint!

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  1. Oh Shannon, I'm in tears. Our first world problems just show how selfish we really are.

    Thank you for sharing her story, a little perspective can really go a long way.

  2. We really don't realize how lucky we are most of the time!
    Thanks for sharing.

  3. Oh Shannon! I cannot even finish the post I feel horrible for her.We should be so grateful for where we live! Thanks for sharing her story! I will try to finish it once I feel strong enough.

  4. What a wonderful post and a meaningful moment. Thanks for sharing this, Shannon!

  5. Thanks for writing this post Shannon. You are right, we are truly blessed.

  6. Thank you so much for sharing this wake up call we all need. This is why part of my children's allowances goes to support our foster child in El Salvador….they need to know about the world where kids are happy to play in the dirt with sticks and stones, and cannot even imagine Xbox or DSi.
    I will keep her and her son in my prayers. God Bless!

  7. Seeing developing nations, and people from war-torn countries really DOES give you a big wake-up call. Our lives are not in danger moment by moment, like many of theirs are, and THAT alone is a huge blessing we take for granted.

    I remember coming back from a Mission Trip to Indonesia, and standing in the grocery store just crying – Wall to Wall food of endless variety, safe and fresh. How many kinds of cereal DO WE NEED? Our families in Indonesia were eating RICE, rice and more rice…..

    Thanks for this reminder. We are blessed. We are so amazingly blessed.

  8. This is so true! We are so blessed and should be so thankful for what we have! Thank you so much for sharing her story.

  9. No words, just love. Let me know if there's anything I can do to help her family.

  10. Thank you for the reminder to be thankful for the lives we lead. it's easy to forget how hard some people have had it.

  11. Oh shannon I want to give her a birthday party with cake and balloons and everything. I am going to message you on Skype. I want to help her prepare for winter as well. It won't be much but I believe every little bit counts.

  12. Thank you SO much for sharing this post! I am truly grateful for everything that I have and am remembering this even more right now. We all need a reminder sometimes about the things that matter in life for sure! Hugs!

  13. Thanks for this post, I am guilty of trying to keep up with the Jonses as they say, then my life changed forever when I started having huge medical issues and not healthy as they say and none of the extras mattered, in fact we bought a smaller house and all I care about is my family, friends and anyone who will listen to me when I have complaints! As long as I have a place to live, food to eat and shoes along with my circle of people I love I am grateful although I am still playing the why me game I am working on it:) This post makes me feel blessed so thanks for that!

  14. Thanks so much for sharing. I get so lost in my own mess that it is so hard for me to wrap my head around this woman's experience. It's so easy to forget all that we have!

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