John Ntahomvukiye didn’t ask to be born with two crippled legs, but he was. Living in Kigali, the capital city of Rwanda, his handicap consigned him to one occupation—begging on the street. There weren’t any other options, and John cherished no hopes for anything better. Thankfully, however, God did.
In 2006, John heard the gospel, believed and repented. He became a faithful prayer warrior in a church pastored by Justin Nkundabagenzi, a good friend of Heaven’s Family International Director Chuck King. Chuck told me how his heart was touched the first time he met John:
It was a gorgeous day in Kigali, Rwanda in September 2009, so our Heaven’s Family Food Fund distribution for 50 needy Christian families was held outside in a public park. As we prepared to distribute the food, my eyes were drawn to a man struggling to walk towards us with crutches. I soon found out that John Ntahomvukiye was one of the faithful believers from Justin Nkundabagenzi’s church. In spite of his severe handicap, he wanted to live a life of dignity. John asked to speak to me, and he gave me a written proposal for a shoe repair business that he wanted to open to support himself, his wife and daughter. And he was so thankful for the two-week supply of food we gave him that day, for he was in very great need.
John had already received some training in shoe repair, so Chuck felt that his business plan could succeed.
When Chuck returned home, he told CJ McDaniel, director of Heaven’s Family‘s Handicapped Christians Fund, about John’s request. John initially asked for $2,000 to buy special shoe repair equipment—more than CJ felt comfortable granting all at once. So we began by giving John a $500 grant for a leather sewing machine which he can use to manufacture and repair bicycle seats and other leather items. We sent the money to his pastor, Justin, asking him to tell John that if he is successful at this start-up phase of his business, he can later request a micro-loan to expand his business so that he can begin repairing shoes.
John didn’t waste any time getting his business up and running, and Justin sent us photos. Because of gifts to the Food Fund and the Handicapped Christians Fund, the East African city of Kigali has a new entrepreneur on the block—and one less beggar.