This article is one component of the cover package on "Songs of Justice, Missions of Mercy."
Sara Groves has long championed the virtues of child sponsorship and social justice, but it wasn't until a 2005 visit to Rwanda—with Rick Warren and a team from Saddleback Church—that she really started to get it.
"It was life changing," she said in an interview with Thought Quotient, in which she spoke of her former "self-congratulatory" attitude. "There is a huge difference between charity and justice. I was acting out of a heart of charity—'I am going to help Africa'—and God really broke my heart. God showed me there is a tremendous injustice."
But she was also captivated by a nation where, as she told Christianity Today, "hope and pain were so close together. The beauty and the hope were my undoing." At the end of the 2005 trip, Pastor Warren told the team, "Dream about how you could partner with Rwanda."
For Groves, that meant eventually connecting with Food for the Hungry (FH), asking the nonprofit relief ministry a simple question: What can I do to help your work? She and FH created a plan to sponsor an entire Rwandan community—the rural village of Gisanga, where FH was already providing education, job training, nutrition, and medical care. During her 2008 Art*Music*Justice concert tour, Groves recruited about 700 people (en route to her goal of 1,200) to sponsor children in Gisanga.
Earlier this year, CT joined Groves and a ministry team from FH on a return trip to Rwanda. One afternoon in Gisanga, the team visited the home of Ann Marie, a widow with five children ages 10 to 19. Their mud-brick dwelling, about 10 by 12 feet, had a thatched roof and a fire pit for cooking. The family slept on a straw ...