WACO, Texas — Ascension Providence, which describes itself as a "faith-based healthcare organization,"  partnered with a Waco church to send its used beds to Rwanda after it bought new medical beds for its facilities. 

First Methodist Waco volunteers assisted in shipping the beds from Waco to the Cyangugu and Kigali regions of Rwanda, where they will be used. The volunteers loaded the beds onto four semi-trucks Friday.

"We value our partnership with First Methodist Waco, as both organizations have a shared mission to improve the health of individuals and communities," Philip Patterson, president of Ascension Providence, said.

First Methodist Waco's lead pastor, Rev. Ryan Barnett, is on the board of directors for Rwanda Shines, a San Antonio-based nonprofit focused on helping the people of the East African country. 

Barnett announced the church's commitment to shipping the beds from Ascension Providence to Rwanda.

"First Methodist Waco has a close relationship with the people of Rwanda," Barnett said. "Our church sponsored the construction of an entire church complex and primary school in Cyangugu and many of our members sponsor Rwandan children to attend the Star School in Kigali."

Rwanda Shines partners with Rwandan leaders to help find people who can help overcome the genocide the country experienced in 1994, when more than 800,000 people died in just 100 days.

The nonprofit focuses on access to healthcare, education and church building.

Barnett said the donation of medical beds is greatly needed.

“Health care in Rwanda remains a critical need," Barnett said. "We have seen multiple people sharing a single hospital bed. This gift from Ascension Providence will dramatically improve the quality of care for people who have endured great suffering.”

Barnett said he estimates the total cost for shipping the beds will be around $75,000. Those funds are being raised through the Rwanda Shines donor network.

Rwanda Shines estimates the value of the in-kind contribution to be nearly $850,000, making it one of the largest contributions the non-profit has seen.

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