What Inspired Our Name?

Maybe you’ve been curious as to where the name Rooted Oaks International originated from….

The new year has felt like a nice time to share a bit of the story behind who we are. We’ve had a number of people, over the last year, step into this journey with us and who may not know as much about us. Therefore, I thought it was a good time to share what inspired our name. 

Our name wasn’t originally Rooted Oaks International. When we first sat down, in Rwanda in 2016, to dream and put together this ministry we wanted a name in the native language. We brainstormed names that would communicate our vision and dreams while also being rooted in Rwanda. Through that brainstorming session, with three fluent Kinyarwanda speakers and one only weeks into the language, we decided on Bana Munsange Ministries. Roughly translated it means “let the children come” influenced by Jesus’ words in Matthew 19 when he says, “let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”

This was our desire. That we would open wide opportunities for children to encounter Jesus. To break off some of the hindrances that might prevent them from encountering His love for them. 

We settled on that name, but as we grew we discovered the challenges it possessed. We wanted to be a ministry that people remembered and were eager to tell their friends and families about. We learned that back in the US and Canada our name was difficult to pronounce by those we were inviting in. This was a hindrance to them sharing about it which would only limit our ability to expand. We knew that prior to stepping into being our own 501c3, rather than under a fiscal agent, we had to prayerfully consider if a name change was what was best. 

This set us down a path of prayer and creativity. We also knew at this point that our vision was to empower more than just the children. We were being drawn to invest in the whole family. Therefore our name should show that the best we could. 

I spent much time brainstorming with others. Trying to come up with a name that communicated our vision. One that would be easy to remember while also expressing who we are and how we want to impact the world. 

Through these brainstorming sessions I kept coming back to an image God gave me a number of years before this. It was the image of roots. He spoke to me about the importance of rooting children deeply in who God made them to be. To nurture their identity in Him starting at a young age. That as we did this their roots would grow deeper and stronger. Thus as that happened their ability to withstand the storms of life grew. A tree’s ability to stay upright is dependent on how strong and deeper their roots are. 

It is the same with our identity in Christ. The more we nurture our identity in Christ, at every age, the more we are able to withstand the storms that will undoubtedly come in life. 

This image continued to roll around and we played with the words root, roots, and rooted. Through a search of scripture for these images one continued to stick out. It was Isaiah 61:1-3. Specifically, it was the last line of verse 3 which says “they will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.”

This was our passion. To see ALL who we interacted with (advocates, donors, children, adults, social media followers, etc.) living lives of splendor which displayed the glory of the Lord. That they would be empowered to be strong like oaks of righteousness. The previous verses of that scripture only reiterated our vision. To “preach the good news to the poor”, “bind up the brokenhearted”, “release from darkness for the prisoners”, “comfort all who mourn”, etc. 

It was in this scripture that we saw the specific way God was inviting us into partnering with Him. We actually believe all of us, as human beings, are invited into this life. At Rooted Oaks International we want to be a part of partnering with all our families in Rwanda, partners across the world, and anyone we come in contact with to uncover how God is inviting them to see lives throughout the world become “plantings of the Lord for the display of his splendor” or to be Rooted Oaks!

-written by Anna LaCore, Rooted Oaks International co-founder and USA Director

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