Hope for the Afflicted Update
We had Pastor and Mrs. Kabwe in our home last night. Pastor Kabwe is the main contact person along with James for the work at the church in Ndola. (About 4 hours north from where we are living now) This is where the Copperbelt Ministerial College is, as well as the Hope for the Afflicted Orphan Ministry.
He gave us an update on the Orphan ministry. There are now somewhere between 35 and 37 orphans that are supported. These children live with some form of guardian whether it is a grandmother, an aunt or an older sibling. Nearly all the financial support comes from a few churches in the United States. Food is bought and given to the families, school fees are paid, if the child is sick, they are taken to the doctor..etc. A few of the orphans are HIV positive and they are given extra special food to go along with the ARV medications that are provided for them as well.
The children then meet periodically at a house that has been rented for meetings with the guardians. The medicine for those that have HIV are given out at the house, as well as the food. They hold a Sunday school class for these orphans as well. Currently they are meeting in a school building, renting 2 classrooms. I wrote about our visit to the Sunday School class when we visited last year at the end of July.
The classrooms were near other church services being held in the same building. For quite a while, after the lesson, the children would receive an energy drink and a roll. For some this was the only thing to eat for breakfast and lunch. The numbers grew and when we were there over 100 children were coming. Many children would bring their baby siblings with them, just to get the snack afterwards.
Some children even were sent by parents who were there at the school in other church services.
The number was very difficult to manage as there were usually only 2 to 3 workers for all the children. It was a sad situation because you know these kids are hungry.
But they stopped giving the roll and drink out, and instead just give out a bag of snackies, like crackers or chips. There are now about half the number of kids coming. Somewhere around 50.
Mrs. Kabwe said it is better now, because they feel like they can actually concentrate on the children and the children listen better to the lesson. Less chaos.
They have had desires for some time, though to build a metal structure on the side of the house they rent. This would be used for a Sunday school classroom, and other group meeting throughout the week. Right now their interaction with these kids is fairly limited partly due to the logistics of having a space for these larger meetings.
But Kabwe shared as well that they are having difficulties with some of the children not coming to the Sunday school, even though they are supposed to, in light of the support that they have been given. Sometimes he said, the guardians will have them do some kind of work and they will be the ones hindering them from coming.
He said that they have dreams and a vision for helping these guardians. Teaching them literacy and hygiene and health care as well as maybe teaching them to sew or another income generating skill.
If they can reach out to these guardians of these children , you can see that it will not only help them, but will help the children as well.
So Pastor Kabwe again mentioned the need to have this “building” so that they could start to meet in other ways and expand this ministry. We talked with him last night and after we said goodnight, ( they were staying the night at our home) I told James, I know what we need to do. We need to ask someone to help with this project. And I knew exactly who! I remembered a friend that had mentioned to me, “Let me know if there is anything that we can do to help”. Before we left and again while we have been over here.
Usually people want to help and might say that in general, but you tend to know when someone is serious. When an offer is a real genuine offer, and you know they have the means to act upon that offer.
So I emailed a friend and a heartily reply was given that YES they wanted to help and the Lord’s timing in these things was perfect.
We told Kabwe of the help that could be given and he said, “This is an answer to prayer!”.
What a blessing to be able to hear of a need and then immediately know of someone who could tangibly meet that need. The Lord delights to use people to accomplish his plans.
When we get to be involved in the process it is joyful!
So please thank the Lord with us and pray that we would continue to see opportunities and that people would want to help in those needs that are seen.
So when we visit Ndola at the end of next month, they should have the structure up and we will be able to take pictures and report back on how this was a blessing to them there.
Here are some pictures of the house and of the children. These were all taken in July 2009.
I hope to get many more next month.
The side of the house, where the new metal structure will be attached
The front of the house
The back of the house