The summer months, “or cold season months” for us here, have flown by.
The work continues to grow and expand with the kids.
We were blessed to have Katherine Johnson here for 6 weeks helping in the work.
Then Katryn had a friend Maurice come for 2 weeks and he also was able to spend time with the kids and get to know some of the boys.
The kids have been on school holiday here for the month. They do year round schooling with 3 months on and one month break in between terms. Most of them go back in 2 weeks, for the last term of the year.
Katryn has been spearheading and running herself ragged ( in a good way!) with the guardian business start up project. Donations were given to help the guardians of these kids start their own business, so they could become self sufficient. So she along with Maureen and Fanny have been going non stop the last 2 weeks buying and helping the guardians to get all the supplies, whether it be clothing, charcoal, food items, selling popcorn, setting up a barber shop... paying the first 6 months rental for the shops and ntembas that they will be selling the items.
They just finished yesterday and so now it will be Maureen’s responsibility to go and check on the progress of the businesses. I plan to go next week and see several of them and how they are going.
Katryn emailed this:
As of yesterday, we officially finished starting the 10 businesses for our families. It was a long and very tiring process, but it was incredibly powerful to be a part of. I want to again thank each of you for sending whatever gifts you sent and encourage you to continue to uphold these people in prayer.
-Saphira Tachali has a clothing stand and is also selling "talktime" (minutes for the cellphone) in a market near her home. (Everlyn's aunt)
-Justina Daka has a clothing stand in a market called Mandevu Junction. (Joseph, Felix and Nelia's mom)
-Selina Zimba is selling bedsheets, pillowcases and blankets. (Francis, Barbara, Memory and Christian's mom)
-Alice Tembo is selling food (beans, vegetables, fish etc.) and charcoal from a stand she built at her home. (Nathan and Wisdom's mom and Morgan's aunt)
-Elizabeth Zulu has a stand where she is running a barbershop and selling vegetables. She also is selling popcorn and small food items. (Tisa and Faith's mom, Christopher and Harrington's aunt)
-Isaac Mwansa has transformed a room in his home into a full working convenience store. (Kaumba's uncle)
-Susan Mumba is selling food items such as rice, cornmeal, beans and fish from a stand outside her home. (Philip's aunt)
-Eunice Chipepela is selling food items like vegetables, chicken, fish and beans from a stand in a nearby market. (Protasho's mom, Patrick's grandmother)
-Mirriam Nanyangwe is selling clothes in Chipata Market (Geofrey's sister)
-Victoria Chamoa is selling food such as vegetables, beans and rice in Chipata Market. (Kelley's mom)
The pictures can be found in this album-
The building project is going great and everyone is excited and the progress and the hopes that within a month or two it can be useable. They currently are working on the roof.
It will be great to have completed as we start off the new year in January having a meeting place to work out of and Katryn to have her own classroom for the tutoring that she does.
She is adding a few more kids to help with their studies so that now brings her to being there in Kabanana 4 days a week, with one day at home for administrative work.
We are waiting on all the “shoeboxes” of christmas gifts from the kids sponsors to be coming in over this next month so we can have them all to distribute around the holidays. If you think of this you can pray for all of them to arrive safely with no problems from customs and the post office.
We are beginning to look for more kids to sponsor since we have had requests from people wanting to help. Maureen mainly will be looking for the kids and then we will all go and meet them before we decide. Everyone basically needs help you could say in one sense, but we want to be helping the neediest of the needy. Those that have no other option for help, those who are playing in the garbage heap every time I drive by, because they have nothing else, no school, no future.
This month we had Peter come again to give haircuts to the boys and we just had a lunch yesterday for the kids as well. We like to plan at least one monthly meeting for all the kids and us to get together with them, usually it is over a meal and a short time of devotion and singing.
We have had a challenge with some of the kids not attending sunday school and even school. A few months back we wrote up terms of “agreement” for the kids and guardians to know what is provided and what is not. We pay the kids school fees, provide shoes, book bags and school supplies. We also help with medical expenses that arise. The kids are then expected to actually attend church and school.
We had one family situation arise that we have been watching over this whole year.
A sibling group that was not going to school or church. We decided it was time to remove them from the program after many, many warnings to them and to the mother to motivate her kids to attend.
Fanny and I went to the home and sat down with the mother.
We knew that these kids were wasting the money that is being paid for them when there are HUNDREDS of other kids that need help. Though a difficult thing it was time to let them go.
We sat down in the Living room and I spoke some and Maureen then also spoke. We went over again what was expected, the “contract” of sorts that was signed by the kids and the guardian and that they were continually not attending. And we told her that they were being removed from the program.
We pulled out the registry that Maureen has for attendance and the school records and explained again to the mother. She then told us that she sends the kids to church and the last month after we spoke to her she had been sending them to school as well.
Maureen said, right here is the record they are not coming to church. I then asked to bring the kids in to speak with them.
What was found out is that they leave the house when the mother sends them but they either just mess around for a while and then come home or they go to a friend’s church. So the kids had been lying to their mom. She was sending them, she was doing her part to make the kids go to church.
Nelia started smiling when we asked where was she. It was a joke to her. Her mother then informed them that we were removing her and Joseph the younger brother from the program. The oldest Felix would be on a “probabtion” of sorts for this last school term, but if nothing changed he too would be removed at the end of the term.
Tears came. Tears from Nelia, and Joseph and many tears from the mother.
The kids then left the room and the mother began pleading with us.
I don’t think I have ever been in that position before, where humanly speaking I had the authority to reject the mothers pleas and cries or to show mercy and extend one more chance. That if these kids were dropped from the program that was it. Most likely they would never be given another chance to go to a decent school and be helped.
She cried and said she was begging us. I would like to be able to explain accurately how that feels, but I don't think I can. You pray for wisdom, pray to be gracious and humble and then you have to make a decision.
At that point, all my resolve of our meeting earlier with fanny and maureen of, “this is what needs to happen” and ok we have to do this... changed.
In that moment through the tears. But not just because of the tears.
I asked to call the children back in and spoke to them strongly and told them that it was for their mother’s sake that we were going to offer them this last chance. That they should never lie to their mother, That our God shows mercy to us. That God was giving them another chance. I then told the 2 older kids that they have been setting a very bad example for their brother and that he will do whatever they do. I told them that we want to help them not just in school but spiritually as well and that is why we want them to attend the meetings.
In the end the mother thanked us, the children dried their tears and left the room.
The mother said they did not know how serious it was. Regardless of the fact that we had told them it was serious.
In the past I have been so “resolved” at different things that it really would not matter what came out in the discussion once the “principle” I thought was achieved, we go forward. Didn't matter if we found out new information. Things are clear cut. If This happens then this is the result and the outcome. No Matter what. Hold your ground...
I think God, ok, I KNOW God has been teaching me over the year that life is not clear cut. Yes there need to be guidelines and principles in your programs, but you deal with real people, and how many times do I mess up and fail again and again and yet GOD keeps showing me mercy through his son Jesus. I hope I continue to show more mercy and graciousness to everyone.
A lot to pray for, in this work. Thank you for your interest and prayers!