For there will be no hope of real comfort if we do not first acknowledge that a great and perplexing gulf of grief and sorrow is present in our world and, at times, in our own lives. One does not see God in the whirlwind without confronting the whirlwind.
Sometimes there are no words. But when you are writing a newsletter, ‘no words’ are not so helpful, so let me give you a bit of a background story to what is to come.
On September 11, 2001 I was finishing up a visit to the USA and scheduled to fly out that morning. In the resulting chaos after the terrorist attacks, I found myself ‘stranded’ for a week, but not without purpose. Somehow, people in the area heard that a missionary in Mozambique was around, so I had requests to meet and speak with people. One of those I met with eventually moved to Mozambique and started ministering to streetboys, and before long had a children’s home called House of Blessing (HOB). I went and visited the orphans and vulnerable children living there many times, and even 9 years ago David and I “orphan-sat” for three months so my friend running the place could have a break from caring for 40 children.
There’s a lot more to the story, but suffice to say, I know and love these HOB kids, most of whom are young adults now.
Thus, I was shocked last month when I discovered Helena, one of the 19 year old’s had committed suicide. Helena had a beautiful smile and personality, and when David and I lived in a little reed hut for our 3 month assist, she used to wake us up with a song and dance -literally! Her photo has been my computer screensaver for four years, as well as my laptop skin.
Though it is no surprise that the ministry we are involved in to vulnerable young adults transitioning out of orphanages into independent living situations is fraught with risks, when we lose one of them, it is devastating. So since I knew Helena’s HOB brothers and sisters were going to be having a hard time at the holidays in particular with her absence, I flew up to the area just prior to Christmas so I could gather them together on December 25th.
Our Christmas celebration was a God-blessed event attended by 40, and needed conversations took place about how when problems or hurts are kept in the dark, they usually fester, and often they poison a person. A commitment was made to bring our struggles into the light, so we as a family could be more supportive.
So, in honor of my beloved Helena, and the commitment to share our needs, I’m going to bring before you some of the struggles of these HOB young adults. I do so not to promote voyeurism, but to encourage prayer and possible additional involvement. I will not give too many details here about the needs, but feel free to get a hold of me if you want additional information.
Is there a grace and a love that can coexist with pain, and rather than being nullified by it,
somehow is more profoundly made manifest in the midst of it?
Could it be everything sad is coming untrue? In the hands of the one who is making all things new.
I was reminded afresh today of how needed a safe house is when I learned two of the young women from HOB who were coming to visit by bus were being targeted by a man offering them food and transportation, and whose intention for them was clearly trafficking. They naively just thought he was a nice guy, but their sister who lives with us and was picking them up recognized the obvious clues that signaled danger. There is a great need to transition these (and other) young adult orphans from orphanage life to safe independent living environments. Our live-in college concept does indeed address this, but until it is up and running, it’s important we protect these who are at risk, and in a manner of speaking, falling down ravines with steep inclines and life-threatening terrain.
Helena’s House can dramatically decrease the dangers to young women such as the ones who just came our way. Thinking of one of those two, I know the impact this could make as presently she lives in government housing in a small room, whose size is smaller than most people’s closets. She has been robbed twice. She also shares a bathroom with 9 families, and since her door is the closest to it, she is forced to clean it or the smell becomes overpowering. A healthier housing situation for this delightful and talented young woman could literally save her life. And with a dream to be a missionary in Israel, there’s no telling the impact saving her life could eventually have on thousands of others.
$500 a month
The following 6 projects are for House of Blessing, so cheques for these needs would be written out to them.
One of the greatest struggles for HOB is not having the funds to hire a caretaker for Davi, another 19 year old orphan, and Helena’s cousin.