You may remember Samuel, Paul, and Maxwell who I wrote about several days ago. Their mom is the one who had resorted to selling alcohol from her backyard brewery in Bikeke Village. I’ve been concerned and wondered if the boys had been able to make it to Liberty School or not. Finally, I was able to go to the village and see for myself. When I got to the school, I specifically asked the Head Teacher about Samuel, the oldest boy, 14 years. And, yes, he and his two younger brothers had all come on Monday and they’ve been there every day since! Check out the photo I took of Samuel the day I met him at his house last week and the two photos I took at the school today. His whole countenance has changed. In the second photo, you can see him in the far left waving at me with a big smile.
When I was talking with his class, I told the students that there are many, many children in the world. Simplistically, I stated that some kids have it easy and some have many challenges. I asked them which category they thought they were in. Matter-of-factly, they answered that they were children with some challenges. Their heartbreaking answer to what their challenges are included, “Sometimes we don’t have food; we don’t have clothes to wear; we don’t have shoes; we are cold at night because there is no blanket; sometimes our parents go missing.”
It’s true. They do have many, many difficulties, ones you and I have probably never experienced. I drew a scant map of the world and explained that there are many, many children in the world who suffer some of the very same challenges. I told them that there is a God who cares about and knows every single one of these children, even the ones suffering right here in Bikeke. He knows that they are hungry, and cold and have never been to school. The truth is that He loves them and is proving his love by bringing some comfort and help for them. He even brought them a Director who, with many other people, has built a school where they don’t have to pay school fees or buy a uniform or have shoes. They have good teachers who do not take bribes to teach them. Because these teachers do not teach 100 students in one classroom, they know them and love them. I told them that sometimes they might feel like they are slipping off a very steep mountain cliff because there is nothing to hope for, nothing to live for. I reminded them to think about this school and the Director and how God is holding out his hand to them to give them help. My encouragement to them was that they must reach out and grab hold of God’s hand and receive all that He is offering along with the strength to hang on even when times are very, very pressing.
The kids clapped and clapped, cheering happily. I noticed Samuel listening intently as I spoke. Sheepishly he looked down as I began, his eyes locked, and I know he believes every word I said. He smiled. For the first time in his life, I believe he knew that he is known, that he is loved. This boy will make it. I just know it!
As for the young mom with seven children whom I saw sitting in the office with the Head Teacher, I don’t know yet. She is like so many other mothers who come to the school. She is single and her husband has died of HIV-AIDS. The family has not eaten in two days. The kids have never been to school. Can Liberty School help?
With your help, YES! We will continue to expand the vision and scope of this school that is a light cast in darkness causing many to be drawn for warmth and hope.