She lost her parents when she was five...
Updated: Jul 20, 2022
In Zambia, inflation is through the roof and the economy, as well as all the common people, are suffering terribly. You can go into the shop with one thousand kwatcha and it’s only enough to buy about two things. Obviously, this is creating a major problem for the poor who were already suffering before the inflation. So at the school, we are really trying to provide for the children specifically who are in homes where food is even more scarce. We’re noticing a pattern that we’ve seen so many times in the past: children aren’t able to focus or are drowsy during the school hours because they don’t have enough to eat. So every morning before school begins, two or three sweet women come to the school and spend their morning making nshima or porridge for the children.
Each morning, the children will line up in rows by their grades and then one by one they’ll enter the little building that serves as a kitchen, receive their bowl of food, and then eagerly go back outside to eat it. In turn, the children are able to study with full bellies and we've noticed that they are considerably more alert.
We've also been really trying to not only meet their academic needs, but also their spiritual needs on a more personal level. It's slow work gaining the children's trust, but we've seen quite a few open up over the last few months. And though it's not easy to hear about their struggles and speak about their pain, we want to be a network of support for these children who are often feeling abandoned or lost. And it's through this counseling that we came to know the story of Mercy.
At the age of five, Mercy (name changed for privacy) lost her mother to HIV and AIDS and her father to a murder. All of a sudden, life as she knew came crashing down around her and she was forced to start living with her grandparents. There, she sold fried fritters, a Zambian treat, on the street to help her grandparents pay for supporting her. Only, it wasn’t that simple. As she grew older, her grandfather began to abuse her physically and verbally and then, as she grew into a young woman, her uncle began to take advantage of her. She felt trapped, unable to speak out against her abuse for fear of being disowned or thrown out into the streets, and yet she knew she could not continue on like this forever.
Finally, unable to bear it any longer, she ran away from her home, coming to live with a friend of her sister’s in Twashuka. There, she learned about our school and often comes at breaks to speak with Jennipher, Aaron's wife.
Through the Cherish program, Jennipher was able to pour into this young woman's life and takes advantage of these moments to counsel Mercy and direct her to the Lord for guidance.
She has also voiced many concerns over what Mercy has gone through, begging her to go to the police station and report her uncle's crimes, but Mercy refuses.
"No, don’t do that. We can’t do that. I just don’t want to be staying at that place." For her, it is enough just to be free from a home of physical and sexual abuse.
Through counseling these young women after school or through the Cherish program, we've uncovered many painful stories similar to Mercy's. These are young girls who have suffered physical or sexual abuse their entire life, but don't dare speak out. Many have had children, or aborted their children to keep it quiet. There's so much fear of being thrown from their homes or dividing the community, that many of the girls never dare speak of what they've gone through. And so, in many ways, it's a miracle that they are beginning to open up through the Cherish program.
Ways You Can Pray:
Please pray for the teachers to have wisdom concerning these young women that they are ministering to. Pray that they are given the right words to say, but that they are also not afraid to bring these crimes to higher authorities if necessary. In places like Zambia, communities are so important and it's difficult for these women to accept the idea of calling the police on their uncle or grand father. So pray that these women will find healing, but also justice.
Pray for the children at the school that they would be able to concentrate during their classes and glean the most they can from the teachers.
Pray for unity within the team. Everyone comes from different homes and different backgrounds, but to impact these children, they need to work as a team.
Pray for Florence and Fridah, two of our teachers in the school. Our ministry is sponsoring them to further their education so that they can be better equipped to teach at the school in Twashuka. Pray that they are attentive throughout their classes and will be able to change the school for the better. They also both have young children at home, so pray for their strength when they return home every day.
Please pray that the Lord opens doors with the finances. With inflation through the roof, it's getting very difficult to stretch the money we have and so we are trying to start up the peanut butter business again. Please pray that the Lord will bless this endeavor and allow it to be fruitful.
Thank you so much for your support of this ministry, whether it's financial or through prayer. We value both incredibly.