I had planned to introdouce the kids one by one, but I had to type up a short bio of each one for Wendi Cross, whose team visited us in early March. Wendi's group is trying to find education sponsors for these kids, plus 16 more from the community that they met at our little church, kids who aren't currently attending school because there is no money for their school fees. So, here's a quick introduction to 14 of the greatest kids you'll ever meet!
Annet, 14 years old, was raised by her grandmother after both parents died. She is a soft-spoken, bright, beautiful young lady who, like a typical teenager, is often the last one ready in the morning! As the oldest of the children, she willingly helps a lot around the house, especially in the kitchen. She had never been to school when she came to the orphanage, and although she has progressed well, she won’t graduate from secondary school before she leaves the orphanage. She wants to be a hairdresser, though, so with a basic education we hope to send her to school to learn this skill, which is a good way for a woman in Uganda to make a living.
Gloria, 13 years old, is Peter’s older sister. She is the servant-hearted girl of the family. If she is late, it’s because she is cooking, cleaning the house, or helping someone else to get ready, especially Natasha. She had a problem with stealing and running away from home when she first came, but God has truly transformed her. She told Mama Gracious that she hoped that one day, we would be able to give bars of soap to all the poor kids! (And so the children all fasted to save money, and are planning to distribute bars of soap next month to the children in the slum where many of them came from! Did I tell you these children are amazing!) God is already using Gloria, and she hopes to someday serve Him as a pastor.
Deo, 12 years old, had been living with his grandmother since his mother died when he was 3 months old and his father went mad and ran off. His ragged clothes were almost gone, and he was eating from the garbage dump before he came to Redeemer House 18 months ago. He is a gentle, generous, caring big brother, who always notices when the little ones have a problem, and quietly figures out a way to help. (He is the one who kept bringing children to the team at church, saying this child couldn’t go to school because he had no one to pay his school fees!) He is a quiet leader in the home, and always expresses gratefulness for everything – and he just happens to be a terrific dancer, too! He loves the Lord with all his heart, and wants to serve Him as a Pastor when he grows up.
Saida, 11 years old, is a beautiful girl with a dazzling smile. She is quiet and a bit withdrawn, but very bright, and she likes to look nice! Her mother was a prostitute. She comes from a tribe where, as the first-born daughter, she was supposed to be sacrificed, but God spared her. She was raised by an abusive grandmother who is witch doctor, and has said she would commit suicide before going back. The grandmother only recently agreed to sign over guardianship to Redeemer House, and it was a day of celebration! Saida hopes to be a lawyer after attending university.
Nicolas, 11 years old, is very bright, and is our resident mathematician. He was found living in a tiny room in a building which has since fallen down, with his grandmother, auntie, some cousins, and his sweet little 3 year old brother. Nicolas was trying to hide his tears the day he found out he was going to come live at the orphanage and would get to go to school – but they were tears of joy! His grandmother is a remarkable little woman, and his manners and pleasant attitude show that in spite of his poverty, Nicholas was raised well. Both parents died of AIDS. Nicolas hopes to be a farmer someday.
Brian, 11 years old, came to us as a “rescue”. Last year, his stepfather tried to choke him to death, but his mother rescued him and took him to a nearby home, where he stayed for a short time until he came to us at Redeemer House. He has a ready smile, and loves to please, but with his violent past, he sometimes resorts to fighting. In spite of this, he is a loveable boy who truly loves the Lord. He likes school, and is always willing to do his homework (something some of the others often put off – typical kids!). When he went to the village at Christmas time, he apologized to Mama Gracious when he came back, because he had given away all the new clothes we had just bought him! Someday he hopes to be an accountant, or maybe a pastor.
Allen, 9 years old, was found with his mother and 3 younger siblings in a tiny room in building just weeks before it collapsed, and his mother had just cooked the last of their porridge. She had fled home when Allen’s father tried to kill him, stabbing him in his neck, buttocks, and leg, but she felt she had run out of options, and was preparing to return to him. When we offered to take Allen, and told his mother we would send him to school, she wept with relief. With our assistance, Allen’s mother was able to start a business selling charcoal to support her other children. Allen is quiet and shy, and struggles a bit with English, but is a bright, pleasant, hard working boy whose smile is amazing. He likes cars, and hopes to be a driver someday – a job in Uganda that can range from driving a bus to driving a private car for someone who doesn’t want to face driving on Ugandan roads!
Peter, 9 years old, is a brother to Gloria. They were living with a maternal uncle before coming to Redeemer House, because their mommy, who lives in the bush, couldn’t afford to raise them. However, the uncle couldn’t feed them either, so they often went without eating, and they had never been to school. Peter is shy and has a bit of a temper, but just needs a little extra TLC, and really responds to it. He’s very hard working at home, and likes school, although it’s not always easy for him because he got such a late start. He hopes to be a teacher one day.
Esther, 8 years old, was found just over a year ago in Kampala by Mama Gracious. She was near starvation, filthy, clad only in a dirty T-shirt, trying to find food in a garbage can, with adults trying to chase her off. Gracious rescued her, fed her, and took her to the police. She had been living on the streets since her mother abandoned her about 2 months before, and had wounds all over her body from bites from her own mother. The police granted custody of Esther to Redeemer House, and she is now a very bright, beautiful, hardworking girl who keeps her room very neat, and who always runs to the gate to offer to carry things when someone arrives. She has a quick mind, and is learning her multiplication tables just by listening as the older children are taught. She hopes to be a teacher, a model, or a designer.
Ivan, 7 years old, lost both parents and was living with an impoverished auntie who couldn’t even feed her own children when he got the chance to come to Redeemer House. He is a cute little guy who claims to like school, but he falls asleep in class, and may have a problem with dyslexia. (We need an expert to come and diagnose him, and then teach us how to best help him!) He has a look about him that can make you wonder what he is thinking! He gets along well with everyone, and has dreams of becoming a doctor one day.
Sarah, 7 years old, is a cousin to Annet, and also lived with their grandmother after both of her parents died. When she came to the orphanage when it first opened, she had wounds all over her body, and a fungus on her head that took almost a year to cure. She also has extra sets of teeth coming in and will need dental surgery and braces in the future. She’s now a pretty, soft-spoken, happy little girl who likes school and wants to be a doctor someday.
Joshua, 6 years old, is the “baby boy” of the family. He was living in a tiny room with his invalid grandmother, who has since died, and they depended on their poverty-stricken neighbors for handouts. Joshua often ate from the garbage or cleaned people’s outdoor toilets to get something to eat. His body and face were covered with open sores when he first came, but now he’s very healthy. He likes school, praying, singing and dancing, and hopes to be a pilot one day.
Gladys, 5 years old, is an adorable little imp with a huge smile. Her young mom, who is dying of AIDS, lied to us to help get her daughter into Redeemer House, because she knew that Gladys would be cared for and have a chance for a future. (She didn’t realize we would have taken her anyway!) Her father was killed by The Lord’s Resistance Army She has been with us about 6 months, and is very bright and has picked up English quickly. She’s not fond of clothes, and would just as soon wear just a pair of soccer shorts! Her 5-year-old dream is to be a teacher someday.
Natasha, 4 years old, is the “baby” of the family. She was found by Mama Gracious when she was visiting her sister in “the village”. Natasha, 2½, had been living for a few days in a locked house with her dead mother, and when the police broke the door down and found her, they wanted someone to take her. When no one else wanted her, Gracious took her. She left Natasha for a while with her sister, but the sister’s husband soon said she had to leave, so Natasha joined us at Redeemer House. She is a bright, happy little girl with a big smile, who wins everyone’s heart. She says she wants to be a doctor someday.
So those are the current children of Redeemer House - at least, the ones who stay there every night! We help other kids in various ways, but these are OUR kids! They are great kids, and I know God has wonderful plans for every one of them, because He rescued them from their dreadful circumstances and brought them to this family, to be loved, nurtured, and brought up to love God. Every day they bless me! They make me laugh, they make me cry, and they make me want to be more like them in so many ways. They are one of the great blessings of my life. Wish you could all come on over and meet them! They're terrific!
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