“A Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds….Which of these do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” Luke 10:33-36
“Love God and love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:30-31
This week we have hit the streets to ministers to the children of the streets. Of all the times I came in the last year to visit Aweil, I was told by everyone who talked to me that there are many “orphans” on the streets of Aweil. So I believed that all of these children had no parents. This week I began the journey down the road to get to know them as individuals. I am finding the stories are the same with almost all of them. They do have parents but they are drunkards or stepparents who beat them in order to chase them away from the new marriage.
Meet Biang, 11 years old, who’s father died and his mother remarried. Biang, a quiet, serious and sad boy from Warrap, talks very quietly, eyes downcast. We found him walking alone on the road to the market. His stepfather beat him continuously so Biang fled to the streets in another state miles and miles away. We prayed for him and our pastor pulled him close to hug him like a father should. He now greets us in the market.
We then came to Adut who is 10 and her little brother, Jikjik, who is five. Their parents are living on the street wherever the alcohol flows. These little ones are told to find their own things to eat. They don’t even bother going home anymore because there is no home. It is wherever their parents pass out. Adut is a serious and very beautiful little girl with the eyes of a 20 year old.
There is Garang who is nine. His mother died and his father drinks and beats him. He too fled to the “safety” of the streets. Dut, who is also nine, has been on the streets since he was four years old. His mother is a drunk who has no concern for his whereabouts. These two parents live right here in the city of Aweil.
This is the typical story of the street kids. The alcohol is extremely cheap because it is made from sorghum and maize corn remnants. It is hard, hard stuff and it literally makes these people mean and crazy, frying their brains. Of all the children we met this week, there were no “orphans” technically. Yet, they are orphaned because the parents have walked away from this responsibility, chasing after drink or seeking to hold on to a new marriage which has gained a more important place than their own children. The work ahead is going to be huge and about reconciliation and breaking the spirit of addiction in these families.
The government, although seeming to be very interested in what I want to do, has been dragging it’s heels to give me what I need so far. I am still trying to get this place that God gave me in my heart and I so believe that it is supposed to be for us for this purpose. I was even given the scripture in America that “what God opens, no man can shut”. I believe that God has opened this door for me at this time and I will not give up until I get it. The police commissioner even offered his personal land to me to use for these children. It has a bamboo fence and water. He asked that I build a latrine and this I don’t have the money for because the latrines here are made of solid concrete, which is expensive. Then you have to pay someone to come and clean it out. I thanked him and blessed him for having such a good heart to offer his place but had to decline. If anything went wrong or was broken I would be responsible for fixing it. And again, I know God’s plan for this program. It is the compound called “Masara”.
We have begun the ministry of caring for wounds on all the boys. We hit the streets each armed with first aid kit and love and prayer. The children come to us all the time now, loving our hugs and our smiles of love for them. The police used to chase them away from us, thinking that they were bothering us. The police now know that we love these boys and have become our friends also. The wounds on these boys are serious. The children here get these sores on their legs, no matter how clean they are, they still get them. Children from clean environments can usually manage these wounds. But the street children cannot manage them and they get out of control. The small wounds turn into one, two and three inch circumference open and festering sores, flies constantly eating at them.
So, the children now bring us their friends who need tending and they love to be prayed for and touched. They smile when they see us and even though we can’t feed them yet, they are still happy we are here, some of the smaller ones even holding my hands and walking with me as we go along. They know that they matter to someone now. This is our reward, the smile of a child who knows he is loved and not a throw away or someone for the police to beat.
There is one boy, about 16 years old, his name is Manyang. He is in a wheelchair and is missing one leg, amputated at the knee. He lives on the street. His friend brought him to us and lifted the pants leg of his “good” leg and I almost passed out from the smell of rotting flesh. He has one of these wounds that has taken over his entire leg from the knee down. He keeps a burlap sack over it because the flies come in the hundreds to attack it. We immediately took him to the main hospital. They rejected him! Told us to take him to a city three hours drive away. We took him to three other clinics, all rejecting him. I couldn’t believe it.
After the last rejection he was very discouraged and dejected. He now had to carry this spirit of rejection anew. I told him that I would not give up on him. We will fix this. He said he didn’t want to go anymore. I know he is trying to save himself from more rejection. On Monday we are going to MSF (Medicines San France or something to that effect). They treat women and children. We are praying that Manyang is not too old and that they would have mercy on him and treat him.
We have been preaching at churches on Sundays and have even begun teaching some of the churches during the week about healing and deliverance and forgiveness. One of these churches invited us to come and visit their “healing room” on Wednesday. After a person has been rejected by every hospital and no one can do anything more medically, they come to this grass church structure. There is even a giant mango tree where they chain the mentally challenged people and they pray over them throughout the day and do deliverance on them. All get healed eventually! Praise Jesus!!
There is one boy at this center of God’s love who was a perfectly fine boy two weeks ago. He then contracted malaria and began to quickly decline. He now has seizures all throughout the day and night, drooling and not able to focus on anything. He goes extremely rigid during the seizures and is in a lot of pain. You can see the veins on his head pulse and his bones as he wastes away. We went as a team and spent the afternoon praying over him and singing over him. There was no visible change when we left but we are so encouraged by this church and what they do. All day long people are praying for the sick who are brought here. They very sick get to stay and sleep in the church for as long as it takes to get healed. That is what church is and does. It is a place for the sick to be healed!
Each day I am still praying for the blind and buying juice and bread for some of the smallest children. The temps are getting hotter and the afternoons are just plain miserable. It drags one down and you just can’t function very well. We try to rest for three hours after lunch until it gets a little cooler (105-110 degrees) before going back out. The wind on your face is just like turning on a blow dryer, very hot. Be blest in the rest!