Committed to community
In building community we have to walk step by step with people, supporting and enabling them, helping strengthen relationships. Sometimes this takes many years and all kinds of highs and lows but life is a journey and there are no quick fixes. What we do know is that every bit of progress is easily undone unless Jesus is at the heart of it. Some time ago, we told the story of how we met Samuel; then just a toddler who had stumbled into a fire causing severe burns to his left foot. The terrible extent of his injuries meant that his lower leg had to be amputated. His mother could only afford to use a cheap, ill-equipped clinic, which did a poor job and left his wound badly infected. Not knowing where to turn, Mama Samuel took the boy to his grandmother’s house and abandoned him there.
Jaja Samuel, the young boy’s grandmother, did her best to care for him despite having very limited resources and finances herself. With the help of Every Life, she was able to get his wound properly treated and eventually a prosthetic limb to help him walk around. She found a job that enabled her to send Samuel to school which he hugely enjoyed. The future looked bright for the family and that is where our last story ended…
Last year Samuel turned nine years old. Unfortunately, Jaja lost her job leaving her unable to pay Samuel’s school fees. As he was unable to attend school, Samuel seemed to become quite disillusioned and began to wander further and further from home each day. Then one day, he didn’t come back. When he was eventually found, there was talk about whether he should be taken to an orphanage in Kampala or to boarding school.
Later that year Samuel disappeared for a whole month. Eventually an old farmer found him in a bush near his garden and brought him back to his grandma. Since Jaja’s financial difficulties had not improved, the talk of taking him to an orphanage continued which Samuel did not like at all. When Samuel returned, Every Life were able to meet regularly with the whole family, supporting Jaja and chatting and praying with Samuel. Before long, the boy started to have a radical change of heart as Jesus poured love and healing into his young life.
His Jaja has been able to attend a Life Group where she has been able to learn skills, gain knowledge and take part in practical training to empower her to care for and support her small family better. Samuel himself has joined in with the Every Life Kid’s Discipleship group. They play games, sing, read stories and tell the children about Jesus so that they too might know his love and joy in their lives.
Now Samuel says he loves his grandmother and doesn’t wish to be separated from her again. He is settled at home and his Jaja says he is now very thoughtful and responsible. By God’s grace, her job has been restored and the home is looking more stable. We thank God for Samuel and his loving grandmother. Today, Samuel is back in school and loving it! We know that only God can make meaningful long-term change and only his love, peace, joy and hope are everlasting. That is why we work with him and point to him in all we do.