Our days here at Hope Center are filled with many ups and downs. We face huge disappointments, heart breaking situations, and glorious miracles. I love it when the day ends in a miracle like it did yesterday. Many of you know Kenken…..
His sponsor is Lori Kizziah from Pensacola. Lori and I (as well as many others) have been so concerned about Kenken over the last few years because he has been through so much pain and he often feels discouraged and beat down by people he trusts to take care of him. He comes from a village called Cha-cha near the mountain village of Bel Fontaine. His parents died about three years ago, and he went to live with his uncle. After a few months, his uncle left him and moved to Brazil. He was alone and scared but determined to find help. He made his way down the mountain to Galette Chambon all by himself. He was 12 years old. He found a family to live with, but they treated him like a slave. It’s a common form of child slavery in Haiti, particularly in the countryside. A child slave is called “restovek.” He was forced to work for this family and was only allowed to wear tattered clothes and no shoes. He was always dirty and alone. He knew that this treatment was not right, so he came to Hope Center seeking help. At the time, a team from Pensacola was here, and that’s how he met Lori. God led Lori to be his sponsor and we got him in school.
He also started coming to our church and he accepted Jesus as his savior. Things were looking up for Kenken! Once he started school, however, the family he was living with kicked him out. They didn’t like that he was not home in the mornings to work. Once again, he was alone on the dusty paths of the village, sleeping anywhere he could find shelter. Eventually, he found another family to live with, but every time Lori would send him gifts, the people in the family would steal them from him. They made him feel like he owed them the nice things he received from his sponsor. Yesterday, he came to us again completely beat down. Someone in the house took all of his belongings and burned them outside the house. He had nothing…no uniform, no back pack, no shoes, nothing more than the clothes on his back…and once again, no home. He said that the family had started making him sleep outside in the yard with the dogs. I was devastated. I just felt like we were at a complete dead end. We had asked people before if they could help him, and they either said no, or they agreed and abused him. We had talked to some Christian orphanages – because he is a TRUE orphan – but none of them could accept a child over the age of 12. I found myself crying out to God for help because I know He sees Kenken’s situation, and I know He can provide. My heart was so, so heavy. Meanwhile, Kenken just hung out in our yard, playing soccer with Bicly and Cade, enjoying a few laughs with photo filters….waiting…..
About the same time, a local pastor came to see me to discuss plans for our upcoming party for the handicapped in our area. Next week’s team is making plans, and Pastor Wilfaite is planning on the Haiti end. He had brought in the ladies that will cook the food for the party. We sat and discussed the plans, and I agreed to show them a good location for cooking the food near the church. When we walked through the clinic gate, there sat Kenken on the bench by the clinic. God spoke to my heart and said, “Share his story with them.” So we went behind the clinic and looked at the space for cooking and they agreed that this was a good location. Then I told them about Kenken. Their faces showed disappointment, sadness, & compassion for this child who has known nothing but rejection in the last few years. Pastor said he knew of a woman who has a house near his, not far from the school Kenken attends. She is getting older and could really use someone there in the house with her particularly at night. She has an extra room, and she agreed to let Kenken live there. There is no furniture in the room, so we gave him a cot to sleep on until we can get him a bed. We agreed to find Kenken an additional sponsor so that we can use that money to help her buy food for him and take care of other needs he may have. We dug around in the things that teams have left here and found him some clothes. I looked in the uniform closet to see if his uniform for next year had been made yet so I could go ahead and give it to him. I found something better. I found a uniform with the name of a student who has left the program. The size is perfect for Kenken!
Last night, Kenken spent his first night with his new friend in a solid house with a concrete floor. He slept safely and soundly with a pillow under his head. He woke up this morning and prepared for school without skipping a beat. He had a good breakfast, ate lunch at school, and he knows he will eat dinner at his new home tonight. God has answered our prayers. He has seen Kenken’s pain and used Godly people in the village to reach out to him and help him. I will be posting him again on the website to find him an additional sponsor. I have no doubt that he will have one in no time. Isaiah 40:29-31 says, “He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” God is giving strength to Kenken right now. I have no doubt that one day, Kenken will run and not grow weary and he will walk and not be faint. He has and will continue to overcome. Praise God!!!