Revisiting Caroline

Friday, we went back out to Lukhuna to visit Caroline.  Schools have closed after the completion of the first semester of the school year.  We were going to meet her other three children that stay with their mom.  We were also going out there for another purpose.

After the last blog Meredith wrote about Caroline, a family in Canada responded and have committed to pay for the school fees of Caroline’s children.  Yesterday, we were going to let the kids know that they would be going to a new school that was going to be closer.

When we arrived at the home, we found it locked.  The social worker we were with called Caroline and let her know we had come.  Soon after a young girl arrived and unlocked the door, and then ran off again to go get the rest of her family.  Everyone was off doing laundry.

While we waited, we kept ourselves entertained by entertaining the crowd of about twenty kids that had congregated when we showed up.  We called out a few names to see if we could guess what their names were.  The kids quickly loosened up and started sharing the names of their friends as we started guessing correct names.

Soon the entire family was gathered and we were sitting in the small room.  The curtain that was strung across the room to divide the living quarters from the sleeping quarters was down, presumably for washing.  It was then that we saw that this family sleeps on thin foam mattresses that are laid out on the floor.  The mattresses were torn.  There were no blankets.  We originally thought that there was at least a bed frame with a mattress.

We introduced ourselves to the children, and learned their names.  We then asked them if they knew that they would be attending a new school next semester that would not require them to walk so far.  They said they did, and were happy to be doing so.

We found out that Morgan, Caroline’s son, had missed a few weeks of school last semester.  When we asked why the response was because he was circumcised, had missed two weeks of school and wasn’t able to come back.  We were a little confused.  Usually circumcision happens during a break in the school year so that the boy has time to heal and won’t miss school.  A little more investigating revealed that Morgan came home from school circumcised.  We (Caroline included) don’t know who did it, or when, or how.  It was just confirmation that these children needed to go to a school closer to home.

Some good news for Sylvia was that her mom was able to get the money required for her to attend her last year of primary school and sit for the exams at the end of the year.  She will not be losing out on this year’s education, and should she do well, be able to attend a good high school next year.

We asked them what they would like to be when they are older.  Three of them said they would like to be teachers.  They were bookended by the oldest and youngest sisters who said they would like to be doctors.  I then went outside to take pictures of the three children we hadn’t met (Sylvia, Centrine, and Morgan).

We were also able to add some money to Caroline’s business.  With the money that she was given, she should be able to buy more clothes to sell.  We will monitor how well Caroline does with this increase in her business and see if she can’t save up some to move into something larger than her 8’x8’ room that they all stay in.

Caroline had been suffering from malaria this week and hadn’t been well enough to go out and sell clothes.  We took some time to pray for Caroline’s health.  We broke any curses that may have been spoken over the family (in particular for Morgan, although we didn’t mention him specifically in the prayers).  We asked the Father, Son and Holy Spirit to fill them with love.

I then encouraged the family to encourage one another.  To share the love of Jesus with each other.  I told Caroline that I could see that she feels beaten down.  I let her know that Jesus loved her and that she could hold her head up high because she has been working hard to make a better life for her family.  I prayed that God would take those rough edges in her spirit and smooth them out.

I asked the children to tell their mother that they loved her and to encourage their mom as she works hard to give them a good life.  The children immediately told Caroline that they loved her.  As each child spoke, Caroline thanked them, and the smile on her face grew.  Her eyes became brighter.  I was glad that we got to witness love being poured out among this family, but, I wasn’t expecting it to happen right then and there.

We had a visitor from Canada with us.  He asked if we could pray for her business.  I welcomed him to take the lead on that as he is a business man himself.  He prayed for her success.  He asked God to show her favour and get fair prices for the product she buys.  He prayed for increased confidence so that her customers would know that she is a good person to deal with.

Caroline & her children (back: Caroline, Sylvia, Centrine front: Morgan, Regan, Sandra)

Caroline & her children
(back: Caroline, Sylvia, Centrine
front: Morgan, Regan, Sandra)

This family is going to need a lot of support spiritually, and emotionally.  Financially, they are on the way thanks to Caroline’s hard work, and the generosity of a family half a world away.  It is my hope that as we meet with them, that we can heal those areas that need healing; build them up in the areas that they feel torn down.  We want to give them whole and complete healing throughout their entire being and see them become strong citizens in God’s Kingdom.