In the middle of a Malawian slum, I sat in their small brick home. No electricity, no running water. The space was cramped. It was dark, but light enough to see the silhouette of their two precious faces. 8 years and 5 years old, they lived here alone. Their parents died 2 years ago, from an illness that used to be called “slims disease,” now known as AIDS.
We were visiting a child-headed household with our partners Stanley and Lusubilo. WOW volunteers visit these two little ones three times a week, the other days their neighbours look out for them. But still, this selfless love can never replace the void in their lives. They have lost their Mommy and Daddy.
The reality of a slum is cruel. These little ones are vulnerable, and I can see it in their eyes. I sit there. My heart breaking. How helpless I feel in that moment. Our partners ask us if we have a word of encouragement for the orphans. What can I possibly say? They are only babies, forced to be adults. Any words seem weak in the situation. Me, someone who has grown up with parents, in security and fully loved. What right do I have to think my words mean anything? Tears are close to the surface, I can’t speak.
I’m thankful for my co-worker who has visited these homes many times. She has seen this pain often, but has also seen Jesus work mightily in these very situations. She offers sweet words of comfort and love. The children are so attentive, drinking it in. Her words minister to me as well.
No, the visits from our partners will not fill the void left by their deceased parents. No, my words coming from a world away will not heal deep wounds. But yes, YES, in the middle of all this- in every visit, every word, every act of caring- is Jesus. Their maker, their best-friend, their mommy and daddy. In Him they have everything. I cannot assume that my actions will change lives, but I can trust that God will use every action offered to Him to do His will in a life. I was reminded of that sitting in the little brick home. As I saw the children listen to God’s voice of love through my co-worker. As I saw them nod in agreement, knowing they are fully loved and fully cared for by their Heavenly Father.
– Amanda Geleynse, WOW’s Communications Coordinator