Katherine and Christophinea

100_0214As I walked past the cluster of huts along the village road I heard my name called, so I diverted my journey for a moment that turned out to be one of those providential “interruptions” that shift Kingdom property boundaries.

I didn’t remember her name, though I knew who she was. Nimisha does Bible study with her and has often commented on her amazing grace in adversity. Two weeks ago, on that “Sad Day in Singanga” (see previous blog) Katherine’s husband was slashed while on guard duty at a tourist lodge. Thru the funeral proceedings, which are grim and depressing, Katherine has remained strong in her trust in Jesus. Today as she sits here on the dirt of her shaded courtyard, cutting her harvested corn into little flakes on a seed bag with an orphaned grandchild draped over her leg, she proclaims, “Ahh – I love Jesus! He is my Home.”

I love that! It reminds me of that song of my heart that states,
Here O Lord have I prepared for You a Home.
Long have I desired for You to dwell.
Here O Lord have I prepared a Resting Place.
Here O Lord I wait for You alone…”

As I visit with them I am speculating about the familiar odd assortment of people in the apparent household – Katherine looks to be about 60 and in good health; one who turns out to be her daughter of about 40 speaks good English and does the translation service for us; an old man of 80ish with a missing eye sits passively – seems he is the late-husband’s elder brother; the baby of 18 months; then two young guys about 16 – good looking, strapping, yet clearly the passive village look – they could sit by their grandmother all day doing piddly errands for her; just as I am getting them all categorized in my mind, in walks a young girl of 17 who is obviously of a different class – “educated, city girl, well bred” are words that come to mind. Who is she? She, like all the others, is an orphan – dependent on Katherine. But she was the fortunate one – a European sponsored her to go to a good high school in town.

How many live with you here, Katherine?

It takes a moment for her and her daughter to calculate – “Fourteen,” they say matter-of-factly.

Katherine and her husband had 8 children, of which only two survive. When the national life-expectancy is 38 this is not a surprise. So the children of all of these who died are living with grandma – the one who had a good job – until her husband was murdered two weeks ago. (A good job – well, steady at least – he worked there 20 years. But he made about $80 a month. No death benefits, though he was murdered doing his job!)

The amazing grace Nimisha spoke of is shining on me – she has no look of “please pity me” about her. Her slight smile melts my heart. You know she has to be wondering how she will survive – how all the ones who depend on her will fare. But she says nothing about it.

I try to change the subject and ask about her harvest which she continues to chop with a kitchen knife into little flakes. “Ahh..” she shakes her head, not looking at me. “Not good.”

As we all sit in a deafening silence with our eyes on our feet, we both know I am in a corner, and so is she. It is safe to just talk about spiritual things and not ask about living conditions. Once the door has been opened and we begin to look at the mess within – how can you walk out without giving some hope? But where does one begin? It is too complex. It breaks your heart.

So finally she asks – the young girl who had a sponsor until now – he will no longer provide.


Will I sponsor her?

Of all the things Katherine could have asked for, this is the easiest. I could go to the ATM and draw it today. I have turned away from similar requests before because of fear of setting a precedent, because of our value of sustainability and empowering people for individual and community responsibility. International sponsorship is a short-term band-aid for a cancer in Africa’s vitals. Our vision is to build a community of people who will commit to doing everything in their means to solve the problems they face, and only once they have done their part will we pitch in with resourcing their efforts.

This is our vision. We are systematically working the plan.

But until then – here is Christophinea Malambo, 17 years, grade 11, who needs $400 for each of the next two years to complete her High School and have a chance at college and a decent job. Can we sacrifice her for our vision? Or will we sacrifice our vision if we help her? Is it possible to put on the band-aid while we are working on the cancer?

I pray so. I cannot tell Katherine no. The mercy of Jesus is too strong.

If someone wants to sponsor Christophinea you can donate on our Paypal account (on the side panel of our blog) – MAKE A COMMENT OF WHAT THE DONATION IS DESIGNATED FOR (we will email you if there is no comment)!

or send a check to:
Love’s Door c/o Open Door Church
339 NW Sherman St
Sheridan, OR 97378 USA

The first person to respond will sponsor Christophinea. If you would like more correspondence with her we will see what we can do.

There are numerous others who need the same help. Any other donations designated for school sponsorship will go to them. If you want correspondence you can write and ask for it at lovesdoor@gmail.com .

Our goal is to start some kind of a sustainable business that some concerned community people can operate to keep them in school thru 12th grade! (This is unheard of now. In all of the villages we are working in there are probably 3 or 4 who have completed 12th grade.) If we get enough money for this we will be able to start such a business.

• A word of thanks to those who have so generously donated to our long term team members Mike and Nimisha – their year has been paid in full! We are ecstatic! God has such a cool Body! We are thankful to the Head and the Body.
• A team from South Africa has joined us for 7 weeks. They stay in the village ministering to the kids, starting Bible studies, loving the least and the lost.
• And an intern from Oregon has arrived. She will give herself for the next 3 months to developing a ministry to the young children in the villages.
• Pray for us as we begin to build our first home for orphans.
 A manager – to carry the projects that are threatening to consume me!
 Finances of course. If you would like a detail of our plan and the cost, please write.
 Long term workers to share some of the load.

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