Sunday, July 18, 2010

Sponsor Sarah...

7/19 Update: Sarah has been sponsored!! Praise the Lord!

Mom and I have more girls from our group that need to be sponsored...I'll be posting about them soon. Sponsorships for these girls in the Father's Heart Program are either $40 or $60 per month, depending on what grade they are in. In Zambia, once kids pass the 7th grade, school is more expensive.

Meet Sarah Banda. I first met Sarah in 2008 when she was in my group at Camp LIFE. I was instantly drawn to her vivacious personality and passion for the Lord. In 2008 she was living with her mother and younger brother. Her parents are divorced and she couldn't remember the last time she had seen her father. She was in school at that time as well. Her family was struggling like every other family, but they were getting by (her mom washed clothes for a living). I was so pumped when Sarah was in mom and I's group this was so good to see her after two years. At first I could tell that she was the same Sarah I remembered in 2008...full of energy and life! On Tuesday of Camp LIFE mom, Alice (our Zambian partner) and I sat down with Sarah to have some one on one time with her. Sarah quickly opened up and shared with us that her mother was very ill and had moved to "the village" (the bush basically) with her younger brother about 6 months ago. Sarah's mom had no other option than to leave Sarah with her two older male cousins. This immediately worried no 15 year old girl should be living with only guys. Sarah said she felt safe in her home environment, but mom, Alice and I all felt like she was not telling us the truth. Sarah also shared with us that she is no longer in school, which makes her very sad and tears rolled down her face when she talked about how much she missed her mom. It was heartbreaking. On Thursday of camp, we decided to take Sarah aside again and see if she would open up more about her living situation. Sure enough, she did. She shared that the younger of the two cousins had attempted to rape her three times since she has lived with them....and both of the guys bring women home on a regular basis and make Sarah sleep outside until they're "done" with the women. The Lord was still pressing on my heart that Sarah was ashamed to tell the entire truth....due to the culture in Zambia, the likelihood that she was being raped on a regular basis by her cousins is extremely high. On Friday of camp, when we were saying goodbye, Sarah ran into my arms and started weeping uncontrollably. I knew she was so fearful to go home and it was literally breaking my heart into a million pieces. The Lord was speaking to me loud and clear that I needed to do something about this situation.

Family Legacy has 19 Community Resource Centers (CRC) throughout Lusaka (there are plans to open many more in the near future)....they are basically safe havens for kids in our program to go to when they are hungry, scared, have no place to stay, etc. The CRC's are staffed 24-7 with Zambian Discipleship Leaders who pour into the kids, feed them, offer bible studies, fellowships and other activities. The CRC's are vital to the ministry of Family Legacy, providing ongoing discipleship to the children of Lusaka throughout the year. They also provide permanent housing for extremely vulnerable children, like Sarah. Each CRC has 6-8 children who live full time there (their care-takers sign over parental rights to Family Legacy). Quite a few of the kids living at the CRC's were selected to move into the Tree of Life Children's Village this summer (three new houses at the Tree of Life were opened while I was there), so there was room for new kids to take their places. I immediately filled out the necessary paperwork on Sarah to have her considered for a CRC. Thanks to the Lord's faithful provision, Sarah was selected, and moved into the Matero CRC (Matero is the name of one of the compounds in Lusaka) two days before I left to come back to the states. The day before I left, Josh and I were able to visit Sarah at the CRC and help her get settled in to her new home...and life! It was an absolutely incredible experience. I've never seen a bigger smile on a child's face than Sarah's that day. Her eyes were filled with freedom and hope! Sarah will now receive three nutritious meals a day, proper clothing, discipleship and will attend a private school 5 days a week (Sarah is in the 7th grade)!

The cost for a child to live at a CRC is $100 per month. Here is the breakdown of how the money is allocated...

In order for Sarah to be considered for the CRC, Josh and I had to start her $100 monthly sponsorship. We were more than happy to do so, but unfortunately, we cannot commit to continuing the sponsorship. We already sponsor two kids (Karen in the Father's Heart Child Sponsorship program and Agness at the Tree of Life) and we just can't afford to do another, especially with baby on the way. Believe me, we would sponsor them all if we could! So, that's were YOU come in my friends and fellow blog readers! Be a part of changing a child's life forever! If you are interested in sponsoring Sarah, please leave a comment with your contact info or email me at mindyrives at gmail dot com and I will put you into contact with the appropriate person at the Family Legacy office to get Sarah's sponsorship transferred over to you. Family Legacy allows a split sponsorship too...meaning you could do $50 per month and one of your family members or friends could do the other $50. Please, please prayerfully consider will not regret it...and neither will your rewards in heaven! And maybe one summer soon, you can join us in Zambia and meet sweet Sarah!

Mom and Sarah at Camp LIFE 2010...

Josh and I outside of the Matero CRC...the house has a gated fence for security.

Sarah's new home!

Her new room...

Sarah and I making her bed....she was thrilled to have her very own bed, sheets and blankets! She use to sleep on the kitchen floor.

Sarah and I with Susan. Susan was my Zambian partner in 2008 and is now the Matero CRC Coordinator, which means she lives there full time. Sarah was more than thrilled about her new "mom"! Susan is an extremely Godly woman and will do a phenomenal job at pouring into Sarah!

Josh and I love Sarah so much! We are committed to praying for her and have complete faith that the Lord will provide the perfect sponsor(s) for her!

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the FULL!
John 10:10

Sarah is finally experiencing the fullness of JOY!! Praise the Lord!!

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