From February 18 - April 4, join the Hands at Work family around the world as we pray for 40 Days on behalf of the most vulnerable children in Africa and our work to support them. Innocent represents one of thousands of children being cared for by volunteer Care Workers across the communities Hands at Work supports. Read his story and join us in prayer by downloading the 40 Days 2015 Prayer Guide.
Growing up without a father is a common experience for many children in Zambia. Due to high and early death rates, and a cultural practice that permits fathers to abandon their children when their wives die, many children are left without male influences. Innocent* is one of these fatherless children. He is 6 years old and lives with his mother and 11-year-old sister. Like many boys in Zambia he dreams of becoming a pilot, flying away to places he has only heard of, places that do not reflect the dire poverty in Kalende.
Psalm 68:5 (NIV) says, “A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in His holy dwelling”. Innocent does not have an earthly father, but God has promised that He is Innocent’s father, and that He will defend Innocent’s mother. This promise is being lived out in Kalende through compassionate Care Workers. These volunteers from the local church are bringing God’s promise to life for many vulnerable families. John is Innocent’s Care Worker. Over the past two years, John has developed a parental relationship with Innocent where he can influence and love him as a father. John and other Care Workers are committed to helping raise Innocent and 74 other of the most vulnerable children in Kalende. John not only cares for Innocent, but his whole family. When John visits their home he brings support and encouragement to Innocent’s mother also, and she knows she can trust John.
Having John in his life has given Innocent a father figure to look up to and learn from. Innocent used to struggle in his pre-school classes, but now he is improving. He loves to play with his friends at the Life Centre where all the children receive a nutritious meal every day and access to basic health care. In a community where so many men are absent, Innocent’s mother is truly grateful for the calling John has felt on his life from God to be a father to the fatherless and a defender of widows. Together, the Care Workers of Kalende are revealing the word of God through their own actions, and the families in their community are experiencing transformation, one by one.
*Child's name has been changed
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