Kim Burgess, a Forge Church (UK) volunteer, recently wrote to Hands at Work: In 2008 she had an unforgettable experience in Luanshya, Zambia. We'd like to share her story with you here.
In 2008 I met a 14-year-old boy who changed me.
He came to the week-long camp in just the clothes he was wearing. He was quiet, guarded and unsure. He was the oldest in the group of children I was working with and whilst he helped with the younger ones, I could see real pain in his eyes. It was haunting.
One evening he came to me with a broken, plastic flip-flop in his hand. He had no other shoes. I tried at first to mend it with string, but then got angry: Danny deserved shoes! Fortunately, I was able to get him a pair that fitted from one of our team members. He was so happy about his 'new' shoes, you would have thought I'd given him the world, not a hand-me-down!
He began to trust me and told me his story. He was going to Ebenezar Community School set up by Hands. He was living with his uncle who didn't have the means to feed him, so his grades were dropping as he had to spend his time trying to find food. His story broke my heart. He was a young boy who, through no fault of his own, had no shoes on his feet and no food to eat. That's just not right!
Fast forward 2 years: I returned to Zambia with my husband, Dave, and our three children Rosie, Molly and Thomas.
I knew I wanted to find Danny who would now be 16-years-old. I had not forgotten him. I went out one day with a Hands team to visit people near Ebenezar School. To cut a long story short, I found a teacher from the school who knew where Danny lived. Now I knew he was still alive!
I was directed to where he was doing 'piece work'. I wasn't sure that Danny would remember me - I just wanted to see him again. When Danny spotted me, he ran toward me. We hugged and I fought back tears. Danny, with the biggest smile, chatted incessantly about the camp he had been on 2 years ago.
Hands has made a made an amazing difference in Danny's life: He had been cared for and educated. In turn, Danny has made an amazing difference in my life and, I'm sure, many others with whom he has shared his story.
Hands at Work, keep going with your work and may God continue to bless you.
No longer shall the poor be nameless. - Psalm 9:18 (The Message)