After many years of serving the most vulnerable and meeting hundreds of desperate families, Hands at Work Regional Leader Blessings Sambo visited a family in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Here he met Praise and Bertha. Their story brought Blessings to a deep place of brokenness and compassion. Despite having seen so much suffering, Blessings was reminded that God reveals himself in each unique moment. We must be ready to see, listen, and love.
Our local volunteer Care Workers recently found a little boy, Praise*, and his grandmother, Bertha*, who are extremely vulnerable. They brought me to visit this family and told me their story.
After giving birth to Praise, his mother was in intensive care in the hospital. She was the second wife of Praise’s father, and while in the hospital, the first wife tried to kill Praise by placing chemicals on his head. Praise survived, but his mother passed away when he was only 3 days old. Praise remained in the hospital for one month.
Praise’s grandmother Bertha began caring for him, but she was desperately poor and trying to survive. Praise was hungry - continually crying. People in the community said he would die and tried to put ritual charms around him but Bertha refused and knew God would provide. After her husband passed away many years ago, she said she learned to trust God throughout any hardship. Bertha tried breastfeeding Praise – and she was able! She fed him this way until her milk dried up.
Today Praise is 2 years old. After suffering from malnutrition, he cannot walk. He is very weak and thinks Bertha is his mother. Their home is only 2 rooms, shared with one of Bertha’s daughters and her 3 children. When I visited, there was nothing in their home to eat. Meeting them completely broke me. Bertha said very little, she just brought out a photo of her late daughter and cried. This grandmother is very sick. She is aging, she has diabetes and malaria and high blood pressure. The situation appears hopeless.
But on my visit, I was with Care Workers and people from the local church in DRC who want to know the truth about their own communities. Seeing the truth in Praise and Bertha’s home drove them to compassion for their neighbours. Pastors began offering what they had to help Praise survive. They could see that God has called us to give to the most vulnerable. They could see all He has done to keep Praise alive, and now is their time to also be a part of bringing life to dark places.
Pray for Praise. Pray for Bertha. They are alive for God’s purpose.
*Names have been changed