Celebrating life among those restored
Multiple faces squished together and crowded the center of my camera’s viewfinder. Feet clad with shoes purchased by many of you triggered raucous laughter and excitement in the courtyard at Cindi’s Hope in Nairobi, Kenya. Oh, and it was also Pizza Party Day! …A treat we came to provide along with ice cream, seldom experienced by these kids.
Cindi’s Hope is a refuge. Smack dab in the middle of a Nairobi slum, it educates, houses and teaches the love of God to the discarded, unwanted and poorest children on this earth. It is a pearl set in the rusty, jagged metal of poverty. I stood there, my feet planted in the courtyard gravel, as if on holy ground—a witness to young lives rescued from incest, poverty and rejection.
Safety, a fertile soil for soul-sick humanity, can transport a haunted life of darkness to a place of rising hope where growth can unfold like the tenderest of shoots. Childlike banter is evidence that an eight-year-old can just be a child again. Instead of crouching in fear from a predator’s lust, there is freedom to study the ABCs and kick a ball with friends. Untroubled. It’s a gift this oasis gives every single day.
I met Miriam*, a young girl who ran away from the little shack she shared with her mother, an HIV-positive woman living in abject poverty. Fearing for her safety after an intruder raped her at the age of 11, Miriam escaped to the Gooney child dump. (Gooney is an environmentally-hazardous, 30-acre zone in the slums of Nairobi, inhabited by the very poorest of the poor. Human beings live there in the midst of every type of waste—industrial, medical and agricultural. Parents have been known to leave their unwanted children there, while others, like Miriam, flee there for “safety.”) Instead of scavenging for rotting scraps to eat, Miriam has enjoyed nutritious food and the opportunity to study at Cindi’s Hope every day for the last four years. She is now 15.
Faith* was only 8 when she came to Cindi’s Hope. After she witnessed her father kill her mother with an axe, she escaped out of a bedroom window and went to live with her grandmother. While there, she was raped by a cousin. That was four years ago; she is now 12.
These children have experienced things never intended by our loving Father. When they come to Cindi’s Hope, they are given a bed with a real blanket, most for the first time in their lives. Regular meals, academic and spiritual instruction, shoes, clothing and a roof over their heads provide the framework for God to do the mighty work of restoration.
We want these individuals to come to a true knowledge of Jesus in spite of the horror they have faced. The investment many of you have made into their lives through the Victims of Sexual Violence Ministry acknowledges their God-given value and is an active statement of your love for Him. Thank you.
Together for the “least of these,”
Director, Victims of Sexual Violence Ministry
*Names changed for safety