We are currently supporting two community children’s projects in the Matola Santos area. They are run by Zelda and Guida, the ladies who head up our first two Sunshine Houses. While their children are off at school, these two ladies host needy children from the community at their projects. We want to make our Sunshine Houses a light in the community…not just for the orphaned children who live there, but for the children who live around the houses. Guida has one group of 12 preschool-aged children each morning. Zelda has a group of 14 pre-school aged children in the morning and a group of 15 school-aged children in the afternoon. Each child was chosen out of the many, many children in the surrounding community because they come from very impoverished families who do not have the means to care for them well. The families of these children cannot afford the basic necessities that we take for granted… a suitable house with windows, food, clothing, education, medical care… most of our project children sleep on a grass mat on the floor shared with their siblings. If they are fortunate enough to sleep on a mattress, they share it with all of their siblings. We are coming alongside these families and supporting them by providing a safe place for their children to come play, learn, and eat. We also support the other members of the family when they have educational and medical needs. Soon we hope to start providing monthly relief boxes with common items families need.
Every Wednesday I visit each of these 3 groups. We sing songs, read a Bible story, and complete a related activity. I love visiting and spending time with these dear children. They are so sweet, polite, and loving. I love seeing them nurtured and happy. I love seeing them laughing and playing. I love loving on them. Yet this past week, I got to see something very special…I got to see into their dreams.
We read the story of Abraham and Sarah from the New Testament. Abraham and Sarah had a dream of having a child of their own. They waited decades, but finally, when they were very, very, very old, God gave them their dream… their promised child.
As a follow up activity, I asked each child to draw what their dream is. Many children drew a picture of a house.
Some of the children drew a picture of a baby sister or brother.
The girls drew pictures of dolls.
The boys drew pictures of cars.
As I roamed around looking at their pictures, I spied this little girl…
And when I saw what she had written, I was immediately impacted…Her dream is to have a happy family.
These children come from homes where the living conditions are very inadequate. The struggle of daily life puts a strain on any family. I cannot even imagine the strain experienced by mothers and fathers who do not have enough money to properly care for their children by providing them with a uniform so they can attend school, food to eat, clothing to wear, and a bed to sleep in. I wouldn’t doubt that many of our children do not have a happy home life because of these strains. Yet I am so thankful that we have started these projects and have been able to create a place where the children can come and get away for a bit of time. I am so thankful that these children have a place where they feel safe, loved, and happy. My dream is to create more Sunshine Houses so that we can care not only for widows and orphaned children, but we can be a light to the children and families that live around our houses, thereby creating more happy families.