It is midnight and my plane pierces the darkness, leaving behind the fading lights below, the only visible sign of inhabitation. The moon lies on its back and I settle in for a night’s sleep, reflecting on my stay at HopeCC. I had just found out this morning that my sick sister had died and so Lucy and her big family had gathered around me praying God’s presence around myself and my sister’s family. Just a month previously pastor Gerald’s wife had died leaving him with his 2 week old son, Abel. Family means being there for each other in support. Death is part of life and God is a good God who comforts us with the anticipation of being with Him forever. And He sustains us through the hard times.
Hope Community Center has so many signs of life! It had been a year since I’d been there and again, God’s goodness as Provider is evident. The most obvious change is the large building erected, the Baby Dorm, the future home for many babies. Throughout my stay there were many workers pouring the roof of the 3-storey building. It was quite the hive of activity where a dozen men mixed the cement, filled a huge bucket which was pulleyed to the top, dumped and distributed. It was very hard work and at the end of 2 days, 700 bags of cement had been used. Lucy is anticipating the dorm’s first 2 floors to be completed by May and she will activate her vision of rescuing 40 babies a year for the next 10 years! I can’t imagine all those babies and what a delight for God to give these babies a future of goodness. It is magnificent!
A large shed was finished with its huge doors, a garage for the new dump truck and other vehicles. There is daily work for the truck with both their own hauling of rocks, sand, cement bags, etc and also much work in hauling goods for others. It is a profitable business. In the outside corner of the large building, there are new rooms being constructed for the night watchmen. Security measures have increased greatly with the installation of cameras everywhere. Lucy told me that she has heard the young children warn each other that they are on camera so be careful because Mama will have evidence of a child misbehaving! The children are growing with several of them missing their front teeth, exposing a toothless grin. Their smiles always delight me! Henry, Allan and Mary are now in class 3 and are reading. The bulk of the once babies are now in class 1 and 2. They are growing!
A large cemented walkway to the boys’ dorm had been poured with a tall grilled fence around it. The courtyard gives a place for the boys to hang their washing and a clean place free of mud during the rainy season. It seems so much closer with this great walkway. A new floor was set in the dining room. It looks great. The kitchen now has an added small room with 2 different mills for grinding corn and wheat into flour. The cost of flour is reduced to half since they can mill their own now. There is a large wood burning oven which can bake 70 loaves at one time. I watched the process of mixing, kneading, putting into pans, rising, and baking of the loaves. The children enjoy bread twice a week. Their diet includes porridge in the morning, rice, maize, beans, squash, kale, onions, cabbage, grains, potatoes, bananas, boiled eggs, mandazas, chapatti (large wraps), ugali, and now bread. Sunday a sheep was butchered and the children enjoyed the treat. At times, 20 chickens are butchered to feed the children. There are hundreds of chickens in the barn which supply them with fresh eggs and the surplus is sold. It is a big operation. Lucy has a bull project in which she buys hybrid calves, feeds them for 2 years and then sells them for $1000 to $1500 each. Hope International is going to support a new bull project on the acquired 4.25 acre parcel of land from Lucy’s grandmother. Part of it will be planted with potatoes, carrots and cabbage. The bull project and the pig business are the greatest profit incomes. One of Lucy’s goals is to become more self-sustaining, not having to rely on donors so heavily.
While I was there, I showed the 60 high school students the Hearing God DVDs and discussed ways that God speaks to us. I also led them in discovering their spiritual gifts. It was wonderful to observe their excitement when they discovered the area that God had gifted them in. As usual, the older children had many questions which they presented to me from dealing with temptation, forgiveness, curses, hearing God, etc. I always discover new truth as God gives me the answers to their questions. I had an inner healing session with the students regarding dealing with pain that they had in previous memories. It is great when God speaks truth to them, freeing them from anger and bitterness. I am so encouraged watching their desire to please God and grow in Him. Their singing and prayer times always touch my soul.
Lucy is a busy woman, managing several projects, each involving different people. God gives her wisdom and strength in moving forward with Hope Community Center. She loves doing the books for several different schools, etc. It gives her interaction with others and provides an income to help along with the expenses. The new toilets at the end of the primary school is close to completion and her next major project is the construction of a new primary school since the tin rooms are getting very old. It will be adjoined to the end of the existing dining room.
My heart is full. God is doing mighty things at Hope Community Center. The visible changes are fantastic and yet it is the hearts of the staff and children that touch my heart. Their laughter and kindness among themselves always warm my heart. I often wonder how they will change the world. I have read in a book that passion without action is dreaming, that action without passion is passing the time, but passion with action changes the world. Mamma Lucy’s passion along with action is and will continue to change the world and the children are carrying the torch. Hope Community Center is a witness of what God can do. God be praised!
Our sister Irene shared these thoughts and photos for the February 2015 edition of the HopeCC Newsletter and graciously allowed us to share with you in the Chronicle.