Recently our home has undergone BIG, BIG change! We have grown from just two to a family of five! WOW, a shocking statement I know, but this is a story which began just weeks after our arrival in Egbe in 2014. One morning Duro, the lady we had just hired to work in our home, came through our front door weeping hysterically. Through tears she explained she could not work that day because her niece had just passed away. After hugs and praying together we of course sent her home, telling her to take all the time she needed.
The next week Duro returned to work. Life went back to its normal fast pace, and we soon began to not think much more about the incident. However, about a month later Duro asked to speak with us. The same niece who had passed away had three children, and their father had already passed a few years ago. They were now all living with their grandmother (Duro’s sister) and she was really struggling to make ends meet. Sick with chronic heart disease and unable to work, she was trying her best. She really desired to send the children back to school, but school fees seemed impossible. Duro asked if the kids could apply for CARE Africa (follow the link to learn more about this ministry) and my response was, “YES! These are the exact kids this ministry was designed to help!”
Now, with the kids enrolled in CARE Africa, they were going to school. The family had also decided to split the three up amongst different relatives as to not put the entire burden on Grandma. We were also getting the wonderful privilege of getting to know these three during weekly tutoring and discipleship time. They were very smart, kind, and something about them was so endearing from the start. Nevertheless, once again all seemed well and we went back to life as normal.
However, soon we started to notice an extreme difference in the demeanor of the eldest daughter. For lack of better words she had lost her “spunk”! During weekly homecare visits, further conversation with her, wise council from her Aunt Duro, and discussion with the family we decided it was best to remove her from her current living place. Although, where would she go? The CARE Africa team began to search and pray for options. We almost felt like Mary and Joseph looking for an inn. Everywhere we knocked, “There was no room for her.”
Nick and I began to pray personally as well, praying for a way we could best help this somewhat hopeless situation. We had room in our inn right? Why couldn’t we take her? However, we stepped lightly. CARE Africa is founded on the concept of family preservation and we didn’t want to compromise the value of family. We also didn’t want our desires to be selfish, nor driven by pride to quickly save the day. We instead wanted our decision to be right and blameless. A choice that would exemplify Gods love and honor their late parents.
After consulting the family, and several other trusted friends in the Egbe community we decided to take the oldest daughter into our home last August. What an experience! She was amazed by our shower and sink, how it automatically gave you water; we were amazed by how much rice one small girl could eat! Her siblings visited once a week for dinner, and this quickly became the highlight of our week! We loved getting to know the three together watching as their faces lit up when sharing stories and pictures of their Mom and Dad. Clearly these parents were wonderful people! Our hearts began to ask, why are these kids not together permanently? However, it was now almost December, time for us to travel back to the states for our already planned vacation. We would have to pray this one through, but I remember my stomach being in knots the night we said goodbye. I hated the feeling as they told us, “We will be marking
down the days Nick and Katie!”
Our time at home really allowed us to spend time talking and listening to God. Then through a series of unfortunate events and phone calls, while stateside, God began to make it very clear. These children needed to be together as siblings, and in a place they could be loved. Our house was in fact becoming the best way to preserve family.
With the family’s consent and blessing, a week after our return from the U.S. they moved in! Since, our home has never been so happy, more full of life, and our hearts have never sung with such joy! They add so much color to our home, literally and figuratively! Ibukun (Blessing), age 16, brings vivacity and sass, Iyanu (Miracle), age 10, brings cleverness and mischief, and Eri (Testimony), age 8, brings laughter and snuggles! Over the past month we have discovered a love we have never thought possible.
Although this story began almost two years ago, it is far from over. We ask all of you to come alongside us in prayer. We don’t know what the future holds, but we lean solely on Him. We gladly lay down all our selfish desires to allow God to use us in whatever capacity it may be. With excitement we will watch how God uses their tragedy, and uses their story! These kids have been through more in the past few years then many experience in a lifetime. However, not many kids can say they have been a Blessing, a Miracle, and a Testimony to two moms and two dads!