Several months ago we shared one little girl's story. Our nine year old little friend, Mbebila, never had the opportunity to attend school...because her parents "needed" to trade her for cattle for the livelihood of the rest of the family. For most of you reading this story, the previous statement is incomprehensible ... but it's very true and happens often to little girls from pastoralist communities. Pastoralist are people whose lives are defined by and livelihood is based on herding animals; cattle, goats or camels.
UPDATE!! A testimony to the faithfulness of God and how He uses you and I as an answer to someone else's prayer.
|Mbebila w/the women from medical team.|
September 2012: During the medical mission in the Loruko Community, we were able to meet with Mbebila's parents to discuss the possibility of her attending school. The women from The Park Church's (Charlotte, NC) Medical Mission Team joined the discussion as a testimony to God's blessings upon an educated life of a female. One of our doctors was a young Kenyan woman from a pastoralist community. What a MAJOR testimony to the faithfulness of God. The women shared their stories and encouraged the parents concerning the necessity of Mbebila's education. As a result, the parents agreed NOT to sell her for cattle (an older man had already been chosen to receive Mbebila in exchange for his cattle). But God intervened!
To demonstrate the sincerity and seriousness of our promise, we suggested that the parents allow Mbebila to attend a small village school, until a boarding school could be secured. Again, the parents agreed! So that same evening, with donations from the medical team, we were able to purchase her school uniforms and shoes. It was official, Mbebila would begin school on Monday.
|Mbebila "without" her beads.|
The girls in pastoralist communities wear several beaded necklaces to announce that they are uneducated. The Dad said, "When you come tomorrow the beads will be gone. We will remove them tonight because she will receive an education." Wow God! And so it was...the beads were gone Friday morning. Praise God!
Fast forward to January 2013: Mbebila started boarding school on Monday, January 29, 2013, in Nanyuki. The parents found the school for her to attend. We had the school checked out to ensure it's legitimacy. We are personally sponsoring our little sister. Why? (1) Because we feel a special connection with her; and (2) We must lead by example. We dare not ask others to do what we are not willing to do for "our" own children in Kenya.
There are countless numbers of little girls, in Kenya and indeed around the world, that share Mbebila's story. We are grateful to God that ONE little girl's life has been forever changed. She has a testimony that includes those who care for the least of these. We are honored to take part in her story and pray for a one hundred-fold return for each individual, on the medical team, that donated and spoke words of life that has now changed her life for ever.
THE INITIAL STORY......
COW or Education? One Little Girl's Story
Would you trade YOUR nine year old for a cow, Your Mercedes Benz or Your BMW, in order to feed your family or gain wealth?
In July, we visited the Loruko Community in Isiolo, to prepare for the September Medical Camp. Small children were running around. They smiled, waved, held our hands, walked along side us and communicated as best they could.
But we noticed one little girl that towered, in height, over the rest of the children. Curious, we asked Matet, our Field Liaison, why she was not in school? He wondered the same and inquired by asking one of the adults that stood nearby. As they spoke in Turkana, by the tone and length of the conversation we knew we were not going to like the response. So after a deep sigh and brief silence, Matet turned to us and shared the abbreviated version of the conversation. Though the man was not her father he proudly communicated, “This one won’t go to school because she is good for cattle.” The explanation further revealed that the little girl had already been promised to an OLD man for marriage, in exchange for cattle. Ownership of livestock is a statement of wealth and status in the community). The reality of our little sister’s future gripped our hearts.
Over the next month, we were in contact with Matet, who communicated directly with the little girl’s parents. We prayed, “Lord, what can we do to help and protect this little girl, while keeping her with her family?” The only answer was to find resources to send her to school and fast!
Initially, we were presented with an opportunity to send her to an orphanage, BUT – she’s NOT an orphan. Her parents are alive and well. WE needed to know if her parents were willing to help save their daughter from her disturbing future. Did her parents even see their daughter’s future as disturbing?
We were confident that God would intervene (Jer. 29:11). He would provide answers and sponsors and guide our conversation with the parents. The parent’s decision would change future generations.