This afternoon I had the incredible privilege to spend the afternoon at a local organization that works specifically with boys from the streets. These boys come from various backgrounds and most are not orphans in the sense that their parents are no longer living. They were orphaned by situations in their homes. This organization only takes the boys who have absolutely no where else to go. Most of them have been in other organizations, but because of their issues most often created by others, they couldn’t stay.

This program is a 3 year program. They take boys who are 14 or 15 years old and try to keep them until they are 18 or so. These boys have no education, and most cannot read or write because they didn’t have the opportunity to go to school. All of these boys are small due to a lack of nutrition in their early lives. These boys are given a basic education in reading, writing, and math. Because of their lack of education the future for these boys is uncertain, yet along with the basic skills that will help them in the selling and buying of things they are taught a trade.

One of the boys there, Oscar, became my new friend. We spent the afternoon walking all over the farm there just talking. Oscar can speak some English, but most of our conversation was in Kiswahili. Each of the 36 boys there have a certain cow that it is their responsible to milk and see after. We got to see 9 new piglets that were born yesterday. We walked through the garden and he knew all of the vegetable plants planted. These boys work hard in the gardens and caring for the animals because that is the only way they eat.

We walked through the work shop where all of the boys are being taught a trade. I met his carpenter teacher, his welding teacher, and some of the older boys who help the younger ones. In the states, we couldn’t imagine 14 year boys working in what appears to be unsafe surroundings because they don’t have the big helmet to wear when they are welding and their carpentry shop machines don’t have all the safety switches and things. However, I believe these boys are as safe as they could possibly be. They pay attention to what they are doing and take a great deal of pride in their accomplishments. To succeed in learning one of these trades means a chance at making it in life when they become husbands and fathers.

I can’t tell you the last time I walked in the rain and enjoyed every moment of it. It started raining just after Oscar and I started our walk. We tried to make it to a shelter before the bottom fell out, but that didn’t happen. Yesterday and last night was the hardest it has rained since I have been here, and wouldn’t you know it, I would get to REALLY experience it! We laughed because it was raining so hard at one point the rain was stinging our skin, so we ran. Now I know all of you are laughing along with me and Oscar as you read this, because I am certainly not in shape to run. Well, or so I thought. It’s amazing at what we can still do even when we are older!

Oscar and I made it to a shelter where we sat and talked until it eased up some. I know God intended for us to make it to that shelter where we could talk about Him. What will bless you is to know that Oscar brought our Heavenly Father up almost immediately when we started to talk there in the safety of the shelter. Although we had a major language barrier, we were able to understand how we both feel about the Lord. Oscar shared that they get taken to church every Sunday and how much he enjoys it.

Oscar had no idea what a missionary was. It was extremely hard to explain what I was doing. At one point I began quietly asking Holy Spirit to intercede. It was so important that Oscar knew that I cared about him because Jesus cares about him.

At my home church in Georgia, Blackshear Place Baptist, they are in “The Year of Serve”. Everyone has been encouraged to spend this year impacting the lives of others by giving of their time, their finances, etc. An example would be to buy a stranger’s meal and leave a track that shares the love of Jesus, cut grass for someone, or anything that would help another; and to share that we are doing it because Jesus loves us and we want to share how much He loves them by serving them.

I left just as Serve Strong was getting underway and I have wanted to have the opportunity to do something unplanned for someone. I couldn’t buy Oscar dinner, or help him with his chores or anything, but I gave him the one thing he needed, my time. The afternoon ended much too quickly and I know on this earth I will probably not see Oscar again. But he will be in heaven with me, so I will see him again then.

Love to all,

Joy Breedlove

Missionary – East Africa