Tuesday, January 15, 2013

African Street Children and Prodigal living

Let me tell you about a sad situation. Here in the town of Eldoret where we live, there are a bunch of children that live in the streets called "Street Children." These children are homeless and spend their days walking around begging ppl for money. They own absolutely nothing but the clothes on their back. What little money they are able to beg for, they spend on glue which they use to sniff in order to get "high" and suppress their appetite. All these children are looking for is a handout, and just enough to get to the next day. These children live like this for one of three reasons:

1. They are abandoned by their parents, (for a variety of reasons) and are left to go to the streets and beg.

2. They have chosen to run away from home due to a lack of food at home.

3. They feel like their parents are to harsh on them, and run away to experience more "freedom."

When you see this in person it absolutely breaks your heart. My first instinct after seeing this situation is to run to the store and buy a bunch of food and water and start handing it out to all the children so that they can be well fed. But there is one problem with that. The more that is done, it encourages more children living in the slums to run away from home and live undisciplined by their parents so that they can receive these free "handouts." So, how is the best way to minister to these children?

This situation got me to thinking about the story of the prodigal son. One thing I notice is that the father does not leave his house and go continue to give his younger son money so that he can continue his prodigal living. Rather, he eagerly waits for his son to come home and realize that his life would be better if he lived with his father.

The saddest thing about this whole situation is that these children think that this is the best way to live. They need to realize that God has a better life for them than just begging on the streets and sniffing glue.

I believe that what we need to do, is empower families that are living in the slums, so that they can provide for the needs of their children. This way the parents don't have to abandon their children, b/c they can't provide for them. Also, the children won't run away from home, cause they know that their mom and dad will provide for them. These families in the slum need to be empowered to have the ability to care for their children physically and spriitually.

Here at the children's home, our children know that they are loved and taken care of, so we don't have to worry about them running away. They know that they are loved. I pray that the "Street Children" will find a better way of life, and know that God has a plan and future for them.

Please comment if you have any ideas on how to best minister to "street children."

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