I would like to introduce you to someone that I’ve recently been introduced to as well. Her name is Phiri Esnat Nakhumwa.
About a month ago, the Lord impressed on my heart to start sending monthly support to the orphanage that I will be staying at in just a few short weeks. The orphanage is named “Project 1:27”, from James 1:27 that says, “External religious worship, (‘religion’ as it is expressed in outward acts) that is pure and unblemished in the sight of God the Father is this: to visit and help and care for the orphans and widows in their affliction and need, and to keep oneself unspotted and uncontaminated from the world“ (Amplified version used here, because I have a hard time with the word “religion” – this passage clarifies what we do is how we worship the Lord, as it stems from a relationship with God. Now back to the story…). I contacted Gary to see how I could support Project 1:27 and he said, “Shelly, you can actually just sponsor one of the kids full-time, how does that sound?”
Wow, it sounded AWESOME! I have a cutie-patootie little boy that I’ve been blessed to sponsor through Compassion International for the last 7 years (Jimmy Evas Suquilandi is his name!), but this just seemed different. For some reason, this hit me harder. Not that one is more in need than the other, but to know that this child at Project 1:27 has neither father nor mother to look after them, and it’s sheerly by the provision of God, well, it just hit me like a ton-of-bricks.
Honestly, it was quite humbling to look through the pictures of the kids at the orphanage and choose which one I would sponsor. Of course I was drawn to the little boys first. I love little boys because I just want to run around with them and be rough! But as I scrolled through, there was one girl that stood out. She was obviously older then the other kids – like, they really were kids and she was probably in her teens. I thought how hard that must be for her. I’ve always heard that when it comes to adoption/foster care, the older kids – or teens – rarely are chosen because parents would prefer to have babies or toddlers. So the teens stay in foster care until they are old enough to be on their own. Many of them grow up with a greater sense of being abandoned, unwanted and undesirable. My heart just broke for this young lady that I didn’t even know and I couldn’t help but wonder…
Lord, what would it be like to be a young woman and not know a father or a mother? Was her innocence robbed due to that? Does she hurt Lord? She must – she is human, created to know love. What happened to her mom and dad? Was there no one else to look after her? Does she feel the void and has it put her in situations where she chose to fill the longings with things or with people that were never meant to fill her? Oh God, does she even know You as her Father now?
That’s what led me to Phiri. I do know the void and pain of losing a mom and I also know the pain of a broken family. I recently wrote to the pastor of the church that looks after Project 1:27 so that I could find out any information about her. Pastor Duncan wrote this to me yesterday:
Shelly pray for her heart. She is 14 years old, doing Grade 6 at the moment. She lost her mom and grandmother a few years ago. Her father is nowhere to be seen. Keep on praying for her, she has not yet come to really know the Lord as her Saviour.
Oh how my heart just broke for her, on so many levels. I am praying for her – diligently – and this is the very reason God laid it on my heart to go overseas and work with orphans. I have come to know and experience how God is truly the Father to the fatherless…God places the lonely in families (Ps. 68: 5,6). Now I have this incredible privilege of interceding for, meeting her and Lord willing, beginning a sweet relationship with Phiri. I pray it will be used in some small way to lead her to her eternal Abba-Father.
So here is the beautiful Phiri Esnat Nakhumwa. Would you pray for my time with her while I’m in Africa? Pray that her eyes, ears and heart would be open to the love of her eternal Father and Savior, Jesus and that reality would overcome any tragedy and pain from her past. Thank you so much~
I’m looking forward to just loving on her and all the kids with the love I’ve so abundantly received
To hear more about the beautiful things God is doing with Project 1:27, please click here: I gotta read more about God’s love for the orphans!