Just a few weeks ago I wrote about a new initiative by our Sunday School teachers to reach out with Christ’s love to the hundreds of street children in Goma who have been cast aside and largely ignored.
We started up three weeks ago on a Saturday and had just over 30 children who arrived early in the morning. They showered, were given a meal, heard Bible stories and then sang, danced, and had time on our new playground… the swings, and slides… for most a new experience. The next Saturday there were 50. One eight-year-old boy stood out for his absolute joy: participating, singing, and dancing with enthusiasm. The teachers took notice. His name was Meshack.
This past Friday, Meshack was struck and killed by a truck while running across a street in Goma. With no one to claim him, his little body was left in the morgue. Upon hearing of the tragedy, the teachers sought out the town authorities who wanted $200 to release the body but eventually relented when no one else came to claim him. They released him for a fee of $20. Our teachers pooled their resources, paid the fee, purchased a wooden coffin, and rented a flatbed produce truck to take little Meshack’s body to a graveyard just outside of town.
Over a hundred children from the street piled on that truck wanting to accompany their friend on his final journey. Some cried, saying, “Meshack, why did you have to die… tomorrow is the day we were to get new clothes and shoes at HEAL Africa!”
One of our Sunday school teachers preached a graveside sermon amongst 100+ children who likely had never attended church in their lives. They prayed, they sang, and they put little Meshack to rest. He who didn’t have a home in this earthly world has now found a home, and so much more!
This Saturday, so many street children came … some as early as 6 am! They showered and were given new clothes and shoes. Women from the church washed their old clothes while they sat and heard about a God who loves them so. Then they sang and danced and played with the enthusiasm that reminded us of Meshack. They had a warm meal, collected their belongings, were hugged…and went on their way. We wish we could do more… in a town that largely ignores the needs of these so precious. But we know of the love of Jesus for children such as these.
Whoever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. Luke 9:47-48