Sunday, December 19, 2010
The Life & Times of Louis & Amber - A New Chapter for Okuhle
Last week we went to Dunamis Christian School, the school we have partnered with in the past and with whom we plan to work as we receive children at Restoring Hope Village. We went there to see the end-of-term awards ceremony. While there we realized Okuhle wasn't and we asked about her. We learned that in October she went to live with her step-father and his wife in Hani Park. This man is the father of her youngest sister and Okuhle has known him for a large portion of her life. He was not present with the family when her mother died, but has since returned to the area. At the time he wasn't in a position to care for her for various reasons. Okuhle has always had a strong bond with him and in the past we've taken her to visit him. Most of the time it was because she wanted to go and share the gospel with him.
After learning of her new living situation we wanted to follow up with her and make sure everything was fine. We were able to track her down and sit down with her for a long talk. During that talk it was evident that she really enjoyed living with her "parents". She has a good relationship with both - she herself told us that sometimes she is afraid she is too good of friends with her stepmother so that she wouldn't be as strict as Okuhle knows she should be. We found out that her parents have given house rules that she has to follow and chores to do. It appears they are taking a real interest in her life.
We let her know that if she ever needed anything to give us a call. Last Saturday I got a text to call her (cell phones are prepaid and most people never have credit on them - they can send a free message asking for a callback). I called and she said she didn't feel safe. Both her parents were at a funeral and 4 girls from the neighborhood were giving her a hard time. Normally we wouldn't just come running for something that seemed so minor to us, but given the circumstances and the realities of township life, we thought it best to check on things.
Okuhle has long craved a family relationship. To see now that she has what looks like one is such a blessing. Many of you know that she has a younger brother and sister. The brother has been with relatives in another province since her mother died - a long story. The young sister was very sick and still requires significant medical care with a strict regimen of ARV's (HIV medication). So for now it appears Okuhle will be the only one to live with her new "parents", but she still cares for her siblings and checks up on her young sister.
It is exciting for us to see that Okuhle still has a passion for Jesus, still reads her Bible and takes notes in church, and is witnessing to the friend that she has made since her return to Hani Park. Please continue to pray for safety, protection, and spiritual growth for this young woman.
Posted by Louis O'Tool at 4:42 AM