Sunday, August 10, 2008

Their stories to tell.

"How was Africa?"

The question that haunts me.

My reply, "It was wonderful. It's my favorite place in the world."

And with that response I quickly turn the conversation away from me. The reason...when I really stop to think about that question my heart grows heavy. There's a weight upon me that I either try to ignore or wait to share at the appropriate time and place. Is blogging the appropriate time or place to help lift the burden? To ease the troubled heart? And whose heart am I trying to ease? My own? The children of Zambia? The women of Africa? The sorrow and suffering of human kind?

My head has a hard time grasping it all but I feel in my heart that "their" stories need to be told. I want the people of America to know their brothers and sisters across the world. I want them to feel of their goodness and love. Most importantly, I want them to know, as do the Zambians, the love of God for all His children.

The first story I'd like to share is that of my sweet boy Evans.
Well I actually have two boys, Dala and Evans, but Dala's story is to tender for my heart to handle at this time. I will save his story for another time. Here are some pictures of both my boys.

I met Evans in the summer of '06 and I instantly fell in love with his beautiful smile and his outgoing, loving personality.

I had the privilege of being with him again in the summer of '07 where I received one of the greatest blessings of my life. It came when Evans was turning me into a Zambian by placing black soot all over my face.
As he was preparing the face paint he said to me, "Auntie Heather, Auntie Heather, I need to tell you something." I, of course, was eager to hear what he had to say. The words that came from his mouth have changed my life. He said, "You love me like my mommy did." At which point I broke down and gave Evans the biggest hug. No one but my Heavenly Father could ever know what hearing those words meant to me. I too, like Evans, have lost my mother and have yearned for the love of a mother. I have also yearned for the desire to mother. I realized that Heavenly Father has not denied me that opportunity, as a matter of fact, he has given me more opportunities to mother than most women have. I know how it feels to be a mother. I truly love Evans as is he were my own son, which is why his is the first story to tell.
He was born sixteen years ago. He was the youngest in a family of 8 children. He has no memory of his father and his mother died when he was five. He went to live with his brother who was unable to take care of him. At the age of 8 or 9 he went looking for a job to help buy food hor himself and his brother he was staying with. He found a job herding cattle in the bush. His stories of this time in the bush with the cattle were frightening and it made me wish for children's rights in Africa. His job as a cattle herder ended when thieves came and stole some of the cows. When the owner's found out they took Evans to the police to report him for losing the cattle. At which point the police told the owner that he should not be hiring children and the case was dismissed.
After this Evans went to live with another brother who was also unable to take care of his needs. Mothers without Borders learned about Evans when it was discovered that he was living in a chicken coop with his brother and his brother's girlfriend. What??? A chicken coop? He was found at the age of 12 and was promptly brought to the CRC (the orphanage) where he lived and was well taken care of for the next four years.
In April of this year he was reintegrated back into a home with his brother. The circumstances are not ideal and have been the result of many tears on my part, but he has a couch to sleep on in a tiny little house, food to eat for most meals, rabbits to love and care for, a great attitude, and still that beautiful smile.
The first picture below is of the new cage he built for his rabbits. He was so proud of his cage. I spoke with him a few nights ago and he now has 11 rabbits to play with. Pretty soon he's going to need a bigger cage. The last picture is of his brother, sis-in-law, and nephew in front of their home. Please take note of the sugar cane in our hands, a must in Zambia.

Here are some pics of me and Evans with Auntie Heidi. Heidi fell in love with Evans the minute she met him and almost in the same instant realized the need to support Evans in school so he can receive a real education. We've decided that for now the best place to send him is to a boarding school in Zambia. We're hoping that he'll start at his new school in January. I am so grateful for my sweet sister and for her ability to see things that I'm to blind to see. It was such a blessing having her in Africa with me.

Here's a funny video of the boys practicing their drumming on a Sunday afternoon with lollipops in their mouth. Evans is the drummer with the brown hoodie on.

There is so much more to tell about this sweet little boy but will end the story for now. I will forever be grateful for my Evans. He is one of the greatest blessings of my life. He will be a part of me and my family forever. Thank you Evans for your incredible example and love. You truly are a child of God.


Stacie Raddatz said...

Wow! Thanks for taking the time to post this. I will hug my children a little harder today.

Heidi said...

For all you readers: I watched Heather with Evans and saw the bond of mother and son. I instantly felt he was family and was so happy to finally meet him. If ever you wonder why Heather is so attached to Africa, it is because she has a family there who needs her and she needs them. It was seeing this that finally helped me realize that we need to share her with the Africans.

Emily A. Gunderson said...

Hed, please keep sharing! I'm so enjoying reading yours and Heidi's blogs!!

Mom of 3 boys said...

Wow! Heather you are amazing! I have absolutely loved reading your blog. You are an inspiration and we look forward to learning more about your adventures and seeing pics of your family! Hope to see you soon!

Brenna said...

I love you Heather!!! I love you forever and always! My heart came ripping open today with your blog. I'm so thankful to still have you in my life, and for your amazing example of love.
Evans is lucky (just like me) to know you, and to have felt your love.

Stephanie said...

I'm so happy to welcome another brother into our family! Thanks for the post.

meganconser said...


I have been lurking on your blog for a while now... love it. You have no idea what you are bringing to the rest of us reading it. Your testimony, your stories, your unconditional love- how Christlike you are. Thanks for sharing- you have lifted my heart and made my mind more aware of the truly important things in life.

I love what you said about loving as a Mother. There is so much need out there for Mother's love- you don't have to birth a child in order to give it. I think your giving it is natural for you because of the sweet and nurturing spirit you have. I know your neices and nephews have felt it, your sisters have appreciated and needed your extra love for them(What kid can't use more love?). I am sure there are many more children you protected and loved while in Africa who felt the same thing, but just didn't put it in words as Evans did. He is a special boy to recognize and share his feelings wtih you.

Bless you Heather- bless bless bless you.
-Megan Conser

Elisabeth said...

Heather keep blogging about your stories. I need to hear them. They bring tears, but good tears kwim? Yes, you are a mother in the very truest sense of the word.