I’m CSPC missions partner Sybil Baloy, the founder of Hlauleka Mumpswa, a school in Mozambique that educates at-risk children. Here’s how I’m living deeply.
A woman has died and left children alone- the home is chaos. Can you come and help?’ A woman I didn’t know had sought me out, hoping I could do something about what sounded like a horrible situation. How could I say no? I went to the home and found two girls (one was 8 years old, the other 5) taking care of a little boy who wasn’t even 2 yet. There was a grandmother there, too, but it was clear she was old and couldn’t do anything. The toddler was very ill- yellow hair, swollen arms. I offered to take him and care for him until his health was restored. The grandmother said she’d think about it. After about two weeks, I heard from the family again. They were ready for me to take the boy. I found him in worse shape. He was not walking and he was not sitting up anymore. He would just cry. I took the boy to a doctor: ‘What do I do? Help me with this child.’ He said the boy was suffering from severe anemia, edema, and other serious issues. I took the doctor’s advice and got him to a hospital, where he was treated for a week and a half. After they discharged him, I took him into my home where I and my four children could care for him. People who visited me thought he would die. One lady looked at me and said, ‘He’s not going to make it.’ I said, ‘If he makes it, okay. If he doesn’t, I’ll conduct a funeral. Everyone deserves a decent funeral.’ We came up with a special menu for him, fed him, and taught him to stand up. By the Lord’s grace, he gained strength & health. I ended up adopting him, and today my son Tom is 16. He has turned out to be a very handsome boy- very intelligent, a top student at school. It’s really God’s miracle because when children are malnourished at young ages, they often don’t do well in school later. God’s hand is all over this. If Tom had continued to be neglected, he would be gone today. His life illustrates the need for the work God has called me to do.
God sent me to Mozambique from South Africa more than 30 years ago. He laid it on my heart that I must work with children. He used the passage from Matthew 25 about helping the hungry, the sick, and the least to touch me. After visiting Mozambique one time, I saw the desperate situations of many of the children- in that Scripture, I saw them. So I went to Mozambique and created an after-school club where I played ball with the children, told them stories, and taught them songs. The children liked the club, and over the years it grew into multiple clubs separating the children by age groups. Children were learning about Jesus, and many were coming to know Him. But I was concerned that we were not producing future Christian leaders for the community. It seemed like there needed to be more regular & formal training, and that was how I got the idea of starting a school. The problem was- how would we pay for the workers, food, and everything the school needed to run? Especially since many of the children we most needed to reach were orphaned. I knew some whose parents were both gone and they just lived with a poor, aging grandparent. What about those kids? I came up with a vision, saying, ‘This school will be for the orphaned and vulnerable kids. Those families who have money, if they want, can also bring their kids.’ I took that vision to God in prayer, decided we’d begin as a preschool, and got started. Before long the preschool was running and, by the Lord’s grace, the parents who could pay loved the program and provided the support. The school has now grown to 750 children from both low-income and high-income backgrounds. The mayor of our town has children here. So does the head of the hospital. But we have orphaned and vulnerable children right beside them, fulfilling our mission of lifting up the most vulnerable and equipping them to one day lead.
Please pray for my wisdom in leading the school. We have principals and a great staff, but the biggest yes or no decisions usually come to me. I need wisdom- I need to sense God’s hand. Please also pray for our students. The orphaned and vulnerable kids we’re helping, it’s not easy. Most of them, because of the situations they come from, have trauma. They can’t always think straight and sometimes don’t believe we’re here to help them. Pray that the Lord opens their eyes to see that we are trying to make a good future for them, and that they’d be cooperative. Finally, a prayer request that may sound unusual to Western ears, but it’s a very serious concern. In the two years when COVID was affecting our lives, just about everything everywhere closed. But in Africa, the witch doctors were not closed. We have a plague of young people being trained to be witch doctors. It pains me to see this. The devil would like to take over in this area and possess our children with evil spirits. This is a plague, and we want to see it go away fast.