Ebenezer's 10th Anniversary
Celebrating 10 years of God’s faithfulness - 17th March 2001 - 17th March 2011 - Ranji's Newsletter
My husband and I came to Zambia in 1982 with our two young children to take up a job as medical officer in a rural hospital. I got involved in Sunday School work wherever my husband was posted to. Little did I know that God had planned a greater work for me involving orphan children. In 1994 we moved to Botswana to educate our children and while I was there God showed me He is bringing me back to Zambia to work with orphans. I was terrified as I had never done anything like that in my life, but God gave me strength and courage that I had never known before, and so gathering all my faith, we drove back to Zambia on the 1st February, 2001. We had no funding organization backing us up, no job, no money, no home – absolutely nothing in our hands except the strength and courage that God had given us.
We stayed with friends for two weeks and although it seemed like God had lost our address for those two weeks, suddenly doors began to open just as we were losing our last ounce of courage. Two ladies from Singapore PohChoo and Wai Ying, said they will pay our house rent, and another lady from Sweden Kerstin, asked me to send her a report of the orphan status in Zambia. As I was busy doing this, God miraculously furnished our house and my husband got a job so we could have food on our table. From there onwards we experienced a series of miracles which happens right to this day.
I went out to the streets to see how bad the situation was and was appalled to see many children sleeping on the corridors of the shops, some in drains and culverts. They ate from dustbins and they lived in gangs getting into trouble with the authorities. My heart ached for the little ones and the young teenagers who were walking with glazed eyes, they were into alcohol and drugs and lived wasteful lives. I sobbed with a deep compassion as the boys came to look for a meal in a dustbin
I wrote about it to Kerstin in Sweden and God moved her heart to get involved. She spoke in her church about the plight of an orphan child in Zambia and the church collected an offering of $ 300/= to be sent to Livingstone. I immediately bought food and hired some ladies to help me cook a meal for about 19 street kids. Thus our Feeding program began on the 17th of March, 2001, under a tree where we continued to feed these children and send them to school. We did this work under a tree for about 5 months, before God sent us .
Enough money to rent out our first house. When other street-kids heard that their friends were being helped under this tree, more and more children began to join us, we continued to feed them and taught them lessons on moral behavior. They were keen to go to school so we enrolled them in the schools nearby. Thus the work of Ebenezer grew more and more rapidly as children began to see that help was genuine and the lives of their friends were changing for the better. Our beginnings were very humble, but who despises the day of small things?????????????
Leah, my first orphan girl came to us in 2001. I was shocked to see her, she looked the picture of misery and depression. She later told me that she tried to take her own life about 3 times. But the constant love, understanding and counsel she received from our home changed her radically, she became good friends with my daughter who helped her come out of all her misery. We also sent her for higher education and suddenly life became meaningful to her. Even her countenance changed so much that many of her friends couldn’t recognize her.
SPREADING OUR WINGS……………….
In 2004 we seriously thinking of having our own school and we had talks with Sweden regarding this. Again they collected $ 300/= towards this project, and we stepped forward with that seed of faith. Then another miracle happened. Trish Ward who had been bringing many visitors to Zambia brought a couple to visit and their hearts were touched by the Lord to help us. Keith, a Chartered accountant and his wife Anne, who hardly knew us suddenly sent us $10,000/ dollars towards the purchase of an old building which we were going to purchase for a school. On hearing about it, Sweden too collected another $ 10,000/ and we were able to pay towards the purchase of an old warehouse which was to be restored as a school.
The School Opening - June 2005
The Swedish Board:- Monica, Bertil, Kerstin, Simon and Gunn-Britt joined with Keith and Anne in purchasing and transforming an old building into a school where young lives are also transformed.
Kerstin continued to raise funds and her church and friends faithfully kept giving to the Cause of the children. And so we continued to touch the lives of many children, bringing restoration and transformation as we carried on. Very soon we got too big for Kerstin and her friends to help us and she then introduced us to two Funding organizations in Sweden. In 2001 we rented our first Children’s Home and in 2002 we rented a house for girls, more and more displaced children were knocking on our door for help and as time went on, we rented four Homes for children as the number of kids rose to 54. God assured me saying, “Many nations will help you.” So I fearlessly moved forward even though many times it seemed financially impossible. Finances never stopped me from helping a destitute child. (I must be an accountant’s nightmare). But each time I stepped forward to help a weeping child ravaged by storms of life at a very young age, someone from somewhere came forward to help us. My daughter who had graduated from the University of Stellenbosch came to help us settle down in 2001 but as she tried to go back to Botswana to take up a position there, the Lord intervened and she had a compelling urge from above, to stay back and help me. She helped me structure the organization as we grew and we were registered with the Government as a charitable organization in 2002.
This work of Restoration is taking place in the lives of each and every child even today. The school opened on the 15th of June 2005 with 80 children and today, 6 years later, we have over 300 children whose lives are being changed and restored. Ebenezer also supports many children who have graduated from our Primary level to go to Secondary Schools in town, we support over 50 Secondary school children as of now. We are also joined by another vibrant couple Richard and Lenore Burton and a strong team from Australia who are faithfully working towards raising funds to feed, clothe and educate many destitute children. We Praise God for the untiring work of Sweden, for teams in the United Kingdom and Australia who are so dedicated in their efforts to raise funds to support this work. Dedicated and loving people from Canada also help us to feed these children and pay our bills. When we started this school 6 years ago, we never intended to feed the children. At that time I didn’t quite understand how much starvation these children endured. When I saw it shortly after starting the school, we started feeding them, but we were only 80 at the time. But as we soon grew in numbers our Budget was strained- our finances very low, and then God sent Dave Wells a pastor from Canada to bear our load. In 2010 it was time to send Morgan to university but we didn’t have the funds and this brilliant young man whom we found as a street kid 10 years ago was very discouraged. We started praying, the only thing we knew we must do. And miraculously God sent a couple Murray and Carol McCann who again bore our load.
We give thanks to God for such great pillars who are faithfully bearing the load of our school and other operations in our Homes and Farm. How can we forget the faithful and untiring work of Barnsamariten of Sweden who have been bearing our load for nearly 10 years, they have so faithfully stood by us and is also now supporting our baby home that was newly opened. We also cannot forget the help of Erikshelp from Sweden who faithfully stood by us for a number of years and was later taken over by Meal-a-day UK, who is now shouldering our burden. God has raised these groups of Angels who are helping us in our running costs month after month and year after year, may God reward them in a way only He can!
Besides these God has also raised Hosts of Angels from every nation far and wide and whose names are too numerous to mention, who have helped us build beautiful homes for our children, who have helped us with school supplies, baby supplies, clothes, shoes, to purchase farming equipment and vehicles, the list goes on and on………………..and their help has been invaluable. Our hearts go out with deep gratitude to all those who have helped us to come to where we are now. I am a song-writer and God gave me a song a few weeks ago for our 10th Anniversary and I have trained our choir to sing this:
EBENEZER YOU HAVE GROWN………..
BUT NOT WITHOUT THE HELP OF GOD – NOR WITHOUT THE HELP OF MAN
WHO’VE BEEN TOUCHED BY GOD ALONE.
NO EYE HATH SEEN NO MIND PERCEIVED, WHAT GOD HAS PLANNED FOR YOU
NO MATTER HOW HARD THE JOURNEY BE, THE LORD WILL SEE YOU THROUGH!
EBENEZER YOU HAVE GROWN……………………………..!
This is so true about us, and we know we are growing even more by the help of God and the help of every man and woman He has raised to help us. This Newsletter is a TRIBUTE to you, our partners, co-workers, helpers and fundraisers. Without your timely help, this work would be utterly impossible. It is your love, your care and concern, your compassionate hearts that has kept this work going and will keep us going for years to come. Because of you our children have beautiful homes, because of you our babies are happy and well looked after, because of you our children are educated and have a future hope, it is all because of YOU!!!
Your hand has been here in every picture, your love and compassion has helped us build one of the most beautiful homes for our babies and toddlers, a spacious, clean and a loving Home! Thank you Kevin Norris for this great contribution to the Zambian babies and toddlers, you helped to build this Home all by yourself. May God’s gracious hand be upon you. Thank you, Friends of Ebenezer UK for building one complete home, and more. Thank you all you fundraisers for helping us build homes for girls and boys who were destitute. Today they live in dignity, and they have hope and a future. It is all because of your willing hands to help.
Plans are currently on the drawing Board to build an Agriculture School, a Secondary School and a Skills Training Centre. I drew that baby home just by faith one day and laid it on the table and said to God, ‘God I have done my part in faith, now you do YOURS.” And by some great miracle He raised a man who built that house and today it is a happy Home with so many babies. In the same way, we are taking another step of faith for our children who have been crying out to God for a good education, for those who are academic and also for those who are not. So that some can learn a skill and live his or her life in dignity instead of begging. God will bring this dream to pass too, in His time and through many people He will raise!
Thank you for 10 years of support, love and prayers. Thank you for untiring and willing hands that has kept us going, this journey would have ended long ago without your help. Thank you for your continuous support and love that will keep us going for many years to come. May God’s gracious hand and mercy be upon all of you our beloved partners and co-workers in this great task of giving hope and a future to an orphan child!
Yours always for the Cause of the children,