30% of Cameroonians live on less than $2 each day. For the widows and orphans in Yaounde, we have seen that medical bills, school fees and food are some of the major needs they have.
One of the widows we know needs money to pay for surgery because she has cancer. During a visit to one of the children’s homes several months ago, we saw most of the orphaned children at home instead of at school because they didn’t have money to pay for their school fees. On another occasion, we went to the boys’ home around lunch-time, and one of the boys told us that they had not yet eaten that day – they didn’t have food.
The Lord is concerned about the hardships that widows and orphans face. He cares for the poor, and he wants us (the church) to care for them as well.
In Leviticus 19:9-10, God instructs His children, “When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Do not go over your vineyard a second time or pick up the grapes that have fallen. Leave them for the poor and the foreigner…” Some of the Israelite’s income was to be set aside for those in need, and this is an example to us from God’s Word, about how we can help care for the poor.
We realize that we can not meet all of the needs that the vulnerable in Yaounde have, not even close. There are always more needs. So what do we do? How can we best help the poor in Cameroon, with resources the Lord has given us, and without building dependence on us? How can we empower them? We began to pray and dialogue with our ministry partners. Together, we started to think strategically.
One answer came when we visited Mama Pauline and her boys who once lived on the streets. The boys expressed a desire to work, and we learned about the opportunity for them to be porters in their local market. They only lacked one tool – a wheelbarrow.
We started to communicate with our supporters about this need. Our home church and another couple jumped on board quickly, and we were able to purchase seven wheelbarrows for the boys at Mama Pauline’s, and two for the orphaned boys in Nsam, a near-by neighborhood.
When we delivered the wheelbarrows, each boy was ecstatic! The boys at Mama Pauline’s immediately started to assemble them so they could work right away! The widows who take care of the children were thrilled and praised God!
We hope that this tool will not only bless the boys today, but that it will lay a foundation for healthy life choices in the future. Martial, a co-founder of Hope Social Action, will lead a study on financial matters from a Christian perspective. We want to encourage these youth to tithe, save and contribute to the family God has given them. We also pray for unity amongst the boys as they learn to work and support each other.
We’re so thankful for the young children at Elgin Evangelical Free Church and their Sunday School teacher, along with our dear friends – who gave generously to this project; helping and empowering under-resourced boys they never met, living in Africa, for the Lord’s glory!
In Christ, Mark and Cathy