Sunday, August 14, 2011

Stephen is OFF the streets!!!

Ready for an update on Stephen? If you don't know about Stephen, click here and catch up!


Yes, REALLY!!!

So many of you prayed for Stephen. You wrote to me about him. His story broke your hearts too. I am so happy to tell you the rest of his story now. (That much as is currently lived!)

Today we contacted our friend, Hamza. You might remember when I posted about his life transformation...he was a street kid who was given a chance and made the most of it. He's now working non-stop to help kids like himself get that same break. Review Hamza's story here.

Hamza read about Stephen on our blog and immediately told me he would like to help him. We arranged to meet this afternoon and waited through a downpour until we could go out and look for him. (We beat him at Bananagrams while we waited! ;) hee hee) We took a taxi back to the area where we met him last night. But Stephen was nowhere in sight.

My heart fell.

"Lord, please. Please help us find Your child, Stephen."

We didn't find him, but we did find the two friends that Stephen saved food for last night. They were just as he had said: clean and not into street drugs. When Hamza spoke to them in Lugandan they lit up as they realized we were the ones who had sent food back to them. We introduced ourselves and Hamza rattled on in their native tongue (or so I thought) about looking for Stephen.

Basically, Stephen was gone, but they might know where to find him.

Would they go with us to look?


A good brisk walk and searching in many places, crossing railroads, climbing up a very long flight of stairs and searching through the slums we came up empty-handed. I was so sad. It had been 45 minutes of fruitless searching...but I had begun to fall in love with these friends too.

They were each about the same age, 13 or 14. Simon was actually from Kenya. His mother had already died and during the riots his father's legs were cut off. The rioters also marred his hands so he could not work. Simon had no way to be supported, so he fled here to Uganda. He had no choice but to live on the streets. He had been captured and taken to the children's prison M (where Sixty Feet works to improve conditions) but he was beaten and treated unfairly and after one month, he escaped. Oh Lord, please do your work in that place.

The second friend, Sunday, was from one of the northern tribes of Uganda. (So much violence has taken place Wardance on Netflix and learn about it!) His parents were shot and killed right in front of him. He got very emotional when he spoke about them. Can you imagine? He was an only child. He had just come down to Kampala last week. Sunday liked to walk next to me and I felt close to him. I said I was so sorry about his parents and hugged him. I couldn't help wonder when the last time he felt a mother's love.
Sunday (L) from Northern Uganda and Simon (R) from Kenya
Hamza was clear that today was Stephen's chance at a new life. That there would be a chance for them too, but first we had to find Stephen. The boys enthusiastically took us everywhere they knew Stephen might be, but he remained elusive. On the way down the long hill, Brian and I decided to buy some dinner for Simon and Sunday. We went to an outdoor restaurant and ordered two packets of chicken and rice. We visited more as we waited for it to cook.

Sunday wanted me to pay for him to get back in school. I told him I was not able, but that Hamza would be faithful to lead him to safety if he followed his rules: no drugs, be willing to work and active about studying hard. He was firm: he wanted the chance.

Simon said he wanted to go back to Kenya. He wanted to be back with his father. Hamza helped him think through it: "Can your father support you?" Sadly, Simon realized he could not. He admitted that he'd find himself out on the Kenyan streets. He then realized that he needed Hamza's help.

As we walked back to our taxi, there to my delight...STEPHEN appeared!!! :) He must have gotten sight of us from afar because he came running full speed across the street with a huge smile and embraced me! WOW! What a feeling! My heart was rejoicing!!

After some introductions and explanations we set off the 7 of us: Brian and I, Hamza, Stephen, Simon and Sunday. When we reached our taxi, Hamza reminded the boys that today was Stephen's chance. I turned away as I couldn't bear to watch Stephen hug his friends goodbye. He took out his cash and split it between them. More hugs between Simon and Sunday and us...and we were off.

As we drove along, Stephen was beaming from ear to ear. I can only imagine how his heart must have been racing and his tummy flipping! He couldn't resist waving at the other street children who were familiar to him--afterall, he was in a car with mzungus! (White people)

A nervous Stephen in front of his new home, with Hamza (R) and new housemate Frank
We reached a rented safe house where Hamza has 7 other boys who are newly off the streets. They have beds, meals, chores, daily praise and worship, Bibles and home education while the schools are dismissed for break. This ministry is called  Never Lose Hope Uganda. Each boy is sponsored for $70 a month--food, bedding, clothing, school and medical needs when required. If you are interested in helping support Stephen, please contact me.

Hamza will share a bed tonight, but have his own by tomorrow.
We settled Stephen in and as we walked inside, Hamza said, "Welcome home, Stephen." I cannot imagine. Another boy was there who was busy sweeping. The rest of the children were at church with the leader also named Brian. He provides supervision, spiritual counseling and love to the boys. Eventually they will transfer into a larger program called PCA (Peace for Children Africa--mentioned in the blog post about Hamza.) This is the organization that originally helped Hamza off the streets.

Both Hamza and our driver John talked calmly but firmly to Stephen in Lugandan. I have no idea what was said but I heard the word "street" every now and then. I assume they were helping him to recognize what a huge opportunity this was. As we walked out to the taxi, Hamza said to us, "I used to have 7 children, now I have 8...soon I hope to have 10!" All this from one incredible 18 year old young man.
The chore chart. I find it fascinating there are 8 8 boys to share them!

Hamza, Stephen and "Uncle Brian" just before we left him at his new home.

So my heart is at rest tonight, my sweet Stephen is off the streets. Now to get Simon and Sunday off.


  1. Oh AMY!! I am sitting here bawling over this amazing story. All praise be to him who made us all!! It is beautiful to see God orchestrating these wonderful things!

  2. WOOOO HOOOO!! Praising the Lord with you!! You were DEFINITELY called to be there at this given time! I am thrilled to hear about Stephen. I really wish the same for his friends! It broke my heart to hear they couldn't go at the same time.

  3. And people don't believe in modern day miracles? Hmmm. I think you just saw one!

  4. Praise God!! Wow what a ministry! Amy, can I repost your story...this is a modern day miracle. What a God we serve!

  5. Tracy, feel free to link to our blog! I am thrilled to share what God is doing!!! Bless you!


  6. Hi! I found your blog the other day and have been silently purusing :) I just wanted to say that you have a beautiful story and I look forward to following it! We too are adopting 2 kiddos from Uganda! We just started the process though, so we're not as far along as you! Praying for you and your family as you continue on this amazing journey!


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