Home for me was the Democratic Republic of Congo in Africa. When I was twelve, something happened that changed the life of my family and me. My little brother (who was ten) and I were playing with a box of matches when we accidentally lit a fire on some stubble my father kept in the house. As the stubble caught fire, so did the whole house. With no firefighters to put out the fire, by the time neighbors came to help, it was too late. My little brother and I were saved, thanks to neighbors who entered the house through the blazing flames and took us out a window. Fortunately, my other younger siblings were not in the house. My mother, who had come back from the field to fight the fire, was severely burned on one leg. The house and everything in it was consumed, including my father’s sewing machine.
There was no hospital in our community, so the Red Cross came and looked after my mother. Knowing I had caused the fire, I felt terribly guilty. My father, who had lost his way of making a living, also became very dejected. Moreover, at this time I fell ill with smallpox. There were no vaccines against smallpox at that time, so I was treated with traditional medicines. Unable to eat, I became very thin and it took three months before I had enough strength to return to school. During our suffering, our church took us in and hosted us for more than six months—even though we were a large family with many mouths to feed and my father had no job. They helped build us a new house—with three bedrooms, not two as before, and they bought a new sewing machine for my father!
For me, this was a miracle of God! We were able to begin a new life with joy. My mother’s wound healed, my father resumed his work as tailor and my sickness was gone. I saw that God had changed our family’s weeping into joy, our shame into pride, and our painful situation into thanksgiving. In all our circumstances, He worked for good.
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose”