I’ve been holding onto this story. It had such a big impact on me that I wanted to selfishly hold onto it in private, but God has shown me time and time again that it is HIS story for me to share. Not mine.
This is Rafael. He is 77 years old. My team and I took notice of his home when we noticed “KING OF PEACE” painted on the front door to his small space. We went and met him. He could hardly sit up because he was so weak and malnourished. He was so frail, but you could see his strength in his eyes and smile. He told us his story. He had long been a Christian & was born one of ten children. I shared with him that my dad was, too! He went on that they had all passed away, most young. He got married to a woman named Maria and they had three children. Two girls and a boy, the youngest of which was mute.
All his children passed away during the late 1980s and early 1990s. His wife Maria passed away in 2007, and he relocated to Kome Island to be with his remaining relatives. All of them were killed when their fishing boat capsized on Lake Victoria three years ago. We sat there shocked. My heart was breaking for him as he explained that he couldn’t walk to church, couldn’t fetch water to cook and only ate when villagers thought to send some food his way. BUT he said he KNEW God was good & he would be okay. He said he worried, but that he KNEW and BELIEVED God loved him and provides. We worked with the newly planted Church to take him in and provide for him the way the Church is intended to. On our final day, Rafael WALKED to church with us, praised God and got baptized in the very Lake his family perished in. What a faith. He reminded me of Job. Incredible faith during unimaginable grief. I am so humbled God used me to help care for him in the week I got to spend with him. He asked me not to forget about him, and there is no way that I could.