Her life began down a toilet.
Back in 1994, as the war continued to wreak havoc in Burundi, a nurse was in the public lavatories of a hospital when she spotted something down the toilet. It was a premature baby that had been abandoned, and somehow it – no, she – was still alive. The nurse fished her out, cleaned her off, and contacted my friend, Chrissie Chapman, who was the only person in Bujumbura taking in abandoned babies or orphans at the time. Chrissie took her in when she was five days old and gave her the most beautiful name, the only name, to capture what her little life embodied:
That’s my story, and I hope it’s yours. I could never get out of the pit by myself, but as with that nurse reaching down, God likewise plucked me out and rescued me. Help had to come from above, and so Jesus came down, took my stinking filth on him, and brought me life.
This precious 5lb baby was given antibiotics as a preventative measure because the open end of the umbilical cord had been in contact with the toilet water. It is likely these antibiotics, due to their strength in high doses, were what led to Grace losing any sense of hearing. A specialist diagnosed her deafness months later, but there was nothing medically to be done. However, a pastor came and prayed over her when she was 9 months old. He poured oil down her ears and anointed her. For the next three days she screamed every minute she was awake. Nobody knew what to do. It was only when someone slammed a door and Grace suddenly jolted that they realized her tears and screams were because she had been healed and could now hear what was going on.
I met Grace on my first trip to Burundi in 1997. I held her, played with her, and never forgot her because of her amazing story. I resolved that if the Lord ever gave me a daughter, I would name her after Grace.
Now fast-forward sixteen years. Grace just turned 19-years-old this week, and the Lord has beautifully weaved the threads of our lives such that she has now become our babysitter. She looks after Zac, Josiah, and our 5-year-old Grace when we occasionally go out for the evening. She’s matured into a delightful young lady, is full of faith, has finished school with good grades and knows that God has big plans for her life.
Grace has been awarded a scholarship to Oklahoma Christian University to study journalism for four years. They cover 50% of tuition fees but not flights and accommodation/living expenses and the other 50% of tuition fees, which obviously adds up to a fair bit. If her story moves you, and you’re able to help, please get in touch with me or click on www.greatlakesoutreach.org/donate . Her life was spared for a reason, her story has already impacted many lives, and we want to see her fulfill her potential for God’s glory. She’s also totally committed to returning to broken Burundi after her studies to play her part in its healing and transformation.
Feel free to forward/retweet/pass this on, with my contact details: firstname.lastname@example.org so we can help Grace with the next stage of her adventure for Him.