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Saturday, July 18, 2015

The dying baby arrived in a cardboard box.

This past week we celebrated two birthdays for two boys who turned 4-years old. People laugh at me when I refer to them as the “big kids”, but they are our big kids and they are miracles.

For those of you who don’t know Caleb and Emmanuel, let me tell you their short life stories.

Caleb was born on July 11, 2011, and he was given to us in a cardboard box by his own father.

I was not in Swaziland when Helen went to pick up Caleb, but I am told it was a very traumatic day, for everyone. Caleb’s mother had died of HIV/AIDS related illness leaving her husband and baby with full-blown AIDS.

The father had no means to provide Caleb with food, clothing, love or life-saving medication and so Caleb was in and out of the hospital for malnutrition and HIV/AIDS related illnesses. Some times the father would stop the medication completely, leaving Caleb resistant to 1st line medication.  The Doctors and Baylor clinic worked with the hospital Social Worker to find a solution and that is how Caleb arrived at the El Roi Baby home.

He was a very sick baby when he arrived with lesions all over his body, raw and open wounds and eyes that were filled with sheer terror.  There were days when Helen thought that we might lose him to the disease that was trying to steal his life, but El Roi saw him. With special love, food, medication and praying without ceasing,  his little body returned from the brink of death caused by the effects of poverty and AIDS. 

Caleb will be on his ART (Anti-retroviral treatment) for life, or until a cure is found or he is healed.  It is a twice-daily routine that cannot be missed.  While Caleb is a happy and active boy who celebrated his fourth birthday on July 11th, he is still wearing clothes that are size 12-18 months (!) and he is on a special high calorie diet to try to put meat on his bones.  

Caleb is loved by all and we give thanks for this little life.

Emmanuel was born on July 17, 2011 and came to us malnourished and puffy from Kwashiorkor. 

I was living in Swaziland when the Social Welfare office called about him and had the opportunity to meet his young mother.  She was only 16-years old, she already had one child and was pregnant with another.  She came from a very poor family and had been working in prostitution for several years by that time. The pregnancies were a result of that life.  Emmanuel was a severely malnourished and sick baby so we had him admitted to the hospital immediately after we were given custody.  He was almost 1-year old when he came to us, but only had the development of a 4-month old baby.  His (ineffective) diaper was a plastic bag.

The mother asked us to take the new baby when he/she was born, but when the time came she gave birth in an outdoor bus stop and ran away with the baby and refused to give up the child. We have since learned that she had a fourth child and then a set of twins!  We pray for her and her other five children and we give thanks that Emmanuel (also known as “Manny” or “Emma”) is with us.

These are only two stories out of the 96 babies who now live at Project Canaan.  I often find myself saying that each child’s story is worse than the next one, but El Roi sees them all and has chosen each child to live at Project Canaan. Why only Emmanuel and not his siblings I do not know, but I trust in the Lord with all my heart and soul and give thanks for each and every life He sends to us

Live from Swaziland … Happy birthday Caleb and Emmanuel!


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