At the start of the new decade we look back in amazement at all the Lord has achieved through the work of Homes of Promise over the last few years. At the end of 2019 we have 32 boys in our care, (nine more than at the beginning of the year.)
In 2019 we reported that five of our boys had left the project. Four of them have now returned to us. Two have gone for vocational training, one in hairdressing and one in plumbing, another has just started a carpentry course. Godfrey, who also returned, is here helping Gorette with the cooking. He would like to start his own “chapati-making” business, but this would need careful monitoring before we could agree.
Establishing the boys in the workplace has been challenging. Two of our boys are on internships for welding, which we help pay for. Augustine, a builder and Tim, a baker, both have temporary work but nothing permanent. We are now aiming to find internships/employment for Simon Peter and Derrick, who have finished their two-year plumbing and welding courses. Paul is doing well on his tailoring course and we did invest in a sewing machine which he puts to good use mending clothes and making boys’ shorts.
We received “Approved Home” registration by the Ministry of Gender last November, which also sent us five new boys. By the end of the year these boys had visited their families to start the reconciliation/reunification process and they have also been registered at the local Maranatha Primary School to begin in February 2020. They underwent tests at the medical clinic when they arrived, of course, and also received treatment. I was anxious that they might disrupt our other boys who are well settled but their arrival and integration was unbelievably smooth.
Anton has been working on his land and has settled back into his community. He plays football and visits his sister. He did well with the gnut crop and has been growing maize and matoke, but he seems to lack commitment to work. He is only 17 and has endured many difficulties over the last few years, so we ask for your prayers that he resolves these issues.
Last year we had 10 boys at Maranatha Primary School. Some are struggling, but others have done incredibly well, two coming out top of their class. Ronald finished at Kennedy at the end of 2019 having reached P5 level and Denis is now in Maranatha Secondary School (boarding). We will have 15 boys in Maranatha Primary school at the beginning of 2020.
During the year we visited the cinema to watch “The Lion King,” an exciting experience for some of the boys as they tried out the escalator. Emma’s comment was that he was going to work really hard so that he could enjoy some of these wonderful experiences regularly! We also visit KK Beach each week and take the boys swimming during the holidays.
Bob and I travelled to the UK twice during the year, mainly for Bob to meet the trustees and sponsors. On our second visit we spoke at two schools and in two churches to share information about our work at George’s Place.
Looking forward. Where is God leading us? Obviously, changes have started! Georges Place runs well and although it can be noisy at times the boys seem happy and content, their lives being changed slowly as they experience being accepted and loved by Jesus and the staff. We are still concerned about the older boys as they finish their courses and look for employment. Should we consider renting a “welding” premises where some of them could work together, or should we send them back into their communities? Each boy is different in his needs, family support and personality and yet they are growing together as a family, so your prayers please, as we ask God to lead the way.