Father to the Fatherless

By Brittany Mathias
First Grade Teacher
Haven of Peace Academy, Tanzania

Sunday afternoons a few friends and I usually head over to Kurasini Orphanage. One day after playing with the little ones for a while, I saw one of the older girls called Nuru coming over. We had a very basic conversation in Swahili, and asked her if she had been to church that day, and what she had learned. She was very excited about what she had learned, and proceeded to answer my question in fast, complicated Swahili.

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Nuru with Brittany

When my blank stare gave away that she had far surpassed my Swahili vocabulary, she pulled me over toward the girl’s dormitory. She had a journal with notes from the sermon, and then she started to look up the different passages they had studied that morning in her Bible (a Swahili one given by HOPAC students at Christmas time).

I fared okay for a while using the Swahili app on my phone and her English/Swahili dictionary (given by the church at Christmas time). Rather than translating word by word, I started looking up the Bible passages on the app on my phone in English.

I was absolutely blown away by the first passage that we looked up, Psalm 68:5-6, “A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families, he leads out prisoners with singing…” That has been my prayer for Kurasini for several months. I was so encouraged not only that the Lord had heard my prayer for these specific kids, but also that Nuru attends a church where the Lord’s love of the defenseless and vulnerable is preached. She is in a church that affirms her, values her, and sees the need to care for her specifically. We read other passages together for a while, and prayed together at the end.

Nuru means light in Swahili. I wonder how our Father is going to use this light in the future.