It was a Wednesday evening that during our devotions the Lord revealed a challenge. "I looked for someone to have pity but there was none, and for comforters and found none ... Surely He has bourne our griefs and carried our sorrows."
It was the next morning when a letter from a colleague arrived in which he mentioned the death of one of his members, asking if we knew of an orphanage! A young mother had died giving birth to her son.
We went with him to visit the family.
The father was sat on his steps feeding the little baby with a dirty spoon some undiluted milk from a can.
After conversing with the father and other familty members we reaalised that there was no one to care for the baby safely. We looked at our two month old daughter who in comaprison had everything.
The father gave his son the name, Obinali, which means "the heart has courage and endures".
It was agreed that Obinali could come home with us. On the way we noticed a serious infection in his left hand and left foot. Some pagan relative had amputated part of the little finger and little toe, to keep evil spirits away from him and others in the family. We made a detour to the nearest doctor about twenty miles away who gave medicine for him.
On the Sunday morning we were all on our way to the service in a Nigerian bush village, We were stopped by a man carrying a baby. He had heard about Obinali. "Please can you look after my daughet, her mother is dead".
The following Wednesday two men arrived at the house. They had heard about Obinali. The wife of one of them had died giving birth to a 'strong' baby boy. His son weighed less than two pounds. The mother had suffered from various deseases throughout the pregnancy.
We were kept busy unpacking boxes, emptying draws and cutting up sheets in order to make beds for the babies. A couple of teenage girls came to help my wife. Even against the advice of the grand-mothers who were afraid of the 'evil spirit' in such babies, they were willing to learn how to help care for them. In this bush village there was no electricty and no running water, there was no local shop for diapers, etc !.
At the end of six months we had received twenty-two babies. Their mothers had died in or just after child birth. Heavy criticism came from the Missionary Society for starting an orphanage without permission! Local church leaders encouraged members to find a little cash to help provide milk and food, which was not available locally, it had to be ordered and brought from the city nearly ninety miles away. God provided everything just when it was needed.
In the following months people in the many surrounding villages were more eager to listen to the Gospel message. Was it because they saw the love of God being demonstrated in the midst of their needs, and that they felt God really did care.
We had no idea what the end result would be when we responded to the Word from the Lord fifty years ago. The Home for Motherless Babies is still fucntioning in Eastern Nigeria.
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