For a better understanding of this post, please start with the previous post entitled “Seeing Through Blinded Eyes”
Before the happy visitors started coming by, the daily silence sometimes seemed to conspire with the visual darkness like two sly partners bent on deepening Daniel’s hopeless solitude. Then one day a vehicle rumbled up and he heard greetings from Flo, the social worker from Naomi’s Village Children’s Home tasked with finding out more about two small boys, reportedly in need of a home.
Sketchy details filtered third-hand from the Naivasha Children’s Department said Julius(4) and Isaac(3) had been orphaned by the death of their mother and the blinding of their father in an industrial accident. Daniel told Flo and her two American friends, Julie and Miriam, that he had not been with the boys in months.
As the newcomers sank into their seats, the story began to flow forth as Daniel finally found soft ears listening. His wife was not dead, but vanished and remarried. His blindness had left him unemployed and penniless, but still he hoped he could regain sight with an operation. Deemed unfit to father any longer, his two sons had been taken away and given first to an uncle and then to the children’s department.
When asked what he would do if he could see again, he said without hesitating, “I would go and get my boys”. The three invisible ladies absorbed the layers of Daniel’s tragedy, interrupting only for clarification. Tears flowed quietly, but he could not see to notice these signs on their cheeks that the Holy Spirit had already started to work. Daniel had been visited that day and things were going to change, but no one knew how yet.
In the coming weeks there were more surprise visits bringing him news of hope for funding for his eye appointments, the gift of a guitar, a team of orphans from Naomi’s Village that cleaned and served in his garden, numerous prayers, kind words, and encouragement that God loved him.
Haylee and Abby sat and patiently taught him how to play his new guitar. Daniel began praying nonspecifically to a god he did not know and one day a team from St. Luke’s Church in Georgia showed up with a mattress for him to sleep on.
His response caught these missionaries off guard when he exclaimed “Now I know there is a God!”, since none were aware Daniel took this as further empiric evidence that God was indeed real and had heard his prayers. He had heard a hopeful note, and was testing out the rest of the chords before he was willing to play the song himself.
During those hopeful weeks, he was taken one day by the NV staff to Kikuyu Hospital to get his eyes rechecked. Finding out the damage was deep enough to involve his optic nerve meant restoration of sight through surgery was no longer possible. Daniel grieved in the vehicle on the way home, telling NV nurse Anne his life was now over since he had no hope of seeing again.
He lamented that while his body was strong and he felt able to work, no one would use him because he could not see. Anne shared Scripture with him and reassured Daniel that God still had a purpose for his life. But he still felt his belief in a god had taken a hit, until another couple stopped by his home the following week to meet him. A beautiful voice like none he had heard before now beckoned him,
“Weary, burdened wanderer, there is rest for thee
at the feet of Jesus in His love, so free.
Listen to His message, words of life, forever blest.
Oh, thou heavy-laden, come to me, come and rest.”
The pastor husband next to this voice seemed to speak with authority and simply told Daniel it would be kind if God opened his physical eyes, but far better if God opened his spiritual eyes. To this end they prayed for him. Matt and Lauren Chandler left like all the rest, unaware that Daniel had been in need of exactly what they brought. He could now understand there was more to life than seeing. This man had spoken to his latest doubt.
Finally an old friend came by and Daniel shared his deepest heart hurt that he missed his children terribly and wanted a chance to just see them once again. The compassionate one left him 1000 shillings ($12) for transportation to go and see them and promised to visit again in 2 weeks.
Daniel prayed daily like there was nothing else to hope in, since he did not know how to reach his boys any other way. The money would not buy a ticket to them if he did not know which bus to board. Two weeks passed and the friend returned hopeful. Daniel handed him back the same note of money, wanting to repay his debt.
Not having the heart to share the disappointing news, he lied to his friend and said he saw his kids and they were doing well. He spent the next day in deep shame and sadness at the dual grief of knowing not only had he missed finding his sons, but he had lied to a close friend. God seemed to be letting him down…
Meanwhile at nearby NV, the staff had been busy for 2 weeks with visiting teams and had been waiting on news from the children’s department about approval to bring in Daniel’s sons, Isaac and Julius, to live at the children’s home. Discussions had also been ongoing for at least 3 weeks, unbeknownst to Daniel, about hiring him to come and work at NV, perhaps as a dishwasher and laundry worker.
None there at NV were aware of Daniel’s quest to see his children again, nor the recent prayers and the friend’s visit. Bonface Kuria, the home’s spiritual director, got the news that Julius and Isaac were now approved to come to NV the day after Daniel reached the point of despair over not finding his beloved two and lying to his friend.
Bonface and Flo stopped by Daniel’s home on the way to Naivasha to pick up Julius and Isaac for their NV homecoming, to invite him to be there when they arrived. Daniel heard the music of grace now clearly. As he told it later, this is when he knew for sure God was real, because he was going to get to see his children as he had asked.
A few short hours later, a crowd of rescued orphans, staff, and missionaries clustered around the Toyota SUV as two frightened and lonely toddlers were handed out. This seemed a muted celebration in comparison to others, dulled a bit by the expressions on the faces of these little wounded warriors.
Perhaps those waiting had underestimated how banged up two lives can get in the course of several harsh months of upheaval and uncertainty. Then one standing with confidence to receive them, though he could not see them, called out firmly. The children were handed like bundles through the confused and quieted crowd to a visitor with gentle hands and comforting words, spoken in Kikuyu but also in the only language that could break through –Father.
Daniel, speaking softly to each armful, told them, “I did not throw you away like trash. I love you and you are in a good place now. They will take good care of you here and I will too”.
Those watching this were still mostly unaware of the significance of this holy transaction taking place. Two children came home to NV, and Daniel surrendered fully to a gracious God who gave him back his precious boys, making Himself as evident as the things Daniel used to see with his own two eyes.
The next day on the bench at NV, Flo shared the Gospel proper with him and Daniel prayed with her, accepting Christ as his savior. He has been telling everyone he feels so much lighter now. He has been given a solar powered audio Bible to allow him to learn the word of God, and he plans to come to church at NV on Sundays to be with his boys.
He can often be seen sitting on that same bench as a place of comfort that he can easily find on the main walkway, holding Julius or Isaac and speaking loving words while rocking them back and forth. Smiles and words percolate to the surface of faces once dull and silent just a few days ago.
Life has not been snuffed out – they seem to realize, “Daddy is here and we are in a safe place now”.
Oh, and Daniel accepted the job, so he starts Monday. Which means everyday his prayer to be with his boys will be answered. And God was doing that before those at NV even knew that was Daniel’s prayer.
And in case you wondered about nephew Samuel, he is going to join the 6th grade at Cornerstone Preparatory Academy, so he can walk Daniel to and from work everyday and get a great education in the process.
I close with the first verse that God brought to Flo’s heart when she opened her Bible to share the Gospel with Daniel on that bench at NV:
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good,
for those who are called according to his purpose.”
To learn more about the wonderful vision behind Naomi’s Village, read SCH Contributor, Raschelle Loudenslager story, Hope Begins When a Child Belongs
To learn more about what you can do help, or how to get involved please visit Naomi’s Village
Learn more about the situation in Kenya, God’s Global Family – Call to Prayer