When I first went to Zambia in 2000, I was taken to Sakania village. When I stepped out of the car I was immediately surrounded by children, screaming, cheering and wanting to hold my hand. If you ever want to feel like a celebrity, just go to an African village! These children had nothing, they lived in mud huts, had no electricity or running water, yet I have never seen children with such joy and big smiles in my whole life. This is where my love for children began…
I had a children’s ministry in the village and I organised for some of the children to be supported so that they could go to school. However, I really wanted to do more. Thankfully God was of the same mindset. I married Ziso in 2004 and quickly discovered that my faith was nothing compared to his. In 2007 he bought a plot of land and started building Oasis Village.
We realised that if we were going to have any real impact on a child’s life, that child would need to be in our care 24/7.
With the help of social services, we now have 58 children in our care. I truly believe that some of these children would not be alive today if they had been left in their previous situation.
It was a challenge at first – we had children who were 11 years old, yet they had only completed grade 1 or 2. Others had never been to school before. As I look back I’m filled with joy to see how far the children have come, with some of them being top in their classes.
SO WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE AN OASIS KID?
We pride ourselves that we don’t just look after the physical well being of our children, such as providing food, shelter, education and catering for medical needs. We want to develop the God-given talents that each child has.
We provide music lessons and a number of the children have learned to play the guitar, keyboard and drums. We now have a very lively worship group and as new churches are planted the kids get to go on trips and perform at the church openings.
The children have also had swimming lessons and 4 of the children have even competed in galas. They have also had basketball and tennis lessons.
The children have computer lessons and have been learning how to create a PowerPoint.
Recently one of our pastors has started cultivating vegetables and the children are involved – this is an invaluable skill that they will be able to use in the years to come.
We have our own Kids Club at Oasis on a Friday night and the Kids Praise group takes part and the older kids tell a story and organise a quiz/game. Some of the children have developed great skills and are ‘naturals’ when it comes to kids ministry.
Three of our children have just completed secondary school, and they were each rewarded with a mobile phone. Whilst waiting for their results to come out, they have been doing a discipleship course at a local GLO Bible College. The children are truly blessed to have all these opportunities.
One of my favourite things about Oasis is that the children get to celebrate their birthdays! Most, if not all, of the children at Oasis, had never celebrated birthdays before. We have a celebration once a month with cake, snacks, ice cream and a fizzy drink. All the children who have a birthday that month get a present.
Christmas is another BIG celebration with a BBQ feast, presents, bouncy castle and water slides.
We would also receive donations from well-wishers, and the children would get to go on trips to a safari park, swimming pools, cinema, etc. They also love to eat out at Hungry Lion and Nandos.
We were able to buy a bus and a truck for the children from fundraising money and donations, which is a great help and blessing to the ministry. The children are often blessed with donations, last year the children received bibles and new school shoes from well-wishers.
I am so thankful to have the opportunity to help these children and I am filled with joy and anticipation to see what becomes of them. I trust and pray that they will succeed in life and I know that God has BIG PLANS for each of them.