In January 2009 I began working with Masana. I was the only non-Mozambican on staff. And I loved it!!! I love that it was a group of Mozambicans with a passion for their own children. In the years since I began working with Masana, the project has grown and changed a bit. In 2010, Ian Krohn, from America, and Lauren Nixon, from South Africa, joined our staff. We moved the project to the house that Ian, Lauren and I live in where we have much better facilities. But our heart remains the same: to help street kids reach the place that they are ready to leave the streets and return to their families . . . to see their hope restored.
Each day, around 30 boys ages 8-18 show up at Masana as soon as the sun rises. They get breakfast and lunch with us. We provide them with a place to shower and wash their clothes. We teach basic literacy classes . . . the first schooling that many of them have ever had. We provide basic first aid and medical care when needed. We have a soccer program for the boys, to allow them time to just be boys and play. Each day, we have a worship service and a time of teaching from the Word of God. We use this time to talk about life on the streets and how God has better plans for their lives. And then we leave it up to the Holy Spirit to really move in the boys and bring them to the place that they are ready to change.
When a boy decides to return home, we go visit his family. The majority of the time, the boys have run away and have decent families that they could be living with. We meet with the family members to discuss why their son is on the streets and whether or not he is welcome to return home. The boy then enters into a one month transitional phase in which he lives at the project. We use this time to help the boy get use to having some responsibility again as opposed to the complete freedom they are use to on the streets. We also spend time together in the Word with a focus on God’s heart for family and teaching the boys Godly characteristics they need to work on in order to succeed back at home.
At the end of the month, we take the boy back to his family with a suitcase full of clothes, blankets, a sleeping mat, and other basic necessities he needs to adjust back to life with his family. We register the boy for school in his community and provide his uniform and school supplies. For the older boys, we help them start up a small business. We visit the boy and his family on a monthly basis for the next year. We make ourselves available anytime the families need us. Our hope is that, rather than running back to the streets when something goes wrong, the boys will learn to work through their problems. Time and time again, the families call on us to be there and help mediate through family issues.
Since 2009, we have helped over 30 boys return to their families. Not all of them are still at home today but the majority of them all. That is the heart of Masana. Restoring the hearts of the children to their fathers and the hearts of the fathers to their children (Malachi 4:6).We have dreams for the future . . . ways we want to invest in the lives of these boys and their families on a deeper level. We want to have a skills training program so that we can help the older boys get jobs. We want to start a farming project, employ some of the boys, use some of the produce for the daily meals at Masana and sell the rest. We want Masana to be self-sustaining rather than dependent upon foreign funding. As I think about these dreams for our future, I am encouraged by God’s faithfulness already. And I have hope that these dreams too shall come to pass.