It is always encouraging to see the totals for the year at Neema Village in Arusha Tanzania. Due to your generosity, in the midst of a world pandemic, our doors have remained open to receive babies who have been abandoned, like baby Dallas below,
or orphaned like Ruwayda below with Bekah,
or at risk babies, like Phillip who was almost starved and near death when he was brought to Neema Village. Look at this little cutie pie now and below that when he came in. Amazing, yes, it is the same baby!
By the end of December 2020, twenty-four babies have been admitted to Neema Village this year and Twenty-Six babies have been adopted or reunified with a family member, like baby Dorcas who came back for the Christmas celebration last week when Kassie Stanfield got a big hug!
Our highest number of babies in house for one month in 2020 was 52 and as of today there are 43 babies living at Neema Village. We have you to thank for that as you help us “Stand in the Gap” for these precious little ones. In eight and half year’s operation through in-house care and off campus support Neema Village has supported over 300 babies! Our God is not only Good, He is Big!
On our Christmas Celebration day last week some of our kids came back to Neema for a visit. It was quite a day especially when the five babies who are on our business cards came in and we took their picture in the same order they were in for the original picture. Elliott, the little boy in the picture above, was abandoned at the hospital and weighed only 1.65 kg, Zawadi on the right was abandoned at the bus station. The triplet girls were so tiny and the mother so near death that we brought all of them and the mother to Neema. All five were adopted or returned home by age two.
We cannot even describe to you how it makes us feel seeing all these beautiful children who lived at Neema as babies and then were adopted or reunified with family. Even Michael teared up once or twice that day.
Our goal has always been to get them back into a family. This year was a good year. I lost almost my whole two-year-old bible class!
Shabani came back for a visit with his teacher/preacher last week. Shabani was one of our abandoned babies five years ago. After leaving him on the road, his young mom was found and taken off to jail and she became the impetus for our women’s program. But that is not the end of this incredible story. Stay with me!
Shabani went home with his grandmother at age four to a remote village where the elephants still occasionally came through and destroyed her corn field. She was very poor but loved Shabani and sent him to a little Christian village school.
Even though Grandmother was not a Christian she said Shabani could be raised Christian since he had started Christian at Neema Village and she changed his name to Jackson, a Christian name. This year Grandmother became a Christian.
Jackson’s teacher told us that Jackson called his grandmother from school and told her that now you must have a Christian name too and he named his grandmother Neema, which as you know means Grace.
If you have been following the story of Gideon, our little Mighty Warrior baby, here he is a couple of days ago. From 800 grams when he came to Neema to 1.69 kg, he is growing big and beautiful!
So you ask, Where have all the babies gone? Some have been adopted, some returned to grandmothers, some in Foster homes, some in boarding schools but each one left Neema Village with a song in their hearts, “Jesus Loves me This I know.”