Joachin is a 13-year-old boy from the village of Gaga. Both of his legs are paralyzed since his birth. His father was a well digger and since no one had money to pay him for his work he left the village and abandoned Joachin and his mother. Joachin wandered around dirty and begging for food. He didn’t know God or anything about Him. Then in 2013 rebels killed his mother during the attacks.
Joachin crawled 12 kilometers on his hands and knees because there was no one to carry him to safety…everyone had fled in fear. He went to a neighboring village and lived on the streets. One day he heard that the Hand in Hand school at Gaga was starting again and in his heart he really had a desire to go back to his village and attend the school. He had never attended one day of school before.
Joachin found a way back to Gaga, went to the school, and asked teacher Yalimon Saint Junior if he could attend the school now that he was an orphan. Even though he was 13, dirty and homeless, our teacher readily agreed.
Little by little Joachin began to learn how to read and write, started hearing about Jesus, and began to learn to do work with his hands. Slowly his appearance began to change and he cleaned himself, but he was still sleeping outside in the streets because there was no one to care for him and people still thought he was just a crazy street kid.
Day after day when he went to school and would hear about the love of Jesus. Each day he would memorize verses from the Bible. One day he started thinking that it must have been God who had kept him alive, and God who had given him the strength to crawl on his hands and knees for 12 kilometers to safety, and God who had brought him to the Hand in Hand school.
With thanksgiving he accepted Christ as His Savior. After he gave himself to Jesus he had the desire to help people any way he could by working with his hands and helping others in need. One of the men in the village watched this change and the determination in Joachin, so he took him into his home to live. This man now considers Joachin as his son and taught him how to use a grinding machine and also how to run a little video shack.
Now Joachin can support himself as he works each day after he gets out of school. Joachin praises God all the time because He has given him a family, food, and a good school where he can learn more about Jesus.
Joachin loves coming to school each day but it is difficult since he crawls on his knees and hands. He has a pair of flip flops that he holds on his hands when he crawls and when he comes to a place where there are rocks he straps the flip flops on his knees until he gets to smoother ground and then he puts them back on his hands. It’s also very difficult when the ground becomes hot and burns his knees.
When Emmanuel told me this story we began to talk about what we needed to do. Emmanuel said, “This boy is our responsibility, our son, our brother. Let’s ask the teachers and orphan students to pray for Joachin.” That’s when we came up with the theme for the 2016–17 school year: sacrifice. In September, during the teacher training week, Emmanuel will tell the story of Joachin to the 43 teachers and will ask them to return to their schools and challenge the orphan children to pray and provide. During the first months of the coming school year, the children will do small jobs, earning pennies that will go toward a three-wheeled chair for Joachin. I’m so excited that our teachers and children are learning to serve, share and sacrifice, something just as important as reading, writing, and math.