Meet Owen - South Africa's future president and my biggest, little hero.
Owen is 6 yrs old and was born in Zimbabwe. Owing to the political unrest of their country, his loving parents, Wayne and Priscilla, sought assylum with South Africa two years ago. Soon after they moved their family over the border, they settled in Masiphumelele, Cape Town. Wayne and Priscilla both found jobs and Owen started attending Rainbow ECD.
I met Owen soon after he arrived in South Africa. I remember the first time I laid eyes on him, his chubby cheeks, his radiant smile, his eyes beemed such life and his God given gifts of leadership and influence that were apparent amongst his peers from a very young age.
Apparently with longer hair and a slightly bigger frame at the time, I reminded him of a WWE wrestler who repetitively beat his fist against his chest and chanted his name. Owen did this with me. His enthusiasm was captivating.
Our instant connection drew me back to Rainbow time and time again and i've had the honour of watching this young child mature over the past two years. Owen's big heart gets his feelings hurt often and when he does something wrong (as all children do), you can see the remorse on his face. He is well disciplined and strives to do his work at a level of excellence that I seldom come across when working in these areas that suffer in such poor conditions.
a few weeks ago Owen, zestfully exclaimed how he was going to 'big school' next year and that he was so excited. His english is improving all the time and it was wonderful to hear how excited he was to get an education. Owen naturally thinks and dreams big and I have no doubt that he will achieve anything he puts his mind to as he grows into a man. In order for this to come to fruition, he will have many obstacles to overcome in his life. His Physical environment, level of opportunity and cultural perspective will be amongst a variety of hurdles to get over.
I often wonder which is worse - Poverty or the mentality that comes with it. Poverty in itself will never cease to exist but the power of a transformed mind can point you in the direction out of it.
The past three months God has revealed to me the importance of consistency and creativity in the life of a person and challenged us to implement these principles in our outreach work with Owen and all the other children at Rainbow. Through committing to certain days of the week and teaching creative arts and crafts we have seen the beginning of the transformation from "Teacher, I can't" to "Look, teacher... Look what i have done!" It is the beginning of something massive. We are a part of something much bigger than ourselves and much bigger than YEBO-Life. These children, empowered by Christ will be the change in their communities starting from this tender young age. Do you know why? Because when they were brought into this world, regardless of the circumstance, God had destined them for greatness and had already paved the way.
I have always felt like I would do anything i can to get Owen where he needs to be. We got chatting with Priscilla two months ago and what she shared nearly broke our hearts. There's a chance Owen may not get into his first year of 'big school', as he calls it, next year because of limited finances and school intake procedure.
That same afternoon we approached the best primary school in the area, Sun Valley, and spoke to their Intake and Applications Manager about the possibility of Owen enrolling at the beginning of the next school year, January '15. Although we were told there was a very slim chance that Owen will be accepted, we followed our gut feel and faithfully submitted an application for him with the consent of both Wayne and Priscilla.
We are hoping to hear from the school this month. If accepted, We (YEBO Life) will contribute $2200 per year to cover all of Owens annual school fee's and commit to rally alongside his parents as they walk this amazing journey with their precious boy. It's something The Lord has laid on our hearts and we know that He honours obedience.
If you feel a tug on your heart to help get Owen into school, you know where to donate. Either way, we are certain The Lord will provide for His child.
Owen still beats his chest whenever he see's me and I have a feeling I will be beating mine for years to come as I watch him flourish into his unique God-given purpose and calling.
Feel free to beat your chests, as you too can cheer him on from the sidelines.
Heart to God.
Spread the Stoke.