Way back in 2002, Kathy and Zachary and I made the long trek to Johannesburg, South Africa, to meet our new son, Benjamin Themba. Ben was approaching 6 months old and so the time had come for us to hold him in our arms. (Kathy's sister, Sue, and her daughter, MacKenzie, also joined us– a family experience!) Ben had been well loved by an amazing orphanage… a community of sacrificial saints to whom we will always be thankful.
What makes this story even better is that my brother, Dave, and his wife, Sarah, were also along. They were meeting their new son, Toby, for the first time. Toby and Ben are only separated by two weeks in age, and they slept in cribs right next to each other for the first months of their lives toether.
Today, Toby and Ben are cousins!
Dave and Sarah have gone on to adopt two more beautiful boys, one from Ethiopia and one from the Democratic Republic of Congo. Their story has inspired many people… and as a family they have taught many people, who otherwise had been unconcerned or unaware, about rich African traditions and deep stories of survival and beauty.
While driving in the car one day, with their three boys in the back, Sarah and Dave imagined doing something that was greater than themselves… something that would express the uniqueness of their family… something that would teach all of us more about loving others on this earth… something that would assist all the incredible caregivers in Africa who have made such a tremendous impact on the lives of the millions of orphans in Africa. Sarah describes their adventure this way:
"Our family came together in chapters over several years through the miracle of adoption. Our journey began in South Africa, then Ethiopia and finally, Democratic Republic of Congo. Pieces of our grateful hearts will forever remain in those places, with children that were left behind, and with tireless caregivers who dedicate their lives to care for the fatherless. Our family story has been full of twists and turns that we never could have imagined. It is a story full of tragedy, immeasurable joy, deep sorrow, and abounding hope. This story is an adventure about living life with purpose and leaving a legacy of hope."
And so Jabu Africa was begun. The Mission of JabuAfrica is to lend financial and emotional support to grassroots organizations caring for orphans in the countries of their children’s birth.
Here's Sarah's account:
"JabuAfrica was born out of a simple conversation between my husband and I while driving in the car with three little boys in the backseat. We wanted to step out of our ordinary lives and into something that was bigger than ourselves – and we wanted to invite others to join us. It’s a bit frightening to step out with such a big mission BUT we won’t be standing alone. So, thank YOU! Let us not be silent. Let’s not be still. Let your heart be broken, your life shaken up… join us in this adventure making lives better for children in DRC, South Africa and Ethiopia."
Would you consider joining the invitation to a better story… for yourself, for your neighbor, for the millions of orphans in the Africa… for my son and his cousins?