Lillian’s Heart Journey

Key people as project partners is one of Hope Street’s greatest strengths. It’s such a privilege to support our local project directors, Lillian and Tom, and the team around them. The transformation we are seeing in the children they are rescuing is amazing, truly amazing. Here is the story which Lillian calls her heart-journey…

Here is the story which Lillian calls her heart-journey…

In mid-2010 Lillian met a small boy in Arua town. He was selling plastic bags. He told her, ‘I am not a thief’. She met him again a few days later and took him for a cup of tea. His name was Job.

Job told Lillian about the poverty and abuse he had suffered in his hometown in the nearby Congo. He had crossed the border to Arua looking for food with his brother, but his brother had disappeared (most likely taken by child-traffickers). Job told Lillian that on a good day he could sell 24 plastic bags to make 800 shillings profit – NZ 40 cents. Lillian told him to go home but he said he now had no home and slept at the bus park. He cried when he told her this.

The next time that Lillian went to town, Job found her. They spoke about Job possibly going to live with Lillian and attending the nearby school. Job was keen, but Lillian’s husband initially said no, they could not take a street child into their home when they had a young family.

Lillian never found Job again; he disappeared from the streets of Arua. Many street children disappear. They fall victim to violence, trafficking, disease…

Lillian describes her time with Job as the start of her heart journey, a journey where her fear and judgement of street children turned into compassion and understanding, then action.

Lillian describes her time with Job as the start of her heart journey, a journey where her fear and judgement of street children turned into compassion and understanding, then action.

The preparation of Lillian’s heart for this journey started early in her life. In Lugbara culture the father’s home is where you belong, where you find significance, where you find family. Lillian never knew her father; he was a Kenyan soldier and died before she was born. She never knew her father’s people, so within the context of her culture Lillian grew up without a place to belong. As she shared with us, Lillian recalled a commitment she’d made as a child, ‘I always said, I will grow up and have a big home with people who are not my relatives.’

Lillian is making this childhood dream happen! She is a driving force behind Hope Street’s Arua Project. She, Tom and their colleagues are rescuing street children, bringing them into a home, providing love, shelter, food, education and medical care. Many, many children are being transformed through the work Lillian and her team are doing!

‘If you judge people, you have no time to love them.’ Mother Teresa




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