Daylight is proud of the 1 minute update and we try and keep our emails concise. But this story is too important to shorten to 1 minute. Please take the extra time to read this heartbreaking story of Lauren and Grace.
Many of you remember the girl named Kakuko who I met April 2011 on my five-week journey to rural Kenya. She had an infected ear and we brought her to Daylight to get treatment and education. Everything was going well. Her ear healed. She was adapting to life in the “city.” And loving school.
Then, in December of last year, the man who is considered to be her guardian came to Kapenguria and took her away. Grace’s ear was fully healed and he wanted to sell her into marriage for cows. Although Grace is only about 13 years old, she is of age to marry in traditional Pokot culture.
Michael and his family tried to persuade Grace’s guardian to let her stay with them and go to school, but the man refused.
When I heard this news, it rocked me to my very core. I don’t think I stopped crying for the next two days straight.
How could this happen? How could this man be so selfish when this beautiful girl has been given such an amazing opportunity?
I just wanted to protect her from the imminent arranged (aka forced) marriage and free her from the people around her who were oppressing her.
When that passed, I felt so hopeless, I just wanted forget about Daylight’s mission, and protect myself from the pain of knowing what could have been. But wasn’t.
Never has something challenged my faith and my heart more than this. I went through months of counseling. I was scared to call Michael and to find out if he knew how she was. I was scared to hear more bad news. I was angry at God for putting Grace through all of it.
And then I slowly realized that I didn’t trust God. Sure, I trust Him when things are going well. But when life gets hard, when futures seem uncertain, and when I can not see (or control) what is happening, I turn into a big ball of anxiety, fear, and depression.
Recently, I was able to call Michael and ask if he had seen Grace. He told me that every time he goes to Alale, she finds out he is coming and rushes to meet him. She is going to the makeshift church in the village and her ear is still healed. She is not married.
And then very, very slowly, I started to take baby steps towards trust.
Although my heart breaks for Grace and her seemingly unclear future, I know that we can help many other children.
And it has deepened my resolve for helping Daylight in its mission of bringing hope to unlikely places and to unlikely children. Please pray for Grace and for all of the other children who need a safe place to live and learn.
Daylight US Board Member