Discovering Life, Learning and Leadership

If Nesia & Melissa’s story doesn’t touch your heart, you need a heart transplant.

Melissa & Nesia

It was Sunday, April 15, 2012, day T-6 (six days before take-off) for our African Missions Trip and our team’s preparations were well underway.  As I was feeling a bit overwhelmed by everything still to be done in the upcoming week, I heard this touching story that put everything in perspective for me (as reported by Al Miller):

My name is Nesia Nhambura and with me is my little sister Melissa. I think I am 17 years old and Melissa is 13. I’m not sure about our ages because we have lived alone for a long time. I am HIV positive and pregnant. I don’t know if Melissa has the virus because she hasn’t been tested yet. This is my story.

My early memories are from living in Hatfield. This is a poor area of Harare. I lived with my mother and father and we were okay. My father died when I was about 6 years old. I don’t remember him very well any more. My little sister doesn’t remember him at all. After my father died my mother needed to find work. She searched for jobs in Harare but couldn’t find anything. She heard from others that she could get work in South Africa. She left us in our house in Hatfield with some food and told us to talk to our neighbour if we needed help. She went to South Africa and did find work. She sent some money and did come back and stay with us for a couple of weeks. The third time she went away was January 2007. We never heard from her again and no money was ever sent. We think she must have died because she would never have left us like this.

We ran out of food. Also someone came to the house and told us we couldn’t live there anymore. I’m not sure who they were but we had to leave. We went to find my grandmother, my mother’s mother. We found her after a few days but she didn’t want us. We stayed with her for a while but I had to work very hard every day. My little sister was too young to work so she was beaten almost every day. It was a very unhappy place so we ran away.

We lived on the streets in Mbare. It is the worst area of Harare. I tried to find any work but couldn’t find any-thing. We would stand on the street corners and beg but there are many beggars in this area and we never got very much.

When I was standing on the street one day a man came and took me in his car. He offered me money for sex. I didn’t want to but I had no other way to make money. I don’t know how old I was the first time but I was probably 13 or 14. This became my life. Sometimes I got paid, sometimes I got food, and sometimes I got beaten up and dropped in a different part of the city. But I had enough to feed me and my sister. I became pregnant. None of the men wanted me anymore.

I tried to find work again and finally got a job as a domestic. I had to start work at six in the morning and work until the family went to bed. I had a small room to stay in. I asked if Melissa could stay with me. They said no, they didn’t want another mouth to feed. My sister had been alone on the street for several weeks. I stole some clothes from my employer to try and sell so I could get money for food for my sister. I was caught and charged with theft. I went before a judge and admitted what I had done. The judge refused to send me to jail. He tried to send me to a residential school where they would teach me a trade. They wouldn’t take me because I’m pregnant.

The social worker I was assigned to said he knew a man who took care of orphans and had a house for girls. He called him and he came to pick me up. I met Pastor Henry and his friend (Al Miller) from Canada.  Pastor Henry did the paper work to adopt me. He also said he would find my little sister and adopt her. That evening we went searching for my little sister. We found her living in a house in Hatfield. She was working as a servant but she wasn’t being paid, she was just getting food. We couldn’t take her with us. The place she was living at had 6 men living there. The next day we went there with the social worker and the police but she wasn’t there. I was worried that they were hiding her. We kept searching for her and found her in the Mbare market that afternoon.

Pastor Henry did the paperwork with the social worker and now she is adopted too. We are living with Pastor Henry’s big family. He and his wife have 4 children of their own and 17 orphaned girls and 10 orphaned boys. They have so many children living with them that they now have a girl’s house and a boy’s house in addition to their house by the church in Rugare. Melissa and I are very happy to be here. For the first time since my mother left we feel that someone cares about us.

As I’m posting this blog post, my son Nathan and I are in Harare, Zimbabwe with our Sonrise Church Orphan Care Missions Trip team.  Pastor Henry and Al Miller picked Nathan and I up from the Harare airport this afternoon and we spent a few hours with them preparing for tomorrow.  It is great to be spending our vacation on such an exciting adventure and to be able to meet Pastor Henry and so many others in Zimbabwe.

I will share more about our trip in my next post.

What did you think of Nesia & Melissa’s story?

12 Comments to Day T-6 African Missions Trip

  1. Sylvanna's Gravatar Sylvanna
    Apr 24, 2012 at 8:02 am | Permalink

    Hi Arthur

    Thanks for sharing the story of Nesia and Melissa. It is indeed heart-wrenching and I am so pleased to learn that they are now safe and sound under the care of Pastor Henry. The story reminds me of how lucky most of us are and we really must count our blessings instead of taking them for granted…

    Have a wonderful time in Africa and see you in a few weeks’ time…. 🙂


  2. Apr 24, 2012 at 11:39 am | Permalink

    Hi Arthur, God Bless you! Considering the state of Christianity in N. America, We really need more folks like you who are willing to step up to the plate and walk the Christian walk as Christ would have us to do!
    I truely wish I could make a compareable impact with my life and hope I will be able to as Christ works in my life and I learn to trust him more! Please be encouraged even in the face of opposition or seeming lack of results, God will use and Bless you and may you continue to be an inspiration to other Christians everywhere!

  3. Maria's Gravatar Maria
    Apr 24, 2012 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

    Hi Arthur,
    The story of Nesia and Melissa is such an encouragement that whatever challenges and pains I have today are much more smaller than what the 2 girls experienced in their lives. It is a good reminder that we have a big God who can always find and pick us up even we are in the darkest situation of our lives. May God continue to bless all His ministries who help people in Africa.
    Looking forward to your next blog.

  4. Everett's Gravatar Everett
    Apr 24, 2012 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for sharing this. My wife and I share your heart for the orphan. It is a joy to hear of lives changed by those who act in response to the gospel. James 1:27.

  5. Mary's Gravatar Mary
    May 1, 2012 at 6:37 am | Permalink

    Hi Arthur,

    The sad beginning of this true story is the same as millions of true stories that have taken place around the world practically since time began. Because a few beautiful people, it’s has better ending than the majority.

    It just goes to show that no matter how technologically advanced we ‘ve become, the human race still has a very long way to go in matters of giving and caring for one another.

  6. Ana's Gravatar Ana
    May 1, 2012 at 11:16 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for sharing Melissa & Neisa’s lives; I can’t imagine losing your mom and ever hear to what happened to her.
    When I look at their picture and I see them smile they teach me a big lesson.
    Blessings to Pastor Henry, Al Miller and all the people dedicating part of their lives to give.

    “I have found that among it’s other benefits, giving liberates the soul of the giver”- Maya Angelou

    Keep blogging and God bless

  7. Nicole's Gravatar Nicole
    Aug 28, 2012 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for sharing this wonderful story, I was sent to your blog through one of our partners who was also on this trip.

    This story touches me specifically and although this may be suprising to some its is sadly familiar to some of the stories we hear at UGM working with women and children in the downtown eastside. would you believe the average age of entry here into the sex trade is 14!

    God Bless all of you for reaching out to those less fortunate, it reminds me of a discussion my daughter was having with one of her friends the other night and she was explaining in her own words how Jesus would seek for the “lost lamb”.


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