July 23, 2008 Lingira Island
This is a story about Joel. We met Joel while on Lingiri Island. Joel is 4 years old. He has lived on the island all his life. We are told that his father has been missing for a long time. He evidently left the island for the mainland and never returned. The day before we arrived Joel's mother did the same thing. She left the island and we are told she does not plan to return.
Imagine waking up, you are 4 years old, you are on an island 10 miles out on Lake Victoria and you are suddenly on your own abandoned by both your parents. Look closely at the photos. Despite Pastor David's loving embrace and his numerous attempts to encourage Joel with stickers that we brought, Joel remains inconsolable. What do you think Joel is thinking? I cannot imagine the horror, the fear, the uncertainty that must be racing through this small child's mind.
Pastor David envisions a church and multiple homes on the island for children like Joel. Joel follows us, holding Pastor David's hand as we visit the school and walk through the village. As we spend what little time we have with Joel, Pastor David approaches one of the island "Mommas" who agrees to look after Joel. She is already looking after numerous other children but she accepts one more. We depart Lingiri Island knowing that God has not forgotten about Joel or any of the orphans, nor must we.