In July 2015, a fire in one of the houses at the Mseleni Children’s Home claimed the life of one of the children and of a care worker who had gone back into the house to try to save the child. This tragic event has had a significant impact on the Mseleni Children’s Home, not just through the grieving for the loss of a friend and colleague, but because of the subsequent decision by the Department of Social Development that the home be closed down pending a full inquiry. This meant that new homes had to be found for all the children. By the grace of God, every one of them was able to be placed into foster care or another children’s home. The story below highlights God’s grace at work in hearts and lives.
Many of the children who have come to the Mseleni Children’s Home demonstrate challenging behaviour due to the extremely difficult circumstances in which they have grown up, and one young man in particular was no exception to this. He came to Mseleni aged 11, and was obstinate and angry, taking out his anger on younger children and proving quite difficult to manage. His anger was rooted in the treatment he had received at the hands of his maternal grandmother, whose beatings were so severe that he had ended up in hospital.
(Note: file photo – this is not the young man in the story)
Over the next 5 years, and with the specialist pscyho-social care available at Mseleni, he changed and developed into a delightful and helpful young man, with a flair for IT and the desire to help the younger children with their computer skills. However, his anger with his family, particularly his grandmother, continued and he was not willing to meet any of them.
After the fire, this young man was placed in a children’s home 200km away, but was unhappy and unable to settle. A case conference was convened with the social workers, staff from Mseleni and family, including both maternal and paternal grandmothers and two paternal aunts. The history of abuse was revisited, and to the amazement of all present, the young man expressed his desire to forgive his abusive grandmother. When the social workers questioned him about this, he said “It is in forgiveness that the prisoner is set free.” He explained that he had to forgive others with the same measure of forgiveness that Jesus had shown him. Amidst tears and apologies, it was agreed that he would live with the paternal family, and a measure of reconciliation between paternal and maternal families was reached. God’s grace in this young man’s life was a powerful witness to his family and we pray that he will settle well and continue to shine for God.