Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Agape's Children Freed from the Streets by Darla Calhoun - a review

African has had a little piece of my heart since my youngest daughter traveled there several years ago with a short term mission team. She came back filled with exuberance and a new found love for serving Christ after working with Ugandan children. As I began Darla Calhoun's story, I could almost hear her excitement and trepidation as I remembered back to my daughter's trip and how we were all so caught up in helping her prepare to go out into the world to share the love of Christ with others. When she came back from her trip, one of the African words she shared with us was Muzungu. It is the word Africans use when referring to a white person. It is not a derogatory term but a generalization. My daughter was honored to have been called Muzungu because she feels it connected her in a small way to the children of Africa. Darla Calhoun, in her book, Agape's Children Freed from the Streets, found herself also being called Muzungu when she arrived in Africa.

In the early 90's, as Darla Calhoun was working as a camp nurse, she was asked what she planned to do with the rest of her life. A fellow volunteer invited her to attend a fundraising event for Mission: Moving Mountains. Darla agreed to attend assuming she would learn a little about the organization but was surprised when they offered to let her become part of their mission team. Mission: Moving Mountains was headed to Kisumu, Kenya to provide community development and could use someone with Darla's background in nursing. She had also worked with African children in the past on a trip to Uganda. Darla felt the draw to go but needed to spend time in prayer and to talk with her family about the offer.

After winning approval from her family, Ms. Calhoun accepted the offer and traveled to Kenya. She was expected to learn the local language of the Luo people within a time frame of six months. It was a daunting task but she immersed herself in the culture and began to pick up words here and there. As she began to practice the language, she would often try to talk with the local street children. They thought she was quite funny but readily accepted her as a non threatening Muzungu friend.

The longer Darla interacted with the children the more concerned she became with their health and safety. She learned, by talking with an older African boy, that most of the street children had either been abandoned or had to learn to live on the streets in order to escape an unsavory home life. Darla befriended the children and soon came to know them by name. She made a point to learn their stories and do what she could to help them. Darla's heart was so touched by their stories she knew she had to do more. She felt a strong desire to find a way to help get them off the street. Darla began to pray and ask God to help her get some of the children off the street. As she prayed, God began to answer and honored her obedience with great blessing.

Agape's Children Freed from the Streets is a beautiful story of inspiration. It tells how one determined person with a love of Christ can make a difference in the world. The book is filled with vastly different stories. Some stories are joyful and others extremely sad, but all are honest accounts of what Darla experienced while interacting with the precious boys of Africa. It tells of challenges she faced as she worked to help them break away from bad habits like stealing, sniffing glue, and begging. It tells of difficult medical challenges and even death but at the center of it all, hope remained the core of Darla's ministry.

The book is over 300 pages long but is a very quick read. The author writes with compassion and heart. I think this book would be of interest to anyone seeking to learn more about overseas missions in general but in particular to those interested in learning more about necessary work in Africa.

Agape's Children Ministries is still going strong today. Their work has helped over two thousand children move from a life of poverty on the streets into a better, more productive lifestyle.

I was provided a review copy of this book by Aneko Press in exchange for my honest opinion. I enjoyed this book very much and would recommend it highly.

No comments:

Post a Comment