Last year I was dragging my feet on starting The Zoe House. Not because I didn’t want to, but because I felt ill-equipped for the task at hand. I felt the magnitude of what God was entrusting me with and wanted to stay on my couch of comfort instead of caring for a handful of vulnerable young girls as they navigate through life as new mothers.
Some days I forget to put on deodorant, could I truly provide a safe place for these girls to experience restoration, freedom, and love?
But then there was a moment that set the fire in my soul to start The Zoe House.
My husband and I were driving down a small side street when we saw a girl sitting next to a fence with a baby. She looked devastated as her eyes remained focused on the ground. I asked Ashiram what was happening to her to be sitting on a side street clutching her baby close, so he pulled up and rolled down his window to talk with her.
This girl, who was 20 and had a 4-month old baby, was chased out of her uncle’s house by his wife. She told my husband she had been wandering around crying and praying because she was not from the city.
The storm clouds rolled in and rain began to fall. Immediately, I wanted to offer her a warm, safe place to stay. Instead, I asked my husband to present one simple question, “What do you need?”
Her baby, Sudais, had a bad cough for two months and all she wanted was to take him to a clinic. There are many things she could have asked us for, but getting medical attention for her baby was her number one priority.
We drove them to a clinic nearby and shuffled into the doctor’s office like we’ve been family all along. After running some tests, the doctor told us it was a chest infection and Sudais would need treatment for five days.
Although I wanted her to stay with us, all this mother wanted to do was be reunited with her family in a town in Northern Uganda. I couldn’t deny her request, so we agreed to put her on a bus to reconcile with her family.
Her entire demeanor changed from hopelessness to hope the few hours we were with her.
She asked me to pray for her and, as I hugged her goodbye, I held back the tears threatening to spill over. On our way home that night my heart was crushed into a million pieces thinking about all the vulnerable young mothers who cannot provide for their children’s medical care and don’t have a place to turn for refuge.
My husband took one look at me and said, “Honey, God is placing The Zoe House right in your path.”
This night would be the catalyst for building The Zoe House. It’s easier to stick to my comfort zone, but it’s impossible to unsee what I saw.
This night I decided to stop keeping other people’s pain at arm’s length.
When I become overwhelmed by the number of things that need to be accomplished or the sheer amount of items to plan for I look at this picture and remind myself that Mamma Sudais is not the only one looking for a safe place to belong.
- Tiffany Kavuma, Founder and Chief Celebrator of Life at The Zoe House