You Are Free©
Written and illustrated by De Dorman
© 2006 All Rights Reserved
John 8:32 “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.“
”For Thou wilt light my candle: The Lord my God will enlighten my darkness.” Psalm 18:28
The sun was beginning to set in this little African village, so with a deep sigh of regret, nine year old Joshua knew what he needed to do. He picked up two straw mats and two plastic bowls as he called for his 6 year old sister, Stella. It was an effort just to put one tired foot in front of the other as they began what was now their nightly journey to the big city. The thought of sleeping in a strange city alongside unfamiliar people was almost more than Joshua could bear but he knew that in order to escape the nightly violence from rebel soldiers, he and Stella must go with the other children to the city, even though their tired, hungry bodies just wanted to lie down and rest.
“I would like very much to have some of Mama’s sweet bread.” Stella said as she carried their food bowls. Joshua nodded his head in understanding. It had been a few days since they had eaten anything but he didn’t show his concern to his sister.
“Hurry along now and don’t be weak-minded.” her big brother answered, trying to be strong. ” “It was not good for an African to embrace fear,“ he remembers his papa telling him before he died. “We need to catch up with the rest of the children. We will eat soon.” In reality, though, Joshua was losing all hope of getting any food today or any other day.
Joshua and Stella are two of thousands of orphans in Africa whose parents have died from Aids, a deadly disease. With no one else to care for her, Joshua has assumed the role of protector and provider for his little sister. Their daddy passed away first and before she died, Joshua promised his mama that he would look after Stella. That was a huge promise for a nine year old boy to make and he was trying very hard to keep it. The nightly rioting by the rebel soldiers has been traumatic to the children. To escape the nightly violence, all the children in the village had to find shelter in the city or they would be taken as slaves or be terribly abused. Many times the cold hearted soldiers would burn down the children’s only source of shelter, their roundhouses. The lives of these orphans were now unstable and full of fear, but hope was shining in the city on this particular night!
“Joshua, did you hear the news?” Matthew, another orphan in the group, asked.
“No, I have heard of no new thing today. What is it that you are speaking of?” Joshua replied.
“There is now a place of safety for us. A mission has opened in the city and will let us sleep there; there is rice and water for us, too!” Matthew answered.
“How is it that you have heard of such a place?” questioned a doubting Joshua.
“It is true! Last night we were there. The white man gave us warm food and told us that Jesus would watch over us. There we are free… with no worries!” “The white man said that we can come back, too!”
“Then we must hurry before this place has no more room.” decided a now hopeful young man. With little Stella following close behind, Joshua walked on at a quicker pace.
Finally, they made it to the city. As they dodged the noisy traffic, Matthew lead them straight to the mission. Sure enough, it was true; the white man and his wife, along with many other helpers, were greeting all the children as they entered the safe place with. “You are free. Come in, there are no worries inside.” they said with a smile on their face.
“No worries?” thought Joshua as he looked at the smiling white man. Smiling wasn‘t something that came easily for the children. “Can it be that there is such a place where one need not worry?” Hundreds of children made their way to the mission and each was greeted with a smile and a warm welcome. “You are free. Come in and rest a while.” the white couple said to each group that arrived. “Please eat some rice and beans. Have some cool water.”
The Mitchell’s heard about the terrible abuse that was happening to the orphans and felt The Lord moving them from their place of comfort to a place of help and service. The mission doors have been opened for only a week and already word has spread about this special place of safety. Joshua and Stella were among the children who waited patiently to get their warm meal while those who were already served sat down on their mats and quietly finished eating.
“Why would they want to come here and help us?” Joshua wondered as he ate his rice. “We cannot repay them for anything that they do for us and many of our people do not want the white man in Africa.” Joshua had a lot to think about as he enjoyed the meal that he once thought they would never get.
When it looked like everyone had finished eating, Mr. Mitchell came to the bench closest to the group of children. He was holding a black book in one hand and some pictures in the other. Most of the children that were there had never seen a Bible before.
“We are so thankful that you all are here and,” he pointed to several other helpers as he continued, “we will do our best, as the Lord helps us, to see to it that you have a safe night of rest.”
The children were relieved to hear this as he asked them, “How would you like to hear about another place of safety?” This got the children’s attention as they turned to see him holding a picture of a beautiful city.
“Yes, please tell us about this city!” one little girl begged. “The picture is so beautiful.”
“Sir, this is a city that we have never seen.” Where is this city?” one curious boy asked.
“No, this city was made by God Himself!” Mr. Mitchell commented. “It is more beautiful and cleaner than anything we have seen with our eyes and, even more special than that, is the fact that there is no presence of evil anywhere in this wonderful city.”
“No rebel soldiers?” one child asked.
“You’ll not find one bad man there!” assured the kind man. “And, in this city, there is plenty of food and water for everyone!”
“Sir, how do we find this city?” asked Matthew. “We have walked many miles to get here. How far must we go to see this beautiful place?”
“This place is called Heaven and I will be happy to tell you how to get to this city.”
“We will start at the beginning,” Mr. Mitchell began as he pulled out his first picture. He placed a picture of Adam and Eve in The Garden of Eden on the wall as he read from the . “This is another beautiful place that God created, but the enemy came and polluted it with sin.” (Genesis 1:1 and Genesis chapter 3)
Before he could tell the children the name of this place, a boy called out, “That’s The Garden of Eden! My teacher told us that story.”
“That’s correct.” stated Mr. Mitchell. “You have a very good teacher. Does anyone know the name of the enemy that brought all the bad things into this place?”“Many children responded in unison, “Satan!”
With a nod of his head the kind man went on to explain, “Because Adam and Eve listened to Satan and disobeyed God, they had to leave this beautiful place because God cannot be in the same place with sin…He is Holy.”
Mr. Mitchell placed a picture of a cross on the wall and continued, “In this book that I am holding, it tells us that the price required for our sin is death.” (Romans 3:23 and Romans 6:23) The price must be paid, and in God’s great love and wisdom, He made a way for us to be brought back to Himself. He sent His only Son, Jesus, to make this great payment on our behalf. He died in our place. If we understand that we are sinners and accept His payment, being sorry for our sins that put Him there, He will forgive us and allow us in to His beautiful place called Heaven.” Just as each of you came to this mission to seek refuge from the rebel soldiers, you must go to the cross and accept the payment made by The Lord Jesus Christ to escape eternal death. After quoting John 3:16, he turned to the group of children and asked,” Is there anyone here tonight who would like to accept God’s payment for their sin and be assured of a place in that beautiful city, Heaven. Matthew and Joshua responded along with many other children. They knew that they had sinned against a Holy God, but had never before heard that He would forgive them. Mr. Mitchell showed the children I John 1: 9 from his Bible and told them that this was one of many promises from God, Who cannot lie. The children were given time to pray, asking The Lord to forgive their sins and come into their hearts and lives.
Some of the children, who haven’t had a reason to smile in a long time, had smiles on their faces because their hearts were full of joy. They truly were free from worrying about their eternal future. It had been settled, at last. They now knew that if something happened to them they would be in that beautiful city called Heaven.
A quiet peace settled in their hearts as they laid themselves down on their mats to rest. The doors were all locked but the children felt even more secure when Mr. Mitchell talked to God, asking Him to watch over everyone throughout the night. Somehow they knew that things would be alright, for the night, anyway.
The sounds of the city woke them up in time to get a bowl of rice before taking the long journey home. They wondered if their little huts would still be standing when they got back to the village. Those who received Jesus Christ as their Savior now had Someone to walk with them, who loves and cares for them, and He promised never to leave them. (Hebrews 13:5) Mr. Mitchell told them that they could talk to God at anytime and He would listen to them and help them.
“We’ll be looking for you.” Mrs. Mitchell told them as they left. “You can come back anytime you need shelter.” Some of the children had no place to go back to so they didn’t want to leave once they got there. “There’s something about being in a place where you’re loved that makes you want to stay.” Joshua said as little Stella and Matthew nodded in agreement. “Maybe the Mitchell’s will let us stay on and help them get ready for all the other children.” Matthew said.
“It is a good thought. We will ask now.” concluded Joshua. As they turned to ask Mr. Mitchell if they could stay, they saw that he was standing there all this time.
“I understand that you would like to stay here.” the kind man stated. “Please wait right here while I go get Mrs. Mitchell.”
Mr. and Mrs. Mitchell had been asking The Lord to show them if He wanted them to start an orphanage for the children who needed shelter and protection. He was beside himself with joy as he shared with Mrs. Mitchell the children’s desire.
Sweet approval was given for the children to stay with the Mitchell’s, who would now be called Papa and Mama Mitchell, Joshua decided. This was an answer to prayer for several people..the children certainly needed a place to be loved and needed, while Papa and Mama Mitchell needed some children to love. Now they are all free; free to serve a wonderful Savior by helping the many other orphans in the villages of Africa who need shelter, whether for a night or for years down the road. And all the children that come to this mission can be free…free from fear and the penalty of their sins as Papa and Mama show them the way.
For information on how to help thousands of street children in Africa, please write or call today.
World Help www.worldhelp.net
Toll free: 1-800-541-6691PO Box 501
Forest, Virginia 24551