Archive for April, 2019

Walking in step

The shock of learning that children were being branded as witches taught me we had to change hearts and minds if we wanted to fulfil our vision of transformed communities, says Susie. BCT is now at the forefront of addressing accusations of witchcraft against children. This is how that aspect of our work began:

Aristote (L) and two friends

Aristote’s uncle had lost his job so the family blamed 11-year-old Aristote. The local ‘prophetess’ in their part of Kinshasa confirmed he was a witch.

To ‘free’ Aristote of ‘evil spirits’, the husband of the prophetess and his associates held Aristote over a bonfire, burning his buttocks and groin. They did the same with three other children they’d accused of witchcraft.

The four children were dunked in the river – then locked up in church for five months, with no medical care and virtually no food. One of them died.

Aristote’s mother had been left to bring up six children alone so she had done what culture dictated and had sent Aristote to live with her brother and sister-in-law in good faith. She loved her son.

So, when her sister-in-law failed to produce Aristote and revealed he was with the prophetess, Aristote’s mother stormed round to the church, threatening to call the police. The prophetess released Aristote who was by then a virtual skeleton, in desperate need of medical care. Appalled, his mother contacted EPED.

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Hearing God’s heart

BCT has served children with disabilities – and their families – for many years. But it was a powerful encounter with one individual boy which began all this. As we look back at BCT’s journey so far, here’s where our work with disabled children started:

A tiny boy who was no more than a bundle of rags opened my eyes to the neglect and stigma facing children living with disability – and to God’s blueprint for community, writes Susie.

Children at a displaced people’s camp in Uganda

I was walking through a huge tented ‘city’, home to some of the 1 million Ugandans who had fled the brutality of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA).

Weaving along a track between tents, I saw a bundle of rags on the ground. As I drew nearer, I was shocked to realise it was a child, white with dust. The dust was in his eyes and his mouth. People were just stepping him over him.

I saw he was floppy and probably had cerebral palsy. As I knelt down to pick him up and cradle him, people approached and said, ‘Don’t touch him: he’s nobody.’

I was shocked. ‘How can you say that?’ This little boy had been created by God and he was precious. I call him Beloved and his memory has never left me.

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