What would you say? Think? Feel?
Joseph Boni, a carpenter living in a Ghanaian fishing village, never dreamed of a gift like that. When you’re living in poverty, you don’t imagine benefactors or extravagant gifts. You just try to get by. But a gift from his daughter’s sponsor would change their family’s life and leave Joseph overwhelmed with gratitude.
But before the gift, there was simply survival. Many of Joseph’s customers are fishermen, and when they come home with full nets, they pay Joseph to repair their roofs and build doors and tables for their homes. But when their nets are empty, furniture is no longer a priority.
“If there’s no money in their pockets, there is no money for me,” says Joseph.
Sometimes Joseph traveled to neighboring villages to find work, but he hated leaving his wife and four children at home. His oldest daughter, Benedicta, was registered at a nearby Compassion center, and knowing the staff members there were looking out for his family brought Joseph a bit of peace, even as he struggled to provide for their most basic needs.
One thing that brought Joseph and his family joy was Benedicta’s sponsors, Chris and Meg Van Heerden. Joseph still marvels over the idea of Chris and Meg, these strangers, wanting to help take care of his little girl.
“The relationship the sponsors have with Benedicta is overwhelming,” says Joseph. “When we think about it we are so surprised, because somebody who doesn’t know Benedicta just picked her and is taking care of her. We can only ask God to bless them. We are very grateful.”
But things were becoming increasingly hard for Joseph and his family. His wife was pregnant with the couple’s fifth child, and complications meant an expensive, lifesaving surgery. Customers rarely came to his home anymore, and the medical bills, combined with the cost of caring for another child, made it almost impossible for Joseph to even feed his family.
“It was truly a difficult time,” says Joseph. “Day in and day out we just sat down and prayed. My wife encouraged me. She told me that it will be well. God will open a way.”