Students at the Village of Light

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This sweet kindergartner is shy girl who is new to our school this year. She grew up in a Muslim household. Last year her mother became very sick and was admitted to our mission hospital. There, she was told about the good news of Jesus and started a relationship with Him. This student and her sister also decided to follow Jesus. Because her mother chose to become a Christian, her husband and family rejected her. She is now raising her daughters by herself. While her mother was in the hospital, some fellow missionaries told the family about our school for the blind. They were thrilled and this 11 year old has adjusted very well to life here at the Village of Light. She is learning more and more about faith in God and has a sweet love for Jesus. She is also very smart and is learning Braille and French well. Please pray for her family that they would also know the love of Jesus and be reconciled.

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Simeon is a very intelligent student from the capital city of Lome. He lost his sight when he was born, but that doesn’t keep him from learning all he can. Simeon is 13 years old and graduates this year from our school.  He plans to continue his studies in the local middle school. Please pray for Simeon that he will understand more of the love and grace God has for him. Pray for strong Christian men to pour into his life after he has graduated from the Village of Light.

19732137_1408482985894148_5002753570948063444_nKossi is a hardworking 5th grade boy who loves to play soccer. He comes from a very poor family who cannot support him. His father died in 2014 and Kossi is praying that after he completes school he can get a job to provide for his family. He hopes to become a secretary when he graduates.  Kossi came to know the Lord with a former chaplain, Mr. Woaku in 2011. Since he became a Christian, he says has felt free from the sins that used to control him.

Senyo’s story

17362479_1313239448751836_8534562859403399984_nSenyo lost his part of his sight about four years ago. He decided to come to the Village of Light to continue his education by learning to read and write in Braille. Last school year, Senyo decided to enter our two-year small business program. He is learning how to weave furniture and make soaps, chalk, brooms, and other sellable items. He likes to go to the market to sell what he makes. This is his last year in our trade school. Senyo asks that you pray for him and his home life. He says that people shun him and threaten him in his village because of his disability. Please pray for encouragement and boldness for Senyo. Senyo became a Christian with his village pastor. Pray that he grows in his faith and understanding of Jesus’ love for him while he is here at school.

Shared by Lauren Lunsford

Ekklesso’s faith

17352435_1292723254136789_4834252782177598332_nEkklesso is one of our students here that is always smiling. His name means, “No one is greater than God.” He comes from a very poor family. His father is also handicapped and Ekklesso frequently must beg for food in his village. Here at school he is grateful for everything and works very hard in his classes and around the center.

Ekklesso received Jesus with a former chaplain, Mr. Woaku in 2009. Before he came to know and love Christ he would bully other kids. Now he has learned to love others as Christ has loved him. His favorite verse is Hebrews 13:5-6 “Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’ So we can confidently say, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?’”

Melebatom’s Story

17352110_1292725220803259_3671032166675207342_nMelebatom comes from a very poor family of farmers. His job at home was to hoe and clean the fields for his family. School has been difficult for Melebatom, so this year he has started in our workshop, learning to weave chairs and make chalk, soap, and other things he can make in his village to support himself. He enjoys the workshop and does a very good job at weaving chairs.

Melebatom received Jesus in 2015 with a missionary here, Jane Schmitz. He says since he’s become a Christian, the sins he used to do, he no longer does. He asks that you pray for him while he is here at school that he can learn all he can in this time here. He also asks that you pray for those in his family who have not received Jesus yet.

Cader’s story

16683913_1268642093211572_460275410581619634_nThis is Cader’s first year in school here. He is our youngest student this year. His father, Mr. Abalo, is also blind and attended the Village of Light when he was young. Cader’s mother left their family when Cader was very young. Please pray for her salvation and reconciliation. His father is very loving and attentive, but struggles to take care of them both. They are very poor.

Pray that Cader continues to learn French. It is difficult for him to communicate with others because he speaks a different tribal language than most of the other students (Kabiye). However, he has been learning French very well for how young he is.

It has been a joy to see the transformation of Cader since he started out here. Cader was withdrawn, shy, and very sad when he first came. It was difficult for him to adjust to life away from his father. It was not uncommon to find little Cader crying. However, now it is hard to find Cader without a smile on his face. He loves to sing. You can usually hear his voice over all the other voices during chapel. He loves school, his friends, and to play games.

Pray that Cader understands and accepts the Gospel as soon as possible.

Nina and Josephine

17796234_1313239288751852_6914024191058240245_nThis is Nina’s second year at school here. She and her best friend, Josaphine, love to swing on the swings, sing songs, and laugh together. Nina has had a difficult life in her village. Many people make fun of her because she is blind. Nina is also the niece of a witch doctor. This has caused many problems for her. Last school year she suffered from terrible nightmares. Praise God, she no longer has nightmares! Please pray for her salvation. She still does not completely understand the gospel. We are praying she takes the step away from darkness of the voodoo practices of her past and into the light of Jesus. 

16832083_1268642069878241_7524460043554040185_nThis is Josephine’s first year at school here. She and her best friend Nina, who is also in our Kindergarten class, are inseparable. Josephine loves to sing and she is learning French and Braille very well. You rarely see Josephine without a huge smile on her face. I’ve often thought when I see Josephine, that because she has grown up blind she doesn’t know that most people don’t smile constantly. All she knows is to express her joy for life in her smile wherever she goes. It is a beautiful thing.

She has found belonging here that she has lacked in her village. People in her village tell her mother regularly to abandon her because she is not worth anything. This is very difficult for Josephine. Please pray for strength and encouragement when she goes home on breaks. Please also pray for Josephine’s salvation. She knows that God is good, but has not received Him as her Savior yet.

Wiyau’s Story

16487003_1259137720828676_1398762897623476889_oWiyau is a very shy boy in our 4th grade class. His favorite subject is math, but he says he struggles in French. He loves to play soccer. His name means chief in his local tribal language. His family are farmers who live in a remote village. 6 years ago his father died, leaving him and his brothers and 2 sisters alone with his mother. His mother is a Christian, but he asks that you pray other members of his family that are not Christians. In 2013, Wiyau heard a message in chapel that really spoke to him. He decided to accept Jesus. He says that ever since that day, his life has been changed.

Shared by Lauren Lunsford

Ronaldo’s Story

16664888_1259139770828471_7425375136024984514_oRonaldo lost his sight when he was 12 years old after becoming very sick. He became completely dependent on others. One day someone was helping to lead him across the town, but then abandoned him. He didn’t know where he was. A pastor was walking by and found him. The pastor helped him find his mother. While they were looking for her, the pastor explained the gospel and Ronaldo received Jesus. Ronaldo praises God because after he received Jesus, he was able to be much more independent. He could walk places himself, wash clothes, pump water, and do other things that he used to do when he could see. He explains it was a miracle from God. However, people in his village could not believe this and accused him of being involved in witchcraft or even lying that he really was blind. He asks that you pray for these people that they would know the truth, God is powerful and helps him every day.

One day he met another blind person who told him about the Village of Light School for the Blind. He started attending. He loves it here at the Center and is praying that he passes this year so he can continue to 6th grade. Ronaldo loves to weave chairs to make some spending money. He also loves to sing in the choir.

Shared by Lauren Lunsford

Kokouvi and Gros

16113045_1240107612731687_1659881240597603273_oThis summer we heard about a child who was blind in a village about an hour and a half away from our school. We went to visit this child and see if they would be interested in coming to our school. That day we met Kokouvi and his brother Gros, who is also blind. Kokouvi is 12 years old and comes from a very poor family. He has never had the opportunity to attend school, due to his disability. When we explained to the family that our school is for people who are blind, they were thrilled. They didn’t know that their children would ever be able to attend school. When their parents arrived to drop them off, they were amazed at Braille and how the students can read with their fingers. Kokouvi has started the Kindergarten and doing very well! He is trying very hard to learn French and Braille. Pray for his studies to go well!

Please pray also for Kokouvi’s salvation. He has not yet accepted Jesus as his Savior. He also has been having terrible nightmares that seem very demonic. He says he wakes up terrified to leave his bed. Spiritual warfare like this is a very present reality here in Togo. Please pray for protection and for him to know the saving power we have in Jesus!

16179387_1240108369398278_1967194376958936047_oGros is the 17 year old brother of Kokouvi. Gros is French for “big”, which is ironic because our Gros is pretty small! But he has a big heart! His family is very poor and because of his disability, Gros has had a difficult life. One day I noticed a bald spot on the top of his head. Thinking it might be ring worm, I asked him about it. Gros said that he has always had that spot because the only way he can make money in his village to eat is to carry water for people. Because he does this so frequently, he has developed a bald spot from the pressure of the buckets. When we met with his family in the village and asked if he was interested in coming to school, he immediately changed into his nicest clothes, packed his bag, and said he was ready to go back to the school with us to start right away. His family is too poor to send him with any money for school fees or his food, so they sent us with a chicken and a bag of corn instead! What a beautiful picture to see Gros come from an impoverished family with no opportunities, where he was forced to beg and work a very hard job for very little money, to be able to go to school, have friends with similar struggles, and to have an open door for opportunities and to know our God!

-Shared by Lauren Lunsford

Amen

16403222_1248908615184920_6448130359148245103_oAmen became blind just two months after he was born. But that hasn’t stopped his joy, enthusiasm, and love for life. As you can see, Amen loves to laugh and play. You can usually find him playing soccer or swinging on the swings. He loves singing during chapel. He comes from a very poor family, but he works hard in school so he will be able to support himself one day with a good job. His favorite subject is science.

Amen became a Christian in 2013 with one of his teachers. He had never heard the gospel before coming to the Village of Light. He says as soon as he heard the Good News, he knew it was truth.

-Shared by Lauren Lunsford