“Would You Like to Share My Lunch?”

10/08/13

God started his work of transformation when Henry Tower was 12 years old, and Henry remembers it perfectly. He was walking through Marjay Town, on the outskirts of Sierra Leone’s capital, with his container of kerosene on his head when he saw a boy from COTN's Children's Home. 

 
This 12-year-old boy was one of the first children to be taken into the care of the Children’s Home in Marjay Town. Following a day of school, he was doing what he loved to do—playing soccer.
 
Henry, on the other hand, was hard at work trying to sell his kerosene to make a little money for his family. At this point, things were particularly hard for the Tower family, and even having enough food for the day was a struggle. Henry felt like an outcast and remembers other people making comments about how the Tower family would never be successful. But as he stopped to watch the other boys play soccer, Henry was unknowingly changing the future of his family—and countless other children—for the better.
 
It was Henry's love for soccer that drew him into a friendship with Karim
 It was Henry's love for soccer that drew him into a friendship with another boy from COTN's home, which changed his entire family's future.
 
The boy noticed Henry on the sideline and, in the simple way of children everywhere, invited him to play. After the game, the boy invited Henry to share his lunch. A friendship formed which ensured that Henry would come back to play soccer and have lunch again the next day. And every day after that. 
 
Today, Henry laughs as he recalls how badly his kerosene sales were hit by his new routine. But this budding friendship was more important than his sales. Henry, a child who had experienced struggle and rejection, was struck that the boy from COTN did not look down on him but simply accepted him as a friend. “He was really hospitable to me,” Henry says. 
 
It wasn’t long before COTN staff members took an interest in this charismatic young man and the family he came from. Soon Henry’s mother was offered a job (and better income) in the Children’s Home, first as a cook and then a caregiver. The family began worshipping at COTN’s church as well, and Henry now says, “COTN helped bring my family back together.” 
 
When COTN transferred its Children’s Home and the bulk of its ministry in Sierra Leone from Marjay Town to Banta, it only made sense for the Towers to make the change too. “I was now part of the family,” Henry says. 
 
The story of how God used a child from COTN to change Henry’s life is a wonderful representation of the vision of COTN: Raising children who transform nations. As you, our partners, cared for that child, he was able to reach out and be used by God to transform Henry's life. 
 
Henry has really embraced the opportunities given to him and so the transformation has not stopped with him. Serving as a youth leader in the church and as a COTN intern in the summer of 2012, Henry is being used by God to transform the lives of children all over his chiefdom. 
 
And now, God’s work continues as Henry teaches at the COTN school while attending teacher training college on a scholarship that your support makes possible. A natural leader with bags of potential, Henry was the perfect choice for the teacher training scholarship. “I’m really happy in the college,” smiles Henry. 
 
Henry believes he has found his calling as a teacher at COTN's school
Henry believes he has found his calling as a teacher at COTN's school. "Teaching is a part of transforming," he says. "It is an example for others to see me, an old student, teaching."
 
Henry is proud of his achievements and those of his two sisters and brother, all of whom will complete secondary school with COTN—something they once couldn’t have imagined. “I have a lot of hopes for the future,” Henry comments. “Not only for myself, but for all four of us to achieve our dreams.” 
 
Henry once thought those dreams would involve him becoming an accountant or maybe an engineer. But after a year working as a teacher with COTN, he is confident he has found his God-given vocation. “Teaching in my old school is accomplishing the vision of COTN because teaching is part of transforming. It is an example for others to see me, an old student, teaching.” 
 
Henry and his sister, Akay, have already achieved more than they hoped
Henry and his sister, Akay (at their high school graduation), have already achieved more than they thought was possible in their lives. And it all started because generous people like you shared your love with COTN's children, who then shared their lunches with Henry.
 
Like many of you, the staff at COTN believes that when you give children like Henry the opportunity to experience love, to belong to a family, and to succeed, their past experiences with suffering will give them the tenacity needed to excel. Not only that, but they will have a passion to help others. In a beautifully simple way, that is how God used people like you to care for COTN's children, who then transformed Henry’s life and started a sequence of events which continues to unfold. 
 
The ripples of that simple act of kindness continue to spread as Henry pours into his young students day after day. Just like Henry, these are kids who have known suffering and want, but just like Henry, their stories are being marked by transformation. The ripples continue.
 
Spread some ripples of kindness by sponsoring a child today! Your generosity will transform the lives of children who can then transform others.