Unlike many others, Jean Claude had little trouble with school. He could not really finish formal education, which we desperately wanted him to finish. We first thought we had failed him and everyone who invested in him. Little did we know that God’s plan for him was bigger than ours. His plan never fails!
After realizing that our educational path for Jean Claude was not going to work, we helped him enroll in a two-year technical school to study mechanics. After graduation, we paid membership fees for him to become an apprentice in a local mechanic garage. Being as smart and as hard working as he’s always been, Jean Claude quickly earned trust from fellow mechanics, his trainers and his customers. That eventually earned him the title of “Professor” which highly speaks of his skills, abilities and dependability. Everyone at the garage knows him.
During my recent visit, Jean Claude came home to visit us and we made plans to pay a visit to his family. Jean Paul and I went to visit his family, whom we had visited before when Jean Claude lived with us. Although I knew and heard great things about Jean Claude’s active role in the family, I was very curious to hear his testimony from his own parents. Remember that these are the same parents that Jean Claude could not live with. He felt he was better off as a homeless on the street. So, I wanted to really see and hear from them what kind of a child he had become to them! I do not usually cry (tears of joy) but his dad said something I could not resist. He said: “Jean Claude made me the proud father that I thought I had failed to become”.
Without going into much details about his past, Jean Claude is the 4th oldest sibling who started smoking and using drugs at very young age. Unable to get along with his own family, he became a street child. That is how we found him and took him to Umuryango along with 3 other boys (our first 4 kids). He lived with us for almost 10 years before going back to his family.
He is currently the oldest still living with his family as his older brothers and the only sister moved out and got their own families. The parents are old and cannot work anymore. Guess who just stepped in to support the family? Jean Claude! Jean Claude did not just come back asking for forgiveness and to be taken care of. He came back to forgive his parents and to take care of them. Is not God, who else can make this miraculous reconciliation possible?
What is most encouraging and inspiring about his story is not the fact that Jean Claude is now providing for a family of 8 and is able to put the roof over their heads. What is MOST fascinating is that Jean Claude introduced the family to Jesus. He started reading the bible he got from Umuryango to his mother. Today, his mother is a born again Christian and the whole family is attending church regularly. The parents quit drinking and there is peace in the house. As I was saying goodbye to Jean Claude, he told me: “God has opened doors for my family and I am grateful”. Does he still work hard and get tired? Yes, but he is grateful!
Unfortunately, his toolbox, which we had given him when he graduated, was recently stolen. While he felt bad about it, he kept positive attitude and said that God would provide again, somehow. We promised him that we would get him another one as soon as we got money so he could keep being a good boy and a supporter of his family.
When we started Umuryango and when we met Jean Claude, we were only thinking that we were helping a needy child but God had the entire family. We are grateful to God and to the generous sponsors who have invested in “professor”!