My heart has broken into a million pieces. But each time it has been put back together piece by piece as I see and hear the stories of the children.

A calm, most gentle, loving soul sat next to me the other day and told me his story. His life is one I cannot fathom. But to be trusted to listen and share his story is such an honor.

David was born in a village where at 3 years old he was tasked with being a Shepherd. He would protect the family’s sheep and cows from Hyenas. Fighting off hyenas was less scary for him than getting whipped by his father, if one of the animals was hurt.

At 5 years old his father got into a fight with the neighboring tribe. They told him that they would kill his son. His father left David at a monastery. He described it as “a place that old people go to wait to die”. When he arrived there, they asked him his name. He had a tribal name, but when they asked he knew he wouldn’t be seeing his family again so he said “David”. He had never heard the name before, but it came to him at that moment. 

A year later he ran away. He hid in a semi-truck and travelled to the city, where he lived on the streets for over a year. At 7 the police found him and he was deposited into a government orphanage. He was there a year when his name was called. He was adopted by Elevate Orphan.

In his short life, he had fought a lot. One day he remembers having a horrible headache and waking up in the street. He still suffers from migraines. Now at 17 he is going to be a senior in high school. When he reads he gets a migraine, which has made school a challenge. Despite the migraines he has applied himself and received good grades.

David has met his father and learned that his dad told his mother that he died the day he took him to the monastery. His parents are divorced and David has not yet met his mother. When she got word that he was with Elevate Orphan, she didn’t believe it, she still believes he’s dead. David is hoping to finally meet his mother when he graduates from the university and is independent.

As an orphan the children do not know their true ages or birthdays. Elevate Orphan applies for birth certificates for the children. David can’t wait to get his, because then he will be able to apply for a passport and be able to travel. His first stop will be Miami and then Bozeman to visit Journey Church.

He hopes one day to write a book about his life. I told him I would love to read it!

All 70 children at Elevate Orphan have a story to tell. The ache of being abandoned never leaves, yet the unconditional love at Elevate Orphan is prevalent. David means “Beloved”. Every child at Elevate Orphan is beloved, dear to the heart.

– Charity

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