She was beaming as she shared their family's story on the rickety, make-shift stage near her humble home in Eastern Uganda, during yesterday's evangelistic crusade.
The crowd was glued to Esther's every word as she recalled the terrible events that occurred on that fateful day 6 years ago, February 25th, 2016.
Her beloved father was on his way to preach at a funeral, together with his brother, when a truck hit the motorcycle they were travelling on, brutally ending both of their lives.
Esther, on the left, with her mother and siblings just after their father's death.
the other bereaved family
Her father, Moses' best friend, had just recently asked Moses to make sure to take care of his family if ever something was to happen to him.
Heart-broken and in shock, Moses rushed to the families' side immediately and stayed on the dirt floor in one of the huts with the two widows and their total of 12 children, one on the way. Due to his presence and intervention (he had to threaten to call the police), the extended family was restrained from taking off home, land and all possessions from the devastated mothers. Sadly, this happens a lot in Uganda. When a man dies, his clan confiscates everything he had owned and chases the widows and children away.
This had also happened to both Praise and Moses' families: to Praise's mother (pregnant with Praise) and her 6 brothers, when their father had been killed and to Moses' step-mum and step-siblings when he was 6, after the death of his father.
It is really terrible and authorities are trying to stop this cruel practice.
Esther went on to explain how God, the father of the fatherless and defender of widows, had looked after them over the past 6 years. They have been sustained through all ups and downs, medical needs and all. The children have been able to go to school. Esther herself is currently studying catering and her brother mechanics.
This would have been inconceivable at the time of the tragedy. As a matter of fact, Esther had begged Moses to take her back with him to Kampala, literally clinging to him and not letting go, as the family clan had already tried to marry her off, and only her father's refusal had prevented them from following through with their plan. Her fate would have been forced marriage at 15, so Moses took her with him and she joined their large and thriving family near Kampala.
The audience was dumbfounded by the confident words spilling forth so gracefully from Esther's thankful heart. Many of them remembered what had happened to the family and how everyone expected them to be plunged into utter destitution.
It was obvious that God had taken care of these families!
Deeply touched by Esther's radiance and glowing testimony of God's faithfulness to them, 68 people wanted to give their lives to THIS KIND OF GOD, so loving, so caring!
And this is in an area that the Gospel has not been received well at all up to now. 'Very hard ground', Praise was told prior to setting up the mini-crusade.
Isn't that just so beautiful? God made a way into hardened hearts through the testimony of His tangible love expressed to the widows and fatherless!
James 1:27 tells us that...
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
Even with Moses often sacrificing most of his salary to care for the families' needs, the children have only been able to get educated thanks to the generosity of people from around the world pitching in and giving through our ministry!
If you have been one of them, just know the impact your investment has had and continues to have.
By the way, have a look at what has become of Heavenly Gift, Esther's baby brother, born 7 months after his father's death:
Heavenly Gift (red shirt) is a very joyful and delightful boy who loves worshipping God.
He is the 'leader' of our 8 youngest! Next worship leader and preacher in the making😀