I wanted to start something for those of you who ask about the kids, want to know more about them, and would like to be able to pray for them by name and face. I thought it would be neat to start writing short bios on each of the kids and update it with their most recent prayer needs. I hope this helps it become more personal for you and a way you can feel truly a part..because you are!
*I'll be adding on slowly so please be patient with me:)
Chizo is the oldest of 3 and with her siblings were the first orphans to be brought to APOH. When she first came she only had a CD4 count of 33, literally dying of AIDS. She has watched both of her parents die of AIDS related illnesses. Every so often she will share sweet memories of her mom and dad before they were sick. The relatives that were watching them were not taking care of her for fear of getting sick. Chizo is now on lifesaving drugs and is thriving in school and life. She is very hard working, mature, caring of the younger children, sensitive to others, and such a joy to be around. She has hopes of becoming a nurse. You can be praying that her immune system continues to get stronger and is able to fight off diseases and that she will continue to mature in her faith in Christ and be an example to others around her-not only of what HIV drugs can do, but what Christ can do.
Meso is Chizoba's younger sister and thankfully is not HIV positive. Meso has such a sweet spirit and is always willing to help. I adore her laugh. Meso LOVES babies and would be happy to help take care of them most of the day. She has shed many tears over a stubborn case of ringworm on her head and therefore had to keep it shaved instead of being able to do fun things with her hair...I wish that was the hardest thing she's had to deal with in her short life. But Meso is a joyful girl full of potential and hope in life. She excels in school and is frequently "first in her class". Pray that she will continue to seek HIM while loving others and pointing them to Christ.
is the younger brother of Chizoba and Mesoma. If Afam lived in the U.S., I'm sure the doctors would suggest having him on medicine for ADHD:) Afam is FULL of energy and doesn't quite know what to do with it all, haha. He is hilarious and has a laugh that you would recognize anywhere. Afam will lead the younger boys into lots of mischief and we have had our shares of laughs at some of his adventures. He is very clumsy, mostly because he is just always in a hurry and loves anything that will get him dirty. He is a very smart boy and when channeling his energy into something he enjoys, he will excel. Pray that Afam uses his energy and love of life for the Lord and will be a leader of good for the people around him.
When Chioma and her 2 younger brothers first came, they had lost their mother and their father was in prison. Her and her youngest brother are positive for HIV but thankfully the viral load was so low that she didn't have to even be on medicine right away. Chioma was a handful when she first came-stubborn, unhappy, lazy, and not very loving. But she has thrived in the 3 years she's been at APOH and is growing into a beautiful young lady that loves affection and doing things with you. Chioma has, amazingly, been very healthy but continue to pray that she stays that way and that God would heal her heart of the hurt she has experienced and the pain of not being with her biological family. It seems that it's taken her longer than most to adjust and needs a lot of one on one attention. Pray that she realizes the love of her heavenly Father and realizes the joy, hope, and peace of being His child.
When Neso arrived with his siblings, I got down on my knees and tried talking to them and make them feel comfortable..Neso's response? He slapped me, hard, right across my face (while laughing). Yes, it was a rough start with that boy but I love him to pieces. He is now an obedient, loving, somewhat shy boy who loves to snuggle. He broke my heart as my time was coming to an end my second time there when he kept telling me, "When you leave, I'm sure I will cry." Pray that Neso would stay healthy and that he grow up to be a strong man of God.
As the younger brother of Chioma and Neso, Ugo came acting like the baby of the family..and no one discouraged it:) Everyone instantly falls in love with Ugo, with his adorable smile and desire for constant cuddling and attention. Ugo has slowly gotten over his whining and amazing ability to produce crocodile tears at the drop of a hat (it was seriously impressive!). He has such a sweet heart and loves to take the ones littler than him under his wing. Ugo is also positive for HIV and has constantly been sick with one thing or another. Pray that his immune system would continue to grow stronger and that he comes to know and live for Christ.
This dear boy has been through a lot. His father had died several years before and actually when the Starlings met him, they were helping to care for his mother who had TB. She died shortly after and Emeka has been at APOH ever since. We think he had meningitis at some point and it left his brain damaged. When he came he was epileptic, very very sick, malnourished, and unable to walk or hardly speak, much less smile. Emeka did not want to be there and did not like the "onye ochas"(white people) that were taking care of him. But we all loved him, stubbornness and all! It didn't take long before Emeka became much healthier, got better at walking(and now, running and chasing others!), his speech more clear, and now his smile and orneriness never cease. Emeka goes to school now and interacts with the other children. Even though it takes him awhile to say what he wants to say, Emeka is very intelligent and aware. Please pray for his health, that he would keep improving, keep learning, and be a light of Christ to those around him.
Emeka's older sister, Juliette, came shortly after him to be with and help her little brother and to be in a safe place where she could receive schooling, learn about God, and be part of a family at APOH. Juliette works hard and is a huge help caring for the other children, cooking, and cleaning, as well as keeping up with her school work. She can be stern with the children but is quick to joke and love on them. Please pray that we can provide for Juliette's future, whether she wants to go to the University or start a business..Nigeria is not an easy place to make a living. Pray that she will desire Christ, grow in her knowledge of the Word, and that she would wait on God for a Godly husband.
"baby Joy" came when she was only 11 days old after her mother died after childbirth(her father's whereabouts were unknown).We weren't prepared for a newborn at the time and scrambled around getting formula, diapers, wipes, clothes, and everything else we would need. We soon found out that she was HIV positive and were so sad but thankful that we found out so soon and had hope that she could live a normal life. As the baby of the family for a while she got quite spoiled! She is such a beautiful little girl and is doing so well. Pray that she stays physically healthy and that she grows up understanding the love and hope of Christ.