Groans and screeches came from a tiny goat shed near the path. Kennedy stopped to listen. Those were not the sounds of a goat. He ran to the pen and tore off the door, a small child was tied up inside, his head covered with wounds.
Kennedy was overwhelmed with the injustice of the situation. He turned from the child and began shouting, “Who is responsible for tying up this child? Who did this?” His eyes wildly searched for a rope so he could tie up the offender. As he prepared to enter the village and bring justice for the child, his friends grabbed his arms and held him back. “Wait,” they advised. “Let’s go quietly and ask.”
Yamikani was unaware of what was happening around him tormented by seizures that constantly wracked his body. The restraints were only a small part of his pain. For more than 12 years he suffered constant epileptic seizures, his mother instead of taking him to the doctor had tied him up every day to keep him from falling into the fire or the river.
The CHE (Community Health Evangelist) team quickly found Yamikani’s mother. “Yes,” she admitted. “I tied him up there.”
The CHE team raced back to the Grace Center to get Pastor Phiri.
Yamikani’s mother refused to give Phiri permission to take the child. Finally after two weeks, he stormed the village with Social Welfare and Child Protective Services. The mother was given the option of either surrendering Yamikani to their custody or coming with him. She packed her bags and came with him bringing along her baby, Ishmael.
Mayi (Mrs.) Shumba and Mayi Akutana now care for Yamikani. They love to go for walks in the villages surrounding the Grace Center, listen to the radio and they are slowly teaching Yamikani to care for himself.
One of Yamikani’s favorite games is to hand stones or sticks to you. Mayi Lumbe and I recently had the opportunity to pray for Yamikani’s healing. We prayed that Jesus would loosen his tongue and allow him to speak. Immediately after prayer, he began to play this game with Mayi Gezina. “Zikomo (thank you), “ she said after each time he handed her a stick. After all the sticks were gone, she handed a stick to him. Yamikani took the stick and responded, “Zikomo!”
Yamikani’s name means “Give Thanks”.
Yamikani, I trace the fingerprints of grace on your face, and I thank God for you.