When she was only 3 years old,
Emeldah experienced her first major loss when her father abandoned their family.
Emeldah would know deep, ongoing grief over his decision.
Unfortunately, in the two years that followed, Emeldah faced additional, devastating losses—almost too many to comprehend. But she also experienced the grace of God in a very tangible way.
A widow named Miss Edah changed everything for Emeldah.
Hear Emeldah’s powerful story in her own words—
“Life became so tough.”
After her dad left, life grew increasingly difficult for the family.
So Emeldah, her two sisters, and her mom moved nearly seven hours away to Garneton to live with an aunt. But that arrangement didn’t work, either, since life for Emeldah’s aunt was difficult, as well.
The needs of women and fatherless children in Zambia are big. Food security, healthcare, and quality education continue to be steep, ongoing challenges.
Emeldah’s future looked and felt bleak.
But then God did something totally unexpected.
“By chance, my mom met Miss Edah.”
Miss Edah, a widow in the community, opened her home and offered Emeldah’s family a place to live. Grateful for the help, Emeldah’s mom accepted the invitation and they moved in.
It wouldn’t take Emeldah long to understand that this was no chance encounter at all. God was preparing Miss Edah to fill in the gap and take on a role bigger than anybody understood.
Miss Edah’s home is in Garneton, which is also home to one of Lifesong Schools that began in 2007 at a small church in the local village.
In 2009, Emeldah’s mom accepted a job with Lifesong School as a cook.
Unfortunately, shortly after accepting the job, Emeldah’s mom began getting noticeably sick, but doctors couldn’t identify the reason. Tests at the hospital returned no clear answers.
“We lost our entire family.”
In 2010, Emeldah’s mom died. But then—in what felt like rapid succession—the losses kept coming:
Emeldah’s aunt and uncle died.
Then, her dad—whom she hadn’t seen since he walked out in 2008—also died.
It was a year of unimaginable loss.
“Having gone through all this, I couldn’t understand the meaning of life—why my entire family would die and leave us.”
Emeldah and her sisters needed some hope.
“Miss Edah called.”
While Emeldah and her sisters were out of town learning about the loss of their aunt and uncle, Miss Edah called. She invited Emeldah and her sisters to live with her permanently.
Miss Edah saw a need and stepped in to care for Emeldah and her sisters before they ended up in an orphanage.
As a widow, she could have seen her own situation as a valid reason not to step up. She could have prayed that someone else would do it. But she had the courage and conviction to extend her hand, open her heart, and offer her home.
She adopted Emeldah and her sisters, making them her daughters.
It took time for Emeldah to warm up to Miss Edah as her mother. Having experienced so much loss in her young life, she had to learn to trust.
“But now I know for a fact that she is my mother. And I love her.”
When Emeldah was 7 years old, she enrolled in Lifesong School in Garneton. Today, she lives in the boarding program where she is continuing to thrive in her studies.
Less than 17% of the population in Zambia completes primary school, and less than 4% receive any post-secondary-school education or training for employment. So being at Lifesong School—made possible by givers like you—means Emeldah is on the right track to graduate.
Billy Graham famously said, “Children who experience love find it far easier to believe God loves them.” For Emeldah, this would prove to be true.
“I understood Jesus died for me.”
In August 2019, during a camping trip with her classmates, Emeldah heard the Gospel presented clearly. Though she had heard it before, she now understood it for the first time and placed her faith in Jesus.
Trusting Jesus didn’t make everything in her life suddenly easy, but it made joy possible.
Patient, compassionate mentoring from the campus pastor, Pastor Maron, as well as her teachers and Miss Edah began to open her eyes to the good plans God has for her life.
“What the devil meant for bad, God made for good.”
Today, Emeldah understands that no matter why her dad abandoned her, God will never abandon her. She knows that the loss of her family is hard, but she also believes God is good.
While Miss Edah couldn’t undo the hard parts of Emeldah’s story, adoption gave her the privilege of helping to re-write the parts of the story that hadn’t yet been written.
“God adopted me, and I am loved by Him.”
Like every adoption, Emeldah’s story began with loss. But God is masterful at bringing beauty from ashes, isn’t He?
Today, Emeldah is growing in her faith, her confidence, and her identity as a much-loved child of God. When she graduates, she hopes to become a journalist. But ultimately, she wants to know Jesus more and understand His Word.
Your Part in This Story
With your support, Lifesong Zambia continues to provide holistic care, education, and discipleship to students like Emeldah. And these students know they are loved.
Across the world, poverty remains one of the biggest contributing factors to children becoming orphans. When we welcome the most vulnerable children in a community to go to school, to have their daily needs met, and to learn about Jesus, we participate in orphan prevention.
Your support helps change the future for children in Zambia.
While the circumstances are heartbreaking, God is working through His Church around the world to provide for orphans’ needs and to bring children into families. When you give, you help make family preservation and orphan prevention possible.
Reach orphaned & vulnerable children
with Gospel-centered care.