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When Judie and Gerald McGregor held a lunch party for Mercy House at their home in Tangmere, they didn't know that the remarkable sum donated by their guests - no less than £1,050 - would bring an immediate benefit to one of Diana Beamish's loyal clients and leaders - Kaskil Malumbe.
Diana has emailed her thanks - reminding us that the value of £1,050 in Johannesburg is Rands 13,275 - and a Rand buys as much as a pound sterling in UK!
"A thousand thanks, we need it so badly right now for a number of reasons, but also for sheer survival as the coffers had many drains on them of late. I go ahead in faith and let God take care that it goes on. And he has!"
Diana's heartwarming story shows how directly and efficiently help from St Richard's reaches people in need.
"Kaskil Malumbe came to Mercy House in 2001. In 1998 he fled from soldiers attacking their area in North East Democratic Republic of Congo. He was at boarding school at the time and was not able to trace his parents and sister. When he came to Mercy House he was distraught and he longed to find his mother and sister. His father had been killed, but he did have a step-father, as his mother had remarried.
"Kaskil did very well with us: we put him through a course in home nursing and he got a job. (He's the second man from the left)"
"He managed to trace his school sweetheart, whom he wanted to marry. Through his work he saved up enough money to bring her down to South Africa and to pay the lobola for her". (Lobola can be a complex matter, sometimes involving livestock and much negotiation!)
" So we had our first wedding at Mercy House in December 2004: it was a great occasion. For Kaskil the joy was also tinged with sadness because his family did not know about his marriage - and no family came to share the joy of the wedding. He did not even know whether his mother and sister were still alive.
"Kaskil became leader of Mercy House and did a very good job in this position for several years. In August 2005 he and his wife were blessed with a little boy, whom they called Elija."
Then came a twist to the story which is essentially African -
"In 2004 we had taken in a young man from the DRC named Chondo. After some months we were able to send him home to relatives in north-east DRC. In Africa, it is customary for everyone who can to attend funerals, even if they did not know the deceased. Last month, in June 2006, Chondo attended a funeral in his home town although he did not know the deceased. When the biography was read at the funeral service, it was stated that the deceased man and his wife had had a son called Kaskil who had disappeared during the war and that no one knew whether he was still alive, nor where he was. Chondoís ears pricked up: he had known Kaskil who was Mercy House Leader when he was there. He found out that this was indeed Kaskilís real family. Having Kaskilís phone number, he telephoned and told him the amazing news: so Kaskilís great longing and wish came true that day: the family had been found! Kaskilís mother was brought to the phone and he spoke to her for the first time in 8 years. She was beside herself with joy to find that her lost son was still alive, and of course begged him to come home speedily, especially as her husband had just passed away. He plans to leave for home, by land of course, on Tuesday 8 August and prayers for safety on a hazardous trip would be appreciated, especially as he comes from the very disturbed north-east part of the DRC. Mercy House will help him with money for his journey, thanks to the tremendous effort of Ms Judy McGregor and her co-workers,who held a luncheon on 21 July at the McGregorís house. Judy did not know about this story when she planned the fund-raiser, but she had met Kaskil when she visited Mercy House some years back and has followed his path ever since. If the money from her luncheon had not come in just at the right time, the assistance would not have been possible!"
" Once again we thank St Richards, and of course, in particular Judy McGregor and those who helped and supported her with the luncheon - many from Tangmere. Isnít it wonderful to think that you over there in the UK have been able to help Kaskil at this amazing time of his life. Miracles really do happen... in Godís way and time!"
"Thanks a million. We are very very happy. Much love to you all and deep appreciation for your support."
Diana Beamish - 6th August 2006