Lau Mussa was stuck.
Unable to afford school fees to attend school in his home country of Tanzania, and caring for his parents and younger sibling, who were all sick, Lau had no hope for the future. “The only thing I could do to help my family was study hard and get a job,” Lau told students at Smithville Christian High School’s weekly chapel. “But I did not have enough money for school. I thought this was the end of my education. I will not be able to help my family in the future.”
|Lau Mussa, speaking at Smithville Christian High School's chapel|
Then one night, he had a dream. In the dream, he was in a hole in the ground, desperately trying to get out. Above him, were faces of people – some of whom were laughing at him and some who were extending their arms towards him, but none of them could reach.
“I thought I was going to die,” Lau said, “but I heard a voice inside my heart say ‘Look up again.’ " This time, Lau saw another face, “a strange person I had not seen before. He had white clothes and he was shining. His hand seemed to be long and he reached my hand and took me out of the hole.”
Lau said he did not know the meaning of the dream, but a week later, there were Canadian visitors at the orphanage where he was living, and, because of his ability to speak both Swahili and English, Lau was asked to serve as translator.
|Bethany Ricker and David Emiry in Tanzania|
Those visitors were Bethany Ricker of Dunnville and David Emiry of St. Joseph's Island, older sister and uncle to current Smithville Christian students Owen and Shasta Ricker. During their time volunteering at the orphanage, Ricker and Emiry learned of Lau’s desire to go to school. They arranged to pay his school fees, and to buy him a uniform, books, shoes and a backpack.
|Lau Mussa and Bethany Ricker in Tanzania|
“I didn’t understand what was going on, I thought it was a trick,” Lau told the chapel audience. “It was difficult for me to laugh, but at that time, I laughed. It was amazing and amazing and amazing.”
But Lau’s story didn’t end there. After Bethany returned to Dunnville, a plan was hatched with the help of her family, to bring Lau to Canada, so he could study at an Ontario high school and earn an Ontario Secondary School Diploma. His dream is to become a doctor.
Today, Lau, and two other “sisters” from the orphanage, Rachel Mwita and Antonia Silvini, are all Grade 11 students at Smithville Christian High School, learning how to adjust to a life in Canada and an education system that is radically different from what they experienced at home.
Lau is both astonished and grateful for what has happened in his life.
“It was difficult for me to believe what was going on,” Lau said, “but I began to know the meaning of that dream.”
|School classroom in Tanzania|
|School dormitory in Tanzania|
Lau said school is different here than at home. “I can ask anything I want and get help. All the teachers are very good and kind. I can’t really believe what is here. I am so happy.”
Lau said Jeremiah 29:11 is comforting to him, and he recited it in both Swahili and in English: “ ‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’
“It doesn’t matter where you come from or what skin colour you have or what kind of life you are living, you have to trust God,” Lau said. “This is what God has done in my life.”
This week’s chapel also featured praise and worship led by student praise team SWAG – Saved With Amazing Grace – who led with “Beautiful Things,” “Waterfall,” and “My Lighthouse.”
|Student praise team SWAG at chapel|