Remembering our dear friend Guida

My friends: Guida has gone on before us. I am writing to you to remember and celebrate her life, mourn her death, witness to my faith and pray for others who are walking the same paths.

Anguista Joao Cunaca was a 20+ year old orphan living in the Dondo House For Children until her death by suicide last Thursday. It has taken me a week to write this message – a week in which I have struggled to get my heart back from the small cemetery in Dondo where Guida now lies and back into my chest. A week of grief and sadness. A week of prayer and reflection.

Guida was a special young woman. I met her first during my trip to Mozambique in 2017 when we dedicated the new House For Children in Dondo. She was a bright light – full of laugher and energy. I met her again in 2018 and this past summer. My experience of her was the same each visit.

Guida told me once that she wanted to be a judge so that other children would not have to suffer what she had endured. I do not know the details of her story but I know it was hard.

Guida was born in Mozambique about the year 2000. Mozambique was, and is today, one of the poorest nations on the planet. She never knew her father, and her mother died when she was about 10 years old. Guide survived on the streets for 5 – 6 years until some members of the Dondo United Methodist Church took her under their wing. They were in the midst of planning for the new House For Children and provided her with food and shelter until the new buildings were completed early in 2018. She lived there until her death.

I feel like I failed Guida. I feel like we failed Guida. We were too late for Guida.

But we don’t have to be too late for the next Guida who walks in her footsteps.

I established the Foundation 4 Orphans for children like Guida – one of the 150 million orphans alive around the world today. Many of these children become the grim statistics of 16,500 deaths per day from preventable diseases. Many die from lack of vaccines, from malnutrition, from disease.

At the Foundation 4 Orphans, our Mission Statement is very simple:
“We lift communities through service to orphans and vulnerable children.”

This is our Vision Statement:
Our goal is to mitigate and, eventually, eliminate the suffering of orphans and vulnerable children around the world. It is our ultimate goal to light a fire that can and will spread across denominational and faith lines, uniting Christians, Jews and Muslims in caring for these precious children as our respective sacred texts command us all to do.

I cannot do this alone. I need your help. Even during these difficult days, this Great Pause, I need you. They need you. What will be your response?

In peace-