An Orphan’s Story

Posted: September 23, 2017 by Patrice Miles in C.A.R.E. Africa, Miles In Missions, Missionaries, Nigeria, Orphans, Patrice Miles, SIM

12901175_10209217269611107_2365374502924065379_oMy name is Gabriel Emmanuel Salako. I am the founder and CEO of C.A.R.E. Africa (Children at Risk Empowered) and this is my story.

I am the last born into a family of 12. I am the baby among 8 boys and 4 girls. There are only 8 of us left, 4 have died.

I am from the Yoruba tribe in Oyo State. My Dad was a Muslim and my Mum a Christian. They really loved each other so much. My Mum gave birth to me on May 10th, 1986, two years later she died. After she died my dad took care of me along with my brother, Sunday. We were very poor and had little food or provisions so my brother ran away from home and started living on the streets.

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Emma’s old bunk room at the orphanage.

I lived with my Dad for many years after that. One night he called me into his room and prayed for me. I did not understand what he was doing. The next morning he told me that he saw my Mum in a dream and she instructed him not to allow me to suffer. She told him to make sure I do well in life. He opened up a secret to me. He told me that when my Mum discovered she was pregnant with me, the family asked her to abort the pregnancy. My brothers and sisters didn’t want her to have another child. We were very poor. My brothers and sisters didn’t want to take care of another child if my parents were unable.

A few weeks later my Daddy got sick and was taken to the hospital. On the sick bed he called for me. He said “Please my child, no matter what your elder ones do to you, always do good for them. Please I beg of you!” I agreed.

He prayed for me and then asked me to call my elder brother and sister to come to him. When I got back to the hospital with them, he said that he was ready to go meet my Mum. I told him I wanted to go with him to see Mum. He smiled and asked my eldest brother, Gabriel to pray for him so my brother did and on finishing the prayer my Dad was dead. I cried for my Daddy asking him to come back. My brother took me outside and said “Our father isn’t coming back and Mummy is not coming back, but I promise to take care of you.”

I moved in with my eldest brother, Gabriel who is married. He had a very good business and his wife was a nurse. The moment I came into the house she thanked God and was happy I was there to stay. She told my brother not to worry that she would take care of me.

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Emma & His Sponsor at City Ministries

Two week later my brother took me to a government school while his kids went off to a private school. Every time I return from school I would meet dirty clothes and plates that needed to be washed. I would ask the house help for my lunch and she would always tell me I could not eat until I washed the dirty clothes and plates first. I had no option but to do it. When my brother retuned from work I would go and tell him everything, but his wife would say I have to do it because it is my duty. My brother would say nothing and just go to bed. I was 9 years of age at that point. My cousins would get home from school and have good meal to eat and I would get nothing unless I washed all the dirty plates and clothes. Everyday was just a sad day for me, and I would cry myself to sleep asking my parents to please come back. Some nights I go to bed with an empty stomach.

My brothers wife developed more hatred for me over time. She went to the family and told them that I was a cultist because every night she would hear me talking to people. The family started saying that they knew I had been cursed as a child right from birth. It was after my birth that our mum died. They said I also killed our dad. I was so bitter, I was just an orphan who no one loved or cared for, even in my own family.

The news started reaching all the other family members saying I killed my mum and dad. So the family came to a conclusion that I should be taken to a pastor for deliverance. The pastor said this child is innocent but my brother’s wife said the pastor was also a cultist, that’s why he did not want to do the deliverance. So the family took me to another pastor and the same thing happened. My brother’s wife was just pushing the family, saying if the family do not take an action I may kill them all. Everyone in my family started to dislike and have deep hate for me. Some of them said the only option is to burn me alive. They believed that doing that would help the family be rid of the bad luck. They said that since the day mummy gave birth to me the family has been going through bad times.

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Emma Playing Football at King’s Kids

One cold morning my brother ordered that I should be taken and be burned alive so that all the bad luck in the family will stop. One of them took me to a mountain and he poured petro on me without me having my cloth on. I started saying “Mummy come back to me!” At that point my brother looked for his lighter and could not find it. He went down to his car to check for one and I heard a voice saying “Run, run my son!” Naked and with petro on me, I ran as fast as I could. As I was running through the streets a woman saw me and asked me to stop. I was just crying saying “Please don’t burn me!” The woman said “I am not going to hurt you, just come in and let me give you some clothes.” She gave me some clothes but I ran away from her because I was thinking my brother called her to bring me back to him.

I started my new life on the street as a nobody, rejected, hated, denied, oppressed, abandoned, outcast and a homeless orphan. The whole day I had nothing to eat. That night a few boys of my age came to meet me as I was sitting and crying. One of them said to me “Are you new?” I said yes, so he asked if I had eaten? I replied no. He told me to come with him. On getting there he asked me to sit and he told me that if anyone ate and left food behind, that would be my share to eat. I was so happy I was going to have something to eat.

228298_1035239879305_3172_nAfter eating from the leftover food I slept on the cold ground. Day after day I would sleep under a bridge, sleep at a car park, picking leftover food from drainage, picking from the dustbins, knocking on doors to beg for food, it went on for years learning to live among the street gangs. My life was meaningless; I was so hopeless and helpless. I started smoking weed and selling weed, drinking, stealing just to keep up with the life on the street. I became so bad that the other guys made me the street boys leader. I didn’t care about others, it was just the full life on the street I cared about.

This all went on and on until one night at the age of 13 I was sleeping in a market place and I had a dream. In the dream I saw someone come to me in the form of my mum, saying to me, ”My son stop this life you are living. If you die doing this you are going to hell. I love you, stop this life!” I woke up crying.

A day or two after my dream I was just walking around and to my great surprise, I saw my brother Sunday, (the one who had run away from home). He asked what I was doing. He said my elder brother was looking for me. I told him I was sorry but I wasn’t going back to our family because I hate them so much. He asked me to come and stay with the family he was staying with. I just told him not to worry about me, to just tell me where he was staying and maybe I will come one day. He told me that if I continued to live like I am living and I die like this I am going to hell. Again that word, hell, and I remembered my dream with my mum.

337406_324242120952594_1602014594_oA few months after seeing my brother on the streets, one of my gang friends was killed. I was so afraid and filled with sorrow, more hate, depression and hopelessness. I was so dead within me. I remembered seeing my brother, Sunday, and the address he gave me to where he was living so I went there. I saw a sign GIDAN BEGE – meaning HOUSE OF HOPE, HOPE FOR THE HOPELESS Orphanage home. I went into the compound and a man was sitting in a chair. The moment he saw me, he said, “Welcome home!” I told him I was here to look for my brother, Sunday. The man hugged me saying “Your brother Sunday told us everything about you. You are safe now, come inside.” He took me inside and asked the other boys there to help me get water to take a bath and to get me a few new clothes. This is how I came to be in the orphanage where I found hope and love that I never had from my family.

I gave my life to Christ 1999, November 19th. Ever since then my life has never been the same. I confessed my sins and Christ forgave all. Every day what I ask God is for Him to use me to reach others like me -orphaned, abandoned and voiceless.  I want to show them that there’s hope for the hopeless.

The moment I accepted Christ as my Lord and savior all of my oppression, depression, rejection were gone. I had peace and I forgave my family for everything they did to me. While staying at the orphanage I learnt more about Christ and the purpose for my life. My meaningless life became a meaningful life fulfilled by Christ.

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Emma and His Old Roommate Wasiu

As I continued to draw closer to God, I learned more behind the reason and purpose why my family did all they did to me.

Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a bright future.”

After I graduated from school – the ministry (City Ministries) helped me rent an apartment. A few months later I started going through challenges. I didn’t have food or money. I went to my eldest brother to ask for help. He told me I should stop serving Christ and turn to Islam if I wanted his help.

I just cried inside me and told God my heart’s desires. My brother continued to push me to join him in Islam but my faith was still on Christ. God gave me this verse, Isaiah 43:2, ” You will pass through deep waters. But I will be with you; you will pass through the rivers. But their waters will not sweep over you. You will walk through fire, but you will not be burned, the flames will not harm you”.

God began to help me put the puzzle pieces together as I was sitting one day. A missionary friend came and asked me “When are you coming to Egbe, Kogi State, Nigeria, to visit our ministry. We have a team of guys coming to do sports ministry in Egbe and they need help. We need someone that can speak Yoruba.”  I had recently been through Sports Friends training and I am a Yoruba boy so he thought I was the right person. I didn’t have any idea of what it was going to look like in Egbe. I just decided to go to seek God for direction.

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Emma and the HELP family.

So I went to Egbe. The plan was for me to help alongside the missionaries with sports for just a week. After a few days, I felt God telling me this is the place he wants me to stay. I started reaching the youths in Egbe through sports and working with a ministry called (HELP) Health, Education and Literacy Program. I continued to feel God leading me to start something bigger. I kept asking Him when would this vision come alive? He told me to be patient and in that time God opened an opportunity for me to join (YWAM) Youth With A Mission, at Port Harcourt. While I was there he opened my eyes to His plans, in the book of Habakkuk 2:3, saying ”The message I give you waits for the time I have appointed.”

When I returned to Egbe I shared my new found vision with a missionary from Louisville Kentucky, Lenny Miles and he just said, “Wait a minute Emma, my wife needs to hear this.” He called for his wife, Patrice Miles, and he said I should repeat what I just shared with him to her.  I did and immediately she said this is an answer to her prayers. She had been praying and asking God to send someone to help her start a ministry for abandoned women and children. I had been praying to God to send someone to me who would capture my vision and she had been doing the same.

15723791_10154779555343808_8095056114831742307_o (1)So here comes Patrice and Emma with their God given vision and the door for C.A.R.E Africa (Children at Risk Empowered) was opened

C.A.R.E right now has 46 kids and 30 abandoned women and widows in the program with wonderful staff who the Lord Himself chose. Since I have known Patrice Miles and her family it’s been a blessed journey together. She is a woman full of passion and love and it feels like I have known her since I was a kid. She cares about the kids and all the staff and the people of the Egbe community.

This is my question to all of you who are reading this,  How can you join in touching and changing the lives of the vulnerable in Egbe, Nigeria and Africa as a whole. The more vulnerable people we empower, the more people we will have to invest back into God’s kingdom here on earth. You just start small with helping someone like me, a nobody on the street with food or clothing. You might start bigger by helping a ministry like Gideon Bege who took me in and showed me Christ’s love. Whatever you do, just do it. Don’t waste time as there are Emma’s everywhere needing Christ’s love.

Just take a minute right now and pray this prayer “Lord Jesus open the eyes of my heart to see where needs are and how to invest myself for your glory.”

18485265_10210779298976620_2724998461880543282_nGlory be to God alone, He recently blessed me with a loving and mission minded lady who is now my wife. Mrs. Oluwatofunmi Iwarere Salako.

Your son, friend and brother in Christ. Live a life that speaks Christ, and join in changing lives.

Emmanuel Gabriel Salako,
emmyfaithfulboy@gmail.com
Founder/CEO of (C.A.R.E Africa)
www.iCareAfrica.org

If you would like more information on how you can help at C.A.R.E. Africa please email Patrice Miles and patrice.miles@sim.org or Emma at emmyfaithfulboy@gmail.com If God is calling you to support CARE Africa you can donate directly by clicking CARE DONATIONS. 

Emma and his wife have recently been offered the opportunity to go to Kenya for ToT training with LIA (Life in Abundance). The entire trip will cost $3,500 and we have already been able to raise $1,000. Please consider sponsoring Emma and Tofunmi on this trip and Click ToT Training to donate.

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Comments
  1. Jolene Eicher says:

    Emma,
    I am so grateful to know you. The contrast to the man you are today versus the street boys – gang leader is truly a story of God’s great love for you. You are the perfect person to be managing CARE Africa. You have great insight, confidence, vision and faith in God that will help CARE Africa to reach many abandoned and voiceless children. You understand these children like no else can. You know when to be tough and when to be soft as you interact with these children in life’s ups and downs. I hope to see you in the USA in the near future. I hope your story opens the hearts of American citizens to give of their time and their resources to impact the lives of the poor and needy. God bless you and CARE Africa as you serve Him by caring for the widows and the orphans.

  2. prexies says:

    This is the story you sent some time ago. I love the added pictures to heart warming story. You have come such a long way and have accomplished so much. You have also added a loving partner to share your lives. Yoi hsve been truely blessed.

  3. lovedbyhim32 says:

    What a heart wrenching story. I’m so proud of you Patrice and so very thankful to be sponsoring Ayo. What address will I use to write to her since you’ve moved?

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

  4. Linda Kohn says:

    What a great story of God’s power and faithfulness to answer our prayers.

    So inspiring that you were both praying for someone to come and join you to fulfill God’s dream and vision that he has tucked in your hearts.

    Love your updates, thank you for taking the time to share them with us!

    Sincerely,

    LK

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