Q & A with Patmos Director, Désiré Murhima

Editor’s Note: Thanks to your support, ICC children in the D.R. Congo are thriving within loving families at the Patmos Children’s Village. Recently, ICC president, Rick Fleck, asked some questions of Patmos director, Désiré Murhima, regarding ICC’s ministry for children there. Following is an edited excerpt from what Désiré shared.

Patmos Children’s Village house mothers and staff. Désiré Murhima is standing second from the right.

Q: How important it is for the children to live within a family environment?

A: While there are many different types of families, we are solely going to focus on families with children, and how the relationships within this structure benefit both the caretaker and child.

Q: What are the benefits for the children?

A: Growing up is, in a word, scary. The world around us is so complex and remarkable, which makes it quite difficult to understand. That’s where family comes in.

Family creates the building blocks a child needs in order to go out and face the world. As a child is forming their own sense of self, the attitudes and values of the parents will influence the child. For example, the first relationships we form with our family sets the standards we seek when forming new relationships. If family members treat their child with respect, offer good communication, and act positively, then the child will also seek these qualities out in their other relationships. Spending time with family has also been shown to make the child more sociable, leading to more relationships and more happiness in their future.

A family environment is also beneficial for the child’s self-confidence. Growing up in a stable, unified home gives the child the ability to go out and face the world without the worry that they won’t have a support system to back them up. Not only do these family qualities influence their child’s self-confidence, but they have also been shown to create better communication skills.

This implies that parents or guardians hold a great influence on their child’s education. Parents can help prepare their children for school in early childhood, leading to more success in the classroom. Additionally, parents can help make sure their child stays on the right path by ensuring that homework is completed and good grades are encouraged.

Q: What are the benefits for the house mothers who take care of children in homes at Patmos village?

A: Having something in your life to raise and cherish gives a whole new meaning to who you are. Not only do mothers help children grow into adulthood, but children can help mothers grow into a better person.

Being a guardian means being responsible for a whole other being. It is a 24/7 job that requires a person to care for the needs of someone else and be unselfish, patient, and loving. Parenting also gives the opportunities to find out things people never even knew about themselves, whether it’s that they are annoyed by the sound of a particular child’s toys or that they are more capable of love than they ever imagined.

Children can also be one of life’s greatest teachers. This can be done indirectly, such as having to research to answer the endless questions of why the sky is blue or how fish can breathe underwater! However, it can also be done when a person’s limits are being tested. Dealing with a fussy child teaches their caretaker how to be patient and how to use discipline in a constructive way. Having so much going on helps teach someone how to prioritize things and figure out what is truly important to them.

Having a family environment is beneficial in many ways and for many reasons. Family helps strengthen their child’s abilities and qualities, while children show and teach parents things that they might never have even considered. Everyone deserves a family, and that family is there to bring out the best in everyone.

All in all, having a child grow up in a family environment leads them to seek out better relationships, have better communication and social skills, are better prepared for school, and helps them get ready to experience success in their lives.

Q: How do you see the children’s lives transformed once they’ve arrived at Patmos?

A: Children’s lives are positively transformed. We receive them while they are orphaned, abandoned, malnourished, sick, and hungry as wolves. Many of them can’t walk though they are the age of walking.

The transformation is achieved when they are treated appropriately, healed from all types of diseases, have three meals a day, cured when they are sick, nourished spiritually, cared for in parental love, dressed, provided with a safe environment to live in, schooled, receive motherly love as well as fatherly love.

When everything above is added together to give new life and hope to dying children, they start growing well. They recover and develop into charming, healthy, and well-fed children. Here is concrete evidence.

When our lovely and charming daughter, Elise, arrived at the project, the whole staff of Patmos village lost hope. Nobody expected that she could be restored to normal health status as today. She was very skinny with a very big head; you could only touch her bones and the flesh seemed to leave her. She was in such a situation simply because she lost her parents and had no one to care for her after her parents’ deaths.

Elise is being transformed to such an extent that everything regarding her health has improved. She recovered and has changed into a good-looking and charming girl. We praise the Lord for saving her, and we express our gratitude on her behalf.