In 1946, a few days before my sixth birthday, I landed in Stanleyville, The Belgian Congo. I remember the palm trees flying by as our old propeller plane taxied down the dirt runway. We stepped out into muggy heat as we crossed to the grass-thatched terminal.
From that day, Africa has been my second home – as dear to me as my birth home in Oregon, U.S.A. As I grew up, my one desire was to “go back home” to Africa.
Our mother taught me first and second grade. Then I went to Rethy Academy, 350 miles and 10 hours’ drive from my parents. I began to learn to think for myself, to be independent and to rely on my heavenly Father.
I especially remember one moonlit night, lying on my back in my dorm room’s top bunk. Loneliness crushed my heart until I could hardly breathe. I’m alone – all, all alone! Just then a jackal began to howl not far away, and I wanted to howl with him. Tears trickled into my ears and I clapped my pillow over my head to stifle the sobs that shook my body. In the stuffy darkness under the pillow, with even the moonlight cut off, God spoke to my heart as clearly as if His voice had been audible: “I’m here. You’re not alone – I am here!”
Throughout my life, God has been “here” for me. In the ups and downs, in the thick and thin, in the joys and sorrows, He has been the Solid Rock to which I’ve clung. I learned this lesson early in life because I had to be away from my parents at such a young age. God is WITH me and will help me through any issue that I face.
Kondi is lonely in a unique way. She lives in Malawi, East Africa. She will show you much about her culture and the African way of life. Kondi is the composite of a number of Malawian girls I knew. She has poignant, tragic and funny experiences. She’s artistic, smart and loving. She’s also afraid.
Will this same promise also hold true for Kondi in Kondi’s Quest? Will God be close to her in all her troubles and her efforts to please God and her earthly father? Will she learn that living for God meant He was with her – even when He seemed to be distant?
It is my prayer that Kondi’s story will touch the hearts of pre-teens around the world and help them understand God’s love for them so they can experience His presence when they are in difficult circumstances and most vulnerable.
Here’s a little about the book:
Kondi, a Malawian girl, is haunted with longing for her father’s love. She’s sure Bambo doesn’t love her, though, because he beats her when he’s drunk. Maybe things will improve when Mai’s baby comes. If Mai has a baby girl, I’ll draw and embroider designs on my baby sister’s clothes. She’ll love the bright colors.
However, one night, in a drunken rage, Bambo beats Mai so severely that the neighbors rush her to the hospital. Later, near the market, Kondi overhears her Uncle Kakama telling his friend, “I’ll sell Kondi off as a third wife to some rich man if my sister dies.” He can do it, too. But I’m just a girl! Oh God, what can I do?
Nobody knows what’s in the brown envelope her father carries everywhere – not even Mai, her mother. I’m afraid to even touch it!
Will her father ever love her? Will Mai and the baby live? Does God really plan for her, at thirteen, to become someone’s third wife? And what could possibly be in Bambo’s brown envelope? Join Kondi in a beautiful coming-of-age story that you won’t soon forget.
For more about Sylvia: http://www.sylvia-stewart.com/