What does it look like to follow God’s will? Just say yes, one day at a time. And that’s exactly what Dan and Lindy Broyles are doing. For Dan, an important yes came when he traveled to Namibia on a study abroad trip in 2003. He was aiming for a career in political science, and simply thought it would be cool to go to Africa. One day, Dan visited an orphanage of roughly 100 kids, and learned from the director that half of the kids were HIV positive and many wouldn’t live past 11 or 12 years old. Yet there they were, running around, laughing, smiling and playing with each other and with him.
“I went back to my hotel room and wept,” said Dan after his encounter with the orphans. “I had a total God moment. I had my Isaiah 6 moment where I was praying to God that he would allow me to come back here and to send me back so I could take care of orphans.”
In Isaiah 6, Isaiah has an encounter with God. He sees God on his throne, the train of his robe filling the temple. Seraphim fly above him crying out, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty, the
whole earth is full of his glory.” Upon seeing how holy and good the living God is, Isaiah becomes painfully aware of how sinful he is and that he lives among a sinful people. “Woe to me! I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty,” Isaiah says in verse 5 (NIV). But then a seraphim touches Isaiah’s lips with a live coal from the altar and declares Isaiah’s sin atoned for, his guilt gone. Then the Lord asks who will go, and Isaiah says simply, “Here I am, send me!”
Thirteen years after he asked the Lord to send him, Dan got the opportunity to return to Africa. Many things had changed. He was now married to Lindy and had three young kids, but the time had come to act on the call. Dan received an opportunity to work at Haven of Peace Academy (HOPAC), a K-12 Christian school in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. The first year was a year of transition, as the Broyles adjusted to life in Tanzania. “What I did at first are things I do here, you know, grocery shop, play, and get together with other parents.” Lindy said. “But it was so much harder because we’re in a developing third world country. I don’t know where the grocery store is, or it’s too hot to play, or the ladies I want to hang out with speak Swahili. So it was a challenging first year being a mom here because I was used to being a mom in America.”
While HOPAC opened the door for the Broyles into Tanzania and provided them a community they could land in, the first desire in their hearts was to help orphans. As they visited orphanages during their first year, they came face-to-face with the sheer scope of need: overcrowded living conditions, open sewers, and mounds of trash were common sights.
“While we were praying about how we wanted to help the orphans, I felt prompted to think about how would I want my kids to be cared for if they were orphaned.” Lindy said. “I would want my kids to have someone ask them about their day at school and pray with them. I would want them to have their own bed, and have help with homework. I would want them to eat at the table. I think every mom would.”
Last year, Dan and Lindy started a small scale foster home ministry, where three to five kids would be placed in a home with a couple to take care of them. They named the ministry, Moyo Wakila Mama, which is Swahili for “every mother’s heart.” Hilbert, the Broyles’ gardener during there first year in Tanzania, and his wife, Neema, became the first house parents. “He kept me sane (during the first year),” Lindy said of Hilbert. “Some days when Jack, our littlest, would be crying or having a rough day he would come in and say, ‘Jackie, Jackie I need help washing the car,’ and they would go and wash the car together. He’s such a helpful and servant-hearted guy.”
When the Broyles asked Hilbert and his wife if they wanted to be house parents, the couple agreed with tears in their eyes, saying they had always wanted to help the orphans but didn’t have the money. Hilbert and Neema have two kids of their own and had chosen not to have more because they felt they couldn’t afford it. This year, in their new role, they have four more girls that have joined their household.
A fellow employee at HOPAC, who studied social services at the University of Dar es Salaam and had connections with orphanages around the city, helped the Broyles get permission to take the first four girls out of an orphanage and place them with Hilbert and his wife. “They have their own beds now,” Dan said, who described how in the orphanages of Dar es Salaam it’s common for five kids to sleep per bed and many children sleep on the floor underneath bunk beds. “They have health care for the first time in their lives, and Hilbert and Neema are teaching them about Jesus.”
The Broyles foster home ministry and Dan’s work at HOPAC is funded completely by donations. “The vision is that we would start over the next two years, one home each year, and really limit it to three to five kids per home,” Dan said. “So that kids feel loved on and cared for and that they would be known, that they would be loved by God. That they would know the love of Christ for them and that they have a Heavenly Father.” Originally, the Broyles didn’t want to have to raise support and spent months looking for an international school that would pay their way, but the Lord kept closing doors.
“Finally, we just threw up our hands and said, okay Lord, whatever you want,” Dan said. “He told me, just trust me. Trust me. I will provide everything.”
Within six months of committing to HOPAC, the Broyles had all of the support needed for the first two years and then some. At first, they planned to take just three girls from the orphanage, but they felt the Lord prompt them to take a fourth because of an emergency situation in her life. Shortly after taking in the fourth girl, an old high school friend contacted Lindy telling her that she felt the Lord leading her to give $150 a month, the exact amount they needed to provide for the fourth girl.
“It really does work. The Holy Spirit really does work miracles, and God really does take care of you,” Dan said.
The Broyles can be reached through their ministry Facebook page Moyo Wakila Mama