Dear City Church Family,
It is with a heavy heart that I tell you of the death of our brother in Christ, Baraka Mushi, who died in Moshi, Tanzania, on September 16, 2016 at the age of 17. I first met Baraka in 2002. He, along with his older sister, Rita and younger brother, Gerrard, was living in an orphanage where I was a volunteer. Despite the hardships that he had enduring in losing his parents to AIDS at an early age and being passed around to various relatives, he was one of the sweetest and most generous children I'd ever met. Baraka and his sibling and I continued to maintain contact over the years. After I moved to Tanzania in 2009, I decided that I could help out more in his life than to just be a mentor. City Church agreed to begin accepting and dispersing funds I raised for the education of Baraka, his sister Rita, and Boniface, another orphaned child in the orphanage.
While the children continued to excel in their education, they also had a desire to reconnect with family and move outside the walls of the orphanage for the first time. So in 2014, I helped resettle Baraka with a nearby aunt and uncle. Boniface, who had no known relatives, was happily resettled with a Tanzanian guardian family. Rita, whom the church had supported in her education to become a teacher, began to live and work on her own. Despite the fact that Baraka was born with HIV, his physical health and vigor had always amazed doctors. Baraka's status never seemed to affect either his strength or his outlook on life. My family and I were lucky to be able to spend a week with Baraka and Boniface this July when we were in Africa. Sadly, Baraka's health took a sudden turn for the worse in early September, when he woke up with stomach pains and facial paralysis. He was admitted to the hospital on September 12th. Though doctors tried all they could to save him, he passed away with his uncle by his side a few days later. Doctors said that he had succumbed to abdominal TB complicated by the sudden onset of AIDS.
I want to thank City Church for their involvement in Baraka and his family's lives and for the opportunities you gave them. The church has been so influential and impactful, both to him and his sister. Please pray and grieve with me as I travel to Tanzania to visit and pray with Baraka's family, and to share memories of this wonderful young man.
Jake asked us to let you all know that we will continue to care for Boniface. Should you feel led to make a financial contribution to our support of Boniface, you can do so via a check made out to City Church of Richmond with 'Boniface' or 'Jake Lyell' written in the memo line. To make an online contribution, just select 'Lyell support' on the drop-down menu once you log in.