A panga & a baby

Hi Friends!  Jacky here. For those who don’t know me, I’m married to Nick, John Sklenar’s son. You don’t usually hear from me as I’m more involved behind the scenes.  I spend my time with BESI editing blogs, posting pictures to Instagram and keeping this website updated.  But there is a story that needs to be told and therefore, I will tell it to the best of my ability.

It’s difficult being in the United States and not being able to relate to life in Malawi, Africa.  I’ve never been to the orphanage, only heard stories and have seen pictures.  I’ve never held one of the orphans in my arms, but often pray for them. Even hearing first hand accounts of what my Father-in-law (John) and Sister-in-law (Josie) have told me from their trip to Africa…I know they don’t do justice to actually being there in Malawi at the El-Shaddaih Orphanage.  But friends, this story needs to be told.  There are 117 children’s stories that should be told as well, and I pray that we get to the point that we can tell each of them.  But a new child has just arrived at the orphanage. She is the newest member of the El-Shaddaih family and her name is Rabecca.

7 day-old Rabecca

Last week, Blessings received a call from the local police department saying that they had a 7 day-old baby that needed a home.  Even though there is barely enough food to feed the 117 mouths at the orphanage, Blessings knew that the Lord had called on her to care for the baby.

What Blessings came to find out is that Rabecca’s mother had murdered her 4 other children with a panga.  The mother was about to kill Rabecca as well, but some neighbors intervened by grabbing baby Rabecca away from her mother.  A panga is a large, broad-bladed African knife that’s used as a weapon or as an instrument for cutting heavy jungle growth or sugar cane.  It is much like a machete. And with this large machete, a mother slaughtered her children. Only one was spared, and that was Baby Rabecca. We know very little information other than this.

Baby Rabecca

If a crime like this was committed in the United States, it would be all over the news. But sadly, in Malawi, occurrences like this are all too familiar.  There will be no news coverage or candlelight vigil held for the slain children. There is only talk of the “mad woman” who murdered with a panga. Rabecca will grow up never knowing her 4 biological siblings and most likely never see her mother or father ever again.  The good news is that Rabecca has now gained 117 brothers and sisters and will be loved, cared for and raised up in the Lord by Blessings and Joel at the orphanage.

The purpose of the El-Shaddaih Orphanage is to provide care for those children who don’t have a permanent or safe living situation.  Most of the children at the orphanage have no living parents.  Rabecca’s story is unique in that both of her parents are still living. Her father and mother each have special needs.  Her father has now returned to his village and her mother has been placed in a mental institution.


With every child that is taken in, the need for support becomes greater.  Blessings and Joel (and all of us at BESI) rely on the Lord to meet these needs. This happens through donations on our website.  Please consider becoming a $10 monthly donor by clicking on the yellow “Donate Today” button.  These funds help to cover the daily needs of children like Rabecca.


In Christ,

Jacky Sklenar


Join us in helping El-Shaddaih Orphanage. Your gift will have a huge impact on the over 100 children who live there. To find out how you can make a difference, visit our "Get Involved" tab or send an inquiry on our Contact page.