Dear friends of the Elliott family, greetings. My name is Sally Skiera and I have been asked by Pam to write a post in this journal. I write with trepidation as this site has been such an important part of many lives since December 10 of last year. First, I send our sincere condolences to Kirah's strong, beautiful family and friends. We share in your sadness and feel privileged to have known sweet Kirah.
Pam asked that I share the mission of aka HOPE and the special relationship between the Elliotts and the organization in Uganda founded and managed by our daughter, Courtney Skiera-Vaughn and her husband, Chris. Even before aka HOPE was incorporated, the Elliotts chose to sponsor a young girl named Brenda who has been so blessed to have the opportunity to attend school, receive a uniform (possibly her first set of personal clothes ever), be assured of a small bowl of mush daily and receive love from the amazing teacher. To have the chance to be educated and off the dangerous streets of the slums for even a few hours a day is a life-changing gift. Upon hearing of Kirah's accident, Brenda burst into tears and ran out of the school as the teacher tried to gain her own composure. When a smiling Brenda returned to class, she told the teacher that she realized her God is also Kirah's, and she could go to their shared God with her sorrow and prayers!
As the school learned of God's timing to bring Kirah home to Him, there were many tears shed, with Teacher Claire especially saddened as she said that not a day had passed without time spent before the Lord on Kirah's behalf. This crying woman in an African village is sharing the grief with our precious Elliott family in TN. Also, an elderly woman designated as spokesperson from the slum community arrived at school yesterday to inquire about the young "Teacher Kirah" for whom the children now grieved. This act was proof that trust has been established where Kirah has made such an impact. What a missionary Kirah was and continues to be!
The children at the school each received a "Pray for Kirah" bracelet that they continue to wear. It not only serves as a reminder to pray, but blesses them as this is a special item all their own with a soft glow that brings comfort at night to their dwellings with no electricity. They wore their bracelets for the 1st Annual Kirah Fun Day yesterday, an event that had been in the making for many weeks. Aka HOPE wanted to share the joy Kirah experienced from running by instituting this day involving various kinds of races and games, bringing smiles and laughter to all. What a beautiful legacy and so fitting for a fun-loving girl who thrived on sharing her joy with the friends who meant so much to her!
The Elliott family's decision to honor sweet Kirah by passing along donations in lieu of flowers is a testament to their immense, unselfish desire to help & bless others. They have asked us to share information about aka HOPE on Saturday when we all gather to celebrate the life of Kirah Joy.