Thursday, October 29, 2015

Reconnecting Families - Reuniting Brandon with his father

Brandon was a child of war. Like so many, his family fled Zaire, now the Democratic Republic of Congo. They went to Senegal, where he was born then to the United States when he was 4 years old.

Their destinations: Iowa. Oklahoma. Eventually Columbia, S.C. Along the way, his parents separated and he lived with his father until the father had to return to the Congo. Eventually, at age 22, Brandon graduated from the University of South Carolina. He told a friend he hoped he could reconnect with his father.

Through the Red Cross, Brandon’s father found him in May 2015.

Brandon Lufele Kazadi was contacted by a Red Cross worker who delivered a hand-written note from his father in Africa, dated Jan. 27, 2015. The contact was part of an international service called Reconnecting Families. “He hasn’t forgotten me,” Brandon said.

His father had asked the Red Cross in Africa for help and said he thought his son might have attended Winthrop University in South Carolina. Brandon had talked about wanting to go to Winthrop.

A caseworker called Winthrop and learned that he had been accepted at the school but had not enrolled. Though a Google search the Red Cross found he had been a mayoral intern in Columbia and that he was a political science major at the University of South Carolina.  A search of various clubs on campus showed he was affiliated with the Campus Ministry and an affiliated church

The caseworker contacted the church secretary and said the Red Cross was trying to reach him.  He called immediately, thinking there might have been a problem with a recent blood donation.  The caseworker scheduled a meeting so she could deliver a note.

Brandon last saw his father more than 10 years ago. He had been anxious about his father’s feelings until he received this communication. He hopes to see his father again to “show him the love of God.”

Brandon says he is called to the ministry and is working in a paid internship at the church. He wants to continue service to humanity.

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