Walt & Mary Lynne Wood
In the summer of 1977, as a young man fresh out of university, Michael left his native New Zealand to travel around the USA eventually arriving in Alaska a year later; he found a job with a builder in Anchorage. In the fall of 1979 he had a life-changing encounter with Jesus Christ and soon after began visiting what was then Abbot Loop Christian Centre (ALCC), now Unite Church. In early 1980 he enrolled in Bible School at the church around the time Robin and he met. They married in June of the same year. In 1983 Michael opened his construction business.
Robin came to Alaska for her second visit in the summer of 1978 arriving from New Mexico in order to seek shelter from the heat and began working as a pediatric nurse in Anchorage. In late 1978 she began attending ALCC and Bible School in 1979.
The Pratts had 4 children, a girl and 3 boys while living in Anchorage and Robin home-schooled the older 3. In February 1992, when the 4th born was 6 months old, the Pratt family moved to the bush in Swaziland (now Eswatini) to live and assist at a rural health clinic established and operated by the HUM, a Swedish mission organization. Robin, in addition to home-schooling the children, operated a nutrition program for malnourished children at the health centre, serving subsistence farming families who had been driven deeper into poverty by drought and recurring bad harvests. Michael managed maintenance at the clinic, built an extension to the ward space at the clinic and built a church where he was serving as a pastor in a rural community some distance from the clinic.
In 1997 the Pratt family moved to Mbabane, the capital city, to be able to enroll their 4 children into local schools; they had become increasingly isolated and lonely when living at the clinic. Michael continued working as a pastor, teaching Bible and working in community development. Robin kept the nutrition project running at the rural clinic we had left as well as volunteering on the children’s ward with babies and young children who had been abandoned and brought to live at the main public hospital in the country located in Mbabane. The Pratts adopted their 5th child, a 2 year old Swazi girl whom they met amongst the abandoned children, in 1998.
In 2003, because of the devastation caused to families, especially children, by the HIV /Aids crisis that was running rampant at the time, the Pratts opened a home for orphaned and abandoned children in Mbabane. The main purpose was to be able to bring out the many babies that had been living at the hospital where Robin had been volunteering. The home is named The Sandra Lee Centre after the benefactors who have made the purchase of the property and the building of the new houses possible. The Pratts have been operating the home continuously since its opening. They are responsible for raising 31 children ranging in ages now from 6 to 17 years. Most of children came to the home as babies and toddlers and the Pratts are committed to the task of raising these children until they are ready and equipped to venture into life on their own.