Friday, December 3, 2010

Lots of new kids!!

The last few weeks have been such a rush.  For some reason we also seem to get lots of new kids around trhe Christmas season. 
On Monday we were the given the sweetest little girl.  We have named her Kerri (after my sister) and she is estimated to be about 6 months old.  She has not given an ounce of trouble since arriving.  Kerri was left on a bus.  Her mother asked a stranger to hold her while she got off the bus to do something, and she never returned.  The best part is that Kerri is healthy, no HIV and no TB.  We don;t get many like that these days.

Another new arrival is Lee.  Lee is a screamer.  The quicker we get her out to the Sandta Jones Children's Village the happier we will be.  She is staying with us in our offices at the moment!!  Lee's teenage mother left her in the house by herself.  The lodger came home in  the evening and found Lee screaming.  After waiting hours for the mother to come back she finally took Lee to the police station and they eventually phoned us.  They say that Lee is about 10 months old.  As you can see by her photo she has a serious squint and will need surgery to correct it.  Fortunately we know an eye specialist who comes from the USA every year.  So when he comes next we will ask him to look at Lee.

Another little girl was so supposed to join us yesterday but was identified for adoption so she will not come after all.  If only more people would adopt abandoned children!!
Stefi and Maddie finished school yesterday.  They are so happy to be on school holidays.  So am I.  No more getting up at 5.30am every morning.  They start school at 7.20am....ridiculous time!!!!
We have put up our Christmas tree and now we have to find a way to stop Christy from pulling off the decorations.  She has definitely hit the terrible twos.  Yesterday she told me to give her a sweet or she would keep being naughty.  I did give her something...and it definitately wasn't a sweet.
I am also going on a leave for a month and really looking forward to spending some quality time with the girls. I have been so busy this year and at times have neglected my daughters. It's awful to come home at the end of the day and to be asked "Mommy are you staying home now, you're not going out again are you?"  It's the first thing Rebecca asks when she sees me after work.   So for the four weeks we are going to paint pine cones, bake christmas cookies, and make christmas decorations and I can't wait!!!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Tribute to Lisa

For those of you who keep up with my blog you will remember me writing about six year old Lisa.  A very sick little girl who was suffering from HIV, TB and heart disease.  Sadly Lisa passed away on Friday 19 November.  One of my staff, Fleur has written a letter to Lisa whilst sitting with her in hospital.  I was deeply touched by what Fleur wrote and with Fleur's permission would like to share it with you.

Dear Lisa,

Today you are in hospital. As I watch you sleep struggling for each breath, I wonder if you’ve ever had a happy day in your life, a day free from all the pain and misery. How tiny you look, even though you are six years old, your wrist is just slightly thicker than my thumb. What unimaginable pain you must be in. I wish I could do something to ease your pain, but for now all I can do is sit with you and hold your hand. Even though we cannot communicate and we’ve only known each other for a little while, I want you to know that you are so special and for as long as I live, I will never forget you”.

Seeing Lisa through God’s Eyes

Lisa was referred to Yfc through the OI clinic (a clinic which deals counsels and treats HIV / AIDS patients). The message we got was “if you do not take this child, she will die. So I thought then, “of course we will take her”. It was so obvious.

“I was not prepared when I first saw her and to be honest, I was terrified. So many questions popped into my head. Is she contagious? Why is she coughing so much? Will she give me TB and will I get sick? What about my child, and the other babies in the home, the mothers and the other staff members? Her uncle had already been to other places, including a social worker at the hospital and the Social Welfare. He had been turned away from both of them. I asked around for referrals to convalescent homes but there were no answers - no one was prepared to help. All I heard was “We cannot deal with such a sick child” and “we are not qualified to do this”!

I hesitated, I apologised to her uncle and told him we were not in a position to take her. I saw the despair in his eyes as they grew moist. He opened the car door, grabbed her and walked away without saying a word. I turned to Portia. “What do we do?” “No one wants to help this man”.

Together we try to reason. “Open all the windows”, “did you hear the way she coughed”? We can’t risk taking this child! We’ve already had 2 babies die this year and two seriously ill with TB.

I had a nagging thought in the back of my mind. “What would Jesus do?” We went back to the office to talk to Debbie. She confirmed she would fully support whatever decision we made, but I knew she would never turn a child away. Portia got on the phone to tell her uncle to get out of the taxi”.

I asked Buhe to please go and collect Lisa and her uncle. She hesitates, she’s also afraid!! Pull yourself together Buhe! “What would Jesus do”?

“We do end up taking her into our family. Des, wonderful Des, accepts her immediately, but the rest of us still hesitate. She is so sad, so angry, so sick. She fights us all the way. I promise $10 to the first person who makes her smile. Everyone comes to me of course, all claiming to have made her smile, but I don’t believe it. Let me give it a go! I get the camera. “Smile Lisa” I say. ...... she looks at me like I’m crazy. I take the photo anyway. I say to her “look at this dudla mafehlefehle” (fat person) and then she smiles. I get the picture I wanted and show it off to the rest of the staff.

The doctor tells us she has heart failure, her lungs and liver are damaged. She is coughing up blood. To make matters worse, the TB treatment she has been given before she came to us was the wrong medication (her uncle had to walk 7 kms every day to collect it). So now she has to restart the treatment. The doctor also immediately starts her on antiretroviral drugs (ARV’s). We pray it is not too late”.

In her 6 years of life, Lisa has been through what many of us will never go through in a lifetime. She was an HIV orphan, with twin brothers who are also HIV positive, and both have TB.

Her uncle took them into his care when his brother and sister-in-law died. Lisa considered him as a father. Although they lived in abject poverty, their uncle is so attached to them. What pain he must feel.

Many of you reading this may never give Lisa a second thought, but to us she is now a part of our family.

Why does she have to suffer for the mistakes of her parents? Will Lisa ever know what it feels like to ride a bicycle, run a race at school with everyone cheering her on, shouting out her name? Will she ever jump on a trampoline and imagine she can touch the sky? Will she ever get to play dress-up? Will she get to blow out 7 candles on her birthday cake in December?

I don’t know the answer to these questions BUT what I do know is that we are better people for having had the privilege of caring for her. She taught us that mothering a sick child - a child who is HIV positive and has T.B is just the same as mothering a healthy child.

We nourish them and shelter them, we hold their hands for safety and protection and sometimes to just let them know we are by their sides.

“God Bless and protect her Lisa, I will always remember that “first” smile. (dudla mafehlefehle)”

To the two wonderful women Des and Debbie it is an honour knowing and working with them.

How blessed we all are!

Lisa is now safely in the arms of Jesus.

Monday, November 8, 2010

The four children that joined us yesterday are just too sweet.  Four year old Nompilo came into my office for a visit in the afternoon.  She can't speak a word of English and my Ndebele is very limited but we just chatted away anyway.  It didn't seem to be too important that we understood each other.  She is a lovely happy little girl.  There is no doubt that these children have been well loved.  Their father phoned Fleur last night to see how they were doing.  He must be really missing his kids.  The three old is called Thandi (which means "love").  She is also very sweet but is shyer than her older sister.  The twins are a boy and a girl.  The boy is called Sipho and the girl is called Siboninkosi.   Unfortunately their father is not well which means the children could be with us for a long time.  Whilst we can give them all the love and care they need it is never the same as being with your family.

Siboninkosi, Nompilo, Thandi, and Sipho

Sera is back with us.  The family that took her had second thoughts and returned her for a weekend.  However they decided after that, that they did indeed want her.  I was furious and refused to give her back to them.  I feel that if they have had second thoughts in the past they could have them again.  Fortunately I had social welfare's support on my decision.  I am still very upset.  This has never happened before and we must be more diligent to make sure it never happens again.  Sera is a little girl that seems to adjust well to whatever situation she is in but that is beside the point.  It has to be confusing for her!!  My heart aches for her.
It's been sometime since I last wrote on my blog.  Over a week in fact!!  Where have the days gone?

This afternoon four children from the same family joined us.  There are 5 month old twins, and three and four year old girls.  Their mother died about a month ago and their elderly father is unemployed and unable to care for the children.  All the children look healthy and well looked after.  There is also a five year old boy but I believe he is staying with his maternal grandparents.  I can't even begin to imagine how hard it must be for the father of these children to have to hand them over, particularly after losing his wife so recently.

Little Lisa whose photo I posted recently is doing much better.  She was a very unhappy little girl for a long time but seems to have come to terms with the fact that she has to stay with us until she well.  Now she is smiling and much happier.

We were supposed to fast as an organisation last week but so many of my staff, including myself ,were hit hard by a terrible flu that has been going around Bulawayo so we decided to delay the fast until this week hoping that everyone would be feeling much better. If anyone would like to join us in our fast for the Hotel Rio please feel free to do so.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The little girl I mentioned last week in my blog, 6 year old Lisa, arrived on Monday.  She is much sicker than we first anticipated.  We were able to take her to the peadiatrician yesterday who confirmed that she has HIV and TB but also said that she is suffering from pulmonary heart disease.   Her damaged lungs have put so much stress on her heart.  Now apparently the treatment for this heart diseases is sildenafil (aka viagra.)  Yep that's right, viagra, which is very, very expensive.  So I'm at it again.  Always asking for money I know.  But if anyone would like to sponsor the medication for Lisa that would be great.

She is really unhappy at the moment and just wants to go home to her Uncle.  The reason he brought to us is because she is too sick for him to look after.  Please pray for Lisa.

Next week the YFC staff will be having a week long fast for the Hotel Rio.  It will start on Monday and finish the following Sunday evening.  Feel free to join us as we come together before the Lord and petitiion for the Hotel Rio.

Just had a call from Social Welfare to pick up a seven year old litte girl.  She is an orphan and she is also HIV positive.  It is becoming more and more obvious that we will need to establish a small hospice for our sick children.  A place where they can receive good treatment and lots of love.  We need a full-time nurse.  Our mothers don't have the time or the expeience to meet the needs of some of ur sicker children. 

Des is fantastic with the kids.  They come to us sick and usually very dirty and smelly with ringworms and sores and yet Des looks at them through the eyes of Jesus.  She sees a precious child who is beautiful in His sight.  She picks up the children and cuddles them and calms them down.  She brings little toys for them and she makes them feel loved and wanted.  What a pricless gift she has.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Buhe has just informed me that she is 24 NOT 25.  And that the Lord led her to Zimbabe this year and that she really hated the photograph I posted of her so here's another one.  Posted with her approval.  You know what these young people are's all about the image.  My apologies Boo!!

Friday, October 22, 2010

I thought you might like to see some before and after photos of Nothando. The one below was taken whilst she was in hospital,,,the public hospital!!!!. She came out looking like that. After a week we put her into the private hospital where she was diagnosed with TB. She has almost completed her treatment and as you can see by the second photo below she is looking much better and is certainly much happier.


Meet Buhe  (pronounced Bookay).  She joined YFC in September and now has officially become my new PA.  She is doing a wonderful job.  She has been like a breath of fresh air to YFC.  We needed some young blood on staff.   Buhe is 25 and was born and educated in Zimbabwe.  She has been living in the UK for the past few years where she attended Bible College.  Last year she felt the Lord's calling to return to Zimbabwe to serve Him in full time service  We are also grateful to the Lord for bringing her to us.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

In my last post I commented on the number of children we have been asked to take in the past week.  Well yesterday we were asked to take three more.  8 year Dumoluhle (pronounced Doo Mo Loo Shlay) arrived in the afternoon.  He was brought to us by social welfare after  reports were made that his Aunty was physically abusing him.  Dumoluhle is an orphan.  When we told him that we would need to meet with his Aunty to get more information he became hysterical and started sobbing.  One wonders what this little boy has been through. 
Fleur is at the hospital at the moment dealing with the other two cases.  The five year old boy we were supposed to take has been admitted to hospital.  He is HIV positive and is currently on TB treatment.  The six old girl is with Fleur at the moment.  She is also HIV positive and receiving TB treatment.  Fleur has just phoned to ask whether she should bring the little girl to us.  How do I make a decision like that?  I am always worried about bringing sick children into our care.  It's put the rest of our children at risk but how do I say no.  This  little girl is an orphan and desrves to be loved and cared for, just like the rest of our children. At the moment they are waiting for her to see a doctor.  I am hoping they will put her into hospital for the time being.  We will then be able to visit and keep tabs on her progress. 
Fleur has just arrived and has come with the little girl.  Her name is Lisa.  She is also suffering from malnutrition,  We have agreed to take her but can only do so on Monday.  First she has to go back to her village in order to get her TB medication and chest xrays.  Once we have those we can find a clinic in town that will continue her treatment, 
With all the new children coming into our care we are going to need more sponsors?  Anyone out there interested??

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

I have just spoken to a grade one class at Petra Christian School about Australia.  It was great fun.  I made a didgeridoo which I proceeded to play for them.  We ate vegemite sandwiches and then we made some damper, wrapped it around some sticks, built a fire and cooked them over the open fire.  After they were cooked we pulled the dough off the sticks and poured syrup down the middle of them....and the kids ate them.  Each child had to cook their own piece of dough.  Some were burnt beyond recognition but they still enjoyed eating them.
Last week I also spoke at Petra Assembly on the "One in a Million" campaign.  The school was very supportive.  They organised a civvies day last Thursday and each child had to bring one dollar for the privilege of not having to wear their uniform.  We are getting great support from the schools.  This morning we met with the ministry of education who have agreed to give us a letter of endorsement to go into every school and share with them the "One in a Million" campaign.  We want to get as many  Zimbabweans  as possible involved in  this project.  I share with the students what life has been like for many of our children and how their dollar can make a big dfference in the lives many children who have so little.  I am so encouraged by the enthusiasm the children have for this project.
Over the last few months we have had very few new children join us at SJCV.  However in the last week we have been asked to take 2 small children and 4 teenagers...3 of whom are pregnant.  It's always been like this.  Quiet for a while then very busy.  For some reason Christmas is always a busy time and sadly more children are abandoned at this time than at any other time during the year.
Our grade seven are writing their exams at the moment.  These exams are very important.  Without them they cannot enter high school.  Our form four girls start their exams next Monday.  Please pray for these young people.  They have worked so hard.  Passing your O'levels is extremely important in Zimbabwe.  Without them there is very little you can do.

Monday, October 18, 2010

5 year old Nelson and 3 year old Juliet.  They joined us last Thursday after being abandoned by their mother.  She left them in the care of an elderley GreatAunt who is already looking after 8 children.  When it became obvious that their mother was not returning for them, the Aunt took them to social welfare and they were eventually brought to us.  They are really sweet little kids who seemed to have settled in well.  Nelson is very underweight and is going need some fattening up but otherwise they seem to be in good health. 
Also with us at the moment is 13 year old Mercy who is five months pregnant.  It's difficult to get the truth out of this child but it seems that Mercy is pregnant to her boyfriend.  Social welfare have asked us to care for this children until she gives birth.  We don't usually takes cases like this one and so will need the Lord's wisdom in deciding what to do with Mercy.  A lot will depend on her attitude and her behaviour.  At this point I am anticipating that she will not be with us for long!!
We have also been asked to take another 13 year old girl was was raped by her step brother and is now pregnant.  She will probably join us later this week.
I love this photo of Calvin.  He had a sore on his ear and kept pulling off the band aid so eventually we had to bandage his whole head.  He's such a little cutie!!

When you get some time take a look at the following link.   Youth for Christ UK have been so supportive of the "One in a Million" and we are so grateful to Richard Moss for all the work he has put in this project.
And finally a big thanks to Phil and Di for all they did for YFC and especially for our children.  It was very much appreciated.  See you next year!!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

I wrote my on blog yesterday and then accidentally deleted it.  I was so annoyed with myself.  I know many of you are wondering "how did she do a stupid thing like that"?  Well my friends it was not difficult.  Anyway now I am starting all over again.
First I must tell you that Bulawayo has been experiencing a heatwave over the past ten days with temperatures in the low 40's. It's been too terrible.  I have an airconditioner in my bedroom and it is not unusual to wake up in the monring to find all four girls sleeping in my room.
I spent this morning at Willow Park.  It is always so good to spend time with the kids.  Everytime I am there I come away praying that the Lord would make it possible for us to buy Hotel Rio as soon as possible.  I just don't have the time to get out to Willow's just too far and yet I love being with the kids.
Awakiwe is back in town with us for a little while.  She came out of hospital very thin and needs a bit of fattening up.  She is such a great little girl who always has a huge smile on face.
 All our children are doing so much better.  Please keep praying for them.  Because so many are HIV positive they easily catch whatever is going around and tend to take longer than the average child to get over it.
I recently had the amazing privilege of baptising 9 of our girls in the swimming pool at the Sandra Jones Children's Village.  It was very special for me.  I have seen these girls come to us as broken hurting children and I have watched God take the brokenness and turned it into something beautiful.

Sera with her brother Liam

 We had to say good-bye to Sera recently.  Whilst it was really hard to see her go, she has gone to a lovely Christian family and is very happy...and that's what it's all about...finding loving families to love and care for our children.
 Also gone is my darling little Chanelle.  I was so brokenhearted when she left and am really missing her.  However she did go to her Grandparents who seemed to be lovely people.
And last but not least we also had to say good-bye to Ashley who has been reuinted with her mother..  We knew she would only be with us for a short time and yet it is always hard to see them go.
Whilst I have been writing on this blog Fleur has gone into social welfare to collect two small children.  Whilst they were not adnandoned they are unwanted...but not for long.  We want them!!!  More about them tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Today is Maddie's birthday and she is 8 years old.  She was so excited this morning about taking her Hanna Montana cake to school to share with her friends at break time.  We celebrated on Sunday with lunch at Des and Pete's and then afternoon tea in the Matopas.  It was a lovely day all round.  Tonight we will go to Creamy Inn for icecream.  That will really make Maddie's day..  Hard to believe that I have had that little stick of dynamite for 8 years.  She has certainly made all our lives a lot more interesting!!!  Maddie invited her friend Nicky to spend the day with her and the two of them had a wonderful time together. 
A number of our children out at the Village also celebrate their birthdays in September and last week a friend took cake and presents for all the children having a birthday this month.  It was a very special afternoon for the children but especially the birthday kids.  Flora the lady who prepared the celebration wrote in her e-mail to me...It was the most uplifting time for me and I loved every minute of being with them. The twins were delightful! As too, their little sister, in one of the pictures, wearing the ribbon from their wrapping.  Portia was fantastic and guided me through the whole thing. She was so good with knowing all about each child and filled me in on their backgrounds.  I am so grateful to people like Flora Eley who see the importance of making each child feel special.  Flora will do this each month from now on for the children having a birthday in that particular month.

In my last blog I wrote of my sense of well being that all of our children were back with us and doing much better.  Unfortunately that did not last long,  Awakiwe began vomiting on Sunday and we had to take her to hospital yesterday where she was admitted. Because of her status she tends to catch anything that is going around.  She was doing so well so I was devastated to hear that she had taken a bad turn again.  Please pray for her!
The other little ones are all doing well.  I spent some time playing with them this morning.  I always feel refreshed after being with our babies.  They certainly help one keep things in perspective!!

Monday, September 13, 2010

I know I am supposed to be happy whenever someone expresses an interest in adopting one of our children but the thought that one of them may be leaving us is always hard to bear.  Someone came in this morning to see Chanel.  She instantly fell in love with her and if Chanel's older sister is willing to sign her over for adoption then Chanel will be leaving us soon.  My heart is breaking.  I know that I could never take her but at least I get to see her each day.
Joseph is still with us.  He was supposed to go to his Aunt last week but because he was being legally fostered by one of my staff he will have to go court again before we can hand him over.  At first he seemed a bit reticent abhout leaving us and was obviously very shy around his Aunt but he seems to be coming to terms with the situation now and hopefully he will settle into his new home quickly and without any problems.
There is also another family keen on taking 15 month old Liam.  Liam has a 3 year old sister and twin brothers who turned 5 today.  Liam's sister Sera leaves us on the 17th to go to her new foster family and if everything pans out Liam will also be joining a new family soon. 
It's all happening at once and as I said in the beginning I know I am supposed to be happy but having to say good-bye to so many of our babies all at once is going to be very hard.
Little Jacquie finally came out of hospital on Saturday.  She is looking so much better.  Please keep praying for her.  She is still very small for her age and still requires special care.
Whilst I was at the hospital I was able to chat with Jacquie's pediatrician who has agreed to work with us pro bono.  This is wonderful news for us and we praise the Lord for His provision. 
So at last all our babies are back home with us and I have a sense of well-being for the first time in ages.  Thanks to all those who faithfully prayed for me, the minsitry and our children. 
Nothando, Ashley, Jacquie, Susan and Chanel

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

I had a terrible night last night.  Rebecca came into my room around ten o'clock with a raging temperature.  She kept thinking  things were crawling on her and was terrified of the pillow, thinking it was a person.  She kept asking me who was in the bed with us.  I can assure you there was no-one there except Becky and me!!!
Today is bittersweet for the YFC staff.  8 year old Jospeh will be leaving us tomorrow.  He has been with us for two years and has become a firm favourite of everyone at the Sandra Jones Children's Village.  He is always up to nonsense and in the time he has been with he has broken both arms and currently has a big cut on his head.  He is a bit of a daredevil and is always climbing on things and then jumping off. 
Whilst we are all thrilled that he will be going to live with his Aunt now, his smiling face is going to be missed around the village.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

I am thrilled to finally be able to say that at last Nothando is out of hospital and looking much better. She is full of smiles now.   Little Jacquie is still in hosptial but we have been assured that it will only be a matter of days before she is also home with us.  This is Nothando below.
We currently have 5 babies, plus 3 toddlers in our offices and it sure does make for some interesting times.  It is so hard to concentrate when you know that just a few feet away is a baby just waiting for you to come and play.  Awakiwe is back, she has to go to the clinic tomorrow.  She spent some time with us last week and I LOVED having her here.  We would take little walks together each other and she would talk to me in Ndebele and me to her in English but somehow we were able to understand each other.  As you can see by the photo she is a real little character. 

Chanelle is also still with us.  She is eight months old and was staying with me for a while.  She is one of my favourites and I knew that I had to bring her back before she was firmly entrenched in our family and it became impossible for us as a family to hand her back.  Now I have the best of both worlds.  I get to spend as much as time as I like with her but don't have to change dirty nappies and have sleepless nights.
Philip is also still with us.  He is our only little boy at the moment.  He is really spoilt.  It is hard not spoil him....he is just so darn cute!!!
And finally that's little Susan above...she was also very ill but now blooming.  Susan has a terrible temper and wants everything done NOW!  She can really make herslf heard when she is not happy about something.  It's a cry that can wake the dead.
Well that's about it folks.  Time to pick up my daughter from Des' and then go home and cook supper. 

Thursday, August 19, 2010

As per usual it has been some time since I last wrote on this blog.  I can't believe how quickly time flies.  There is so much happening and whilst I think to myself each morning that today will be the day when I will update the blog invariably something else happens to prevent me from doing it.  Yetserday I went to Botswana to try and buy an inverter for the house.  We do have a generator but with the load shedding becoming longer and longer it's becoming too expensive to run the generator.  So now we will use the inverter most of the time and the generator just to cook.  Having said all that the trip to Bots was a waste of time and I ended up buying a cheaper and better inverter right here in Bulawayo...murphy's law!!!
We still have two babies in the hopsital.  Even the doctors aren't sure what is wrong.  They have both had so many tests but each time they reveal nothing.  Many thanks to all who have been praying for our precious babies.  Other than that all our children out at the village are much better.  At this point in time there are no runny times, bad coughs, headaches etc etc etc...praise the Lord.  It sure has been a difficult few weeks and we all need a breather.
I'm back!  I just spent half an hour playing with Awakiwe.  She is one of our newer children and is two years old.  She came to us because she is an orphan and her grandfather was unable to care for her.  She was in hospital for malnutrition,  Awakiwe is a great kid...always happy and has the most infection laugh.  I gave her a caramello bear and she hadn't a clue what to do with her.  I guess it's the first time she has ever eaten chocolate.  She wasn't overly impressed.  Go figure!!!  That's not such a bad thing because unfortunately Awakiwe is HIV positive and therefore sugar is not good for her.  Liam our one year old also had a chocolate..he loved his and then wolfed down Awakiwe's.  Little piggy!!  It's always refreshing to spend time with the little ones.  Helps keep things in perspective. 
Well that's all folks.  Chat to you tomorrow..I hope!!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

I am feeling much better today.  A big thank you to all those who have been praying for me.  I have been very much aware of the Lord's presence in these past few days.  Also many thanks to all those who have given so generously in order for us to pay the staff their July salary.  What would I do without amazing generous friends who are prepared to partner with me in this work.  I CANNOT do it without you!!
God news is that little Jackie, our smallest baby, is now home from hospital.  Unfortunately she is HIV positive and therefore has not been thriving as she should.  However she is a sweet contented little girl and hopefully with some extra care we will be able to get her weight up.  Please pray for her and for the mothers who are caring for her.
Nothando is still in hospital and we are waiting for the doctor to see her.  Hopefully she will be released today and then we will have all our babies back with us. 
Because of the extra pressure put on us over the past few weeks we decided that we should not take any more children for a while.  Everyone is very tired and needs time to catch up!! Having said all that we have had to take three small children were badly beaten by their grandmother and have been asked to take a 4 month old little girl who was abandoned in South Africa.  Family and friends will remember this little girl who they visited whilst they were at the hospital.  My sister Kerri fell in love with her. 
Making the decision on whether to take a child or not is so so hard.  I know we can give the children the love and care they need but in doing so it just adds more and more pressure on to my already overworked staff.  What to do?  God please grant me wisdom!!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

My brother-in-law Geoff has just given me a gentle reminder that it has been more than a month since I lasted posted on my blog.  My apologies.  The last six weeks have been somewhat of a rollercoaster ride.   The highs were certainly the opening of the Sandra Jones Children's Village and having some of my family and friends there to celebrate with me. It was the most amazing day.  We had a huge crowd and our teenagers outdid themselves with their singing and dancing.  The afternoon tea was amazing and the  cherry on top of the cake (pardon the pun) was the incredible cake my sister Kerri made for the event.  You really are an amazing sister Kerri.  (More about the opening in the next blog)
Since then however there has been a series of lows which have left me reeling and feeling pretty depleted.  Obviously having to say goodbye to the my family and friends was really difficult.  When we have to say good-bye in Ziumbabwe it is never for short time and I imagine it will be a good 12 - 18 months before I see them again.  Since then we have had to put four of our babies into hospital with a serious bout of vomiting and diarrehea .  And then three of them ended up with pneumonia.  It has been dreadful watching them all go down so quickly.  On top of that one of my dear friends and a strong YFC supporter was viciously attacked on Tuesday night and passed away in the early hours of Wednesday morning.  And after all that I still have not been able to pay salaries which were due last Monday due to a serious shortage of cash. 
Ii was good to be able to share my feelings with my pastor from Australia this morning and as he prayed for me over the phone I was very conscious of the Lord's peace settling over me like a soft,warm blanket.  Thanks Daniel!!  Your timing was perfect.
If you were to ask me now "what can you do for me" my answer would definitely be "PRAY" ...for our babies, for finances, for the YFC staff and for me personally -  for the Lord's protection and strength as we face this onsluaght from satan.
Finally I am reminded of some words of wisidom given to me this morning..."whilst the mountaintop experiences are wonderful, it is in the valley that we truly grow.'   So..... I will choose to stay in the valley if it will draw me nearer to Him!!

Monday, June 14, 2010

We had the most amazing day yesterday.  The choir from SJCV gave their first public performance at City Presbyterian Church.  They did great and I was so proud of them.  The church even asked them to sing again after the service was finished.  I also got to share a little about the ministry and got some very positive feedback from some of the congregation. 
After church we took the girls back to my place for lunch.  It was so much fun watching them play on the swings, and bikes and trampolines.  Many of them had never been on a trampoline before so it was hilarious watching their reactions when they first got on.  I thoroughly enjoyed the time we spent  and from their faces it was obvious that they also enjoyed themselves. Now they are looking forward to next Sunday when they will sing in the Baptist Church. 

I have been overwhelmed by the response to the "One in a Million" campaign. It's such a simple concept and most people love the idea of being "One in a Million"!!!  It's great that we are getting such a positive response from the Bulawayo Community as well.
Now I am off to SJCV again to do some more practicing with the coir.  Only four weeks to the opening and so much to do!!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Just when I think we have everything sorted out for the young girl staying us who is pregnant her father sends us a message and says if we send her home he will kill her.  This also includes us sending to her to family members.  Now I am very unsure what the next step is.  It's really a tough call.  Would appreciate your prayers for wisdom.
A friend of mine has a ministry called Forever Homes.  We work very closely with her and help each other whenever we can.  She is about to open another home and has offered places for four children.  Her homes can only take up to ten children and it is usually a permanent situation.  Problem is we have a number of children who would thrive in a family situation, it's just knowing who to choose.  At least we have time to pray about it.  The home will only open in the next couple of months. 
Please pray for a couple of our little ones who are not well.  Two year old Ethan has a mouth full of ulcers.  He is a very unhappy little guy.  Ethan is one of my favourite kids.  He is a very quiet, sweet natured little boy and I hate seeing so him so miserbale.  Three old Sara has the same thing..a mouth full of ulcers.  One of the doctors in town has agreed to see the children pro bono so tomorrow we will take them both for a check up.  Hopefully it's nothing serious.  All of our childen were immunised recently for measles so we are wondering if Ethan and Sera are having some kind of side affect from the injection.  Who knows?
Anyway Des is about to call me for supper, roast lamb and veg.  My favourite meal.  Catch you all later.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Bendover Boutique

I have just spent the last few hours with the children at Willow Park.  What an amazing bunch of kids they are and so talented.  They are all working really hard preparing for the official opening on 11th July.  The choir will be singing, there will be traditonal dancing and they will be playing the marimbas which finally arrive tomorrow afternoon.  They asked me if I could delay their bedtime by an hour each day in order for them to be able to practise more.  Hope I wasn't conned into giving them extra time for nothing!!
On Sunday  the choir will be singing in the presbyterian church and I have been given a few minutes to speak about the ministry.  The girls are really excited if not a little nervous about their first public performance.  They have nothing to worry about.  I know they are going to be fantastic.
I spent this morning digging through clothes at the bendover boutique.  This a place where everyone sells their second hand clothing.  There are huge piles of clothing on the ground and one must just bend over and sort through it all until you find what you want.  I have bought 14 pairs of black jeans this way, all for $3 each.  You can get a real bargain if your persistent  enough!!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

This morning all the YFC staff went off to hear Joyce Meyer speak and Darlene Zschech from Hillsong did the praise and worship.  It was such a treat for us.  We NEVER get any of the big names coming to Bulawayo.  Having said all that I didn't even get to hear Joyce Meyer. I had to go back to work before she started speaking.  I was really disappointed!!  But I thoroughly enjoyed Darlene Zschech and I was so impressed by the turnout.  The hall was absolutely packed.  There must have been over 5,000 people there. 
We have finally made a decision regarding the young girl I spoke of in my last post.  She will go to live with her Aunt in Harare.  I will be sad to see her go but I think it's the best thing to do.  She will finish this term with us and then leave in August.  I am glad she will be with us for the opening of SJCV.  She is part of the choir and I have really become attached to all the girls in the choir.
I have finally been given permission to start showing photographs of the place we are hoping to buy as the new centre for SJCV,  It is just so perfect for us.  It is much closer town, has more accomodation, beautiful grounds, a huge area with lots of swings etc, a wonderful underground water supply and best of all lots of offices so we can move the National Office onto the premises and be close to the children.

It's lovely isn't it!!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Decisions, decisions!!

It's a cold, wet, miserable Sunday.  However we have just had pizza with the Addisons and that was great.  Pete makes the best pizza. 
Thanks everyone for the interest in the "One in a Million" campaign.  It's just so encouraging.  After today I am even more certain of the need to bring our children into town from Willow Park.  It is freezing out there.  The kids must  really be suffering,  especially the little ones who always seem to have cold hands and feet.
Another two children were placed in our care on Thursday...15 year Beauty and her 7 month old baby girl .  Beauty was forced to become the younger wife to her mother's boyfriend.  When a neighbour heard about this she reported it to the police and Beauty was removed from this man's home.  He was very angry and  threatened to come after her.  She is in our care temporarily, for her own protection.   Beauty has never been to school and has no idea of her actual age.  When the police first interviewed her she told them she was 19 because she waas scared of getting into trouble.   The police then dropped the charges because she was not a minor.  It's a really messy situation and I am not sure what the outcome will be.  We will have to see.  It's so hard to know what to do with this young lady.  I can't put her into school.  She is too old to be starting grade one, and  the baby complicates matters even more.  We have a few girls with us in similar situations to Beauty.  We will probably put them into a skills training program and hopefully they will  become self sufficient and be able to support themselves and their children.   Whilst the police tell us we will ony have Beauty and her daughter for short time, I know, from experience that it does not work out that way and it's more than likely that Beauty will remain with us until she is 18 years old. 
I have to make another a very difficult decision tomorrow.  One of our girls who has been with us for a few years now is pregnant.  This girl came to us after her father threw boiling water over her. During the last school holidays she went home to her mother, and  that's when she became pregnant.  We called her mother in on Friday to talk to her.  Obviously she is devastated!!  She told us that the reason the father threw boiling water over her daughter was because he caught her with a boy.  The mother is terrified that if we send her  home the father will kill her.  According to her mother he actually has the potential to do that.  I am angry and frustrated and just not sure what to do with this child.  I have never faced a situation like this before.  Your prayers would be greatly appreciated.

Monday, May 24, 2010

My computer crashed!!!

It's been some time since I last wrote.  My computer crashed last week and I had to wait until the weekend for Peter Addison to reformat it.  What a big job!!  Praise God for Peter who not only fixes our computers, he also fixes our cars and everything else that needs fixing.  What would we do without Des and Pete.
Anyway now on to my news.  Firstly I am so excited about the number of frends showing an interest in our "One in a Million" campaign.  I will get back to all of you now that I can go on-line again.  The paperwork is done so you can expect an e-mail from me soon.
This morning Des and I went looking for some children who were living in the park.  A friend had seen them recently scavaging in some garbage bins for food.  We couldn't find them but will keep looking.  She thought one looked to be about six years old.  She said they were both very thin and very dirty.  And certainly not dressed for the cold weather which we are experiencing at the moment.  It's just so sad.
Last Friday we were asked to take a five month old little girl.  She only weighs about 2kg and she is HIV positive.  Her mother died soon after giving birth and her Aunt was looking after her in the hospital, but has now run off to South Africa.  The father of the baby is unemployed and homeless.  We will care for her until we can find another relative willing to care for her.  She is very cute and we have named her Jacquie after our bookkeeper. 
Also last Friday we said goodbye to baby Peter whose circumstances were identical to little Jacquie's.  His mother died and his father was unable to care for him.  We did however find an Aunt who was willing to take him.  I love it when a plan comes together.!!.  We were sad to say goodbye to Peter but glad he now has a home.  It's so hard not get attached to our children.  If I was younger and richer I'd take the lot!!!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

This morning I got an e-mail from Taryn...a friend I haven't met yet. She was so excited about the "One in a Million" idea because the Lord gave her the same idea a few weeks ago. How cool is that!! And what an amazing confirmation for me. I am dying to post photos of the new centre...the one I believe the Lord is going to give us but have to wait until the owners publicly make it know that they are selling it.
The pastor on Sunday said "If your not afraid, your vision is too small". Well I am really scared. Trying to raise one million dollars fills me with absolute terror unless I keep my eyes fixed firmly on Him.
This morning I was out at Willow Park, the current home for the Sandra Jones Children's Village. It's always great to spend time with the kids. They really help you keep a healthy perspective on life. I had morning tea with them, which was tea with bread and margarine. And it was enough. I wonder what my kids would do if I gave them bread and margarine for lunch!!!
There's a little girl out there, her name is Blessing. She is six months old, tiny and very very cute. Her parents are both dead and she was being cared for by her 16 year old sister who was also caring for another three siblings. She just couldn't cope and that's why Blessing came to us. I would love to take her and have to keep reminding myself that four is enough!!! I must just stay away from the babies when I visit the centre. Everytime I go out there I want to take one home. Even my three year old told me today "no more babies Mommy" I just wish all of our children could be adopted into loving Christian homes.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Sandra Jones Children's Village

Hello everyone, I think it’s about time I gave blogging a try. One has to keep up with the times!!! Besides I need advice!! As many of you know YFC has a children’s centre accommodating more than 80 kids. Most of our children are abuse victims and many are HIV positive.
Currently all the children are staying at our camp site. It’s fine for the time being but certainly not suitable in the long term. About two years ago we found what we believed was the perfect property for our centre. It could accommodate more than one hundred children, it has a huge dining room and kitchen, beautiful grounds and it needs no renovation. Having said all that, at the time, it was not up for sale.
We then heard of another property, and whilst it was suitable, it was not as perfect as the first one. We were originally told that there was a strong possibility that we could rent this building. After two years of phones calls, visits and empty promises we were told last week that we could NOT have the property after all. I was devastated. However within minutes we then heard that the first property, the one we originally wanted was now up for sale. Is God trying to tell us something?
I have enquired about the price of purchasing this property and should hear later this week. I do know that it will be at least one million dollars. It’s worth that!!
So we have decided to establish the “One in a million” campaign and are looking for one million people to give one dollar. Can we do it? Never! Can God do it? Of course He can!. We already have three dollars. We only started the campaign half an hour ago! So now we just need $999,997.
If you would like to be involved, and I know you will, then just e-mail me and I will send you a “One in a Million” sheet and you can get started collecting one dollar from all your friends. Get each person who gives to sign their name in one of the boxes on the sheet. Once the sheet is full you then bank the money and mark the transaction “ New SJCV Centre"
I will keep you updated, through this blog, on our progress.
Let’s make this happen. I believe God can do it! Do you?