Wednesday, February 23, 2011

January/February 2011 Newsletter

Dear Friends

Today I am feeling like a great weight has been taken off my shoulders. I finally had the courage to resign as the National Director. This has been something I have wanted to do for some time and have been praying that the Lord would raise up the right person for the position. I have always felt like a square peg in a round hole and totally ill-equipped for the position. Having no business management skills meant that most of the time I didn’t know what I was doing and if it wasn’t for my amazing staff I think I would have failed long ago.

The new National Director will be Sheunesu (aka Sharky Masuka). I have known Sharky for the past 20 years and he has been sitting on the National Board for the past two years. Sharky has always been interested in YFC and when I first came to Zimbabwe he was one of the volunteer staff. Sharky is married to Susan and they have a 9 year old son called Micah. They attend the same church as me which is the Bulawayo Baptist church.

Sharky is really excited about taking on this new position and I believe he will be a brilliant National Director. Not only does he have the necessary business skills he also has excellent people skills as well.

This does not mean that I have resigned from YFC. It just means that I will only hold one position now - Director of the Sandra Jones Children’s Village.

So how do these changes affect me? Mostly it means that I can now concentrate all my time on the SJCV ministry. There is still so much that needs to be done!!

I have had a lot of pressure from the junior schools around Bulawayo to resurrect Kids Kan. I still believe it is a wonderful program but the thought of doing it without Sandra has always held me back. I believe the time has now come to get back into it again and will be joining forces with Jenny Hensman, a friend of mine from England, who is also single and is fostering 3 children. Jenny is amazing with children and I know I am going to love working with her. Jenny also knew and loved Sandra and will do a wonderful job filling her shoes.

It seems that the Lord may also be leading me back into counseling. I am getting more and more requests from schools and parents to counsel children. I will take it slowly and see how it goes. It is a very time consuming ministry and can be very draining. That’s why I gave it up in the first place!!

The number of children at the “Village” is forever increasing. We reached an all time high recently with 90 children in our care. The need to move the children into town in order for them to be nearer schools and medical services is great. We continue to pray that the Lord will provide the money for us to purchase the Hotel Rio and are also still praying that one day St Josephs will be ours. Our long term vision is to accommodate our girls at the Rio Hotel, and our boys at St Josephs and that St Josephs would also be a hospice for terminally ill children. Big dreams heh! Hudson Taylor said “Attempt great things for God and expect great things from God.” And we DO expect great things from the Lord. However the day to day battles can be demoralizing and we wait and wait and wait for these things to come about.

I was recently out at the “Village” doing choir practice with the children. After we finished we prayed as we always do. However this time it was different…the girls really prayed. I had shared how desperate our financial situation was at the time. That evening the Lord blessed us with $1,400. The girls were blown away to see such an amazing and timely answer to their prayers.

I am so grateful to all our supporters who pray and encourage us and just keep on giving.

Family News

Rebecca started pre-school this year. I was very worried about how she would take to it but am happy to say that she is loving it. Christy cries almost every day now and can’t wait to go to school with Rebecca. She hates being left behind every morning. She is only three but is a very bright little girl and recently said to me “I can see your lips moving Mom but all I am hearing is blah blah blah!!”

Stefanie continues to thrive at school. She is still very involved and plays in the school tennis team, plus does team and club swimming. She also sings in the choir and is learning piano and violin.

Maddie has settled down nicely into grade 4. She loves her teacher and is working hard. Maddie is passionate about dancing and does both acrobatic and modern dancing. She is also in the school choir and in team swimming.

As you can imagine I am kept pretty busy with four little girls but it is such a joy to see them happy, healthy and growing up to love the Lord Jesus.

And now over to Fleur

And then came Hope and Joy….When a child dies a piece of you dies with them. I felt as if I had no more “pieces” left to give away after the death of three of our children last year. Maybe if I distanced myself and no longer formed bonds with any of the children my job would be easier…then the call came! Congratulations…you have twins – two beautiful baby girls born on 20 December 2010. Early this month we welcomed them with open arms. I have once again found Hope and Joy!!

The twin’s mother died 2 days after giving birth to them and unfortunately no-one knows who their father is. Since their mother was HIV positive the babies are currently on the ARV drugs as a precaution, while we await the result of the HIV test.

Hope and Joy

Fleur and Joy
 And now look at what the Lord has been doing with some of our other babies.

Philip is running around everywhere now. Jacquie and Nothando are back to full health after their long battle with tuberculosis and Susan has  firmly entrenched herself as “Queen Bee” in the babies home.



And the good news is that Debbie has now allowed me to name some of the babies. Below is our newest addiction born to an underage mother. Her name is Hannah and she was born on 13 February.
Even our general workers have to help with feeding sometimes. Below is Chris with Michaela. Michaela joined us recently after being abandoned by her Mother.

Chris and Michaela



Now it’s Buhe’s turn

Sponsorship & Fundraising matters

This past month has been challenging and yet very exciting! The One-in-a-Million project towards purchasing the Hotel Rio is progressing well. We have been into 4 primary schools here in Bulawayo and between the four we have raised close to US$2,000. We have now been given permission to go into all the government schools in the region as well so we’re hoping to raise more funds in the near future through the One-in-a-million.

Thank you to all our supporters overseas who have contributed to the One-in-a-Million! Your support is very much appreciated!

I have also come up with “Teas That Make a Difference.” This is a fundraiser which you can do from the comfort of your own home. All it involves is inviting a few friends over for tea and cake and then talking to them about the work SJCV is doing in Zimbabwe. We already have some ladies who have expressed an interest and I look forward working with them on this. If you would like to get involved with these teas please email me:

We are very grateful to all our sponsors who continue to sponsor the children month in and month out. Without your financial sacrifice it would be next to impossible for us to take care of these children. We need you every step of the way!

We had some donations from various individuals too that have covered specific needs at just the right time. We’ve had many financial challenges since the beginning of this year but the Lord always provided just on time. And we thank you for your generosity and above all we thank the Lord for His faithfulness in always looking after His children and making sure they are always taken care of.

We do still however, have about 20 children who are unsponsored and this is mainly due to the fact that since the beginning of this year we’ve had children coming in almost every day from the police and/or social welfare. We do however appreciate the present economic climate worldwide.

We have received donations of food and clothes from a local primary school where the children are encouraged to donate food items or clothing on a designated “Missions Day.” We were so grateful for these donations.

A local church, donated boxes of rice and soya meat to SJCV. The church gets the donations from “Feed My Children” in America and then they distribute it where they see a need. We were very grateful for this donation as well.

So all in all it’s been a challenging beginning to the New Year but I trust that as we continue faithfully to provide a place of love, hope and safety for these children, the Lord will continue to provide.

God Bless!

Buhe Pilime

Sponsorship Co-ordinator

And finally Thina’s chance to share!

For some reason we always seem to get a lot more children at Christmas time than at any other time of the year and this past Christmas was no exception. In the past two months more than a dozen children have joined the SJCV family. Each with an incredibly sad story to share! After a while one gets used to hearing about the despicable things done to the children and each time your heart seems to get a little harder. However, every now and then one child really gets to you. Her story is able to break the hard shell we build around our hearts to protects ourselves and we are back to square one – where we feel intense rage and frustration. This is how I felt when 6 year old Panache and her 3 year sister Sipho joined us. These two little girls were living with their mentally retarded mother. She was unable to care for them and the girls were left to fend for themselves. They were repeatedly abused by different men in the community until social welfare was made aware of their situation and they were brought to us. Sipho has not spoken at all since joined us in January. Panashe on the other hand is a bright happy little girl with a smile that lights up a room! She is already thriving now that she knows she is in an environment where she is loved and accepted and safe!!

Well my friends this newsletter is now coming to an end. Can you believe I had to do it twice after mistakenly closing the program without saving it!!!

In closing let me highlight some of our biggest prayers needs.

1) Finances (always finances!!)

2) Hotel Rio – we are now desperate to move from Willow Park. Over Christmas we were without power for more than a month. Because there was no electricity there was no water because power was needed to run the borehole pumps. It really was a desperate situation!!

3) The “one in a million” campaign

4) The children at SJCV

5) YFC staff and their families

6) For our new National Director

7) And finally please pray for Tanyaradzwa who is in hospital at the moment. She is only 9 and the doctors are still not sure what is wrong with her.

Thank you again for standing in the gap for us.

In His service

Sandra Jones Children’s Village


  1. How wonderful that you are able to concentrate on SJCV, rather than the wider YFC! we are really pleased for you! I will pray that God will be your guide in deciding about counselling, it is so important and also so draining.
    Its lovely to read about your girls, and also about the babies - thank you, and also thanks to Fleur, Buhe and Thina.

  2. Oh Debs, I am so glad for you. I know Sharky's enthusiasm and love for the work....What a wonderful person to fill your large shoes. Don't downplay your steering of YFC for all these years Debs. God has used you in AMAZING ways and I am so incredibly proud of what you have visioned and given birth to....BUT I do agree that your real talents have been in ministry and I am so glad that you can leave the administrative side to someone like Sharky who will be brilliant in that role and you can give from your abundance. Jenny will be great at Kids Kann, too. Every day I sigh and wish and pray that I could be more of a part in what is happening. How I envy Kev and Sue.....This is my year to work on things here....I just don't feel I could be away from you beautiful people much longer...I WILL return!!! Now you may have time to get onto Skype!!!!

    Love you and my love to all there. I miss you all so much