We have been in South Africa for nearly two months now. We can’t believe that we have been here for so long & at the same time we can’t believe we have been here for such a short time. So much has happened it is hard to believe that it can be fitted into just 2 months!
We’ve had the same 6 children living with us since we arrived in Zanethemba (& our own 2!) It has been amazing to have God increase our hearts to accommodate the love He has for these children. They are such wonderful people it is easy to forget what they have been through. We have had the privelege of watching as God answered their prayers that even we thought would go unanswered, & as God’s lavish love has opened their hearts more & more to Him.
All the children in Zanethemba are placed here due to their home backgrounds. Due to confidentiality & the ongoing nature of the cases we cannot divulge any details about the children, however since Zanethemba started they have had children placed here due to neglect, abuse, abandonment & children having been orphaned. The children stay with us until their case has been resolved by social workers & the courts. In the past children who have lived here have been adopted, fostered, reunited with family or have gone to a children’s home. Each of the children currently staying with us need God to move on their behalf. These children need miracles.
Before we came out here we knew it was going to be hard hearing the individual stories etc. We reassured ourselves that if we didnt find it incredibly tough at times, then surely we were the wrong people to be doing this. But we were completely unprepared for the reality. Yes we’d read the books & heard the stories. We had even met some children from similar backgrounds. But it did nothing to prepare us for being primary carers for these children as we have grown to love them. We haven’t only heard stories of the children’s past, but are constantly confronted with it through family visits, the reactions of the children to everyday things that trigger memories, & driving through some of the areas that the children are from. Nothing prepared us for the number of tears that have been shed, or the frustration of injustice that has been felt.
Desperation & poverty slap you in the face every day in South Africa. From the people begging at the traffic lights, the houses built from scrap, to the people who knock at the front door asking for help. Jesus has been our anchor & rock, without Him we would not even have lasted even this long. He has supported us & guided us at every turn. He has shown us a little bit of His heart for these people, & even that amount was unbearable. They desperately need Jesus & His hope. It feels like we are doing so little in the face of the poverty & desperation that we see everyday. Without Jesus the need would have swallowed us up by now, but He is our guide, our support, our source, we endeavour to only do what we are called to do. Up until now whenever I read Matthew 9: 37-38 “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. 38 Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” I did not realise the urgency & truth in these words. Now it is the cry of our heart.
We know that during the O’Halloran’s prayer meeting for us, folk prayed that the kids would experience God through answers to bold prayers… 2 of the older kids asked God for laptops recently (we laughed!) The very next day we got a phonecall from church to say that 2 kids laptops had been given specifically for these children, so they could learn some computer skills & play educational games etc. He really is an extravagant God! We’ve also had the privelege of seeing 5 of the kids (all those who can talk!) ask Jesus to be their friend & to fill their hearts with his love & holy spirit. The kids have also been learning how to pray for each other & it has been lovely to see them step out in doing that. Now that the piano has arrived, we’ve enjoyed some time worshipping & Kate has really been enjoying the chance of getting to sing over the kids as they fall asleep… we also had a lot of fun this week building the kids up by asking them to come up with 4 positive adjectives that describe each child living in the haven. We then made a poster with these adjectives written beside each child’s name. It was lovely to hear the caregivers come up with suggestions & the kids fight/agree over who should be given which description! 🙂
At this time could you please pray for:
- Praise God for His faithfulness & provision…
- The children in the haven, that God would provide loving families for each of the children.
- That God would heal the three children who currently have scabies
- That God the “Lord of the harvest” would call more workers to the harvest.
- God’s protection for us & our boys against sickness & spiritual attack
- God’s wisdom as we step into the leadership role God has brought us here to carry out.
- That God would help us to navigate missing friends/fam.
- God’s authority in our lives when it comes to prayer & intercession…
- The children & caregivers that they would experience more of God’s love & power.
- That God would continue to help both boys process what it means to live here.
- That intimacy with Jesus would always be our focus & vision…
Thank you for your time & prayers,
Richie, Kate, Joseph & Reuben