Collisions & Pools…

The pool, after a week of cleaning!

Last Tuesday our two worlds collided… the shipping arrived.  Joseph’s favourite item is definitely his train track. He was up from 5.30 a.m this morning playing happily playing with it. For Kate & I it was definitely a weird collision of two worlds. There were a number of items we just had to laugh at, as we tried to figure out why we had brought them. Over the last month we’ve got used to sleeping on a mattress on the floor & having very little personal stuff. Seeing everything we shipped over reminded us of life in Belfast, but also highlighted the differences. It’s hard at times to reconcile these things, as we realise again that we have come from incredibly privileged backgrounds. In Belfast we prided ourselves in “living simply”. However compared with the lives of people we are working with in Zanethemba, our simplicity is affluence. We have never had to send our boys to bed hungry, we have always been able to provide for their medical needs & we have always been able to provide a roof over their heads. The danger for us is that we won’t accept God’s goodness & kindness towards us, & choose instead to “do without” as others living around us don’t have. But the truth is poverty is a curse. We need to work with God to bring about an end to poverty, both spiritually & physically, but meanwhile not slip into a poverty mentality. We are living simply here & we are loving the freedom that comes with that. Thanks to all those who are supporting us financially & spiritually as we get to work with those who are in great need, providing both spiritual & practical help. We could not do it without God & you! Thank you so much…

Over the last month we’ve learnt about the different cultural values we are living amidst. We have started asking questions about the big festivals; Christmas, New Years, Birthdays & so on. It turns out that New Years is typically spent at the beach (in Xhosa culture). Every year however, people tragically drown as many cannot swim. Because of this we want to make sure that as many of the children as possible who come through Zanethemba leave with a basic level of swimming. We have found that all the kids staying with us at the moment, not only can’t swim, but also have a fear of water. So we are currently trying to clean the pool. We have spent hours scooping a years worth of rotting leaves from the bottom, we’ve treated it to try to clear the water & we have finally reached the stage shown in the picture. There are no longer toads, mozzie larvae, beatles, or tadpoles living in the pool. It’s finally at the stage where we can begin to call it a pool instead of a pond…

We’ve been taking opportunities to pray with the kids, and since the piano has arrived to worship together. The kids are learning that they too can hear God & experience Him for themselves & have been praying for one another before bedtime… it is always lovely to see the shock on their faces when God answers those prayers! We really do  pray for each of them that they hear God speak new names over each of them… not “abandoned, abused, neglected or orphaned” but “confident, wise, gifted, overcomer, beloved, chosen, child of God”. It is such a privelege to see their childlike faith grow & to see a hunger in their hearts to know him. Joseph has been asking more questions about God recently & has been praying with us also at bedtimes & showing way more hunger to read the bible than ever before, so thankyou for praying for him! Reuben just constantly loves people around him… 24/7! He’s always smiling & rarely cries. Our prayer for him is that his joy would grow & grow, that both boys would be the best receivers of his love & that it would be the Lord’s joy over Reuben that would be the strength of his heart.

Thankyou so so much for your prayers for us in this season of transitioning & learning lots of new things. We want to take more opportunities to pray also for the caregivers we work alongside every day, so we’re praying for good relationships with those amazing ladies & it has been lovely to see those relationships deepen over the last month. Gert & Eline have also helped hugely in us settling & we’ve felt a real love for them as we endeavour to focus on these kids & seeing the Kingdom come in their lives, together in unity with our project managers & friends. They are outstanding & we thank God for them & all that they’ve sacrificed for this vision!

For the King & his Kingdom,

Richie & Kate.

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