Happy 2012!! 🙂 Firstly… please excuse the cheesy-ness of this video… it was the only “semi-decent” version of this particular song we could find, although I know it will not be to most people’s taste! It’s an old vineyard song that was sung to me many years ago, & I sing it over the kids when they’re sleeping. I love that we get to declare the children’s identity as friends of God: confident children, faithful, joyful & pursuers of the most high King. It also speaks to me of the movement of Jesus, that He not only stays the same as He’s has been, He also moves… & we must follow. Jesus never stays in the one spot. He moves towards the last, the least & the lost, He changes their name & we must do nothing else other than follow his lead to these beautiful ones.
We have found ourselves counting the cost (again) of late. The truth is we miss family, friends & people who are already more than 100% invested in us, more than we thought possible… yet, through all of this rollercoaster of emotion, Jesus is quietening us with His love, telling us to “love the one in front of us” & challenging us that the picture is bigger than we can see right now. Just this week we had a couple interested in fostering children longterm, come to see the zanethemba house. I was reminded once again that what we do here is not only affecting the 6 children we serve in this haven, but also the community as they “come & see” what family life with these children looks like. We are privileged & humbled & in awe that Jesus would trust us enough to love on these kids.
We don’t in any way however wish to “romanticise” what life is like here. It is just like family. High points & low points, moments of absolute joy & honour, & others of “O God, O God, O God… help!” We do not wish in any way to appear superhuman, super-selfless, or super-spiritual! We are none of the “supers…” ! We’re going through all of the challenges that come with bringing up our own children in an extended family environment. Just the other day I brought one of our Zanethemba children to buy some new underwear that they badly needed & within an hour of getting home was met by an angry sibling demanding to know why they hadn’t been bought new underwear. This sibling had got new underwear several weeks before & the situation I was now in, showed me that these kids have such a poverty mentality. If one receives anything at all without the other receiving the exact same thing at the same time, it is deemed problematic. All this sibling really needed in that moment was to feel loved, secure & prioritised. We are so aware of the fact that only Jesus can do this & only He can bring healing to that “survival instinct” of getting as much as you can.
We pray for the kids every night that they will receive “revelation of sonship”. That they are the sons & daughters of the most high King & that therefore they are royalty. That it is their birthright to know they are loved, at all times regardless of what they either do or do not “get”. This revelation however, seemingly requires us to fight for it. Our prayer for 2012 is that each & every child will indeed discover their “new name”, given to them by their Father in heaven, who cherishes them & sees them as the “apple of His eye”. I love the mystery of heaven that every believer gets to live like they are His “favourite” & that His banner over them is love. (Song of Songs 2:4).
When we started this blog, we called it “a new thing” as we were focusing on the move from Ireland to start our journey in Africa. Focusing on more than this seemed too big. We had no idea how apt this title would be once we had arrived & were to continue living in Zanethemba. It feels like everyday there is something new! Everyday we are seeing God “making a way in the wilderness & streams in the wasteland”. Everyday we are seeing God provide food, clothes & love for these wonderful children. It is an honour & a privilege to live this life, the life God has called us into.
2012 is going to be an amazing year filled with both the highs & the lows, the excitement & frustration, the privilege & the cost that goes with this life and calling. Over the next few months we expect to say good-bye to all the children we currently look after, love, & spend our life with. As the children leave we will be welcoming new children, loving them, treating their medical needs, & coming face to face with the challenging backgrounds these children have. In 2012 we are hoping and praying that the capacity to take children in, will go from 6 to 10. Please pray for this, as there are queues of children in the hospitals, children on the streets fending for themselves, children who need to be taken out of situations of abuse & neglect, all of whom desperately need some where to be safe & looked after, where the love of God & His healing power can impact their lives. These children desperately need more spaces in havens like this one.
We not “special”. God has a unique plan & calling for every life. There is no-one surplus to requirements. His Kingdom needs everyone to step up into the areas He is calling them. It could be with your school friends/work colleagues, your local church, your neighbourhood… the list goes on. Kate & I are no more or no less “missionaries” now, than when we lived in Belfast doing “9 to 5 mundane jobs”. We still have our fair share of the “mundane”… every life does. But the challenge for us is to see it with the viewpoint of the Kingdom of heaven, which is always to bring people into the abundance of life that He offers.
Our prayer for you all in 2012 is that God draws you in that magnetizing way that only He can, into His purposes. May you lay hold of all of them & may we be filled with hunger for more of Him & more of the areas we have influence over being brought into His life. Thankyou each of you for all of your support, prayers & love. We are deeply appreciative & thankful for your lives.
Richie, Kate & boys. xxxx