a new thing (again)…

Feeding the chickens

A lot has changed in the haven these last few weeks. We’ve said goodbye to three of the six children who welcomed us to Zanethemba. Its a definite bitter sweet thing. It’s hard saying goodbye to the children we have been looking after, living with, loving, and generally just doing life with together. They saw us at our best & worst moments. The moments we were missing home, & the moments we all decided to dance ridiculously around the living room as a family on Christmas day. We miss them terribly. Saying goodbye was heart wrenching, but reminded us that this is why we do this. To provide children with the space & time needed to find the right forever-home for each of the children in our care. We’re so grateful that a home has been found where the three can live together as one family along with 3 other children & one fostermom (amazing lady!) These children had been living in Zanethemba for around a year & a half, during which time it seemed impossible to find a home that could keep the family together. But just as it looked like they couldn’t be kept together, God opened a door for them to move into a wonderful home that will provide for all they need. A short while before they moved Kate overheard the youngest sibling (four years old) singing: “Jesus is my home… Jesus is my home…” over & over. When Kate asked her where she’d heard that song before, she replied: “the Lord sings it over me when I’m in bed at night. He doesn’t sing it to me during the day…” so He really does rejoice over us with singing! Hearing this from a 4 year old really helped us in saying goodbye. It reminded us that we only get the privilege of looking after these children for a short time, but God looks after them forever. He’s the Father to the fatherless & heaven help anyone who gets in His way 😉 It reminded us that we weren’t just letting these children go on their own to a brand new home that we believed was the best for them but didn’t really know that much about. We were releasing them from our care back into His. This is something we’re learning (especially with our own 2), that we must do every day.

We are now preparing to welcome in new children as & when they come. We’re taking the opportunity to sort through donations, get some much needed garden work done & go through the mountains of clothes that are piled in every cupboard space. We pray & worship as we do this asking the Lord to really fill every square inch of every room in this house with His presence. It is slightly daunting “waiting”. We have no idea of what will happen next, but we know that it will stretch us. We know that God is going to use whomever comes next to change us, transform us, to draw us closer to Him. He has been speaking to us lately about brokenness…

… so we started writing this blog 4 days ago & meant to finish it the next day. We are learning that we can never rely on tomorrow looking like what we “think” it will look like! Three days ago we had a meeting with our managers who informed us that to the best of their knowledge over the next few days we might have a new child arrive at the haven, a 60% chance. Well, on the fact that they said it is more likely to happen than not, they were right. 5 hours later the child & their social worker arrived unannounced at our front door. We would not have managed to get through the last few days without their support & wisdom: Gert & Eline you guys are AMAZING!! Life instantly stepped up a gear. Welcoming & settling this precious child into the haven, rearranging the bedrooms to provide for her needs, trying to make sense of her story, supporting all the other children in the house as they adjust to having a new friend & housemate. It has been change all round. Then yesterday a simple miss-communication between powers to be, meant that her social worker arrived again at our gates saying the child had to leave, as the judge had not granted an order for her to stay with us. Once again Gert’s experience was able to quickly identify where the issue was and to get it resolved. She got to stay with us! But the whole experience has left us feeling emotionally wiped.

We are so grateful that we (& you in supporting us!) get to be a small part of God’s rescue plan for these children. The last few days have been tough in every respect but they have left us knowing that there is nothing we would rather do than follow this calling God has placed on our lives. When we were dreaming about this call before we arrived here, we never dreamt how hard it was going to be. We literally have to “die” to ourselves everyday, take up our cross & follow Him.

“Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. 12 After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.” (1 Kings 19: 11-12) Though all the earthquakes, storms, and fires that have happened over the last few days, God’s gentle whisper has constantly reassured us. We are left changed and transformed! He is the God of more than enough. He wants this little girl to live with us in order that she can encounter the Father’s love for her. She experienced a trampoline for the first time yesterday & slightly nervous at first, sat on it watching Joseph bounce. Laughing she counted his bounces & tried not to topple over… fun. Just as it’s meant to be for a 7 year old little girl! What a privilege to see this. She is loving getting to do all the “firsts” in the house… she likes music a lot & enjoys playing the drum. We are incredibly proud of our boys & the haven babies & 2 year old for how they have welcomed this child. Thankyou so much for joining with us in making this possible. We wish each one of you could experience for yourselves the joy of living here, but who knows… maybe one day? In the meantime, your prayers have been a lifeline… your support imperative. Thankyou, thankyou, thankyou. x

Prayer Letter 07/02/12

Hello all!

Sorry that this update is so late. Things have certainly been busy over the last weeks since Christmas time & as we know it is also with you guys who are all busy people – the time has flown by!

So we currently have 3 siblings who will be moving on to a “forever foster home” mid February. We are excited about this & have been helping them to choose photographs, make memory books, drive them to  their brand new school, (that is 5 minutes walk away from the new house but 40 minutes drive from where we live) & generally just prepare for this next season in their lives. We are also viewing their move with sadness. Over the last four months we have grown to love these children dearly & we are not looking forward to saying goodbye. They will be missed greatly. God has worked a great miracle providing this new home & school for them. Once again He has opened the right door when it was most needed. Thank you all so so much for praying for them!

We continue to settle into our role as house parents. Over the next month we face the challenge of not only saying “good bye” but also saying “hello”! With the siblings moving on there is going to be room in the haven again, so we will be gearing up to welcome new children in. This could happen the same day the children move on, or weeks after, but what we do know is that they will be coming from a traumatised background coming into a very different setting with people they don’t know. In the past, new children have actually been afraid of our managers, Gert & Eline, simply because they are white. It will be our role to navigate all the possible pitfalls & try to make their arrival as positive as possible… we will need God’s wisdom & a lot of His love!

The last four months have been filled with extremes & have been very tough. Every time we have felt like we have settled a bit something has come along or happened to show us how far we are out of our depth, & how different life now is. At times it has felt like we have been mourning our “old” life, missing family & friends, missing a “9 to 5” job, missing the community we had in BCV & so on. For so long we had a dream of what we wanted to do, but we never thought it would be as hard as it has been at times. Through the challenges however God has been incredibly faithful & patient. Slowly but surely He is building up community around us.

We recently became friends with a couple who have 2 boys (4 & 2 years old) & they have encouraged us so much. Not only is it wonderful to see our own 2 boys make friends with people who won’t be moving on anywhere in the near future, they also recently encouraged us by saying: “Jesus wants us to become one with Him. With that we must have the courage to face the pain He sees in our society, knowing that we will then see His glory break forth when captives are set free.” Just simply being reminded that we are going to see His glory, has been so encouraging to both of us. Our challenge is to experience His presence daily & then bring those around us into those God encounters that they don’t even know they’re looking for. Isaiah 60 says: “ darkness covers the earth & thick darkness is over the people, but the Lord rises upon you & His glory appears over you.” Reading this gives us great confidence in Him again. Thankyou all of you, for your life-giving, life-sustaining, God-breathed prayers. He hears & He is answering. Come Holy Spirit!

Please pray for;

  • Praise God for the 3 siblings’ new home and school.
  • A healthy transition for the siblings to their new home, that God would give us wisdom to know how to help navigate them through all the emotions & resurfacing pain they are experiencing.
  • That God would guard our hearts as we say good bye to these wonderful children.
  • That God would bring comfort to Joseph as he says goodbye to his new friends, & provide both him & Reuben with more permanent P.E friends in playschool/church etc.
  • That God would give us wisdom in how to welcome new children into this home.
  • Thank God for the godly, intentional, friends in SA that he has brought into our lives.
  • Please thank God for His presence with the children here & for the volunteers who we know are impacted when they come to give time & energy here.
  • That God would provide for all our needs, spiritual and physical.

Thank you so much for your love, support and prayer

Love the Cathcarts