Dear friends & family,
We are so so grateful to God for each one of you! We have been so aware of your prayers & support over these last weeks as life has stepped up a gear with the arrival of one 7 year old girl & one 16 day old boy to our home. They are both thriving! We got to name the little boy & chose a Xhosa name, meaning ‘beautiful boy from God’ Xhosa names have such rich meanings here. He suits his name & is smiling at the other children in the haven already, whilst only now 3 and a half weeks old. Our resident 7 year old came to us with some health problems, but during a visit to the GP yesterday he commented that her eyes were sparkling & he saw such a big difference in her overall condition since her arrival. This was extremely encouraging! Our prayer is that God also impresses upon the hearts of the doctors and all involved in the children’s cases His compassion & love for them individually, as well as for the children.
The brothers we have living here (6 months & 2 and a half years old) have been with us now for almost a year and so we are expecting movement in their case soon. There has been no movement that we are aware of with the 6 month old girl we have staying with us here, so please can you pray that God makes it possible for her to move on to her forever home soon? We are so aware that whilst life here simulates an extended family dynamic, it is still second best to a loving ‘forever home’ where the child can be part of a parent-child dynamic, instead of a houseparent-child environment.
Our own boys have done us proud once again in these last weeks. Joseph is making firm friends at playschool & Reuben continues to be a very happy, joyful little boy. They are growing up fast! They are both very attentive, inclusive and loving towards each of the children who come into the haven. The flip side of this however, can obviously be confusion when the children move on to their new homes. As Joseph once asked me: “but why can the new mummies & daddies not come to live with us here?” It is a lot to expect a 3 year old and 1 year old to understand & so we pray for insight for both boys & that God would also impart His vision through us to them, of why we are living here.
On a more personal level we have found these last 3-4 weeks very challenging. Thankyou for all of your prayers, as without them I honestly don’t think we would still be choosing to do this! We experience such joy on a daily basis seeing the children realise more of their identity as children of God. More freedom to simply be children, physical, mental & emotional development & also growth of their hearts to be able to receive love. We have also been really trying to press more into Jesus as our only source & hope. We find the daily challenge of learning to live in the tension of being in the middle of 2 worlds really difficult – the haves & have nots.
We have been very challenged recently to stop viewing our lives here through the lens of the natural… focusing only on ‘facts’ & circumstances of the children (& us.) The fact is that faced with the 1.5 million orphaned children in S.Africa, what we are doing here really is just a drop in the ocean. Instead, God has been challenging us to view everything, especially our own lives, through the lens of faith. He only has to say the word & it is done. We want that level of obedience where He only has to say the word & we will follow. Where nothing is too big. Where this mountain of fatherlessness & motherlessness can be thrown into the sea in the presence of that little mustard seed of faith. We know that He has promised us that as we step into this calling, many other spiritual mothers & fathers will follow & begin to pick up the responsibility for these children’s lives, as any parent naturally would. We want to do it supernaturally! We want to see a supernatural mantle of parenthood picked up by countless numbers of spiritual mothers & fathers who are called to love these children as their own, because in all honesty, children’s lives are at stake if we don’t. I love that Jesus said when we welcome a child in His name we welcome Him. This means we get to wash the feet of Jesus every day. What a joy. What a privilege. But yet we still mess up a lot & withdraw from God when things are hard. He is the pursuer, however. He rejoices over us with singing. He quietens us with His love. He takes delight in us. Even when sometimes we are facing the wrong way. So we are praying for more of the gift of faith for us & for more endurance & character to withstand & overcome the hard stuff. (Some of the hard stuff by the way, includes missing YOU!) J
- That God would impart vision to people who ‘come & see’ our lives with the children here.
- More gifting of faith, surrender, endurance & character for us.
- For our boys, a sense of security & identity in God
- For all the Zanethemba children that God’s best-forever-homes-possible would be found for them.
- Praise God that He has given us huge gifts this week of things we needed & hadn’t even asked Him for!!! Please also pray that God would meet all our financial needs, as ‘yearly expenses’ will be due in October.
- Praise God for a valuable visit from Grampa Wes, where we, the caregivers & children were all blessed by his time spent here.
- Praise God for the gift of new friendships made & built upon in these last weeks.
Thanks everyone. We love you all a lot.
Richie, Kate, Joseph & Reuben. x x x x