Dear all, hmm. I have been putting off updating this blog as it is always tricky to know where to begin… there have been so many changes in us and in Zanethemba, the place we only now after 7 months feel we can call ‘home’. (We still refer to Ireland as home too though 😉
The word hope hangs on our bedroom door… to remind us at the beginning of the day that God’s plans for us & for each of the kids are to prosper us, to give us a future and a hope. Our prayer is that God will give us, the body of Christ, “hope big enough for the whole city” (Alan Scott). Romans say this: “we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. We also rejoice in our sufferings because we know that suffering produces perseverance, perseverance character, & character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit…” How beautiful that God can create hope out of suffering! Only He could ever do something that beautiful. It’s our prayer for each of the children in the haven, but also for our own lives as we share in what it really means to leave close friends and family… people who have invested in us & have loved us for years. We miss you all daily, and as today was a day off, I was thinking about all you folk from home & how we miss you so much. It can feel at times like we live in a city of strangers, and I was feeling a bit sorry for myself today in this respect & said to God “I just want to bump into someone that I know! Or else someone I can make friends with!” and then this evening we bumped into a family on the beach who we’re getting to know through Joseph’s playschool, & I was so amazed at how God knows our hearts & exactly what we need, in the exact moment we need it. I needed familiarity, friendly faces & the promise that although making new friends is a slow process in a new city, that we are making progress. God loves friendship. It’s his heart.
We had a meeting with our managers this week and prior to this I felt God ask me “what are your hopes for you and your family, in Zanethemba?” These were my answers:
1. That within 5 years of living in Port Elizabeth we will understand every aspect and every role of running a haven, with the vision of seeing more established.
2. That Port Elizabeth will be known as a city holding more families willing to welcome children at risk into their own homes, than there are children at risk.
3. That Zanethemba will be a resource to other churches/havens on how to take in, care for and love children.
4. That Zanethemba would develop a reputation for children getting healed emotionally, physically, mentally, spiritually, and restored to maximum health.
5. That every child, caregiver, visitor, volunteer, health professional, administrator, social worker involved in the childrens’ care, would have Holy Spirit reveal to them the heart of the Father, and the fact that they are well loved sons and daughters of the King. Royalty! 🙂 Created in His image for His purposes. That they would know their identity as such, and that nothing would be impossible for them because of who their Father is.
6. That the wider church would grasp “whatever we do for the least of these, we do for Him” and that as His hands and feet we would be immovable in our resolve to do what we can for children at risk, whilst we still can.
7. That there would be a national response in every nation to motherlessness & fatherlessness. (Right now, only as we happen to be living in South Africa, we want this to happen in S.A, but it’s not about the location. It’s about seeing an end brought about, to motherlessness & fatherlessness among the nations.) That this response would be trailblazed by the church, in reaching and raising up every dying part of society, for the sake of the Kingdom.
8. Our hope for Port Elizabeth is Isaiah 54: 11-14:
“O afflicted city, lashed by storms and not comforted, I will build you with stones of turquoise, your foundations with sapphires. I will make your battlements of rubies, your gates of sparkling jewels and all your walls of precious stones. All your sons will be taught by the Lord and great will be your children’s peace. In righteousness you will be established: tyranny will be far from you; you will have nothing to fear. Terror will be far removed; it will not come near you.”
We had the privilege of accompanying a friend around an area of P.E where there have been many murders and crime due to gang warfare. We got invited into peoples homes and had opportunities to minister to folk there. It was so humbling as many had lost loved ones, but the most amazing thing is that God is transforming that community & now many gangs are talking through how they are going to hand over their guns. Many teens have been shot due to mistaken identity. Some of the kids we have had in our haven have come from areas like these ones, and so it was good for us to see the “bigger picture”… but more importantly, our friend and his team have been praying and serving in these areas since 1998 & now finally they’re seeing the fruit of their labour. This is hope in action! This hope does not dissapoint! Lord may our vision as your body, always be hope-filled & never circumstance-filled. Give your church perseverance, character and hope in abundance as she pursues you, regardless of the personal cost. Because your hope changes the world and brings life wherever it is experienced! amen 🙂 x