Dearest friends & loved ones,
We hope this letter finds you all well, having enjoyed some quality time with friends and family over Easter. Joseph & Reuben enjoyed bouncing on their beds on Sunday morning, amid shouts of “Jesus is alive!!!” propagated by us 😉 We had a great time with the Cathcart extended family down in Dublin & loved getting to celebrate our niece turning 2 & an early celebration of Richie’s 30th.
A lot has happened in the last couple of months, some of it disappointing, but mostly exceptionally good! We picked up our family visas from the S.African embassy last week (woohoo!) Thankyou, each of you, for standing with us in this ongoing season of preparation for a return to S.Africa. We unfortunately haven’t established a strong enough base to leave from & so have had to postpone our date of departure to S.Africa. We will look at a departure date when we have things with the charity up & running, as well as reaching sufficient monthly revenue to sustain this kind of project. We are currently in the process of applying to various funding bodies to help with this.
Our partnering church Infinite Life informed us last month that the S.African law has recently changed, stipulating that all registered places of safety have a houseparent with permanent S.African residency, to hold legal responsibility over any vulnerable kids placed in haven care. Long term we hope to eventually gain S.African residency, however as we are only entitled currently to volunteer visa status, this means we are looking at having to employ a live in, 24/7 houseparent, from the onset of this venture. We still plan on being project managers/caregivers & will be living on site with the haven children & houseparent.
Another big change to plan is that we have been invited to spend 4 months in Johannesburg with a charity there called “Masiphane”. They have been running for many years & currently run 6 safe havens in Johannesburg. The purpose of this 4 month internship will be to familiarise ourselves with all legal aspects of how to structure a haven project. We felt it important to avail of this opportunity to essentially shadow other project managers, and we are incredibly grateful to David & Caroline Webb for offering us accomodation & invaluable experience during this time.
During a skype to S.A. last month, we found out about some costs that had not been expected or foreseen, relating to the property we want to use out there. After our skype, Richie looked at the amount needed & compared it with the amount in our savings account. They were exactly the same. We agreed to pray! 🙂 That night as I was putting Joseph & Reuben to bed, we read the story of the woman who poured perfume onto Jesus’ feet, from her alabaster jar. I could clearly hear the Lord saying lovingly “Kate, I want everything you have, not just the bits you are willing to give me.” On sharing this with Richie, we both knew what the Lord was asking us to do. Literally, half an hour after making this decision to give our savings, we received a phone call. It was a friend calling to let us know that his mother (whom we’ve never met) wished to give us a donation of £3000. God was making it very clear to us that He is our provider. He is faithful & so worthy of everything we are and have 🙂
Both Richie & I have been so moved by the Lord’s dealing with and healing of our hearts in this last month. After a week of “Restoring The Foundations” (RTF) ministry in Bangor with a wonderful, godly couple there, we found Him again calling us back into our God-given identity. Our identity had slowly become intertwined with “the vision” and along with this came the dangers of disappointment regarding timing & also an inability to switch off. God has been stealing our hearts back to Himself in this season. Reminding us again that our true identity comes from the finished work of Jesus on the cross & that as the Father considered us worthy of giving up His son to die on a cross for… so also our worth must be found in that place of complete, surrendered, limitless love of the Father for us as His children. The fact that He believes us “worth” dying for, is mindblowing… we are learning that it hurts the heart of God, if we do not also live from that place of infinite worth He has given us. He is our source, our healer, the lover of our souls, our redeemer, our saviour. But He also declares us worthy to be His son, His daughter. In sending Jesus He has revealed to each of us the nature of our worth to Him. His love is so perfect & in this season we have really encountered Him again as the prodigal Father running to embrace his son on his return after squandering everything he’d been given. The father gives no reprimands, no list of “could have done better’s”, no rebuke. He runs to embrace his son “while he was still far off” & in doing so becomes completely undignified. This father’s dignity & sense of composure does not come close to the love, excitement & delight he has in his heart that his son is home. Wow… throughout this week of ministry together with Richie, I had this wonderful sense of the Father saving me again, while excitedly shouting to all of heaven “she’s home!!!” His embrace is the place of true identity and worth for us both again.
In John 15 Jesus talks about our Father being the gardener, & He the true vine. During this last month we have had the Lord point out to us branches in our lives that have been bearing no fruit. Having them pruned can be painful, as we’ve had to acknowledge we’ve been getting our sense of worth from the wrong things, instead of from His love… but it is His kindness to us that He prunes us. This way we can bear fruit that will last. He is such a good Father & His love is pure, true & oh-so-very strong! Thank you Father for loving us enough to heal & restore our identity when we turn to the idol of performance for worth. Thank you that your love is where we find our true nature as children of God. And thankyou for each of these amazing people who are cheering us on as we move through this season into the next. Amen.