|20 Jun 2014
We hope that this newsletter finds you well. We apologise that it has been so long since our last letter to you. The last few months have been very busy, but also joy-filled!!!
In March we opened the doors to our first haven in Port Elizabeth. Preparations to open Mihlali (meaning “joy” in IsiXhosa) took longer than we had hoped for initially. Mihlali is currently running at full capacity, providing 24/7 care for 6 children. We could not continue to do this valuable work without the help of all our supporters. We are so very grateful to each of you who have given both one-off gifts and monthly donations to see Penuel become a reality. Thankyou!
Mihlali Children’s Haven update:
Since our last newsletter we have moved on from carrying out renovations, to welcoming children. It has been a pure joy to welcome & provide emergencry care for our first group of 6 children into Mihlali. Within 21 days of receiving our very first child, Mihlali became full. To run a safe haven like this in South Africa, it is required that we become registered as a Public Benefit Organisation (PBO). This is the equivalent to receiving charity status in the UK. Over the last few months we have been working on our application to become a PBO. We hope that in the next month we will be able to make an application in order that Penuel Children’s Foundation SA will be a fully registered PBO. This will help us to run Mihlali and any future havens, more effectively. Meanwhile, we are exceptionally grateful to Masiphane African Havens (Joburg) for including us under their PBO status, until our own is up and running.
Our first child Amahle, came to us at 15 months old. We have been humbled and amazed, watching God transform this child’s life. Shortly after arrival we took Amahle for an HIV test as is routine in our home. Amahle was displaying symptoms that were in keeping with a positive diagnosis & our GP told us a positive result was likely. The diagnostic test (PCR) came back positive & our child was commenced on prophylactic medication, whilst awaiting a viral load blood test result, which would indicate which ARV drugs to commence. We were shocked when the viral load blood test came back: “undetectable”. We continued to pray and two weeks later, took Amahle to have a repeat PCR (diagnostic test) carried out. By now all Amahle’s symptoms had cleared up. The PCR blood test came back reading HIV negative. God’s love for this child is beyond description. Amahle will be leaving our care in 5 days time to go to her forever home. Amahle has built our faith and taught us that all HIV must bow to the feet of Jesus. Out of all the children in our home, if anyone “should” have been HIV positive, it was this child. God has re–written Amahle’s story.
Sive and Sinovuyo:
Next we received two siblings, a 4 and a 3 year old. It continues to be a pleasure watching God’s love bring freedom to Sive and Sinovuyo. Sive arrived covered in scars from a local witch doctor (“sangoma”). He was an understandably angry child who hit and kicked not only us, but anyone he could get close to. Sinovuyo was a reserved child, who would not leave Sive’s side. We were amazed as we witnessed Sive’s scars heal in a number of days. After meeting with Jesus, we led this child in forgiving those in his life who had caused Sive pain. Peace filled Sive from that day on & any seizures that were afflicting this child’s life have not recurred in the past 3 months these children have been living with us. Both children came to us frightened and angry, but God has removed the fear and anger, replacing it with perfect love. We now look after two wonderfully joy filled children who love Jesus & love to worship!
Our special Ntombe has taught us a lot about joy. When we first met this wonderful 3 year old, Ntombe weighed 6kg. There are many health challenges with this child. We were told that Ntombe would never smile nor laugh. We have witnessed God releasing joy into Ntombe’s life, and into others through Ntombe. This child now smiles and laughs every day with us. Ntombe’s favourite thing to do is dance in our arms. We have seen a lot of small victories in Ntombe’s health, and we are very grateful to God for bringing this child to us & for miraculously intervening in this precious life.
Our 5th child arrived to us with no known name or date of birth. Buhle’s Social Worker chose his name & we immediately loved both the name & Buhle! Buhle was estimated to be around 3 months old. One of our volunteers quickly fell in love with this child, and is now in the process of becoming Buhle’s permanent foster carer, with the long term view to adopt this beautiful child. Thankyou God!
Etienne came to us directly from hospital. We got to celebrate Etienne’s first birthday shortly after arrival with us. It has been an amazing journey as we saw this wonderful child’s birth father visit & then give his life to Jesus as a direct result of spending time with Etienne, in our home. We are amazed at what God has done and is continuing to do in Etienne’s life. God’s presence at work in Etienne’s life, is what drew this father to Jesus.