Prayer Letter 04/12/13

Dear Friends,

We hope you are really well & enjoying the Christmas preparations! We can’t believe that it’s nearly Christmas & we’ve been in South Africa for over three months now. Time has flown & once again we are getting ready for the next stage of the journey. On the 12th of December we will be driving to Port Elizabeth to start setting up Mihlali Haven. Mihlali means joy in IsiXhosa. As we are not sure when we will manage to get internet set up in PE & we are about to go on camp with 18 of the children from the havens, we wanted to take this opportunity to wish you a very blessed & joy filled Christmas.


Moving: We are excited to be moving to our permanent home, but are sad to be leaving behind so many new & much loved friends… especially the children. The past 3 months have been a huge blessing to us. In retrospect, we arrived in Joburg with a small vision of what our time here could be… God had a much greater vision! We came here to learn, but not only have we learnt, we’ve made life long friends. We have experienced much blessing as the wonderful Webbs (Directors of Masiphane) have invested in us & Mihlali. We’ve had the privilege of serving wonderful children who have ushered us into more of God. We have had our unbelieving mindset challenged, as we witnessed God revealing Himself to 2 of the children by covering them in gold dust. We have been confronted with our pride as God has lovingly brought correction. The last three months in my mind can only be summed up as life changing, foundation building, & filled with God’s grace towards Kate & myself.


 Being open to God interrupting us in our everyday lives has been one of our values for a long time. Truth be told I am not very good at being in a place where God can interrupt me, Kate is far better at it than me. However we would both openly admit that we desire more growth in this area of our lives. The past three months has taught us a lot about being interruptible. God’s Kingdom has taken me by surprise on numerous occasions as the King has broken into my life, giving me no choice in whether I wanted to be interrupted or not. These occasions have left me with an increased view of my life & who God wants to be for me. His Father heart has left me in tears on numerous occasions in the last three months. The most momentous of these experiences was when God placed us in the path of a 10 day old girl who was & still is in the care of Masiphane. The moment Kate saw her, her heart started to yell: “that’s my daughter!”. When I next saw Kate she began telling me about what had happened & I began to think of all the reasons why this was not the right time. As I was about to speak, I was interrupted. In my spirit I heard “you need to pay attention to this”. Instantly, every objection I had thought of fell away & Kate & I agreed to fast & pray. God brought courage to all our fears and anxieties, which has led to us pursuing the idea of adopting this wonderful girl. We quickly found out adoption is not currently a possibility, & so we are currently going through the process with her Social Worker to foster her. Then, in a few years time we can pursue adoption.

Blog foots

We are telling you this now because we would love your prayers. We need your prayers whilst we walk down this road of trying to become her foster carers, which will open the way to be able to adopt. Also no matter what the outcome of this process is, we’re going to need prayer support.  In 8 days we leave Jo’burg & unless there is a miracle we will have to leave this precious, wonderful girl in Joburg. If we are unable to bring her with us to PE we hope she will be in our foster care by January or February. If she is not in our foster care by April 2014, we will not be able to foster (due to the time left on our visas). We believe that everything is going to work out & we will be able to provide the love & care she needs & deserves. We believe that God is going to open the doors we need opened. Please join with us as we pray for the road to be made straight & for the way forward to be opened. On a practical note, this decision does not change any plans regarding setting up Mihlali haven. We will simply have a daughter to join in the adventure alongside us. We will not be informing Joseph & Reuben until we have a date for receiving this wonderful, beautiful girl into our care.

Thank you so much for your love & support that enables us to follow the call of setting up Mihlali, but also to have this wonderful girl in our lives. This Christmas we pray that God would pour out great blessing & breakthrough in your lives, along with an increase of His presence.

Thank you,

with love,

Richie, Kate, Joseph & Reuben


Please pray:

  • For Joseph & Reuben that they would know God’s peace, as we move to PE & that they would settle there quickly.
  • For healthy goodbyes as we leave our friends and all the children in Joburg.
  • That God would place this wonderful girl in our family.
  • For the provision of everything we will need for Mihlali Haven.

Giving Thanks…

We are thanking God:

  • For “interruptions” that bring God’s purpose & hope to our lives.
  • For the children, the Webbs, Masiphane, the boys’ school teachers & all the people who have blessed us whilst we’ve been in Jo’burg.
  • For all that He has taught us over the 3 months.
  • For everyone who has made this dream become reality.

Prayer Letter 07/10/2013

Dear Friends,

We hope this blog finds you all well!

We have spent the last month learning our way around Joburg, settling in & interning at Masiphane. A typical day here starts with an early rise, getting the kids off to school & then meetings at 8.30 with one of the Masiphane directors (David or Caroline Webb). Here, we are taught about policy, procedures & SA Law. At 12.30 we fetch Joseph & Reuben, & then go to one of the havens until around 5.30. We arrive back at our flat at around 6pm, where we get to enjoy time as a family. This is a real time of preparation for moving to Port Elizabeth & opening a new safe haven. Each day we are taking significant steps towards not only seeing this new haven opened, but also being able to run it well.


First Month:  “The happiest days are when babies come” (Gone With The Wind)

These words felt very apt on the day Caroline Webb, Marquita & I brought a 10 day old, one month old & 25 day old to their new home! I don’t think I will ever forget that day… not only was it a privilege to be a part of rescuing these children, but God also taught us the truth behind Ephesians 6:18 “pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers & requests. With this in mind, be alert & always keep on praying for all the people.” We’ve realised that if we don’t stay in prayer, we will not be able to sustain this kind of ministry.

There have been numerous stories we’ve both heard or seen, in our short month here. With each story our heart’s cry has been: “God! What a rescue!” We have heard stories of children rescued from brothels, children raped & becoming pregnant at the age of 11, children severely abused by witch doctors in order to “remove evil spirits”, children found abandoned in fields…hospitals… & the stories continue. In every life rescued, God’s light dispels all darkness. We have a God who has overcome death & darkness, & we’ve seen His love bring healing, love and restoration to the hearts of His children. How He loves them!

In a continent overburdened with crisis due to severe poverty & HIV/Aids, havens are a part of the answer. In each situation, the children are traumatised, on “high alert” & in survival mode when they first arrive into a haven setting. Slowly but surely the love of God disarms every bit of darkness & fear that each child carries. This happens by God empowering a mother or father figure to unconditionally love the child, (including working with any professionals necessary). The perfect love of God, dispels fear. He comforts. He listens. He embraces them. God intervenes on the child’s behalf… that the child would become free from fear & open & receptive to love. He brings freedom & deliverance, which allows them to be children again. To learn through play, discover the world around them & to enjoy life with God. He sings over them as they fall asleep. He cries for the pain they have suffered & then commissions men & women to welcome these little ones into their (& His) family. He heals them, because He’s already paid for it all. He breathes His resurrection breath into their lungs, & hearts. He restores them. He is so, so close to every one of these children. “The Lord is close to the broken hearted & saves those who are crushed in spirit.” (Psalm 34) He eventually places His children in families, & He uses His hands & feet – the body of Christ, to do this. 

One of my favourite stories of the last few weeks, was when one of the kids got to choose a movie one Friday evening. He chose a cartoon Jesus movie. I was slightly confused that he didn’t choose Cars 2, (these boys are obsessed with cars!) The movie told the life of Jesus in an age appropriate way & ended with his resurrection. I watched it along with the kids & then asked a few wee questions to see if they’d understood what they’d just seen. I listened as the kids used their simple words to explain the life of Jesus to me. We then prayed for each other just before bed. One of the staff prayed too. She gave her heart to Jesus after having heard the kids talking about Him. Astounding, amazing, wonderful God! I love that the kids led her to the feet of Jesus.

I was asked to stay overnight at one of the havens last weekend & one of the children asked if they could sleep in my room, instead of his normal bedroom. I explained that this wasn’t possible, but that the next morning they could help me make breakfast for everyone. The child was happy with this & I sang over the kids that evening until they fell asleep (my personal favourite thing to do!). Later though, whilst the children were sleeping, God broke my heart for this child. They needed to be placed in a family, not a haven. I cried out to God for this child, that He would raise up adoptive parents for this amazing little one. The next afternoon, our manager informed me that there is a family now looking at adopting this amazing child. God is so so good & He answers our prayers!

As we look at setting up a haven in Port Elizabeth in January 2014, we are expectant that God will do a great many things in our midst. Most of the time despite us!! Sometimes through us. He is just crazy, madly, completely besotted with all of His kids, including us. And so are we with Him. We have decided to choose an age range of 0-4 years in order to honour our own 2 boys & to maintain birth order. It can be difficult at times with older children in the mix, as they can feel they are the “leader” & this does not bode well with our eldest who is used to leading his brother in many ways. So we are glad that God has shone some light on this for us during our time here. He is guiding us every step of the way. We are delighted to see our boys thriving in life here, under the SA sun.

With much love & thanks for all of you who are standing with us & supporting us to be here. We cannot thank you enough & please know that without you, we could not be doing this. You are each one of you, a vital role in us getting to see God’s dreams for these children come true.

Kate Cathcart.

“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” ~ 1 John 3:1


Please pray:

  • That we would all know God’s continued protection & peace..
  • For the boys in Boy’s Haven as they go though a change of houseparents at the end of Oct..
  • That God would raise up adoptive & foster parents for His children.
  • That God would give us favour for setting up the haven in Port Elizabeth.


We are thanking God:

  • None of us have been sick since we got here!
  • For God’s protection & safety.
  • For a smooth transition into life in SA.
  • For all the support & wisdom poured into us from Masiphane.
  • That our shipping has arrived safely in Port Elizabeth.
  • For the staff member giving her life to Jesus.

Prayer Letter 17/07/13

Dear Friend,

Thank you so much for walking this journey along with us as we step out to establish a new Safe Haven in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. It is a very exciting time for us, but it would be wrong to pretend that it is not also a very difficult time. Once again we are getting ready to say goodbye to family and friends.  Every objective we achieve reminds us that we are one step closer to painful goodbyes.

Having said that with each objective achieved our excitement levels also increase. It really sank in, on Friday last, that our imminent return to Port Elizabeth is really happening. After a week of packing up boxes, labelling and measuring, our shipping was picked up and is now on its way to PE. Seeing the boxes that will help us start up a new haven, driving away on the start of its journey, gave us the realisation that the countdown to departure has started. We will be leaving Northern Ireland on the 24th August and then flying to South Africa from Dublin on the 31st August.

We are also very excited to be able to announce the launch of Penuel Children’s Foundation’s website, facebook page and twitter page:



Twitter:     @PenuelChildren

Penuel Children’s Foundation is an organisation awaiting charity registration in the UK. Kate and I invited a group of 6 friends to establish this organisation to provide an avenue to see vulnerable children rescued from unsafe environments marked by severe poverty. We are very excited to be starting the first Penuel project with our partners in South Africa. We look forward to see other people join with us to see children rescued worldwide. We are very grateful to Andrew Rossborough from “Solid” ( for the wonderful work he did designing our logo and website.

The launch of the website, facebook and twitter pages will directly impact how we will communicate with you. All project updates will go through the above avenues of communication, along with a newsletter from Penuel Children’s Foundation. To receive this newsletter, please email us at

Due to the data protection act we cannot and will not add your email address to the Penuel Children’s Foundation Newsletter. Therefore, if you do wish to receive it, please email us at: stating you would like to receive the newsletter.

We will continue with these email prayer letters and our blog (, but from now on it will be about our personal journey as a family. Thank you so much for all of your prayers and support. Please also know that we are praying for each one of you & your families, that you would know even more of the breadth, length and height and depth of His great love for you.

Please Pray for:

  • Protection for all four of us as the departure date draws closer, especially in the area of physical health.
  • For God’s love to surround all our “goodbyes”.
  • Give thanks for God’s wonderful provision and faithfulness to us.
  • Give thanks for our wonderful family and friends and all their support and encouragement.
  • That God would give us wisdom for how to use our remaining time wisely.

We thank God each day for each of you. Without your support and prayers none of this would be in any way possible. This is not an individual’s journey but a gathering of like hearted people who together are seeing children rescued, and brought into the fullness of the knowledge of His love for them.

With much love and thanks,

Richie, Kate, Joseph and Reuben.

Prayer Letter 01/03/13

Dear Friends,

It is with great excitement that we write this to you. We are now at the stage where we can let you know about some of our future plans. When we left South Africa we felt certain we would be back again, to continue working with children in SA who are from backgrounds of abuse, neglect, abandonment or having been orphaned. The children we served in Port Elizabeth over the last year taught us many things: what it means to have a child like faith, as well as what dependency on Jesus truly looks like. We loved the children & we loved being a part of what God was & is doing in their lives. As we left South Africa to come back to Northern Ireland we knew one thing for sure, we had to go back & continue partnering with God in seeing freedom come to these children’s lives through the adoptive spirit of God. Each of these children truly is a co-heir of Christ. A prince or princess of the most high King.

“God sent His son, to redeem those under law that we might receive the full rights of sons and daughters. Because you are sons & daughters, God sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, the Spirit who cries out “Abba, Father.” So you are no longer a slave, but a son or a daughter, and as such, God has made you also an heir”. (Galatians 4).

We are currently preparing to return to Port Elizabeth and are astounded by how God continues to open doors, and provide partners for us to work alongside. We will be settling in Infinite Life Church as a family, and they have agreed to provide spiritual covering as well as expertise in the establishing and running of this new haven. Fountain Vineyard Church & the Vineyard Foundation have also offered support and partnership to this new venture and we are very excited at how these relationships will unfold in the future.

A possible house has been found for us to run the haven in, which came a lot quicker than expected & we are delighted! We are waiting to hear if the offers have been accepted. If they have, we’ll have a house to rent as soon as we get back out to PE. We are so grateful to God for preparing the way ahead. We are so grateful to the partners who are stepping out with us to see these beloved children placed into forever families. The truth is that there is room for every single child on the face of this planet, in the family of God.

Our aim has always been to provide a short-term safe haven facility that will provide emergency 24/7 care for up to 6 children at a time. Social workers will then secure placement in either a foster or adoptive “forever family” setting. We plan to start small, but with the growth of the charity hope to be able to establish more havens, both short and long term, in the future.

We are also in the process of setting up a charity in Northern Ireland. Thank you so much to the amazing people who have stepped up to be trustees! The vision is still growing, but to start off with we envision the charity to be about awareness and vision casting, as well as a vehicle to support this project in SA financially.

We are currently running some information evenings talking about the future plans in greater detail. We’ve been sharing what God has done, is doing and our hopes for the future. If you would like to come to any one of these, or you have a group you would like us to come and share in, please do feel free to contact us.

We would love if you could join with us in praying for this exciting venture:

  • Praise God for all the partners and individuals that have stepped up to support seeing children placed into forever families.
  • Praise God for all the doors he has opened!
  • Praise God for the £250 already pledged.
  • That God would provide the £1,450 of monthly income that is still needed to start the haven.
  • That plans for the house would come through.
  • For Kate and myself as we press more into intimacy with Jesus.
  • For our two boys, that Jesus would increase His heart in them and be their support and protection.
  • That God would open doors for us to achieve charity status easily and quickly.

If you have any questions please feel free to email us at

We hope you love this song as much as we do at the moment! It’s sung in the first person (i.e as though God Himself is singing the words)… and I normally don’t like people singing (or speaking!) in the first person about God (unless it’s straight scripture!) but these words are just beautiful. The amazing truth of the Attributes of God is that they (& He) never change… He’s amazing!

Thank you so so much for your prayers and support!


the Cathcarts

Prayer Letter 10/11/12

“If not us, then who? If not now, then when?”  – Winston Churchill

Dear Friends,

We are so absolutely overwhelmed and honoured by people’s support, both financial & prayerful, over these last months. With the decision having been made to come home from Zanethemba, we honestly weren’t sure if people were still going to stand with us during this season of rest & re-envisioning. Thankyou, each and every one of you, for doing so. We do not take this lightly and are so, so grateful that you each trust us to move forward with a vision, entrusted to us by our heavenly Father who longs to place every prince and princess into a loving forever family.

“A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families..” (Psalm 68)

How we have seen this to be true in the last year! And how we long for more. We were remembering recently how the doctors of one little girl we had the privilege of looking after, wanted the name of our place of safety because they wanted to send more of their HIV+ children to us. We long for the day when this will be possible.

At present, we are in the process of finalizing our decision of who we are going to work alongside, on returning to S.Africa. We are also in the process of gathering info to get volunteer visas re-issued, and reading through material that will help us plan the next steps, the S.African Children’s Act etc.

This has also been a season of deep rest & healing for us, and we have enjoyed time in Co.Clare as a family, and also time with family and friends in Dublin & Belfast which has been invaluable. God has been setting us free from fearing what others think of us when we go after Him with our whole hearts. He has been reminding us that He is a river of life which has to flow out, and so with the healing and freedom He has been bringing to our hearts, we have been enjoying getting to minister that same freedom and healing to others here in Ireland. We are both in better shape spiritually than we have ever been, simply because without “jobs”, living with Kate’s amazing mum, and life with our 2 boys, Jesus really is the only one we can trust and who brings real peace & purpose in this season. Dependency+desperation=intimacy with the Father+a whole lot of joy. We really have felt His smile & his approval in these last months. He is with us. We are hungry for more of Him, for us, our kids & family, and these treasures He has called us to. Our “job” is to show the world, how beautiful they already are.

We read Nehemiah whilst on holiday & I was so struck by his boldness when he was questioned about the rebuilding of the wall of Jerusalem. “The God of Heaven will give us success, & we His servants will start rebuilding..” Despite the opposition and the rejection, they overcame. And so we know the God of heaven will give us success..

Please can you pray in this season for:

  • That we would get to meet with the right people at the right time
  • God’s guidance, wisdom, protection as we step out again into this calling, understanding & knowledge of all we need to know to embark on establishing new child havens in S.Africa.
  • That God would give us opportunities to cast vision, and that he would highlight the right people to stand with us as we pursue Him in this calling.
  • For our boys, that God would be their security & that we would know how to answer Joseph’s questions about the future. Praise God he got into a great nursery which he is loving!
  • That God would continue to give us His blueprint for the ways in which He wants these children cared for.
  • Praise God we have enough finance coming in each month for our current financial needs.. please pray that this would increase as we look at moving back to S.A & having to rent a home.

Thank you for enabling us to live this dream. Our prayer for each one of you is that this would be a season of “more” for both you & your families. More of the Kingdom forcefully advancing.. & more forcefulness in our laying hold of it! Thankyou Lord that the Kingdom is close at hand.


The Cathcarts.

Prayer Letter 04/05/2012

Over the last week we have welcomed 3 new children into the Zanethemba family. It has been a reminder of the huge responsibility it is to look after the children God places in our care, they are God’s children. They are so precious: a 5 year old girl, a 3 year old girl and her 14 month old sister. They are settling into the haven well and God is constantly reminding us of how valuable they are to Him. He is breaking our hearts again for these children.

Before we left Northern Ireland I can remember being asked if we would not find it too heart breaking looking after these children. I can remember glibly answering that it was precisely because we found it heart breaking that we were going to do this. The truth is I am only just beginning to work out that how God feels about these children is why we are here, and that without God we could do little of any value. The emotion, everything would over power us. It is only through His strength, love, and power that we can continue the work here. Whenever God gives us glimpses of how He feels about these children, how I feel pales in to insignificance. His heart for these children is so huge, and that is why He is calling and raising up people to impact their lives. We are here because of Him, not us and all the glory belongs to Him.

It has been lovely watching all the children welcoming the three new arrivals into the home. God has been increasing the burden we feel for these children, breaking our apathy and promoting us to pray continuously for them. He has been reminding us that we “do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” Our weapon is love, through prayer, fasting & obviously care. We have been impacted recently by the power of praying using the gift of tongues. Often we just don’t have the words to express what we want to say & I love how this gift also requires complete reliance on Holy Spirit. Reminding us again of our need of Him. Please join with us and pray for these children. They desperately need God’s power in their life. Please pray that Jesus would call them into His Kingdom, that God would provide a “forever home” for them, & for spiritual protection and freedom for each of them.

Please pray for us too. We desperately need more of God, His strength, compassion, wisdom, love, intimacy, the list goes on. We want all that He desires to give. We don’t want to just provide a good home for a period of these children’s lives, but we want to see God’s transformation in our lives, in Joseph and Reuben’s lives and all the lives of the children and caregivers in Zanethemba. Recently I was reminded of a quote – I have no idea who said it: “Prayer is finding out what God wants to do and then asking God to do it”. This once, I feel it would not be right to give a list of prayer points, but I want to ask you to spend some time searching God’s heart for us and praying for us whatever you feel led by Holy Spirit to pray. He is sovereign and knows where we need breakthrough and transformation. Thankyou so much. Without your prayers we simply couldn’t be doing this.

R, K, J & R x

Prayer Letter 21/03/12

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

Prayer Points:

  1. That God would impart vision to people who ‘come & see’ our lives with the children here.
  2. More gifting of faith, surrender, endurance & character for us.
  3. For our boys, a sense of security & identity in God
  4. For all the Zanethemba children that God’s best-forever-homes-possible would be found for them.
  5. 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.
  6. Praise God for a valuable visit from Grampa Wes, where we, the caregivers & children were all blessed by his time spent here.
  7. 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

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

Prayer Letter: 24/11/11

We have been in South Africa for nearly two months now. We can’t believe that we have been here for so long & at the same time we can’t believe we have been here for such a short time. So much has happened it is hard to believe that it can be fitted into just 2 months!

We’ve had the same 6 children living with us since we arrived in Zanethemba (& our own 2!) It has been amazing to have God increase our hearts to accommodate the love He has for these children. They are such wonderful people it is easy to forget what they have been through. We have had the privelege of watching as God answered their prayers that even we thought would go unanswered, & as God’s lavish love has opened their hearts more & more to Him.

All the children in Zanethemba are placed here due to their home backgrounds. Due to confidentiality & the ongoing nature of the cases we cannot divulge any details about the children, however since Zanethemba started they have had children placed here due to neglect, abuse, abandonment & children having been orphaned. The children stay with us until their case has been resolved by social workers & the courts. In the past children who have lived here have been adopted, fostered, reunited with family or have gone to a children’s home. Each of the children currently staying with us need God to move on their behalf. These children need miracles.

Before we came out here we knew it was going to be hard hearing the individual stories etc. We reassured ourselves that if we didnt find it incredibly tough at times, then surely we were the wrong people to be doing this. But we were completely unprepared for the reality. Yes we’d read the books & heard the stories. We had even met some children from similar backgrounds. But it did nothing to prepare us for being primary carers for these children as we have grown to love them. We haven’t only heard stories of the children’s past, but are constantly confronted with it through family visits, the reactions of the children to everyday things that trigger memories, & driving through some of the areas that the children are from. Nothing prepared us for the number of tears that have been shed, or the frustration of injustice that has been felt.

Desperation & poverty slap you in the face every day in South Africa. From the people begging at the traffic lights, the houses built from scrap, to the people who knock at the front door asking for help. Jesus has been our anchor & rock, without Him we would not even have lasted even this long. He has supported us & guided us at every turn. He has shown us a little bit of His heart for these people, & even that amount was unbearable. They desperately need Jesus & His hope. It feels like we are doing so little in the face of the poverty & desperation that we see everyday. Without Jesus the need would have swallowed us up by now, but He is our guide, our support, our source, we endeavour to only do what we are called to do. Up until now whenever I read Matthew 9: 37-38 “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. 38 Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” I did not realise the urgency & truth in these words. Now it is the cry of our heart.

We know that during the O’Halloran’s prayer meeting for us, folk prayed that the kids would experience God through answers to bold prayers… 2 of the older kids asked God for laptops recently (we laughed!) The very next day we got a phonecall from church to say that 2 kids laptops had been given specifically for these children, so they could learn some computer skills & play educational games etc. He really is an extravagant God! We’ve also had the privelege of seeing 5 of the kids (all those who can talk!) ask Jesus to be their friend & to fill their hearts with his love & holy spirit. The kids have also been learning how to pray for each other & it has been lovely to see them step out in doing that. Now that the piano has arrived, we’ve enjoyed some time worshipping & Kate has really been enjoying the chance of getting to sing over the kids as they fall asleep… we also had a lot of fun this week building the kids up by asking them to come up with 4 positive adjectives that describe each child living in the haven. We then made a poster with these adjectives written beside each child’s name. It was lovely to hear the caregivers come up with suggestions & the kids fight/agree over who should be given which description! 🙂

At this time could you please pray for:

  • Praise God for His faithfulness & provision…
  • The children in the haven, that God would provide loving families for each of the children.
  • That God would heal the three children who currently have scabies
  • That God the “Lord of the harvest” would call more workers to the harvest.
  • God’s protection for us & our boys against sickness & spiritual attack
  • God’s wisdom as we step into the leadership role God has brought us here to carry out.
  • That God would help us to navigate missing friends/fam.
  • God’s authority in our lives when it comes to prayer & intercession…
  • The children & caregivers that they would experience more of God’s love & power.
  • That God would continue to help both boys process what it means to live here.
  • That intimacy with Jesus would always be our focus & vision…

Thank you for your time & prayers,

Richie, Kate, Joseph & Reuben

Prayer Letter: 16/10/11

This is out 10th day in South Africa. At times it is still hard to believe we are here. At others it feels like we should be about to go home as most of our other strips to SA have been 12-14 days long. Then the enormity of this move hits us at other times. The last 10 days has been a blur of activity from getting to know the children & care givers to attending a new church, from car hunting to being ill. Over the last ten days we have felt the spiritual attack around us heighten, but we have had small moments again & again where God has confirmed that we are in the right place & that He has got us wrapped up in His love.

It has been a rollercoaster of emotion for us as we have got to know the children here & heard their stories. (Due to confidentiality & respect for the children we are not at liberty to disclose their names or stories). It has been tough but God has provided everything we need in the tough times & has given us times filled with pure joy. God is the only way forwards for these children & for us. Any time we have doubted our calling over the last few days we have always come back to the conclusion that we simply can’t imagine doing anything else with our lives right now other than be here.

At this time could you please pray for:

  • Praise God for His faithfulness & provision… that Joseph has got on really well at his first week of playschool. We have also felt a real deep love growing between us & the children/caregivers here.
  • God’s protection for us & our boys against sickness & spiritual attack (in the Xhosa culture, Christianity can get “mixed” in with ancestral worship resulting in a lot of fear in peoples lives)
  • God’s wisdom as we step into the leadership role God has brought us here to carry out.
  • God’s authority in our lives when it comes to prayer & intercession…
  • The children & caregivers that they would experience for themselves God’s love & power.
  • That Joseph would continue to make good friendships in playschool
  • That God would continue to help both boys process what it means to live here.
  • That God would give all six children the stable “forever homes” that they need.
  • That God would provide us with the perfect car to carry out the work here.
  • That intimacy with Jesus would always be our focus & vision…

Thank you for your time & prayers,

Richie, Kate, Joseph & Reuben