Sunday, December 25, 2011

Saturday, December 24, 2011

An Ideal Christmas?

A clean house, tasteful decorations (mostly made with the children), lots of special German Christmas-baking, food bought and prepared in advance, thoughtful gifts for family near and far, a Christmas-card/-newsletter, a lil creative program with the family to reflect on the meaning of Christmas, visiting and sharing of Christmas cookies with all of the neighbors, everybody relaxed, singing and enjoying ourselves together - including one or several people who don't have family.

That's what MY idea of a ideal Christmas would look like!

YEAH RIGHT!

This year, like most it seems, is a FAR CRY from my "IDEAL" - and it bothers me.

And then, I think of MARY and try to imagine how she felt when she was giving birth to Jesus.

Talk about an IDEAL birth-day?

YEAH RIGHT!

Traveling a FAR way by foot/donkey in the last days of pregnancy is definitely not IDEAL!
Giving birth in a town you've JUST arrived in
Where you don't know anybody
No family nearby to help out and give comfort - share the joy with
Getting turned down in place after place when you're sooooo tired
Having to resign yourself to staying in a dirty (may I add - undecorated) stable
Smelly (forget about the clean house)
NOTHING prepared for this MOST special baby EVER born - not even a bed to lay him in.

IDEAL?

YEAH RIGHT!

YET -  the less than ideal circumstances surrounding JESUS' birth didn't take a bit away from the awe-inspiring significance of his birth and what it was to mean for all of humanity - for eternity.

WOW!!!!

What a comfort for me today to keep perspective and don't allow my JOY to be damped!

I've got a little (almost 5-year-old) boy sitting next to me who is talking all the time (even now) about Jesus and how and why he came and died for us, sharing about Jesus with social workers, doctors and everybody we come across, singing Christmas songs all the time!

Shayden in between singing Christmas carols at our church's Christmas outreach - he was soooo adorable singing with great enthusiasm!!


I've got an 8-year-old who happily gives up most of her Christmas gifts so that orphans in Uganda can have a Christmas.

Miss Kylie


I've got a 16-year-old who's been serving tirelessly at "Christmas-Lights", an outreach from our church where thousands get to find out about the true meaning of Christmas, ministering every night for the last 11 days from 7:30pm-11pm+.

Leilani (with Kylie) in New York earlier this year

I've got a 20-year-old who just graduated from a "Leadership Training Course" with YWAM here in Tauranga, having grown in leaps and bounds, showing an exemplary servants-heart.

Jeremie with his girl-friend Austen (who's in Hawaii right now)
I've got an almost 21-year-old in Uganda who's just graduated from mechanic school. (sorry, no new photo of Richard)

I've got a 22-year-old, who with her husband just graduated from an internship in Christian Ministry with our church, both highly commended.

Nathalie, Lewis and our grandson Gideon

There are 33 orphans in Uganda who have just gotten sponsors from our church through a project I've been working on with our church in collaboration with YWAM in Uganda.
They will now be able to go to school, have some food for the family (widowed mother or other family), have minor medical needs covered and get to know JESUS!

Part of the display table for the presentation of the project
There are 16 orphans in a orphanage in Uganda who have just gotten "adopted" by little ones in our church (and their parents) for daily PRAYER - until they find a forever family.

An IDEAL CHRISTMAS? Not according to what my culture has taught me.

But according to the true meaning of Christmas - IDEAL all right!

MAY THE JOY AND WONDER ABOUT JESUS' less than IDEAL BIRTH SATURATE ALL OF OUR HEARTS THIS CHRISTMAS!

MERRY CHRIST-MAS!!!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Shayden's musings on poverty

This morning, Shayden started talking about "Baby Elizabeth in Uganda", who's got no parents.

He has been faithfully praying for her - and, by the way, she now does have a couple who are pursuing adopting her, but we are still praying until she's safely in their arms. 
Adoption is a LOOOONG process!

After talking about her, Shayden proceeded to tell me a whole bunch of things. It was too precious!

"Children are poor in 'Ganda


pause


"have no mummy and daddy"

pause


"have no food"


pause


"have no money"


pause


"no mosquito net"


pause


"have no bed"


pause


"have no television"


pause


"no pyjamas"


pause


"no swimming togs" (NZ version of swim suits)


pause


"no swimming suits"(American version of togs)


pause


no television


pause


"have no barbecue"


pause

"no trampoline"


pause


"no movie for a week"

pause


"no bunk-bed"


 pause



"no nose-ring"



This boy cracks me up!
I have no idea where he got all this from

Well - maybe some of the stuff I do have an idea where he heard it... :)

But some of the other stuff?

We do have most of the stuff he mentioned,
but no barbecue (would LOVE to get one, though!),
bunk beds 

and the nose-ring???

Give me a break!

How does this kids'  mind tick?

Not sure, but he sure keeps us laughing

and he was SO RIGHT about everything he said!

Just hit home again for me HOW BLESSED we are!


By the way, he got his cast off on Friday and all seems well.
He has 4 scars on his hand, some still look a bit "scary" 
so - photos are gonna have to wait for a lil while.

Love this boy!


Friday, December 2, 2011

A Prayer for World AIDS Day 2011

I am taking this prayer from Tom Davis' blog today and asking you to join me in prayer for World AIDS Day:
 

Magnificent Jesus…

In this season of advent, we ponder the great mystery of how you became flesh and lived among us.

You healed us with your hands.

You comforted us by your words.

You led us in your footsteps.

You shared our joys and sorrows with your tears.

You brought the fullness of God into our lives.

And you commanded us to do likewise.

Lord Jesus, send us to the hard places where HIV/AIDS destroys the lives of orphans and children.

Send us so that by the power of your name we would…

Bring the fullness of God into the lives of the hurting, the suffering, and the lost.

Share the joys and sorrows of our brothers and sisters.

Lead the world in radical obedience to your teachings.

Comfort the afflicted with the true Word of God.

Use our hands to heal the sick and brokenhearted.

In this season of advent we confess that we have not done these things sometimes because we are scared or distracted or busy or lazy or feeling insignificant and powerless.

And today, on World AIDS Day, we ask that in your mercy and grace you would forgive us for the times we have left your work undone.

Magnificent God, send us and use us to restore all that HIV/AIDS has taken from your children.

In the words of your servant, Isaiah, we pray, “Here am I. Send me!”

In the name of Jesus Christ,
AMEN

Friday, November 25, 2011

GRATEFUL - OH SO GRATEFUL

Even though our family only occasionally celebrates the American THANKSGIVING,

Yes, I know - shame on us... (just being honest here)

and this year we are not (Rich is away at a training and we have too many other things happenin')

it is SO GOOD to reflect on all the many blessings I am grateful for this past year!


  1. I am LOVED by my God - 
unconditionally -
no matter what - 

secure and resting in his loving embrace!

That's the BETTS BEST WAY TO LIVE!!!


2. My wonderful family  - each and every one -

here in New Zealand

in Uganda

in Germany

in the USA

in Australia

For the love we share, for health, protection and provision for all our needs! 

We are abundantly blessed!


3. Friends all over the world, supporters, prayer warriors, churches without who we could NEVER do what we're doing!!! 

SOOO GRATEFUL for YOUUUU!


4. The amazing GOD-connections in Uganda this past year  -

precious, affectionate relationships with WONDERFUL people there

who have become friends and family

that I feel tremendously honoured to partner with!!!

The emails that we exchange when we're not together move me DEEPLY on a regular basis!


5. That GOD has released close to US$30,000 through individuals and churches from several countries for the orphans and widows in Uganda in the past year!

Even though it feels like a drop in a bucket of needs, it is a start and 

HOPE and JOY

have been released through every dollar invested into 

food

water

housing

land

education

clothing

health-care

and even some fun - see here and here!

And that's without me doing anything structured - yet.
 I feel unorganized, incapable and weak,
but offering the little bit of "oil" (time) I have
and my voice
to knock on all my neighbours' doors
and ask for containers (donations)
that would hold GOD's miracle of provision
so that the fatherless won't get taken away into slavery (literal and figurative)
and can have HOPE for a FUTURE!

Have a read through 2.Kings 4 if you don't understand my analogy - :)

GRATEFUL GRATEFUL GRATEFUL to a GOD full of GREATNESS!
And to the GREAT PEOPLE he's placed in my life!

I am SOOO blessed!!





Thursday, November 24, 2011

I LOVE the heart of GOD!

"He will rescue the poor when they cry to him;

he will help the oppressed, who have no one to defend them.

He feels pity for the weak and the needy,

and HE WILL RESCUE THEM.

He will redeem them from oppression and violence,

for their lives are precious to Him."

Psalm 72, 12-14

one of the children in the home I wrote about in the last 2 posts

And He, the ALMIGHTY creator of the universe,

has CHOSEN to work through YOU and ME to accomplish this!

What a privilege!

What a responsibility!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

These are the children in the home that I wrote about in the last post.
The words they are just singing here are - in English:

"If it weren't for the blood of Jesus, we'd be lost forever."

I'm still in  tears about what's happening... especially knowing that this kind of thing is happening all over to the vulnerable children...

Saturday, November 19, 2011

ENRAGED!

If there is one thing that gets my blood boiling,

it is when I hear about the devil going after people - 

especially innocent children/orphans.

I have just heard about a situation in one of the children's homes that I visited in Uganda that curdles my insides with horror.

Satanists, disguised as ministers, offering to help pay the rent 

- for months already - 

then asking information about the children to share with a group who want to come to Uganda 
(from abroad) 

to help with the ministry, 

reassuring the leader that "they are all good people, they just worship S*tan".

Offering to build a house and give them whatever they need,

wanting to be their friends.

Thank God that the leader was led to discover this.

She has taken a very bold step, as she does not want to be found by these people.

who are now harassing her on the phone.

She is going to take the children and move to a village where she has some land.

With money that she had saved up for a "Discipleship Training School"

and the upkeep of the home for while she was going to be gone,

she has started to build a simple 2-bedroom house in the village.

Now she's run out of money.

There is no roof yet,
Plus, she can barely feed the children, as she spent all she had to get the house built.

Ok, you (secret) readers of my blog,

if there has EVER been a time to PRAY, it is NOW!

This beautiful, courageous woman of God needs us Christians,

worshippers of God

to come alongside her in her intense time of need 

right now!

Things are very challenging for her.

(I'm not sure yet how much more I should share, 
I could tell you her name and show you a photo, just not sure right now)

She is an INCREDIBLE woman, I can assure you!
Her love, faith and sacrifice for the children humble me deeply!!!



I would also like to boldly ask you

to consider giving some money

so that the children can get fed

and the house finished!

C'mon people!

Let's do this and come alongside this most courageous young woman

full of faith

and ease her burden!

Please email me (email at right side bar) and I can tell you how you can give.

100% (minus bank transfer costs) of what will be given will go straight to her

THANK YOU!!!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Surgery-Update

THANK YOU for your prayers for Shayden's surgery!

It went as well as it could have possibly gone!

playing the waiting-game isn't hard when you've got the TV to distract you


the inside of the hand before surgery
in the play-room of the hospital


in the hospital-gown now - - - getting closer


Everything was very peaceful and smooth.

happy as can be

getting rolled down to the operating theater - "Where are they taking me?"

just minutes to go - Dad looking funny (ready to go in with him until he's "out", which was only 10 seconds, as he was very relaxed and didn't fight the gas)

Shayden was happy and not at all anxious during the whole time!

No tears - even after he woke up!

just waking up


barely conscious and right away blowing to get the wheel moving


lots of books and his favourite DVD "Chip and Dale" kept him distracted during recovery


AMAZING!

What a champ our little guy is - so brave!

And he hasn't even complained about his cast yet

Even though he can barely do anything by himself anymore now.

We even have to feed him

 and give him drinks.

So far - so good!

Now he'll be in the cast for 4 weeks...

THANKS AGAIN, if you've prayed!
We DEFINITELY felt "carried" by God's wonderful PEACE and GRACE!!!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Shayden's operation

Tomorrow morning, Rich, Kylie, Shayden and I will travel to Auckland to Starship Hospital.

Shayden is scheduled to have surgery at 12:30pm.

The goal of the surgery is to give him one functional thumb, as at the moment he has none.
His thumb is like another finger and he can't use it to grasp things.

They will take a tendon out of his ring-finger and put in on his thumb.
They will also give him the "web"-type skin next to the thumb.

It will be on his right hand - his better one (which is a slight club hand) and after that he is going to have a cast for his whole right arm for a month.

Could be interesting.

We'd LOVE you to pray for him!

He's already been showing signs of anxiety, even though we haven't been making a big deal about it.

For him, just saying that we're going to Auckland obviously causes some sort of "stress".

This morning he said to Rich: "We gonna stay in trailer (caravan)?
He's possibly thinking that we're going to repeat our USA trip... 

The other night, when Rich and I went out for a date, he was inconsolable (until I proposed a DVD for bedtime story). He thought I was going to leave again for a long time...

Poor thing!

I can only imagine what's going on in his little mind, but one thing is for sure:
He needs our prayers!

He's not been sleeping much - going to sleep at 10pm, waking up at 5-5:30am, and hardly a nap.
Except tonight - he did go sooner.

This is not typical for him.

We will only stay at the hospital one night and should be back in Tauranga on Saturday afternoon/evening.

I'll be updating you then.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Uganda-trip slide show

Here's another slide-show for ya - this time about my recent Uganda-trip.
It's shorter than the USA one :)

The daily needs - just for SURVIVAL - of the precious people you'll see on the photos - are HUGE!

As you watch, would you allow God to touch your heart - and cause you into doing SOMETHING to HELP?

Every PRAYER and every DOLLAR MAKES A DIFFERENCE!!!

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow
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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Shayden-JOY

Rich and I are not the kind of people that are overly funny or laughing a lot.

As a matter of fact, we've oftentimes talked about how we are just both too serious

and how we need more laughter in the family.

I've been hearing laughter in the house now for over an hour

It's SHAYDEN

playing with Rich

{after he got back from being gone for almost a week}

It's so refreshing!


This boy has got the GIFT of LAUGHTER!

He laughs about anything and everything and has got the most wonderful sense of humor.

That's the ONE THING that stands out to everyone who gets to know our little treasure.



When we got that phone call from the social worker

over 4 years ago now

about a 6-month-old special needs baby needing care for 2-3 months

and we refused because it was the absolute worst timing

and later accepted, cuz God kept tugging at our heart

And when the first 6 months were so incredibly challenging

(yet enjoyable)

NEVER EVER in our wildest dreams could we have GUESSED that as we were "rescuing" this little one

that HE was going rescue US!

Not only in the laughter-department, but many more...

... like the little-brother-department

 (yup, he's perfect for Kylie, plays with her and she with him, teaches her to forgive over and over etc etc)

God sure has ways that are WAY different than we could ever cook up ourselves.

But - oh, so much better!!!!!!



This little boy is SUCH a BLESSING to our family!!!

He will soon have surgery on his right hand (the better one) to give him the function of at least one thumb. Could be as early as next Thursday, but for now, we don't know. Watch this space!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Announcing a VERY SPECIAL PROJECT

I don't hardly get any comments ever on my blog, 

but I KNOW that there are many of you reading it - haha!

So - this is my call to all of you lurkers from 

GERMANY, SWITZERLAND and FRANCE!

Next year, from the middle of August until the middle of September, there will be a 

VERY SPECIAL HAPPENIN' on the streets of Europe!


Drumroll, please.....


Inspired by a God-given DREAM to the Kings Kids leader (the wife, Mabel) in Uganda


Combined with a God-given IDEA to me in New Zealand

both about 2 years ago

sealed by mutual amazement about God's leading

and a time of prayer in their home in Uganda

almost 1 year ago,

This project IS gonna happen - YEAH!!


ONLY with God's help

and YOURS!



This is the idea:

Taking some of the ex-orphans in the "Orphans kNOw More"-families

who have been trained and well-prepared

to minister on the streets of Europe  

(there will also be a week in the UK)

sharing the Gospel

and their stories

with their traditional African costumes

songs

dances

instruments.

They have SO MUCH to give and will be a tremendous blessing to people on the streets who don't know the GOODNESS of God!

The JOY they exude will be like a breath of fresh air for all who'll hear/see them!

Dickson and Mabel already spend 6 months ministering in Europe with a similar team

- before they got married -

and they said that people LOVED SO MUCH what they were doing that they would ask where they'd be going next to follow them around.

We experienced the same thing when we had a team of Tahitians in Germany many moons ago.

Europeans RESPOND so well to what THEY have to give!!!

Our desire is to do this project in collaboration with churches

who would be willing to house the team (about 20 total, including us)

feed us (just for 1 day)

and also give an opportunity for us to share with the Christians about the orphan crisis in Africa.


Besides ministering to non-believers on the streets

~ together with the Christians from the church (if they want) ~

we would want to bring awareness and hopefully raise support amongst the churches,

so that MORE ORPHANS can find loving forever families (in their own country)!!!

So ~ ~ ~ this is YOUR CHANCE to make a difference!

Email me at bettsfamily@hotmail.com

and let me know if you think YOUR CHURCH MIGHT want to host our team!

No obligations yet - let's just talk and see

We will have only 1 week in each country

So - you've gotta move QUICKLY if you want us to come to your city!

Watch this space...
I'm very excited about this project

as well as UTTERLY aware of our dependence on GOD for this to come together,

plane tickets and all...

WHERE GOD GUIDES - HE PROVIDES!

YAY!!!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Start Something that Matters

When I was on my way back home from Uganda, I picked up this book in one of the airport book-shops I was passing through.

I felt that I should read it, as it resonated with something that Rich and I had already felt to do concerning the fundraising for African orphans.

It is a fantastic, compelling, inspiring book!



It's the story of the "TOMS" shoes - not sure if you've heard about them...

And NO, we won't start selling shoes... hehe

The book has since become the #1 New York Bestseller!



Have a look at this poem about it and the ideas in it - striking!

Definitely worth a read!

Monday, October 10, 2011

ENJOY this song!

I just LOVE the WORD of GOD!!!

And this song, too!

And to think that I heard orphans in Uganda sing this song

Teenagers who used to be child-soldiers and have known unspeakable abuse and suffering...

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Richard - our Ugandan son

While the Rugby-World-Cup-Fever is raging

with the New Zealand "All Blacks" playing tonight -

yup, even at this German/American-family - house

my thoughts drift to our big son in Uganda:
 

Richard


Seeing him again on this past trip was bitter-sweet.

Of course, I absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE him!!!

at a local African Restaurant, sharing lunch


He's a wonderful young man!

But I felt some - or rather lots - of pain and loss in him this time.

Last time, he was just so thrilled just to see us, 

his parents.
(as he's been calling us for years now, even though we've just been sponsoring him)

This time he was more vulnerable.

He shared with me how hard it was growing up without parents.



He's had a very hard year, 

been sick lots - even at the hospital several times -

his grandmother being very sick

and a LOT of pressure on him

to provide for the extended family.

To somehow come up with money for this and that need.

Imagine this:

Here you are just barely 20

still at (mechanic) school

and you are expected to provide for a whole extended family.

Why???

Because you're the most educated.

Hmmmm...
Really?

isn't he a handsome young man?!!


What struck me the hardest was after he said good-bye and walked off to his dormitory

I watched him walking away

and he just looked so - how can I say??? - beaten up.

Not literally, but in his spirit.

An orphan

with an orphan-spirit.

Empty inside.

So sad!

And yes, he does know God - somewhat - but

What a contrast to the young men I saw at the "Orphans Know More" families.

WHAT A CONTRAST!!!

They all started out as orphans.

But our Richard JUST got an education through our sponsorship.

Yes, an occasional spiritual input.

But what he REALLY NEEDED was a FAMILY!

Parents that care for him,

provide for him

walk through all life's ups and downs with him

and help bring him to a place of HEALING

and SONSHIP -

not just literally, but spiritually!

My heart is aching for you tonight, Richard!
I am sorry that we cannot be the kind of parents to you that you need.
We are not there for you.
We don't even hardly know you.
We are so sorry.
All we can do is PRAY that - somehow - God would give you a revelation of himself as your father and mother - and you as his son!
We love you so much!!!


You did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear,
but you received the Spirit of SONSHIP.
And by him we cry: "Daddy".

Romans 8,15

P.S.: I think he also really missed his Dad Rich this time!!!



Thursday, October 6, 2011

Have I told you...???

I've written so many long, wordy, sometimes heavy posts lately...

Just gotta shout it out tonight:



I am addicted to JESUS

So in love with HIM!!!

HE's THE BEST!!!!

And I LOVE Africa,

just LOVE it -

or rather - the African people!!!



It's funny,

A few days after I got home from my last trip

I told Leilani:


"If I don't EVER take another plane in my life, I'll be just fine!"



Fast-forward 2 weeks -

I told Rich:


"If I had the chance to go back to Africa NOW

I'd hop on a plane in a heart-beat!"



My kids call me crazy sometimes

I guess they're right!

'nuf said.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Challenging YOU today

As much as the best kind of help for the poor has to do with empowering them and helping them get on their own feet so that they can make a living for themselves (see video in post below)

there ARE many situations that require 

ON-GOING HELP

like the many homes that take in abandoned babies off the streets

and toddlers

and older children as well.

There's a HUGE NEED of SUPPORT for these ministries!!!


I've had the privilege of meeting a number of wonderful local, Ugandan people
who have stepped out and taken in these precious little ones.

I've LISTENED TO THEM

asked them questions

and looked behind the scenes of these children's lives who have been 

CHANGED SO MUCH

just by THEM reaching out and

DOING SOMETHING ABOUT THE HUGE NEED!!!

You should read some of the children's stories - WOW!


They will not say it right away

but it is CLEAR

that the single most BIGGEST STRESS FACTOR for them

has to do with the FINANCES - or lack thereof - 

to meet the needs of caring for these little ones.


As a matter of fact, I am in contact with one of them

who has been diagnosed with a major health challenge since I got back home.

The reason?

STRESS.

When I asked her about the main stress-factor, she said it is the

FINANCIAL PROVISION.

And YES, she DOES trust GOD

But I know from my own experience,

that this area of constant concern can take a toll on you.



I WOULD LIKE TO THROW OUT A CHALLENGE TO YOU TODAY:

Would you allow God to break YOUR HEART with the things that break HIS?

Would you be willing to do SOMETHING???
You can maybe "fast" some of your every day pleasures, or extras

and give the money you save to help run some of these homes?

We CAN spare SOMETHING - ALL OF US!

You can also PRAY!

Or do a fund-raiser
or something else creative.

I have made up prayer cards for about 20 children,

most of whom are in the need of a forever-family,

and I will be making more

as the 20 get snatched up.

There's a photo and some information to help in the praying.

PLEASE!!!

All you have to do is send me an email - address on the right side of the blog

and I will send you a prayer sponsor card that you can print out.

I can also tell you how you can give.

It doesn't matter which country you're reading this blog from

I will be able to find a way for you to channel your finances

with the utmost integrity

straight to where they are needed.

Promise!

Let's do it!!!
"For I was hungry and you fed me
I was thirsty and you gave me a drink
I was a stranger and you invited me into your home.
I was naked and you gave me clothing
I was sick and you cared for me.
...
I tell you the truth:
when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters
YOU WERE DOING IT FOR ME."

Matthew 25, 35, 40

Monday, October 3, 2011

There IS good aid and bad aid

I'm SO VERY GRATEFUL for the amazing people that God has placed in my life who have been teaching me on my journey to want to help the orphans and widows.

I was completely IGNORANT just a couple of years ago.

Had a good heart - 

compassion - 

but there's DEFINITELY a good way to help and a bad way to help!

Roughly, the bad way makes people dependent on continual help.
The good way is to EMPOWER people to help themselves.



On this last trip I felt I got a crash course in holistic, effective GOOD community development and aid. It was amazing! I just soaked everything up!!!


who embraced me as part of their family

taught me so much!!!



I even saw a coal-operated iron for the first time!

I had brought my Sunday clothes to their house so I could iron them,

but since there was no electricity, Fred prepared this iron - 


WOW!!!

In the end, we didn't need to use it as electricity decided to grace us once again.

And - as a matter of fact - a young man named Gideon, a family friend who was over at the house, offered to do the ironing for me! 

Impressive!

It seems that Ugandan young men all know how to iron!

I guess it's kinda important for them to learn it, if they don't want to get eaten up by the mango-flies (through non-ironed clothes)



Here's an excellent clip that sums up so well what good aid really is!


Sunday, October 2, 2011

From Hopelessness to HOPE and a FUTURE

Before you read on, please re-visit this blog post from last December!

Now look at this picture (and the others further down):

Lydia with Judith, the YWAMer who is heading up the "Women of Hope" ministry - Lydia called her "my best friend"


When I met Lydia on my recent visit,

she was beaming,

happy!

I first met her at Judith's house.

Judith and Fred are the ones who have taken her on,

led her to know Jesus and 

are encouraging her.

They've also been feeding her and her children most days

even though they themselves have hardly anything.

She right away showed me some shorts she'd sewn for Judith's little boy.

When I visited Lydia's humble place

still the same place as last year,

this is what I saw:
showing me a skirt she'd sewn


There's a (single) mattress now that the 3 children share

I know, we should've gotten a bigger size mattress...

but hey, it's better than sleeping on concrete.

Lydia is sleeping next to them in a sleeping bag that somebody donated for her.

There's also a mosquito-net now.

Lydia was so proud to show me the different pieces of clothing she'd been sewing.

It was priceless - and one of the most encouraging encounters of my trip!

2 more pieces of new clothing she'd made


To see the difference it made 

for somebody to step up and take the risk of

committing to pay the tailoring training for Lydia

as well as her children's school fees.




Yes, I felt that I needed to step out. (with Rich's permission).

I DO like to keep my promises

but had NO way of knowing HOW I would come up with the money it would take month after month.

And yet

I felt compelled to DO SOMETHING.

And, boy, am I ever glad I did!

God has been faithfully providing so far

(through other people)!


Lydia will finish her training in December.

Then the plan is to get her a sewing machine and set her up to start her own little business.

She will need to pay back the sewing machine as she will be making money,

little by little.

I expect that in another 2 years, she will be on her own feet financially,

able to provide for the children's school fees, food, etc

Hopefully for the rest of her life.

with the 4-year-old twin boys Kato and Waswa and her 7-year-old daughter Amina


Just to see what a little bit of help can accomplish was SUCH an encouragement!

Judith told me how before Lydia would always cry and be completely hopeless.

NOT - ANY - MORE!!!!

THANK YOU, JESUS!!!

May there be MANY MANY more like her!!!

We're just starting, folks!

Let me know if you want to help others - 

or help with the sewing machine for Lydia (US$130) -

or the children's ongoing school fees for another 2 years.

Folks - this is SOOOO WORTH every penny!



happy children!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Going out on a limb

The one thing that seems to characterize all the "Orphans Know More" families is that they are continually going beyond their means to help the orphans.

Last year, Rich and I visited this family.

Missing 1 child, plus 2 who passed away in the last couple of years (one at a fire at school and one at an accident of the school bus)


They have been building their home for almost 10 years,

little by little.
this is the living room

The floors are of dirt,

there is no kitchen - yet

this is where the kitchen will be one day

there is 1 bedroom for the parents,

1 for the boys



and 1 for the girls.

one of the kids' bedrooms holds the dishes/kitchen supplies as well.



When a rather large donation was given for OKM a few months back,

we felt to pass it on to this family

towards the completion of their house.

We had found out that the dirt floors were causing some health problems in the family.



I was curious to see the progress they had made on the house

when I visited them recently.

This is what I found:


Instead of proper floors,

a kitchen

or walls plastered,

this family is using the money to add 2 more bedrooms to the house.

Why?

Because they want to make room for more orphans in their family!

They have 10 kids in 2 bedrooms.

They recently had 4 more kids for some weeks

as their widowed mother needed some respite care.

The teenage girls stayed in a tent in the living room

in order to have some privacy.


They are also looking after several children in the community that are not in good situations and need to be brought "home".
So - building was going on during our visit.

NOW - THIS IS THE HEART of all the OKM families I have met.
Always out on a limb to help more orphaned children!

The parents Mabel and Dickson need our prayers at the moment.
Mabel's brother just passed away a week ago

and her father needs to be looked after.

It's unbelievable HOW MUCH DEATH people in Africa have to deal with...




There's also a very exciting project I am working on together with this couple for next year.

Just giving some hints:

Streets of Europe

Dances, Songs, Testimonies

Ex-orphans ministering.

More on that another day...