Saturday, May 16, 2020

New blog started - check it out!

Hey, I felt it was time to start a blog specifically to tell Praise's story, 

intertwined with current events of Maisha Africa. 

There is SO MUCH happening at the moment.

Check out the blog here - and follow the story!

It is unfolding daily.

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

The time Praise stole a chicken


Well, technically, it wasn’t HER who stole it, but...

...what’s a big brother to do if little sis cries uncontrollably and persistently, begging to eat chicken?!

After all, it was 

Christmas Day! 

Tantalizing scents of delicious chicken being cooked on charcoal fires all around were making her mouth water like crazy.

Praise REALLY wanted to also indulge in this very special and extremely rare treat! 

She was going to turn 6 the next day. But nobody even wasted a thought on that. 

Remembering birthdays wasn’t exactly part of the culture of the day.

Survival? Yup, more like it! 

However, 

Christmas was - and still is - a BIG DEAL in Uganda!

So here was Praise, the youngest of 7 children and the only girl. How in the world were her brothers going to make sure her little heart wouldn’t be broken today? 

There was no chicken, the ONE special food that was a MUST for Christmas in Uganda. 

Not only that. 

It was worse. 

There was NO FOOD AT ALL!


While the children spent most of their upbringing with their grandmother, there were certain times when they knew they weren’t welcome at her home. Because of their step-aunty. 

Christmas was one of those times.

The aunty was the one who had built the grandmother’s home (photo see last blog post), and she was going to spend the special day with her mother. 
Sadly, she did not like Praise and her brothers and made sure they knew it. 

So, off they scadoodled to their mother’s tiny rented room.

Their brave mother had banded together with a bunch of other people and hired a truck to take them deep into the village. 

The mission? 

Fill up the truck with bunches of bananas that were then destined to get sold in Kampala for Christmas. 

This was her industrious attempt to provide her children with a meal worthy of Christmas.

Unfortunately, things didn’t turn out as planned. The truck broke down. 





Even worse, their mother had no way to contact the children to let them know. 
We’re talking pre-historic-cell-phone days.

So, imagine the distress of the brothers: 

Not only did they have to deal with their crying sister that they didn’t want to disappoint, but they were convinced that their mother must have died. Why? Because she was meant to have already come back days ago and there was no news from her at all.

With so much grief and death being a part of their tender lives already, 
this was a pretty realistic conclusion.

So, here were the brothers, convinced that their mother had died.

And it was Christmas.

There was no food.

No chicken.

Just a crying little sister.

(Her primary worry wasn't so much about the mother having died.)

She just wanted to eat chicken. And she wanted it now!

When all of a sudden





A chicken happened to flutter into their room!




Well – well – well, thought one of the brothers. 

If that isn’t the solution to our dilemma... 

Before anybody had a chance to put their thinking caps on to decide what should be done, the chicken was killed and getting transformed into – you guessed it: Christmas dinner! YAY!!!

Praise was overjoyed!

But her joy didn’t last long.

The owner of the chicken apprehended them, realising one of her chickens had escaped and hadn’t made it back alive.

Uh – ohhhh…. Trouble!

Before they knew it, they had been dragged to the Local Council (L.C.) – equivalent to the police.

Accused of theft, Christmas was looking grimmer by the minute.

BUT – and aren’t you glad there was a BUT?

The L.C. – instead of punishing the children for their theft – rebuked the neighbour for being so heartless with the children. 

Seeing that they were without food, she should have let them get away with keeping the chicken. 
Not only that. She got told to go home and give them some other food to complete their Christmas dinner.

All is well that ends well.

Christmas was saved!

A satisfying meal tickled the children’s tummies – and souls.

Praise was smiling from ear to ear.

And their mother made it back home a week later.

Friday, May 1, 2020

Tables turned - and more!


It was the darkest hour of Praise’s young life.

Her beloved grandmother, the one who had mostly raised her, had died.

All 20+ children/teens, most of them orphaned by AIDS, were chased away from the small 1-bedroom-home they had shared with their grandmother.


actual room - now destroyed

What now?

Where to now?

Praise's world - as she knew it - had collapsed.

She felt like fainting of despair.

Her grief was unbearable.

And hopelessness engulfed her.

What was going to become of her?

Her past 14 years on this earth – in one of Kampala’s slums - hadn’t exactly been a bed of roses (unless you’re just looking at the thorns).

But at least she'd had a shelter at night.

Yeah, bodies squeezed like sardines (and worse), 
covering every square inch of the humble abode.
But nonetheless safety.

She had just recently encountered the life-changing love of Jesus and joined a church.
So, first call of port?

The church – 'course.

She started sleeping there, together with several other young people without homes.
And if there was food, she would eat there, too. 
But many times, there wasn’t. 

Hunger was an old companion - all too familiar.

😞

A lover of music, Praise had joined the worship team at church.

The leader of the worship team and her husband, one of the pastors, had an open home.

They would meet there often, worship and pray,

sometimes all night,

and (at times) eat,

if they had food.

Usually runny porridge. 



Other times just hot water, in an attempt to ease the relentless hunger pangs.

Life wasn’t easy for this couple, but they shared the little they had.

One evening, Praise asked if she could stay at their home, since she was freezing at church.
(yeah, believe it or not, it can get cold, especially at night - even in Africa!)

And that was the beginning of her stay with this young couple.


"We had 6 youth from church. The church would just forward them to me. We were like a referral home. They would just tell them, 'go to Pastor Brutus'.
My worry was so much about the young girls. Because this is a slum area with drug addicts around. I cared so much because I didn't want the young girls to get raped. So I said, let them come here. At least they are well protected, even if we don't have anything to eat."

Edith -

They were like family, had wonderful times together, and didn’t even mind all that much if they had to go to sleep hungry – all of them – on the days when there was no food. 

But they had God, love, and one another.

It was from their home that Praise was soon going to launch her ministry with street kids.
Bringing them in, asking for them to sleep there instead of her,
while she offered to sleep back at the church.

 Secretly feeding them through their back window.

actual window

But that's a story for another day.

If you can't wait, you can read up more on Maisha Africa's website or on our facebook page.

One comment I will add now, is that Praise stood out from all the other youth the couple was helping, I was told. 

Curious how?

She was so passionately in love with Jesus.

And she kept herself pure and undefiled of the world and its pleasures.
Unlike most of her peers.
(well done, Praise! Proud of you!👏😍)


Fast forward to March/April 2020. 

Enter Covid-19. 

Oops, no, let me back up first. 

During the days when Praise struggled so much just to survive, watching her siblings/cousins engage in different shameful activities for their survival, she held on to God for dear life.

One time, she heard him whisper to her:

“What you are going through is temporary. 
There will be a better tomorrow and you will be of a great help to others.”

Listen to this song Praise wrote a few years ago about her story, if you'd like to understand better.



Okay now,

since Covid-19 has brought with it an extremely strict lock-down in Uganda, 
many people have been struggling BIG TIME to survive.

Pastor Brutus and his wife still live in the same simple rental home in the same slum 
(yes, dreaming of their own home one day). 

I recently visited them and long behold, 
they haven’t stopped reaching out - beyond their means - to care for the vulnerable. 

19 years later, not much has changed. 

Meet a little one they recently saved from abandonment and starvation and took on as their own.
Edith's small business has suffered since she took him on, as he's needed so much care and attention, but she humbly and joyfully carries on, trusting God for all of their needs.

You'd never guess his age. He is slowly healing in their loving care.


With the lock-down shutting down all non-essential businesses, 
many families in their community were immediately plunged into utter despair. 

Imagine living day-to-day, no reserves, no fridges and no income.

And you are told to stay at home. 

Pastor Brutus’ heart was deeply burdened for his community.
He cried out to God for help. 

He had no clue how God was going to answer.

Well, totally unexpectedly to him

 through the generosity of some of you friends (see my last post),

 Praise has been able to pass on funds for him to provide much-needed food to the most vulnerable in his community, including his own family (not easy for a pastor to survive when church is shut down – at least in Uganda).

God is using him MAJORLY to relieve the suffering of MANY and he is OVERJOYED!

What about that, my friends?!

God does hear the cry of the desperate.
(in this case, Praise, years ago)

He restores what has been stolen by life’s unfairness.

But not only that.

 When He intervenes, he’s not just restoring what was lost

 – but there is restitution – 

with 'interest'!

😀


In the past month, Praise 

– in partnership with us – 

has been able to reach 8 suffering communities!

The one she grew up in, yes.

Plus 7 others.

An estimated 2,500 people (500 families) have received food.

And more are being fed each day.

Many repeatedly - depending on the need.

snapshot of our 'secret mission', as distributing food isn't allowed.

Through that girl that once was in desperate need of help.

Tables have been turned for Praise - for Pastor Brutus - and MANY are benefiting!

THAT is what GOD can do!

Hold on, dear friend, if you happen to find yourself in a tricky situation at the moment.

Tables can turn at any time. 

Hold on. 

Keep the faith!


And as far as the needy ones we may be reaching out to today, 
investing into their education/food/survival?

Never underestimate what your sacrificial love can achieve!

You might think you are helping a needy person. And you are.

But one day, that needy person may just be the one helping you.

In some unexpected way.

And possibly not just you - but MANY more!

JUST.MAYBE.

I have a hunch firmly believe- and I've witnessed glimpses of it already - 
that many of the ones being helped now will become world-changers!


Honestly – my eyes are now ‘leaking’…. 

In AWE of God’s goodness and care.

He NEVER ceases to amaze me!



Monday, April 27, 2020

Have you ever wanted to be a part of a rescue-mission?


 I have. 

 When I was young, I would devour books on children getting rescued during wars, secretly wishing I could do the same.

While I have been doing it - somewhat - in the past years

~ with the help of many of you ~
(thanks heaps!)

 things have gone to a new level since Covid-19.

And I now get to be involved in a 'real' rescue mission.

Sadly

 Uganda's lock-down has imposed such drastic measures that there has been a tremendous spike in the suffering of the already vulnerable. 
Many have not only lost livelihoods, but lives - literally.
And so many are suffering from hunger...


The government has been trying its best to provide ambulances to get the sick to hospitals, after all public and private vehicles were forbidden on the roads
(except for ones with special permission)

 and to feed the people, 
after all non-essential businesses had to close down and people were told to stay at home.

Sadly, there are a LOT of cracks in the system and it isn't working, leaving many dying and starving.

No surprises there, with 5 ambulances for a population of 2 million in the area where Praise and family live - and a complex housing situation around Kampala where many are left out of government feeding programmes.

Enter Praise.




From when I first met her, I have been drawn to the radical love she exhibits to needy children
(and other age groups).

She reaches out when she has nothing.

When it seems impossible.

YET

Where there is a will, there is a way.
(A German saying I grew up with.)

I suggest to edit this slightly:

Love will find a way.

And this is what's been happening in the past month.

Praise doesn't easily take NO for an answer.
While this has at times created some tension in our relationship over the past 8 years
~ just being honest here ~
😃

There is definitely a good side to her tenacity and stubbornness.


On one hand

Praise, Moses and their children have actually been enjoying the confinement in their beautiful home.

They have all the food they need
(mainly the simple Ugandan staples of posho/rice and beans). 

They have more time with each other than ever.

Relationships are being strengthened.

Prayer is at an all-time high.

There's no fighting, just enjoying each other and peacefully working together
(according to Praise, and I believe it, since I find the atmosphere in their home always incredibly peaceful - especially considering they are over 20 people!)

It's been a really beneficial time and everyone is enjoying it
since they got over the initial shock.

Some children are memorizing Scripture or learning new skills.

Others are playing with the babies - the 6 under 4-year-olds.

The big boys have taken initiative to build a chicken coup and want to breed the few chickens that run around the property.
The motivating factor?
So that the family can enjoy eating a chicken once every 2 weeks.
At least that's the goal.

The children who are in the village where the school is, are being well looked after as well, and are actually able to work in our fields on most days.

HOWEVER

Praise can't handle staying at home when she knows that so many of her people are suffering.

So, what does she do?

 * She's taken the kids' bike (for a 10 km trip one way to some places)

* She's walked (2 hours one way to other places)

* She's taken some very sick people to the hospital (including one of her babies) with the car
 in spite of not being allowed to do this 
(thank God, the soldiers let her pass without confiscating the car!)

* She's been picking up her pregnant friends - one at a time - and driving places she wanted to visit, as soon as the government gave permission for people to transport pregnant women
- and only pregnant women- in private vehicles.
(Most times, she's actually taking them for pregnancy related appointments, too.😀)

* She's contacted trusted friends in slums and other impoverished areas to find out how things are going there.

It is not good at all.

😱😰

And with a sneaky - yet legal, contactless and cashless - strategy of how to get food to the starving,
(when it's against the law to distribute food 😬)

- with the utmost integrity and efficiency -

we are now feeding hundreds of needy individuals and families in 8 different areas of Uganda.

Just this past Saturday alone, over 600 kgs of food were made available for the destitute. 



 to some of you, who have donated towards our Covid-19 Relief Fund!

100% of donations (minus processing and bank fees) go DIRECTLY to the most needy.

What a SUPERB way to help!

I feel privileged to be a part of this relief effort - this rescue-mission!


It's deeply disturbing when you come across 

  •  a single mother of 8 - plus 2 grandchildren - who have been staying in their tiny one-roomed home since the lockdown, going hungry, kids crying of hunger. (She used to have a small business to sustain the family)

  • a grandmother caring for 7 grandchildren who hasn't cooked any food in 2 days...

  • another grandmother who perks up after finally getting some porridge in her body and whispers, "I was about to starve..."

  • a whole slum-area in a no-man's land that's completely hopeless and without food


OUCH!


Praise is risking her health and safety - one time having to take back-roads as the trip had taken longer than anticipated (5+ hours of walking total) and she and Moses weren't home before the curfew. Yes, Moses is also a BIG part of the story. 
However, he stays home with the children on most days. 

But - can there be anything more satisfying than knowing that you've been able to bring some love, hope and relief - including much needed food - to most desperate people? 

No, we can't show you photos of food getting distributed,
but trust me, it's happening.
Shhhhhh...



The biggest beneficiaries are single mothers with children, but also others are receiving help, like this man who lives in this shed with 5 other men.


And many elderly.


We can't show you photos or videos of the grateful people - with their tears - when they receive food.

But that's okay.

This is the advantage of working closely with people you can fully trust and who are giving sacrificially whatever they can from their own pockets -

Be this Praise, Moses, or any of their contacts on the ground.

Bingo!



There's more to the story - which I want to write about some time.

But 'nuff for today.

Lord, have mercy on our planet and eradicate this nasty virus!

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Special video from my trip to Uganda with Kylie

Inspired by Kylie taking noticeable delight in reading my blog posts from a looooong time ago last week, (with me oftentimes recounting her little-girl antiques, with photos), I have decided to put together a short video about our latest adventure together to post on here. 
After all, this blog is a cool platform and easy way to keep memories alive.

BUT WAIT - LET ME BACK UP


Prompted by God, Kylie came with me to Uganda last year and fell in love with the people and the country, especially the children. 😊😉

Shortly after returning home, God provided a part-time job for her at a bakery in walking distance to our (then) home. SUCH an incredible provision for a 14-year old to be able to make some pretty good money while still going to school and at the same time learning valuable skills!

She worked hard, sacrificed much and saved up for every last dollar needed to get back to Uganda with me (once again following a prompting from God), paying for all of her expenses, even with money to spare to treat different people to some pretty special experiences, including a dozen+ FIRST TIME EVER experiences
(Ask her about them.😀).

By the way, she herself also experienced around a dozen FIRST TIME EVERs during this trip.
So cool!
(once again, why don't you ask her about them?!)

She was an amazing travel-buddy and such a trooper! I just love her!
WHAT A JOY AND DELIGHT SHE IS!
I am SUPER proud of her and how she carried herself once again on this trip!

She was very motivated to learn some Luganda beforehand, so that she could at least communicate a little better with the children/youth than last time. Quite surprising to me, as I have never been able to get her excited about learning German or French. Go figure... 😬😏
Thankfully, we found a Ugandan here in Tauranga who was willing to teach us and she made a fair bit of progress. YAY!

Anyways, here we are - came back from Uganda 3 weeks ago. 


Every time I come back, I am so full of emotions, experiences and memories which I LOVE to share with anybody that's interested.

Anybody out there???


What a challenge to summarize 3 weeks in a 4-min video.... and lots of memorable moments didn't get filmed/photographed, but here it is.
Click on the link to see it
(or better yet, read on and find it at the bottom of this post). 

Thank you for visiting with me/us for a bit!



OOPS - wait a minute - you may want to first read this

DISCLAIMER


Watching this footage might tempt you to conclude that my Uganda-trips are nothing but fun and games.

YEAH RIGHT


All fun and games?

NOPE - FAR FROM IT!

(If you want to know more, ask me about it.😃)


What you are going to see in the video are snippets of what we were up to,

highlighting the funnest moments.

Cuz 


At the end of the day

When all is said and done

I am in my VERY happy place when I watch

CHILDREN


 HAPPY


PLAYING


LAUGHING


HAVING FUN

 

LOVING GOD


AND EACH OTHER


Especially children who probably wouldn't be doing well at all right now if GOD hadn't intervened in their lives through people like you and me investing time, love, energy, passion, prayers and finances

to LOVE ON THEM and CARE FOR THEM!

(Insert Praise and Moses as well as every person that has been investing into the ministry of Maisha Africa - thankyouverymuch!👍😁)

YES


The children are now a part of a family, with consistent love and care.

They are getting educated
(oh, what a challenge to finance their ongoing education 😬!)

HOWEVER


Their lives are still VERY simple

even though they now live in a

VERY BEAUTIFUL HOME

as you will see in the video

God's miracle provision (see this post)!!!

(by the way, they RARELY, if ever, play in their living-room, the way you will see them play with Kylie in the video)

They work HARD and a LOT, and play little.

Our primary/intermediate school still doesn't have a playground.
(only the preschool has some play-equipment)

A swing, a pool, a bouncy castle, bubbles...?


Some had never experienced some of these things - EVER - others maybe once a year or less...

There are no public playgrounds.

Maybe someday that will change - hopefully.

Especially the PLAYGROUND AT OUR SCHOOL is something I REALLY want to see established as soon as possible!

BACK TO THE VIDEO


The girl in the yellow dress you see playing with Kylie is SUCH a happy, delightful child now, thriving under the care of her mother, who she has been able to get reunited with thanks to somebody who read this blog post years ago and met the need.

No longer needy, empty - but secure and happy!

WHAT A JOY! 


Some of the children you'll see in our video are the same ones as the ones who sang this song 6 years ago.

And the ones you can see in this blog post - almost 8 years ago!

As a matter of fact, the youngest in that last blog post, (first photo) has now become my apprentice photographer and has filmed some of the footage in the video. Haha!
He's so adorable!
(he's the one Kylie filmed while he tasted cotton candy for the first time)

WOW~ WOW ~ WOW!!! 

What a journey it has been! What a transformation!


You probably won't recognize these children, but - oh - what a JOY and PRIVILEGE for me to see them grow up and develop so well in different areas of their lives.

And many others have been added since then - each one with their own story of pain, loss and (ongoing) restoration.

SO BEAUTIFUL - AND HARD 

(pray for Praise and Moses as they parent them!)


Another one you won't recognize (the photos go very quickly) is a young girl, who
 - also thanks to somebody who read my blog-post about her and responded to meet a need many years ago -
is now doing amazingly well, just finished her university degree that she financed herself after having been sponsored through high school. SUCH a precious young lady and lover of God!
SUCH a turn around from hopelessness to a future made of hope!

HONESTLY


As exciting as it might seem to be able to do what I do,
It has demanded more of me than I ever thought I could handle,
with a HUGE price tag attached.

It hasn't been easy, friends - AT ALL!
(ask me about it 😉)

BUT


When I get just a few minutes/hours of watching the children and teens happy and having a good time once a year (wish it could be more often)

my heart melts and I know:

It is all worth it! So very worth it!



SO - WITHOUT FURTHER ADO:

I hope you ENJOY the video as much as I do!



Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Our miracle home!

(mostly written on January 18th, 2019)

My heart is swelling with overwhelming joy and wonder.
Tears are softly forming in my eyes
at the thought of such a God that we love and serve
as I am entering a very special day in the Betts-household:

Today, we are moving into a home that God has provided for us! 

A home that we can call ours
(even though it’s not just ours – more on that later).

A home that fulfils a promise we received from our Father many years ago.
(more on that further down the post)

A home that will finally allow us to settle after close to 30 moves (quite a few of them international), not having the continual threat hanging over us to be told any time (usually the worst time) that we need to move on because the owners want the house back for themselves, or sell it. 

And – oh – the investment of time and the exhaustion that is entailed in each move.

NO MORE!

A home where we can paint walls

Put up decorations as we want

Make improvements

Plant a garden, flowers, trees, knowing the investment will still be there years from now.

I am overwhelmed – just overwhelmed.

Jesus sure meant what He said when he promised that if we give up fathers and mothers….. homes…. for His sake, that he will provide a hundredfold in the present age – houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and fields, along with persecutions – and in the age to come, eternal life… (Mark 10,29-30)

We have experienced this reality in many ways already. 

All the relational blessings, tick.

persecutions, tick.

And now the time has come for the house.

TICK!

It’s a long story – brace yourself – sit down with a cuppa and visit a bit with us.
It’s a story of marvel, of miracles, of waiting, longing, praying, claiming, disappointments, more waiting, standing in faith, claiming some more and did I mention waaaaaitiiiing???

Allow me to back up into a cute little Scottish Church in Lausanne, Switzerland, one chilly Saturday afternoon in the winter of 1988, (snow falling – yes!) where Rich and I got married, with a full commitment to give our lives to Jesus and His great commission. 
“Go into all the world and preach the Gospel…..”

Interesting little titbit from our wedding: When we got prayed for during the ceremony, one of our YWAM leaders saw a vision in his spirit of us being surrounded by lots and lots of children of different skin-colors, way too many to be our own.

Oops, just writing that down is opening the floodgates of my eyes with tears now streaming down my face.

Back on track - - - Thanks to a YWAM connection, we had the privilege to spend our honeymoon in South-Africa at a beach house (for free). While the scenery was beautiful and we loved the country (drove around a bit, too, including Kruger National Park), we were really troubled by all the signs of segregation we saw on the beaches and public places. Those were the days of the Apartheid. 

It pained us and made us feel very uncomfortable 
(signs to keep non-white people off the beaches etc).

Little did we know that 30 years later, God was going to weave a then little 4-year old Indian girl and a 14-year old Indian boy who were living in that same country at that very same time into the tapestry of our family story. 

In fact, unbelievable as it may sound, God had already then planned to use these two to provide a home for us! 

He had already then chosen to redeem them unto Himself and bring them together in marriage 20 years later after meeting in Auckland, New Zealand, where they had both immigrated to.

Those two young ones – the ones not allowed on ‘our’ beach - - - OUCH! 

The ways of God just blow me away.

Humble me deeply.

I hate injustice and have been doing my bit to lift up the disadvantaged and give them opportunity for a brighter future through education.

This little girl grew up (just for the record: I have ALWAYS felt that Indian children were incredibly gorgeous and we almost adopted an Indian boy 11+ years ago!) and when she was a teenager, her family immigrated to New Zealand. She later became a chartered accountant, very skillful and professional, as well as very sweet, kind and generous. 

Fast forward to 2018: She listens to an interview on Radio Rhema about Maisha Africa – or at least she thinks she listened to this interview. This interview has actually never happened! (And no, she confirms, it wasn’t one of Praise’s interviews on Radio Rhema.) 

A couple months later she can’t get it out of her heart and wants to find the ministry. 
So off to the internet she goes where she finds the Maisha Africa website

Looking through it, she loves what she sees and contacts me.

While I am sick in bed on an August winter day, I am surprised by a text from her, wanting to find out more about how she can get involved in the ministry. Now, believe me - you don’t just get random requests from people wanting to find out more about your ministry, let alone wanting to help, like she informed me she wanted to do!

Praise, Moses and I had been praying and looking for a very specific chartered accountant to help with the financial management of Maisha Africa. It needed to be somebody trustworthy that would volunteer their time, have the needed skills and experience as well as cross-cultural experience (preferably with Africa). 

It had been a while and we hadn’t been able to find anybody. 
(The one who has been helping wasn’t able to give enough time, so too much was left on my shoulders.)

My heart leapt inside of me when she told me that she wanted to do more than give money and invest her time to help disadvantaged children – and – she was a chartered accountant! 

WOW!!!! 

I was overjoyed and saw this as a supernatural provision of God for our need!

FAN-TASTIC!!!

When I read through the requested references for her, I quickly realised that we had struck gold with this young lady! 

WOW WOW WOW!!! 

Character, integrity, professionalism, expertise – she was top-notch! And she had grown up in (South-)Africa!

My – my – my! SOOOO AMAZING!!!

But wait – there's more…. 

Remember, I started out telling the story of how God provided a home for us? 

Well

To make a long story short

When she came - with her husband - to meet me/us

so that we could get to know each other before working together

something someone stirred their hearts in such a way that when they walked out of our house

They said to each other

"We've got to help this couple/family get into a house".

Less than 3 months later, we had bought a house together (50/50)!

Can you believe it?!!

It was an insane roller-coaster journey as the impossibilities still seemed to dominate the circumstances around a house purchase. We spent hours upon hours talking with each other - long-distance - since they live 2 1/2 hours away from us in Auckland.

For the sake of actually finishing this blog post without it becoming a book

let me just say that God used this couple - plus others -

including complete strangers

to fight our case

to push and push

(reminded me of what I do for my Ugandan family)

until God removed every obstacle and

MADE THE IMPOSSIBLE POSSIBLE!!!



Not only did we buy a house together, but we have become friends!
How precious is that?!

WHAT A GOD WE HAVE!!!

By the way, just to add a few of the many little 'details' of our story:

DETAIL #1:

As mentioned above, God had given us a promise for our own house years ago.

We always kept it tucked away in our hearts while looking at different options of buying a home.

Yet it always stayed out of reach for us.

Until I was inspired by the testimony of another woman, who received their family home as a result of very intentional, insisting, 'vigorous', faith-filled prayers and claiming the promise of God for them until God came through with the promised home in quite a spectacular way.

So early June of 2018, I decided to become just as 'vigorous' about our promise.

I printed it out in big letters and stuck in on our fridge.

During devotions with the kids we almost daily 'claimed' this promise:



Then, God brought Avasha and Percy into our lives, wanting to help us.

DETAIL #2:

Avasha just reminded me that on September 11th, the day before we started being in contact with each other on social media, this is what I had posted on Facebook
(After they met us, she did a bit of checking me out, as you do, on Facebook 😉):



DETAIL #3:

Right after I had heard from Avasha that they felt to help us get into a home, which of course was a HUMONGOUS SURPRISE for us, I had my weekly ministry-call with Moses in Uganda.

Before I could say anything, he told me:

"Mummy, I just want you to know that for months now I have been praying for you and asking God to SURPRISE YOU WITH HIS GOODNESS!"
(in bold letters as he emphasized these words a lot!)

DETAIL #4:

This time from Percy and Avasha's side:

This was Percy's daily Bible reading during the time they were setting out to help us (pretty much complete strangers). There's more to this but Percy says the details will go into the 'book' one day😁:





DETAIL #5:

Just at the time when it seemed like it was NOT going to happen after all, even with their help (seemed like a death as we had our hopes up and then it seemed impossible after all), God whispered to me to stop claiming. Instead, I was to just thank him for this peaceful dwelling place, secure home and undisturbed place of rest that He was going to give us.

So, I did.

And God moved EVERY obstacle out of the way.

He made a way where there seemed no way.

WOHOOOOO!!!!!

And one last little DETAIL #6:

We had to move out of our (then) rental by February at the latest, since the owners wanted it back for themselves - so the timing - getting the house in January - was just PERFECT!
AND - just a 2-minute drive away from our rental - SO IDEAL!

Are you in awe of God yet?


At the time of me finishing this blog post, we have been living in our new home for almost 5 months and hardly a day goes by where I don't thank God for this amazing provision - with us paying pretty much the same amount as we would for renting a home.

We love our home, feel wonderfully settled and are so so very grateful for it!

More than that

WE LOVE OUR FAITHFUL FATHER!!!!

Jehovah Jireh - our provider!

And Rich is busy planting a garden and different trees as I am writing this.

Oh how BLESSED we are!



Thursday, January 17, 2019

Full Circle


It's been soooo long that when I type in my blog's webpage, I have to type in the whole thing as it isn't being recognised after the first few letters.... oops.... hahaha

You can thank Facebook.

Makes it so much easier and quicker to share what's happening with the world.

Anyways.... although I know that nobody is following my blog any longer with posts being non-existent sporadic,

today, I feel compelled to write - just for the record - and to give HUGE credit to God for the random person who might read this in the future.

When Praise was 24 (a mere 8 years ago), single, with 10 needy children by her side, and in a really tough place, this was her vision-statement, sent to me by somebody via email after my first Uganda-trip.

I hadn't even met her yet.

"At the moment, I am praying for my own land so that we may build a home there and have sufficient space to grow food to feed all the children, and even help more children. I have a vision of building a school for abandoned, orphaned and disadvantaged children and spreading the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ."

Her story, as it was shared with me via email, see full blog post here, gripped my heart before ever meeting her in person. Isn't that crazy to begin with? And then our family went fundraising throughout the USA to find support for Praise and her children. The fundraising was pretty much a disaster, but that was okay. God had other plans.

As of 2018, I would say that Praise's vision has come full circle.

Yes, we still need to renovate the very first (badly-built) building she put on the land to increase our capacity for taking in boarding students (to generate income for the school)

build more teacher housing

and get more land to feed everybody.

But here is the school (still believing God for a playground and soccer field)





The preschool/kindergarten




Thanks to our amazing friends and supporters from around the world, the lives of 400 mostly very disadvantaged/vulnerable children are getting transformed through education and the Gospel.
(Wanna partner with us, too? We need you! Check out our website)


We have been donated 7 acres of land for food production
and yes, the kids are working the fields whenever possible.
Here some of them hiding from a rain-shower.





Praise and her (since 2014) hubby Moses, who are now caring for 40 children

 have done numerous evangelistic outreaches

 planted two churches





And lastly but most definitely not leastly

here is a short video of the home that God has provided!





Can I hear a shout of THANKS TO GOD?!!!

See you do a dancing gig?!!

Praise, Moses and the children have done just that!

At the moment, Praise isn't dancing much, though,

actually not at all

since she is heavily pregnant and about to receive the most incredible miracle-gift from God:

TWINS!

YIPPEEE YAY!

The most desired, longed for, awaited, prayed for miracle!

And not just one baby but two!

Just like what God would do!





Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Could there be an easier way? Pretty please?

Here I am on my laptop, after laying awake since the early hours of the morning ...

Not sure if I'll actually ever publish this post,
but writing it anyways as I have a feeling it will be therapeutic for me.

In one month, I will board that plane once again - and then the second one - that will take me back to my beloved Uganda.

This time, with Kylie.

The first of my children to come with me, after God spoke to her a year ago that she needed to come with me to Uganda as a first step to her calling into missions.

Exciting and daunting at the same time.

This week, our tickets will need to be purchased.

With (harmless yet annoying) mosquitoes buzzing around my ears in the night, I make a mental note to buy LOTS of mosquito repellant - the strongest kind - for the 2 of us - to lather our bodies with every waking hour for our 3 weeks in Uganda.
Cuz in Uganda, mozzies aren't harmless.
(Nights should be fine under the mosquito net.)

And I need to make that appointment with the travel doctor for Kylie's vaccination.
And get malaria medicine - and and and....

From experience I know that the next 3 months will be intense, like every time I travel.
There are all the preparations, then the trip itself and the readjustment when I come back home.

3 months.

This coming month will be filled with preparations of all kinds - on top of normal life - not the least organizing every hour of every day for the care and schooling of Shayden.
Hundreds of details.

When I sat in the plane that took me to Germany less than 3 months ago, utterly exhausted from the preparations, I promised myself that I wouldn't dare leave again for another trip for at least 6 months. And here I am again. This seems to be God's appointed time.

It's complicated.

It's hard.

It's draining.

Thoughts keep flooding me - about how I am not the right person for the job.

Couldn't God have chosen somebody more fitting?

Surely I must have been His plan B - or C....

I am fragile.

My health is - just recuperating from a flu at the moment.

My (our) finances are - how are we going to pay for all the expenses of this trip for the two of us?

My heart is - when something is occupying my heart, I don't sleep well.
I am not anxious or worried, but it just affects me.

I don't travel well.

Have terrible jet-lag and need to take sleeping pills every single night for about 6 weeks surrounding each trip. And nowadays, they only knock me out for a few hours.

My heart gets so messed up.

Living in two worlds is hard in the best of times.

Though my heart and thoughts are in Uganda many times daily and much of my work is centered around the ministry there, I find a certain 'normal' in between trips.

Then I travel there again - my heart gets ripped open again.

The raw emotions are inexplainable.

The physical distance makes for a degree of emotional distance.

But then I am there again:

I experience the sights, sounds, smells,

the life, the children, the family, the love, the laughter, the fellowship,

the needs and some hard things to 'digest' - happens every time.

I am apprehensive - tremble in my inmost being - about going again.

Loving again.

Seeing again.

Enjoying again.

Getting challenged and inspired again.

And then leaving again.

Experiencing the pain again.

Missing everybody and everything again.

And I hesitate

I am not sure I am up for this.

My life could be so comfortable here in beautiful New Zealand:

Home-schooling, living life, being a grandma, involved in church and the neighbourhood, enjoying the beautiful creation around us - and why not taking up a paying part-time job...

Why am I doing this to myself - and to my family - who also pay a price for my state-of-being?

Is there an easier way to follow the call of God on my life?

Any way out?





I already know the answer.

No, there isn't.

There's pain and there's going to be pain.

My life isn't mine.

I have surrendered it to the lover of my soul a long time ago.

And He has chosen this life for me.

He has never promised that it would be easy.

But He is worthy.

Every time my heart gets pierced, I am broken-hearted and pained,
he is sharing a glimpse of His own heart with me.

I have never learned so much about my Jesus than through my involvement with Uganda.

SOOO MUCH!!!

Amongst many other things,

He also didn't choose the easy route.

He also could have stayed ever so comfortably in heaven.

And yet he chose the hard road.

WAY harder than mine!

Jesus, this morning, I am just crying out to you.

Take me by your hand.

Help me.

Strengthen me.

Give me courage to walk this road.

Provide for all the needs.

My heart is steadfast, entrusting myself into your loving and capable hands.


And here I go - courageously pushing that button




If for no other reason than for myself - as a reminder :-)