Friday, December 19, 2008

Kookoos Pens



I had the amazing privilege to spend one week with these magnificent children of Cato Manor in Durban South Africa. My team and I could not help but to fall in love with these children and learn from their love for each other and community. The girl pictured above holding a book her name is Kookoo. I want to share a story about Kookoo. Our last day at camp when we broke off into groups our discussion went to the topic doing what is right and how to know what the right thing to do it. Kookoo has a love of pens she says that at school she is tempted to take pens from kids when they walk away from there desk and she feels like one voice says "kookoo go get it, you love pens they wont miss it!" and another voice that she thinks is God saying "No kookoo its not the right thing to do, walk away.'' Kookoo walks away listening to the right voice but watching the pen on the table with sadness. This made us really choke up, PENS people. A dime a dozen. At the end of camp we gave away socks, I gathered tons of marker pens and went over to Kookoo and put it in her sock and gestured my finger to my lips and Kookoo knew what I meant. The smile on Kookoos face was priceless. Evertime I see a pen I will think of Kookoos small but strong voice.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A sweet Tribute to my Mamma

Tonight the heavens has opened up a celebrating service for this woman, an inspiration to hundreads and hero to this one. I will miss her more than I have ever missed anyone.

Frostbite

I sit here in the warmth of my own home watching the snow flakes fall to the quiet soft ground. I just thawed out my half way frostbit children after an hour of play, I could only bear it for 5 minutes before the kids found other playmates to tag with the snowball fights. Frostbite...... it take me back to story that's not so warm I want to share, if you have a soft stomach you may not want to read on! On our fun day with the children at the transition home in South Africa last week a small child so adorably plays in the sand with us and one of our team members asks sheepishly whats on his face. He bears the scar of wonder. His house Granny said that's frostbite. Frosbite in South Africa, but how?! This sweet two year old was found freezing to death in a fezzer, why? His body would then be cut up and used for medication purposes by the "sambonas" (natural healers, or in my book a witch doctor!) The police was tipped off and they went to check and sure enough this child was rescued from being frozen to death. I look at my children with red cheeks and I grasp thier little frozen fingers in mine as I breath warmness into them and thought of Jesus. How amzing he gave this little "b" boy a new life His love and mercy breathed warmth into his little soul. I could not fight the tears as I listened to the story as I envisioded a little guy crying without no one to come rescue, but Christ answered his cries. That story will stay with me forver especially when its this cold outside and I fight to get my fingers to have feeling again.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Process

Disclaimer to the photo I was really swollen after a long plane ride so yes I look fat!
I am back home got back home after a 33 hour transport with Lisa, the rest of the team gets back in tomorrow. Lisa and I came back early she is a teacher and I a mom who had to get home to kids.

I have been processing what I have seen and heard these past two weeks and the deep spiritual meaning of all of it. I missed my children and husband yet I believe that God protected my heart from missing them so much I could not do what I was sent to do and I am so glad for it. To think there were so many times that I almost didn't go, to think that I let others try to influence what God was telling me to do, Oh my I would have stolen a huge blessing! The whole time while in South Africa it was so pleasing to know I was doing what I was created to do. The stories will leave huge imprints in us forever. I would do this again only I really want Frank to come with me :) The faces of the children as we said goodbye stains my heart I am sore. I did leave with Hope, that iTemba Lethu is making a HUGE difference in the community that God has not forgotten these and he loves these kids more than me. We made some friends in South Africa I will have forever. Ang and Anton, Glenda, Janna and Derik, Mark (with a South African Accent:) Gill and Jonathan, Shannon and Patrick, Allison and Graham, thank you for your love and hospitality you are missed already!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Broken heart

These last few days of camp I have endured a strong attitude and heart and today I could not help but weep with these little ones. This was our last day of camp we were at camp with 5 and 6th graders at a community hall in Canto Manor a severely underprivileged neighborhood. I have been blessed to listen to the values that these children hold on to. I want to share a few stories.
one of a little girl named kokoo, she is precious and small and so quiet yet when she opens her mouth to say something its so profound for instance; yesterday we spoke on becoming great influences to influence those around us to become ones that peer pressure for good this is what kokoo said by the way she is 9
'' I think its wonderful to influence people but everyone in my family has died and my mother and I are the only ones alive she is always drunk and I does not make good choices to help my community I must help my mom first, I can make a difference in her life and I will teach her the things I am learning about God!''
another boy said
''I must take a stand and stand up against the people that are drinking and steeling when they want me to go with them, I must say no because this is making a stand for the positive in my community!'' Understand the pressures the children face are very different than our culture. The face things my children may never face until they are grown. This boy who feel in love with one of the guys on our team we nicked name him ''gadget boy'' because he loves to borrow our camera to take pictures, he cried the whole day. His father died last year and his mother left and lives in another town he is being raised by his older sister, he really drew us in. He was so happy that we came. Our presence alone meant so much to these kids that we would leave our families and our comfort to come tell them that Jesus care means the world to them. We didn't even have to do a thing our very presence there was enough. By the end of today I was overcome by emotion and felt as though I cant cry anymore. I want these children to be tucked in at night have someone say a prayer with them and the reality is it cant happen.
What I am so impressed is that the youth workers which are people employed by Itemba Lethu they are a HUGE cornerstone is these children lives. The are always present for them the go to there schools and listen to them and once a week the kids meet during an evening for a night of fun and learning. One youth worker Wendy gave each child her phone number to call her for anything I asked her if she gets calls for anything. She told me that she gets calls like ''Wendy its been four days since I have had something to eat can you help me?'' She said this is the most common also the girls have come up to her to tell her they have been raped again. I ask her how on earth can she do this listen to these stories everyday and not loose it. She told me ''who says I don't, I have to hold it together because they need someone and then when they leave I am down on my knees praying and sobbing before the Lord for them''.
I followed Gods call to come, and I am so blessed for it, but also broken. Please go to Kinseys blog for great picutres.
ps. Frank I miss you so much but I am so more proud of you for sending me on this call then ever.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

exhaustion ''ditto''

I am to tired to write this day so please click here for ditto.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Greetings from SOUTH AFRICA!

I am safe in South Africa and just got back from a weekend retreat camp for some zulu kids, I am amazed by them they have captured me. We arrived on Thursday after 29 hours and three flights to Durban South Africa. Our team of 7 are staying with families from the Church that sponsors the organization we are working with. The house I am staying in is huge, has a pool and a great family so I am safe, however we spent the night and then took of in the morning for the jungle/beach bungalows along with 70 kids for the local townships. Its so sad to pass the houses/shacks where these kids live and not feel a gut wrenching pull from your heart. We stopped by the home where the Orphans are staying and I held this 10 week old baby boy named Thebu (hope in Zulu) Frank watch out I just may bring this guy with me :)!
I sadly gave him back to board on the one hour bus ride with the kids. These kids mostly speak Zulu and we had the youth workers help with translation also i have picked up on a little myself. The first day was difficult these kids had a hard time letting us in, we felt very discourages. But when you think of what they have gone trough and with apartide ending so recent they have every right to be guarded. I gave my testimony that evening and we shared with them some bible stories and we were in solid! The next two days were spend just playing with them. During one of the small groups I had a group of girls and when I asked how do they know they are valuable these were the answers.
1 soma: '' I know I am valuable to God because there are so many time I go to bed with no food yet there are days my mom finds and old piece of bread, God loves me because of that''
2. another girl said '' I know i am valuable because everyone in my family is still alive''
not things you would hear form typical 6th graders. The things these kids go through every day will amaze you and this program has saved them from such heartache. I was meant to come I have no doubt about this now. I have so much more to say, I miss my kids but I am just blessed to be apart of this!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

South Africa here I come :)! ahhh




Tonight I say goodbye for my family to board on the plane at 7am to South Africa! I am so nervous I could puke! This is one of the hardest things I am going to do, but I know I have been called to this trip with no doubts! My sweet hubby, oh that's an understatement, has all three kids for all the days. Don't forget to check in with him Amy, Melissa and Jenn and anyone else please.
Above I have made 11 bags as a count down for the kids the bags have a little note with what I will be doing that day and a trinket for the kids. I have labeled the rest of the weeks school clothing with the day and names (Dork I know!) Also at night I got library books and wrapped them up as to be an element of surprise for the bedtime read. There are things I didn't get to do like vacuum and mop and sweep and make dinner for the night but I am at peace that they will do great with dad. The organization we are working with came out in the news yesterday for National Aids day take a look if you get some time. Signing off and please pray for out teams safety and for the kids lives that we will be in contact with. I hope to have great stories when we get back!
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Pray for sweet Abby Riggs!!