Friday, September 11, 2009

Pasture Valley Childrens' Home Newsletter

(This is the newsletter from the orphanage I've been working at.)

2 Timothy 4:2 “ Preach the Word, be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage- with great patience and careful instruction.

Greetings from Pasture Valley!
These last 2 months have been a season of much change and activity. Like a farmer prepares his land for the rain, we have had much to prepare.

Welcome to our new housemother- Nelly
After much prayer, we put word out that we needed a new housemother for our home. We received many applications mainly from young candidates who wanted better salaries. We finally narrowed the candidates down to 3 and asked that they come to a final interview. Peter then prayed that the one that God wanted to be our housemother was the only one to arrive. To my surprise, only Nelly arrived. The decision was final. Nelly has been with us for a month now and she is hardworking and shows great pride in her home. She is always cheerful and helpful.

New members of the family arrive!!
I had the great priviledge of going out with an experienced social worker from SOS Childrens Village and together we visited homesteads doing case studies of children that were in need of care referred by the local clinic. We travelled through rocky river beds and to areas I have never been to before. Since it had been 7 years since I was last involved with social case studies, what really left a lasting impression was the devastating effect AIDS has had on the communities. All the cases were either directly or indirectly results of this epidemic. Once the studies were done, then decisions had to be made as to which children needed help the most. This is very difficult. Once word had gone out that we had spaces open, we had requests from many organizations and the Child Protection Unit.

In one of the homesteads we had been supporting with food and clothes, the old grandmother passed away. She left four boys behind. The boy’s were passed on to an Aunt to take care of but she abused the children and burnt their clothes. The great uncle reluctantly took them in but felt very burdened as he had a number of other children he was supporting as well. When we arrived to consult with the great uncle we found that he had arranged to have the children packed and ready with their little packages to go with us. My heart was really sore as we were not ready for them or did not even have a housemother yet. We collected them 2 weeks later. Sandile, Siphelele, Sibusiso and Thabiso have settled into their new room and the rest of the family welcomed them. Neliswa jumped in to show them how to fold clothes and learn the ropes. For a few days the preschool doubled in size.

A week ago we had a call from the Child Protection Unit of a child that had been abandoned that needed help. Little Buhle had been dumped at a persons house by the young mother. The father of the child is in prison. She child was brought to us for safekeeping until the police were able to locate the mother. Peter and I were called to the police station to meet the mother. We needed to establish the reason why she drugged her child and dumped her so frequently. The mother said that she did not have a job or food and she did not want the child because the child was a “mistake”. My reply was that it is not the child’s fault and she was no mistake.

We have agreed to take care of Buhle for a period of 6 months giving time for the father to be released from prison and also time for the mother to possibly find a job and learn to love her child. We promised to pray for her. Buhle is malnourished and will need time to recover. And so the family has expanded….

Kirk and Callie- volunteering at Pasture Valley
Kirk and Callie Carson arrived one month ago being referred by Operation Mobilization (OM) to us. We are so grateful to our Lord for their serving hearts as they came at a time when there was so much going on. They have been such a blessing to us in so many ways. Kirk has finished putting up kitchen units, pantry shelves, curtain rails and has helped on the farm and with the kids sports activities. Callie has helped with running bible and school lessons in the mornings and craft activities in the afternoons. Callie has also started a weekly dance lesson for the girls which has been a lot of fun for all.

Kirk and Callie joined me on a trip to visit the Bosco Training Centre where we learnt how crafts were made and how people were encouraged to develop skills. They also run an orphanage and have an indoor soccer stadium. An arrangement was made to bring our kids to the Centre to compete in a soccer match with the other kids. Our kids arrived to find another 150 children around the stadium. A small match was arranged as to allow the children to all have a chance to play and Lindani gave the winning penalty kick for the Pasture Valley team. The kids loved the outing and came back rather exhausted.

Gogo Constance has once again been very ill and was admitted to the clinic for treatment for a week. Her blood pressure needed to be stabilized. She returned back to Pasture Valley and last week her foot swelled up so badly that she was unable to walk for a number of days. Once again she was taken to the clinic. The children took care of her. She has not been well and our fears are that her health may deteriorate more if she does not take more rest as she gets older. Please pray for God’s wisdom in the coming months.

Believe it or not but one of our girls will be turning 18 in December! As our commitment is to take care of our children until they are 18 years old, they will need to fly and leave the nest. We will have to make a decision in the next few months as to how we can help Nontobeko to be independent and give her the best opportunities possible in the big wide world. Her interim report will be coming out in a few days and it will give us an indication on whether she can continue schooling or will need to find a job or could be put into a vocational skills programme. We have a huge task ahead of teaching her to be independent and along with it will come all the emotions of saying good-bye.

This last year the four small children were blessed by the dedication of Aunty Jeanette and Teacher Jabu who faithfully taught them 3 days a week. They learnt how to count, how to say the National anthem and say the Lords Prayer and so many things besides. It instilled a sense of pride in them and has been invaluable to their preparation for primary school next year. Sadly, Aunty Jeanette has been called to an even greater task- to take care of a person she loves and whom is in great need at the moment. Thank you to you and to Jabu for your sacrifice and love for the little children.

A big thank you to the three “J- musketeers” who painted the preschool so beautifully. Justine, Jaclyn and Jennifer did a wonderful job in painting shapes, letters and numbers on the wall to make it a real fun room to learn in.

A fence is in the process of being put around the childrens’ home. Some plants were dug up from mom’s garden and were planted as a small beginning of a garden. The first 5 trees were planted yesterday! A lot of rubble was left by the builders so there is much work to be done to clear it away and landscape the lawn. A washing line still has be put up too. We would also love to put up a jungle gym- but all in good time.

Upcoming events
On the 5th of September, Bongiwe will join us in selling the beautiful cards that was made during craft afternoons by all the children at a Spring craft day in Piet Retief.

We have been so grateful to our Lord for providing for the building of the second home and will be having a thanksgiving opening day on the Saturday 19th September starting at 10h00, ending in lunch. This invitation is open to you all.

Thank you to you all for your support. “The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you.” 2 Timothy 4:22

Peter and Michelle and the children of Pasture Valley

No comments: