Starting to Sink In

Today I got my first shot!
Lets just say I didn't even feel pain and the shot didn't have any side effects so that was a blessing! Mom and I went to the doctors and had him fill out  A LOT (did i stress a lot enough- if not, A LOT!!) of paper work and forms. Applying for a work permit visa for South Africa has been a stressful process- one which I have tried to avoid however it feels really good to get a few things done today! I also got a chest x-ray done and  tomorrow I'm off to sit in the waiting room for a few hours while getting my blood taken and the rest of my check up complete!

It has been a very busy day preparing for South Africa but for the first time since I accepted my work placement it actually feels like this trip could become a reality. In just over 2 months I will be gone from the country for a year but that part hasn't sunk in at all. I'm wondering when it will- or if it ever will until I have my suitcase in hand hugging my parents goodbye at the airport.

I know that the Lord has called me to go and I am really excited because I know he is preparing my heart already- I already love the girls I get to live with and I don't even know their names!! But I'm having a really hard time these past few weeks accepting that I am leaving. A part of me feels that I should just call off this trip- accept courses in the fall and continue living comfortably. I know this is me being honest with the internet world but I am so scared to leave my comfortable life. I have such a burning passion to empower these girls and make a difference in the world- but at times I am so scared. I hate admitting that but leaving everything I know, everything that is safe to me is scary. I am not going with another person or meeting up with people I know. I am forced to be on my own in a new country with a total new culture. I know God calls us to the ends of the earth and I only want to do what the Lord wants, but I guess I'm not sure if I can handle that! I'm starting to realize that there will be so many unknowns in this next year and that scares me! Who knew my first shot could make me feel all of this?!

If your reading this please pray that I continue to trust in God and that I am bold enough to go into a foreign country by myself and share/show God's love.

On an exciting note I want to give you a glimpse of my HUGE room ( it's not a for sure- but one of the options) of where I will be living next year in SA!

Super exciting huh! (Susie is there now, whom I will replace in August!)

And since this trip is starting to sink more I thought I would share a picture of some of the school children at Project Gateway. All the kids you see in this picture (plus another 300) I will teach in just over 2 months- unreal!

I'm scared, but I'm excited to do the will of God - and really what is better than that? Plus who doesn't love these adorable kids!



Barrick Gold- Human Rights Violations of a Canadian Company?

Barrick Gold - Ever heard of them?

To be honest my social justice heart hasn't led me to do much research about mining companies but none-the-less I love to be educated and I wanted to learn more.
My friend Stephanie and I attended a protest against Barrick Gold at the University of Waterloo a few weeks ago to learn more about the human rights watches and what is actually going on.

As I'm typing this I want to be 100% clear that I know very little about this topic and have only attended one event so my information could very well have a bias. I do know one thing for sure: that humans are to be treated with respect and that all humans should have freedom.

Here are a few points that I found very intriguing from the protest:

1) Barrick is the largest gold mine company in the world and it's Canadian
2) Every ounce of gold produced = 79 tons of waste
3) Gold is buried  among toxins that are very harmful and easily kill humans- there is no safe way in the 21st century to extract gold without also realizing these harmful chemicals
4)Over 50% of gold mining in on Native land around the world
5) 60-70% of mining companies are Canadian and are based in Toronto

 A guest from Papua New Guinea came to share his experience of Barrick Gold coming into his village. Here were his thoughts:

1) People were using the land for food, cooking, water and the whole land after a few years is completely destroyed- nothing can grow on it and the water is gone
2)He said that Barrick came in promising that none of this would happen and the community believed Barrick
3) The children play around the waste dump putting deathly toxins directly into their bodies
4) Barrick than wanted to expand and destroyed two thousand family homes with no compensation- forced to evict with zero notice
5)Because of the lack of resoucres to survive many women go into the streams that run off of Barrick's mining and try to collect pieces of gold or anything they can use to help their family survive. If caught for "trespassing" these girls are ganged rapped by the security guards. When asked about this at the annual meetings the first response was "rape is a culturally acceptable in Papua New Guinea"- they later clarified that this didn't happen and was unacceptable
- Because of this response Human Rights Watch began looking into Barrick
6) In order to make it almost impossible to file or investigate the companies they have a "fly in- fly out" policy. This means that they fly the workers in and out - there is no roads to travel to the mining companies. This makes it very difficult for the local people living in that area to do anything and also for human rights groups to get accurate information when everything is so secretive. Hard for locals voices to be heard.

 http://protestbarrick.net/- Here is link to the website of the group that came to educate myself and others. Please check it out because as stated above I am still in the process of researching this all too!



Taking Action

A common question to ask a University student is their major. This past year I have had to tell a lot of people that I am studying Peace and Conflict Studies and Women's Studies. I've seen a lot of different reactions starting with "what is that" to "you can't do anything with that degree." These statements have left me more determined to prove them wrong and determined that women can change the world and I personally believe one of the main ways to break the cycle of poverty.

I had the absolute privileged of taking a class that looked at different peace movements in the past and what worked/what didn't. One lecture we looked at Nobel Peace Prize Winners and discovered many of the causes and what was classified as "peace." 

Most people feel peace is doves and rainbows and it's hard to sometimes break that cycle of thought. Peace to me is action. It's empowering people to sustain themselves. When I came across this TED talk by Jody Williams a former peace prize winner I was inspired that she talked about peace correlating  with action. 

I can't wait for you to watch this video and for you to think about what peace means to you. I think it's a valid question that one should take time to think about. I posted the TED talk video of Jody talking and I encourage you to listen to it!

Ps. All the peace prize winners she talks about in this film I knew already (the year they won and what for). Yes, my university class is helping me and very educational. 

I can't wait to help empower and change the world!


South Africa Support Letter!

I am just way to excited to sleep because I have completed yet another task on my very lengthly "to do list" for South Africa. 
My support letter is finished and I will post it here for you to read if you like! 
I can not thank everyone enough for your prayers and support already- it has been such an incredible blessing! 
I still need $4 800 to travel to South Africa and make this trip possible- if you feel called to support me financially please continue to read my support letter with more info!
Also I need a support team who will pray for me on my year abroad- if this interests you at all - you guessed it - keep reading!

Each one of you are so important to me!  (if you would like, I can email you this letter in it's proper format:) just let me know! meeja_moo9@hotmail.com )

Dear Fellow Blog Readers, 

This year I have really learnt about God’s timing and how it is always perfect. I knew God had put a passion in me to empower women and care for people that society likes to forget but I had no idea what He wanted me to do with my passion. Jeremiah 29:11 kept ringing in my head this year- “for I know the plans I have for you...plans to prosper.” God knew I would be heading on this adventure and in His perfect timing He allowed me to be accepted into the SALT (serving and learning together) program with MCC (Mennonite Central Committee.)

SALT is a program in which you get hired (unpaid of course) at a job around the world and serve the people there for a year. You apply for this job individually and are traveling to the job by yourself but there is a strong network of people to help you throughout the year-phew! On August 11, I will be travelling to Akron, PA for a week of pre training and than flying to Pietermaritzburg, South Africa directly afterwards.

There are two main jobs that I am hired for throughout this next year. The first one is being a “momma” to 10-15 beautiful girls. These precious children of God have been abused, orphaned by aids or have come from other terrible situations that have made them in need of a home. Project Gateway (organization I will be working for) takes these girls into a boarding house to live and hires a SALTER to be their mom! There is another momma who lives there all the time as well to do the cooking and cleaning but my main job is to love and empower these girls. During the day I will work at Project Gateway Christian school with approximately 350 children, which include the girls I get to live with. I will be a gym teacher at the school and work on empowering these children through sports. What breaks my heart is that the girls don’t participate in sports because “they are less than the boys.” The gender imbalance is a very prevalent issue in South Africa and I hope to share with these girls that they have rights and can play with the boys. I’m not sure what a “teenage white Canadian girl” can do with centuries of discrimination against women but I love sports and I’m excited to see what the Lord has planned in my teaching job! I will also be traveling a bit on weekends and investing myself into AIDS organizations and working closely with the local church helping out in Sunday School etc.

To make this trip possible I will require constant prayer support and a financial need of $4 800. If you in any way feel led to help me financially that would be greatly appreciated. There are two ways you can do this. The easiest and most efficient is an online donation and the second is by cheque. All donations are tax- deductible.

To make an online donation go to https://donate.mcc.org/salt. On the right hand side there is a yellow box labeled “SALT” where you can enter an amount. As you are checking out, you should check the box that reads, “I would like to make this donation in Memory, in Honour, or in Support.” Choose ‘In Support of -- SALT” and type my full name “Madeline Charnuski with my ID # 668474.

If you would like to donate by cheque, please call me and I can provide you with the paperwork.If you would like to be part of my prayer support group while I’m overseas please email me @ meeja_moo9@hotmail.com to be added to my list! Also please check out my blog at www.foreverhisbymadeline.blogspot.com as I will update this often so you can keep constant tabs on me while I’m in South Africa!

Thank you so much for your financial support and prayers!

Much love, 

Madeline Charnuski

A Season of Time

This past Thursday I had my first surgery which included having my wisdom teeth removed. All four were impacted and needed to come out before they ruined my 5 years of orthodontic work. Although I woke up in more pain than I have in the past few days the Lord has been teaching me so much and with that I'll share just a few key things he's pointed out to me.

1. Things take time. I'm such an impatient girl and I don't want to recover or stay in bed all day but I've learnt that healing takes time. In order for me to recover fully from my surgery it is essential that I stay in bed and try to rest. This has been such a difficult challenge for me because I want to keep doing things.

2. Time is also very important with relationships. Our hearts can be so fragile and when we hurt each other it takes time to heal. There must be a season of healing and in order for that to happen time comes into play.

3. God doesn't run on human time. The Lord has everything perfectly planned. He has put me on this earth at this exact time to serve and glorify Him. God has given me gifts and my personality for my generation, not David's or Paul's generation but mine. The Lord knows the plans he has for me and I am learning more about what that really means to trust God and his timing.

4. I leave on my adventure in ninety-four days! The Lord has used this time before my trip to prepare my heart for certain things that I will be experiencing. Although I am sure there will be a lot of things that I will not be ready for the Lord has let me establish a love so deep in my heart for the girls that I will be living with. I'm not sure how to explain it except that I love these girls already and I don't even know their names. I am so humbled that the Lord is preparing my heart for South Africa and so excited that I get to see first- hand those changes in my heart already!

Although I don't want to be lying in bed another moment, God has used this time to teach me some very important lessons.



I'm big on little things. One of my favourite hobbies is shifting through wedding blogs and picking out things I adore.
I know its stupid but I really do enjoy photography and little details. I've fallen in love with this idea of the bridesmaids wearing boots down the isle rather than heels! Love the idea SO much I want it for my wedding and I decided why not share it with you so you can judge yourself if you like the idea.

I know these things really don't matter but I decided to post a light hearted blog today:)
Enjoy the picture from this more than fabulous wedding

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