Children that have my heart

Here are a few pictures of some of the children I live with!

Hope your day is going great:)

"the ones who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones that do"




I wish I could blog more. Some of you probably think I blog too much already but for those of you who are in the "blogger world" once a day is the norm. And no, my blog doesn't get thousands of hits every day and I'm not trying to promote who reads it- there are just amazing random conversations and events that happen each day that could fill pages and pages on my blog. I want to share my yesterday with you. This isn't a specail day at all (except for my trip booking) but it's my desire to give you another glimpse into my world.

For example: Joan called me at 9am while at work to "watch" the office for her and James while she slipped out. It wasn't a problem so I walked the twenty meters from my office to the MCC office to be present while a person was putting up a telephone line. I ended up having the greatest chat with this man. Nothing too personal but he told me his family had all moved to Australia to try and find a better life, he stayed behind. Because I don't know how to shut my mouth (you should all know that! :) ) I asked him why. 12 years ago he made a decision. Now he has an 11 year old boy who he doesn't want to leave behind. His son stays with his mother most days and although he wishes he could take his son and run off to Australia where he would get paid more and where there is a market for him, he is staying in the hot sun putting up telephone lines. I talk about God a lot these days so I brought up that God has great plans in store for those who believe. I could tell he wasn't a believer but it was just an amazing conversation and he took my comments well and contriubted as well. When James came back I was actually sad to have to leave the office. I just love how God works. When I was dreading watching an office, he created an amazing witnessing opportunity and allowed me to share my love for Him to a cable man.
& that wasn't even the highlight of the day!.. see what I mean.. so much to say and already this blog is long!
Visiting a Crafters Group

Gateway has empowered crafters and skilled them in marketing, pricing etc to empower them to sell their products, hopefully creating a way out of poverty. 30 minutes away there is a village called Cramond and I got to travel there yesterday and meet a craft group. It was awesome to see and meet these ladies who are so eager to learn. God reminded me through that visit of his love. I could see the love of Christ radiating through these woman and I so desired that people would one day say that about me.

Than I got to visit a creche again (because I'm doing early childhood development research) and this is what I saw:

Kids at Copsville Creche
I took some time holding and loving these children and thinking about how to make there situation better- starting by raising some money to buy them a fan!!

Jewellery that Gateway makes and sells 
The day continued by pricing and doing marketing work for this weekend where Gateway will sell some of its crafts. I am looking forward to working a full seven days this week and helping serve at Midmar Mile (people swim across the dam for a mile- thousands of people come out!)

Around 3pm I ended and started looking for flights (for the 100th time) so Shawnti and I can go to Vic Falls and after a few phone calls to my VISA I can offically tell you all that I WILL BE GOING TO ZAMBIA!!!!!!! (March 21-25) How exciting is that! I will get to see another African country with one of the dearest ladies I know. It couldn't get much better

View of Victoria Falls

& to top it all off Henrich from my bible study took Jared and I out for dinner to this AMAZING restaurant. I had chicken and chips (very healthy) but it was amazing to be in a North American restaurant, talking about our faith and other life events.

Came home around 8, hung out with my girls and covered yet another 6 textbooks which led me to 11pm where I read a bit of Hosea and snuggled into bed... WAIT... def. didn't snuggle under the covers but laid on top, both windows open, fan on trying to become cool enough to sleep.

So thats just one day! Hopefully I didn't bore you too much!

In exactly one week from today I will see my parents and I couldn't be more excited.

This week has been a really really good week, from my computer class conversations to bible study to playing hide and seek with the kids.

ps. I hope when I get back home you don't have to ask me "how was your year?" I want to continue blogging to you (as boring as some of them are) so that you will walk through this journey with me- that way I only have to catch you up on how my flight home was and we can act like no time has gone by!
Hope you're having a great week and if not I pray that you'll see the value of perservance as you battle through!


Saturdays & a story that needs your prayers

Define: Saturday -  the one day of the week where I get to rest.

I adore my Saturdays. I know that without Saturdays here in Africa I wouldn't survive. these 24 hours every week provide me with much needed rest and allow me to become sane once more. Saturdays allow me to catch up with my North American friends and skype my parents. Saturdays provide a venue for me to rent a movie and catch up on the news. my journal is always open on a Saturday as I pour out my hopes, dreams and fears on the page reliving and highlighting the events of the past week and predicting events for the weeks to come. Saturdays allow me to sip tea all day, eat 'normal' food, download a few youtube videos and read all my favourite wedding blogs. Saturdays provide an opportunity for me to take naps as often as I want and do my laundry. Saturdays all go by too fast but i cherish the time i get to upload pictures, blog to you and have meals with Anne and Mark.  [Sundays consist of 7 hours of church and is usually just as exhausting as a weekday so Saturday is my only day of rest] I spend the majority of my Saturday resting and getting ready for the upcoming week. this weekend my mind can't focus on next week because I am desperately trying to make sense of the events of this past week.

I feel. a lot.
maybe too much for the work that I have to deal with on a daily basis but I don't know how to stop or control this.

I let events penetrate in my heart a little longer than the average person and before I shut my eyes for the night my heart is always aching for the girls who were sold and raped that day. Tears often fill my eyes as I think about the people two blocks away who did not eat today and who will be looking for food tomorrow. Just as much as I feel the sorrows of this world I get to experience joy just as deep. Morning hugs from the children or going for a walk with Dora outweighs the pain that I feel each day.

I want to share a story with you that hasn't left my mind since it occurred on Monday. It's made me feel more than I want too and worry too much. It's a conversation that will not leave me and I'm thankful that it hasn't. Conversations like these are not ones to pass up casually or shove under the rug for another day to process. Conversations like this are why I am here, why I know 100% this is where God has called me to be this year.

[ before I continue I must let you know that on Wednesday we continued to talk and I asked her if I could share part of this story with my friends and family back home. She looked at me puzzled so I explained that I would never want to break her trust with me and also to respect her privacy with her friend. The puzzled look continue as she told me " Aunty Maddie, everyone knows and everyone can see. It doesn't matter who you share it with.. it is very public." (which confuses me of why I can't say three words- but you'll hear about what I mean as you read.) However, with her answer I will share a small part of my conversation on Monday with you]

A bunch of the girls were playing uno on my floor as I was helping another girl with her homework when Kate* walked into the room. She is very outgoing, came in and just sat on my bed. I usually can't read people very well but this gift is something I know the Holy Spirit has given me this year, discernment. Within a few minutes and by not making a big deal I had the other girls out of the room. When Kate and I were alone I said a quick prayer that this conversation would glorify God and waited. Waiting is also a new thing that I've learnt. Waiting and listening is more effective than talking in the boarding house. Another minute passed and she asked me a question. "Aunty Maddie, what do you think the worst thing in the world is?" Without thinking the answer came to me.. not knowing Jesus. I try to use every opportunity to teach the kids about God and I was excited at this point of where this conversation could lead. Kate def. was not satisfied with this answer, so I asked her the question back. She mouthed the words "HIV" but never spoke them. It was as if saying those three letters out loud would make it all seem so real. In my personal experience (key word= personal) there is such a stigma about HIV here and it's better to not talk about it and pretend that it is not real. But I knew Kate didn't come into my room to mouth the words and leave it at that. (skipping ahead 10 minutes... )

She told me about her best friend. Her eleven year old friend who was sleeping with a much older man and had contracted HIV from this man. Than this eleven year old girl became pregnant and didn't know what to do. No one really helped her and Kate felt the need to help all the time. No meds were given out to this girl or the unborn baby and now the baby has become HIV positive. This girl has no idea how to survive with a baby at age 11 when her family has shunned her. Kate who came to the boarding house mid January to receive better education can no longer help her best friend and doesn't know what to do. She tells me about it hoping I have an answer. An answer she is desperately looking for.

I look into her eyes that are filled with tears and hold her. I don't have the answer. I have no idea where to begin and as I hold her and rub her back I just start praying. Words that I didn't have a second ago come flowing out of my mouth. I know the Holy Spirit is talking and I am so thankful once again that He is always ready to help in times of need. To be honest, I have no idea what I prayed, how long I prayed or how long Kate and I sat on my bed but at the end I felt her relax.

I told her that I didn't have the answer but reminded her that we serve a God who does. Kate was hoping to go home this weekend to visit her best friend however her mother wasn't too pleased about that arrangement.

I wanted to tell her that I would take her to see her best friend. I wanted to hold this newborn baby who is HIV positive and dying of starvation because there is no money to eat. I wanted to take this baby into the boarding house, stop working during the day and just love and pray over this sweet child. I wanted so desperately to tell Kate that her best friend and baby were not going to die and that everything would be ok- but I didn't. I couldn't. How do you make that promise to an 11 year old?

In the next few days God opened up a few more opportunities to chat. I know this is a God thing because with 17 children it is impossible to have alone moments without designing them. She seemed a lot better and told me on Wednesday that God is giving her peace. Tears filled my eyes this time knowing that God was comforting her and she was experiencing it- something I had been praying for non stop.

Life is hard. Life is hard for this 11 year old girl and I am reminded once more of what "my" children are going through. I am reminded that I don't have the strength or the counselling degree to help these children but I do have the Lord who has never and will never fail me. He is always enough.

So this Saturday I am anxious. I am wondering if she left this weekend and how she is doing if she stayed when I'm not there to chat. I'm wondering if Kate had another breakdown or is looking to talk to someone who will talk about the three letters she doesn't dare say out loud. Three letters that will most likely kill her best friend and her baby.

Please pray.
I don't know what else to do.

& as I go through my Saturday of rest I can't help but pray for her and all the children that I get to be with for another five months.



"Your fragrance is intoxicating in our secret place..."

this song has been running through my head for the past two weeks. I've been on and off sick (again!) and just really exhausted. Physically I just need to take a week and rest but that doesn't seem likely until my parents come. I'm starting to get fed up with the heat.. constantly sweating and never getting any sleep because it's just too hot.

Yesterday in my quiet time I got a glimpse of what God has been trying to teach me through this Casting Crowns song. In my quiet time yesterday I was just needing strength, energy, wisdom.. whatever God wanted to give me to last through the day. I've come to love just waiting on God and seeing what He wants to teach me and yesterday I felt intoxicated. Now I've never done drugs or been completely drunk to know what being intoxicated feels like but I have a pretty good idea and it was amazing. God met me in our secret place and his presence was so tangible. It's the first time I've really experienced a tangible presence of the Spirit but I fully know that I was intoxicated with God's presence. It was so refreshing!

God is real. I see Him moving and doing miracles each and every day. I really want to encourage you to seek out God in your secret place. He promises that when we seek Him we will find Him. (Jer 29:13) He wants to be found.

I hope you had a great week. I'm past the 1/2 way point on my trip and the 6 month mark is approaching quickly!

 I have a few blog posts that I've been working at so except a proper update soon about the new children and some of the events that went down this week.. I cried writing it so bring a tissue next time you check out my blog.

Loads of Love

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