Goodness gracious! So much has been happening with us lately, that we haven’t even had a chance to tell you about it. You know how there are times you wait and wait for years and it seems like nothing is really happening, and then SUDDENLY everything happens at once? Well, we seem to be in the midst of one of those SUDDENLY times.
I think you all know about Marius’ “Soul Adventure”. If you haven’t seen it, check out his video at www.gcex.org. He is very excited about this new Global Challenge 3 month journey that he is pioneering. We have had several people inquiring for applications for Feb. 2013’s maiden journey through Africa. It will be a great vehicle for young people to be discipled and serve others, as they travel to Kenya and back on a 3-month journey via motorcycles. The funds for Marius’s motorcycle are coming in day by day too, so we’re believing that he will get his bike soon and be moving on to the training and equipping phase for his 2013 departure.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch :) many wonderful things have been happening for me too. I described it to a friend the other day by saying, “It’s as if I’ve just woken up from a 10-year long creative coma!” Fresh, new creative ideas are coming to me daily. There’s so much good stuff, that I am going to break it up into 2 blogs. The first will give you the background, and the next one will tell you my exciting news…
It all started with the wives’ weekend when I catered the food and helped to create the atmosphere for the weekend. I had so much fun and have been praying that God would show me a way to be creative like this more often.
About the same time (just a few weeks ago) the Ithemba Community Center where I’ve been working came under new leadership. They’ve decided to mainstream the 5 English-speaking girls who I’ve been working with for the past 1-½ years into the bigger after-school group. Joy, the new director, has great vision, and there is more structure, with discipleship groups for all the kids, homework time, and then extra-curricular time. I will be able to visit them at their homes, but no longer at the after school program b/c she wants them to learn in their own language instead of English. So…. Joy asked me to serve Ithemba in a new way – by helping to chair the fund-raising committee for Ithemba, and help raise money for their healthy meal program (they feed all of these >150 kids a healthy meal Mon-Fri, and need help to continue doing so). She also asked if I would be interested in doing a puppet show some afternoons during the extra-curricular time.
That same day I took Emi to the clinic and met Gloria, one of the precious ladies who serve at Ithemba, and we took her home. Gloria works in the kitchen - washing the dishes and mopping the floors - every single day. She is always so bright and full of joy and smiles. She's one of my favorite ladies. She looks so nice, and she is always smiling! The day that I drove her home, I first drove through the nice neighborhood, then through the little government houses, then through a rougher neighborhood with shacks, then an even rougher part with smaller shacks, and then we reached Gloria's neighborhood, that looked like they had simply picked up scrap materials off the side of the road and pieced her “house” together. I seriously think several sections of that house are made with pressboard (the stuff that sucks up water) and it rains here ALOT. When I drove up, I just couldn't believe my eyes, and then I went in and saw that she doesn't even have electricity! How does she show up to work looking that good each day? I really have no idea. Anyway, I want to make more of a difference in her life and in the lives of the women who are working and serving at Ithemba. In the midst of their rough lives and difficult circumstances, and getting paid next to nothing, they are still giving to these kids every single day and making a big difference in their lives.
I’ve been seeking God as to how I can better serve them, and I'm thinking one of the things I could do is start making dinner for the six of them once a week and taking it to their homes. I know from being a mom and a wife that after a hard day's work it would be a BIG blessing to me if someone showed up with dinner for me and my family! I know that by doing this I will become more aware of other needs they have as I did after visiting Gloria, as well as hopefully become a closer friend so I can pray with them and their families and help in other practical ways like maybe even building Gloria a new small house one day! Cool huh?
And that brings me to the cool part – a way I believe can help meet all of these needs: money to help feed the kids at Ithemba, puppet shows to help disciple and develop relationships with the kids and moms of the community, helping the women who work at Ithemba earn some extra money to help their families, use my creativity on a more regular basis, and help our family make up a big chunk that's missing in our financial support....…. I believe I may have found the answers to each of these challenges in a simple little closet – “Emi’s Closet.” (Part 2 Coming Soon……)