Greetings from cold Jeffrey's Bay. Many of you in the States are probably on vacation, as the 4th is right around the corner. It is literally 10 degrees colder in our little townhouse than it is outside and I am freezing! And as true as that is, I can't imagine how cold it must feel in the little shacks that are less than a mile from me here. It's all in degrees of cold I think. I'm a bit under the weather AGAIN and am battling a really bad sinus infection. I'm not sure what the "thorn in the flesh" was for Paul, but sinus infections are certainly mine. Please pray for me to get well.
I wanted to send you a few recent photos of what is happening here with us. I will introduce you to two more of the new pre-schools receiving vitamins from the Emi's Closet Project. The first one is "New Beginnings" run by Ricardo and Nipheline in their tiny little house. 27 kiddos. They're doing a great job taking care of these little ones.
Another new creche for Emi's Closet is a pre-school run in a little shack by Ouma Dinah and Ouma Suzanne. There are 26 kids who attend this place, and it was in rough shape. I almost gasped out loud when we walked in. Half of the kids weren't fully clothed (and remember it is cold here) and the Pre-school consisted of a very dirty mattress on the floor and a tv blaring soap operas. It was pretty sad, but they're doing the best they can. I saw lots of open sores on these kids, so I'm praying that the vitamins will be especially helpful here. Pray for those little munchkins! I'm hoping there are are more ways we can get involved and help here as Emi's Closet someday grows into helping in more ways than vitamins....
I mentioned last time that I am trying to generate income in a more "sustainable" way than continuing to sell used kid's clothing . Here is a sample of some of the new art I've been creating with a local pastor's wife -Mich. The wood is off-cuts from a friend with a wood-working business and the hearts are made of recycled aluminum cans. Pretty cool huh? The second one is just fabric scraps and this African continent will be mounted on a frame I'm making from recycled pallets - also free. There are lots more - made of bottle caps, corks, yarn, and other recycled materials, but I just wanted to give you a glimpse of what we're working on. The hope is that when we have an inventory of items (all with the love Africa theme), we can market them to tourists at the different Parks here-Kruger National Park, Ado Elephant Park, and other prime tourist spots. I also hope to be able to sell some in the States whenever I'm home again. We really hope if this takes off and there is a demand for our recycled art in the tourist market then we can create jobs for more people in this community (many of which are in need of jobs). Mostly free materials, very teachable skills, and beautiful end product. I love this idea! What do you think?
This is holiday time again for school kids here. A three week school holiday now. South Africans really believe in holidays! Emi is attending Vacation Bible School this week at a local Baptist church. They call it Holiday Bible Club. Today when I pick Em's up we are baking chocolate chip cookies for the VBS snack tomorrow. 120 cookies! (what was I thinking?) Emi said she would love to be my "helper and taster". I think she will be mostly my taster.
The Christian coffee shop where Marius is working continues to grow. We have employed a new waitress - isn't she cute?
I think we worked her a little too hard last week though.....
For those of you who asked me recently how the income from the coffee shop is helping our support, I just want to explain again that we don't make ANY money now. We borrowed ALOT of money of which we are slowly making payments towards. The income for us will come much later - hopefully in year 3 we will be able to pull some income but definitely not yet. For now it is solely debt repayment one step at a time. That place is genuinely a blessing to so many. Aside from day trade, every Sunday evening we host "celebration service" where all of the Global Challenge guys gather for worship, a time of prayer and fellowship, and of course good coffee! This was last week's service. I helped lead worship which was nice.
Ok, well there is lots more to tell about, but I have 120 cookies calling "bake me!", so I must be off. Please know that we love you and appreciate you and couldn't do what we do without you! We're eternally grateful!
Much love from Marius, Jodi and Emi in South Africa! Happy 4th of July to our friends in the States and never ever forget what a blessing it is to be born in such a safe, free, generous nation!
with much love,