Hello to all our friends, we trust our newsletter finds you all well.
As I sit here to write we can safely say that winter is behind us (smiley face) and summer is here (smiley) with a vengeance, but alongside that October is such a beautiful time of the year in Bulawayo with the Jacarandas trees in full bloom. The purple flowers which have fallen cover the road like a carpet and especially in Suburbs where our babies´ home is situated the trees on either side of the road form a canopy to drive through – creation is such a magnificent beauty.
Our 20 children at Isaiah´s babies home
are doing well and we are pleased to report that there was no significant illness through the winter months. We had a couple of children with the common cold but they fought this off well in the early stages.
Our two “younger” babies Joel & Victor, who are now 5 months old, continue to make good progress and it is lovely to see how they have grown and filled out, both now weighing almost 7kgs each. Of our “bigger” babies Michael is now walking, and Bongani crawls along occasionally lifting himself up against the furniture. When the children are playing outside Bongani is almost always found sitting under the mulberry tree enjoying the fruit the older children have missed.
In September our home was invited for a fun day out alongside another local orphanage where the children were able to take pony rides, groovy-tractor trail rides, play on the jumping castle and have their faces painted. The children from both Organisations thoroughly enjoyed the day out, but it struck me at this point just how blessed we are because of the wonderful support given to us by all of you reading this newsletter. The other home could only send their bigger children out with just 2 members of staff to look after them, this meant the babies had to stay home with one remaining staff member. All our children and seven staff could attend. A tasty lunch was provided for all who attended, along with other treats throughout the day. We provided the big pots for cooking of the Sadza and beef stew and so were given the remaining food to take home. We watched as the children really enjoyed the inclusion of meat in their lunch time meal and it made me realise how often we take for granted the balanced diet our children regularly have through the planning and preparation by our matron of the babies´ home. It was a blessing for us to give the remaining stew to the other Organisation to take home for dinner that evening. A special thank you to the sponsors Bonsa Spar & Tilus Supermarket, and to Priscilla and her team for organising this event, and a special thank you to all those who assisted on the day with the activities and treats. It was a FUN DAY OUT !
We too are thankful for the many supporters of Our Neighbours Ministry, and especially to the child sponsors who enable us to provide this quality care to vulnerable children. There are still a few children who do not have enough sponsors (given each child needs 10 sponsors to fully cover all the different costs associated with everything Isaiah´s Babies Home does in caring for them) so if you are able and willing to make a contribution in this area, please drop us an email. We would greatly value your support.
In the area of Hearts of Love
we recently laid to rest a very special friend, and elderly gent we had all become so fond of – dear Enoch Nyoni.
During the course of his life Enoch endured much suffering, he lost his entire family to violence, and for a long time lived on the streets without anyone to care for him and support him. Hearts of Love have had a relationship with him and have assisted Enoch in numerous ways over many years. Last year Enoch became unwell with a heart condition, and in the last month his condition had deteriorated significantly and he was admitted to hospital on two occasions. A local attending doctor referred him to a Mission Hospital out of town for terminal care however without further testing they would not admit him. He returned to Bulawayo and underwent these tests, freely provided by a specialist who on a number of occasions has assisted us at his own cost. Enoch suffered a stroke and passed away on 4th
October, he was laid to rest on Wednesday 8th
October 2014. Many people will remember Enoch for the way in which he openly shared his love for the Lord, he will be fondly remembered for his singing and dancing at the Soup Kitchen. A special condolence message read -Rest in peace Enoch having now been promoted to eternal glory.
A few months back whilst doing community outreach our Hearts of Love team came to know of the vulnerability of a young girl who had recently been abused. The team provided support for the mother of the young girl to make a report of the matter to relevant authorities, unfortunately no arrest was made as the young girl was unable to give sufficient details to the investigating officer. Counselling has been arranged with a local Organisation focusing on family counselling and we believe that this will help the young girl to deal with this trauma and heal from it.
This young girl had not attended school because her mother was unable to pay tuition fees, and so she was enrolled at Lighthouse Christian Academy
, our home-school programme school for children who have missed significant amounts of schooling. This once sad young girl has settled well, and now having received her first school uniform is a face of happiness and belonging. Our thanks are expressed to the many supporters of Lighthouse who enable quality education to be given to children who have already missed out on so much.
Now that summer is here, the warm weather sends out an invitation to cool down in the local swimming pool. In December this year Bulawayo will host the All Africa Games and with this upcoming event a number of facilities are being renovated, the local town swimming pool being one venue under renovation. Nonetheless we are delighted by the offer from a local community member to use their indoor swimming pool free of charge for our two younger classes! We hope this will be extended to the older children too.
The first session held last week in the Kumalo pool was a free recreation time to determine the confidence and strength of the children in the water. As there are two pools of different depths (0,8m and 1,2m), it was wonderful to see such confidence amongst them. They played about throwing used tennis balls to each other and then when the tubes and “pool-noodles” came out the level of excitement reached an even higher level. It was wonderful to see the children having such fun, all laughing and playing together.
has been feeling led by God to extend support to a new area of Bulawayo where there is significant need of assistance to vulnerable girls and guys. Some of the reasons for this are that the group of 22 girls from Luveve who are being assisted are coming to an end of their studies over the next few years, and that the empowerment project in Luveve no longer needs any significant input from Mercy or the team. It is wonderful that Esandleni´s involvement and support over the years has lead to a situation where "phasing out our role in Luveve" seems where God is leading us. Though we will do this gradually as appropriate, Luveve Baptist Church will continue with their relationships thus enabling Mercy and others to reach out elsewhere.
Esandleni has already begun Ministry within this new community of Mzilikazi/Makokoba, working with Mzilikazi Assemblies of God Church who already serve in this community. We are starting with discipleship and empowerment projects, and then looking at education assistance needed.
family has been blessed by the visit of a special friend over the last few months and it has been great to have aunty Debbie “do life” alongside this family. Thank you aunty Debbie for your love and commitment, as well as the many gifts you have blessed the boys with. It was wonderful too for the parents of this family to have a weekend away from home, thank you for enabling this “mini-vacation” for them.
Two of our older boys have “moved out” of the house and are beginning to work towards independence. They now stay in the cottage on the property, which with the help of Debbie was repainted, and they are now responsible for cooking their own meals too.
We are pleased to share that Rememberance was successful in obtaining his birth certificate at the start of September, despite his year of birth being recorded differently. He and Respect were also able to visit with their disabled mother in Harare.
Children of Grace
has recently been blessed with replacement of the borehole pump and a new 5000Lt water tank set high up on a stand. Thank you to Bessie & Mavis for your role in this blessing coming to pass, and also to the donor who provided the funding - we extend heartfelt appreciation. We are excited about this development which will not only provide the household water requirements but also be used to develop an agriculture project providing produce for all our homes, the soup kitchen and with a view to generate some income for the Ministry running costs over time also. We would appreciate your prayers as we consider all that is involved to bring forth this vision.
The children of CofG are doing well and we are pleased to share that Abigail has now settled. She has become a big sister to the younger children, and with her comical character brings with her lots of fun and giggles.
There is so much we could report on which shows all the positive work of Our Neighbours Ministry within our community because of your support. We have however tried to keep this brief as we know that many of you have such busy lives, and do not want to take up too much of your precious time.
Please know you are all a special part of the work we are able to achieve here.