Awana Update The new school year has begun! Randy has met with the principal and teachers of Sunnyside Primary who are very excited to begin implementing this Bible Club as an after school program. We will be working on recruiting the students, meeting with our volunteers and attending an Awana Leadership Conference in Johannesburg all in preparation. A trial run with children from Living Hope is schedule for this Friday! Please continue to pray that through this program God’s Word of Truth would go forth and transform families for Christ’s glory
Salvakop Bible Study In our September post we introduced you to Cladious. Shortly after our arrival, Randy began leading a Bible study in Cladious’ home on Wednesday nights in Salvakop. Salvakop is a community whose population is primarily composed of refugees from surrounding African countries. If you were to walk around Salvakop, you would find that on the property of each home, there are 3-5 tin or wooden shacks located in the back or side yards. These bare minimum shacks are rented out by the owner of the main house. Access to electricity is determined by the owner and water is supplied through an outdoor water spicket.
Cladious’ current home does not have access to electricity and for the first three weeks, the Bible study was held by candlelight until Randy purchased a propane lantern. By God’s gracious provision, this past Wednesday the principal of the school in Salvokop has allowed Randy and the group to meet in the school hall, which gives them space to grow, tables, chairs, and “electric” lights.
After months of saving, Cladious has finally saved enough money to purchase a new house. He has secured a plot on different yard which will allow his family access to electricity. However, when Randy drove with Cladious to the buy his new abode, Randy truly found the quality of this prospective home to be unacceptable for our friend and brother in Christ. He felt that he could build Cladious a house with higher quality materials at approximately the same cost. We will keep you updated on the progress of this construction.
Together 4 Adoption Conference In a country where Apartheid existed a mere 19 years ago, a white South African family adopting a black child is not a common event even among professing Christians. This is why we are so excited for the Together For Adoption conference sponsored by our very own 1Hope Ministries and Living Hope Church. This conference will be held for the first time ever in Pretoria, South Africa, March 1st-2nd. From the website: “Together for Adoption South Africa exists to promote a deeper appreciation for God’s grace in salvation and to challenge believers to live in ways that magnify God’s grace. Together, we are seeking to accomplish that through Bible-teaching conferences that focus on the believer’s adoption into God’s family and helping believing families and churches understand how to care for needy children through adoption and other mercy ministries.”
Members of the 1Hope team have been working diligently, preparing a venue, gathering speakers, promoting the event etc. As you might know, adoption is near and dear to our family’s heart and we are thrilled and thankful to be part of the 1Hope Team and to assist in any way we are called on. Please be in prayer for T4A. That God would use this event to spark a movement for orphan care and adoption in the hearts of His people here in South Africa.
One dear South African family has heard and answered the call to open their hearts and home to a child through adoption. We have had the privilege of getting to know them and hear their story. Hanrias and Jacolien Brink have four beautiful, biological children ages 3-12. They have always had a heart for orphan care and have willingly, lovingly given of their resources to provide for the needs of these vulnerable children. But the idea of actually bringing a child home and making her their own, was not something they felt comfortable with or had even considered.
In September, 2012 the Brink’s church began praying for a different adoption conference in South Africa called Arise Adoption. They, along with other church members, began actively praying during church services, house meetings and prayer meetings for this conference. The fervent, heartfelt prayer was that God would change the hearts of His people about adoption. Jacolien willingly prayed this prayer for others, but as she states, “I was afraid to ask God to change ours. In the last prayer meeting, I was scared that the heart God would change would be mine, but at the same time wanted to submit to God, not my will be done, but yours.”
Well, their prayers were answered and hearts were changed! Within two weeks, Hanrias expressed to his wife his conviction that their family needed to adopt, and immediately Jacolien in her heart and aloud answered, “yes”.
Being long-time friends with Josh and Marda Mack, their obvious next step was to turn to the Muphamuzi Baby Home. The second baby to arrive at the home was Baby “Promise”. Sweet Baby Promise came to the home at a very tiny 3 days old. Marda recalls that as the heartbroken birth mother placed her baby in Marda’s arms, Marda whispered to Promise, “It is all okay now. You are going to be very loved from now on.” Marda’s promise to this darling baby has been kept. She has been in the baby home for over 8 months and has been very loved and cherished. When she would arrive at church on Sundays, many arms would clamor to hold her through the service.
When the Brinks arrived at their decision, Promise had been at the baby home for over 8 months because her file had been lost. Shortly after the Brink’s decision to adopt, the file was found. Imagine that!
When the social worker interviewed the Brinks in their home, she spoke to each child, asking them why they wanted to bring Baby Promise home. Each of the older children answer beautifully with answers such as, “We love her” or “We want to give her a home” etc. However, when the social worker turned to three-year-old Zach, and asked him why he wanted Promise to come live with them, he answered simply and beautifully, “Because she is my sister”. (Ahhh, out of the mouth of babes) The social worker with certainty and finality closed her book and stated that she had heard enough.
God willing, this very week Little “Promise” along with Baby “Gift” whom we cared for over Christmas will be transferred from the Muphamuzi Baby Home to their Forever Families. What a joy! What a good, gracious, generous, all-powerful, all-knowing God we serve who, in His tender love and compassion, cares for the least of these! We rejoice with these children and families! And again are reminded and in awe of the truth that we were once lost and not part of God’s family, but that He willingly, lovingly went to great lengths to make us found that we may become members of His Heavenly family through the righteousness of our Lord Jesus Christ!
Grace Church Mission Team We are counting down the days to when 18 members of our church family land at Tambo Airport Jo’berg to work alongside 1Hope from Feb 22nd to Mar 3rd . They will be arriving to complete projects/renovations on the Baby Home, assist at the T4A conference, build relationships within 1Hope’s Mercy Network and support and encourage the work that 1Hope and Living Hope Church are doing in South Africa. We are sooo eager and excited for their arrival and thankful for the time and resources that they are sacrificing to travel across the world to join us for a time! Please pray for them as they make preparations!