Wednesday, February 28, 2007

The faces of the children. . .

I’ll call her Bella.

Bella is four years old and not yet in school. She lives with her mother and her sister Zima. The family attends church, but the father recently took another wife. Bella and her sister and mother continued living with the father and his new wife. It wasn’t long until the new wife died. Then Bella’s father died.

Now Bella’s mother is sick. There’s a very good chance that she won’t live long. AOM’s orphan program helps Bella and her mother with medication, food supplies, and spiritual counseling. When Bella starts school, they will provide school supplies and uniforms for her.

According to UNICEF, “Thousands of Zimbabweans die from HIV-related illnesses every week, and over 1 million children have been orphaned.”

Please pray for the thousands of children like Bella who are in desperate need of help.

If you are interested in becoming a sponcer through AOM, please contact us at Aom Orphan Sponsor information



Monday, February 26, 2007

ZIMBABWE IN 2007 (part 2)

Zimbabwe now finds itself drowning in a sea of interrelated problems:

• Economic, political and social collapse within the country (“meltdown”).
• Hyper-inflation (up now to 2000% per year, the highest in the world), drought and widespread hunger, unemployment at over 70%.
• 83% of the population living on less than US$2 per day.
• Hundreds of thousands of Zimbabweans migrating out of the country, including doctors and nurses.
• Life expectancy at birth: Men – 37 years Women – 34 years
• Approximately 25% of the adult population infected with HIV/AIDS
• The highest number of orphans per capita in the world.

In obedience to God’s command to help widows and orphans (James 1:27), African Outreach Ministries greatly desires to reach out and care for the children of Zimbabwe caught in this web of problems.

AOM’s target group:
• Destitute children who have lost one or more of their parents.
• Children who still reside with mothers or extended family members in their family homes (this group constitutes 99% of the orphaned children in Zimbabwe).
• Children whose caregivers find it impossible to care for and nurture their children without outside help.
--- 80% of the caregivers of our children are themselves sick, many terminally ill. ---

AOM assists these children by:
• Paying the necessary school fees and buying the uniform required by each school.
• Securing medical care for both children and sick caregivers.
• Providing food stuffs as opportunities arise.
• Providing spiritual and emotional nurture for both children and caregivers by:

- Regular visits into the homes of each child.
- A Friday Bible Club for all children assisted by the ministry.
- Prayer meetings and support groups for caregivers for their encouragement.
- Camps designed to nurture the children and caregivers in the spiritual walk and for their emotional support.
- Regularly calling the children and caregivers to accept Jesus Christ into their lives and to continue to grow and mature in him.

Coming Next. . .the Faces of the Children

For more information click here: Orphan work

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Zimbabwe (part one)

Our work with African Outreach Ministries (AOM) extends beyond South Africa and into Zambia, Zimbabwe and Mozambique. Recently, Janelle, Scott’s aunt, put together an informative sketch on Zimbabwe, the country’s current situation, and our response to their needs.

The country of Zimbabwe is located in the heart of southern Africa. It is home to the magnificent Victoria Falls (one of the natural wonders of the world) and to national parks with vast herds of elephant and wild game. On its northern border with Zambia is the beautiful Zambezi River with its crocodile and hippo, flowing down to form Lake Kariba, one of the largest man-made lakes in the world. It is a country of great contrasts and great potential.

The 13 million people of Zimbabwe consist primarily of the Shona and Ndebele people. The majority are rural subsistence farmers, though a great number have migrated to the cities to find employment and better living conditions. The majority speaks their traditional languages, but English as the national language is spoken widely in the cities and is the language of commerce and education at all levels. The major religions in the country are Christianity and indigenous religions (Animism). Bulawayo, located in the south-western part of the country, is the 2nd largest city in Zimbabwe.

In the past, Zimbabwe has had a well-developed agricultural, mining and industrial sector and was considered the potential “bread basket” for surrounding countries. Before independence, the economic base was controlled by the white population, a community comprising only 1% of the total population.

After a number of years of guerrilla warfare, Zimbabwe began as an independent state in 1980 under the leadership of Robert Mugabe. During the first decade of independence, on the surface the country seemed to thrive with the black population rising and the economy growing. However by 1990, due to a number of factors, among them widespread corruption, political unrest began to grow and became full blown by the late 1990’s. President Mugabe’s response was the forced seizure of white farms and repression and harsh human rights abuse against the indigenous black population. Along with catastrophic economic problems, Zimbabwe is experiencing one of the worst pandemics of HIV/AIDS, with infection rates among the highest in the world.

Coming next. . .Zimbabwe in 2007 and AOM's response.



Tuesday, February 20, 2007

The Big Move

First of all, here are a couple photos of our fun night last Friday. We had such a nice time.

Since so many have contacted me privately regarding our possible upcoming move, I thought I would elaborate a bit more. We are in the beginning states of seeing if it is feasible for us to make the move from Duiwelskloof into Tzaneen, a town about 15-20 minutes away. Tzaneen is where all three kids attend school, we attend church, and do all of our grocery and other shopping. Most afternoons are spent in Tzaneen as the kids attend various activities, so this move will make things much more convenient for all of us and cut out about an hour of driving a day!

So far, we’ve talked to a realtor friend who will determine what we can sell our house for and what we might be able to find in Tzaneen. We made a good investment in our current house, which is a blessing and should allow us to get what we need in a new place. We don’t have a time frame, so in a way it’s great to not be pressured, but we also don’t want to drag out the process. We are simply praying that everything goes through quickly and smoothly. That we will be able to sell for what we need and find something that will work for us in Tzaneen. I’ll post periodic updates regarding the situation here on my blog.

Please keep us in your prayers regarding this situation.



Monday, February 19, 2007

How many people can you fit in the back of a truck?

Always one more! That’s pretty much the philosophy here. There’s always room for another person, or goat, or chicken, or piece of luggage for that matter. I see flat bed truck every day jam-packed with workers, people crushed into the seats of a taxi, and already full cars stopping to pick up one more person on the side of the road.

What does that have to do with me, an American who needs her space when it comes to traveling and other similar close encounters? Friday night I got a phone call from a friend who’s a part of our English cell group. This group has been a real blessing to us as we need the spiritual interaction with other Christians (especially English speakers).

The group was planning to come to our house for dinner and to watch Michael W. Smith’s new movie, Second Chances. (A GREAT Christian film I highly recommend BTW!). Well, Debbie called to say that there would be a few extra people coming. I said that would be great. When she got done listing off the names I realized it would be about 30 people in total. Thankfully, we won’t all be traveling in the back of a taxi! Seriously, I was quite excited because the extra families are people we knew, and while we ended up being packed like sardines in our living room, it was a wonderful night of fellowship and encouragement. I’m so thankful for the support that God has given us on this side of the world as we strife to share His word. God is good!

Have a great day! I’ll plan to post some photos of the fun in a day or two.


Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Hot and humid

Ever wonder just how hot and humid it is over here while you're throwing another log on the fire? Well, I've just added a feature on my blog that will give you the current temperature in Tzaneen! It won't come directly to your mailbox, though, so if your interested, log onto my site, scroll down a bit, and voila. . .it's 88 degrees today.



Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Company and Changes

COMPANY: Our internet has been down since last week, so I haven’t been able to post, but we’ve been busy with company the past few days. We found out on Thursday that Gabriel’s swim gala was canceled because the government didn’t want to pay the expenses. We’d planned to take the kids to a movie after the meet since Petersburg (an hour a way) is the nearest theater and decided to go anyway. Both Gabriel and Mariah had friends over to spend the night, so Saturday morning we headed for Petersburg and enjoyed Night at the Museum with a happy meal afterwards. This was a great treat for the kids since we don’t have movies or McDonalds nearby and we all really enjoyed the time together.

Saturday afternoon, on our way home, we picked up a Peace Corp friend of ours. She spent the night and we all enjoyed lasagna and good fellowship.

CHANGES AHEAD: This year has brought some changes to our family life with all the kids going to the same school in Tzaneen, a town about 15 minutes away. Between the cost of gas, the kid’s school activities, and the fact that everything we do (including grocery shopping) is in Tzaneen, we finally made the decision to call a friend of ours who is a realtor. The good news is that we made a good investment in our current house that should allow us to afford a place in Tzaneen. Please pray for us as we look into this possibility, as a move of any kind is time consuming.



Thursday, February 08, 2007


Since many of you have shared with me how cold it is in the states right now, I thought I'd share with you a few photos (slideshow below) of summertime in South Africa! We are hitting triple digits many afternoons, which is hot without air-conditioning, so we are very thankful for a swimming pool!

Speaking of hot, Scott's due back soon from Mozambique where it is even hotter than here. His work with the government to get us approved there has been very slow this week, but he's hoping to finish up today. Please pray that he has a safe trip home.

Summertime means track and swimming. Here's a blurb from this weeks school newsletter.

Sports Roundup: Good luck to Gabriel Harris and Samuel Varrie who will be competing in the Summer Games in Polokwane this weekend. Samuel and Gabriel were chosen to represent the Limpopo Province at this years Satellite Games.

We are quite proud of our little athlete!

Go to ImageShack® to Create your own Slideshow



Monday, February 05, 2007

Happy Birthday and off to Mozambique

BIRTHDAY: Once again, I'm hopping online while our internet is up and running. I wanted to post a few photos of Mariah and her eighth birthday party. She invited six girls from her class and they had a tea party, swam, and made jewelry. It was a lot of fun and she really enjoyed the day.

TRAVELS: Scott left for Mozambique this morning to meet with some government officials. When working in a foreign country, it’s essential to register and jump through a lot of official hoops. Along with our work to start churches, we are also hosting another medical clinic this summer, so permission must be granted from the government for all of this. It shouldn’t be a problem to get everything done, but it does take time. Please pray that Scott accomplishes all he needs to get done in the next few days.



Thursday, February 01, 2007

New Cover

I just have to share the cover of my book coming out this next August! This books combines my first three historicals with Heartsong Presents, Michaela's Choice, Rebecca's Heart, and Adam's Bride.

This will be my first trade paperback.