Pasture Valley Newsletter March - April 2020

EPHESIANS 4: 7 But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift.

A stone rolled away - Jesus is alive!

During Easter we are always reminded of Christ’s gift to us and the grace we receive because of His gift. How death was defeated and the stone of the tomb was rolled away and Jesus is alive. During Easter I had my own stone to deal with- a stone that had lodged in my gallbladder causing great pain and swelling. After weeks of medication the doctor advised that surgery be done to have it removed. I was terrified to have to go into hospital during lockdown with scares of the COVID -19 virus around. Many friends and family prayed for healing. A friend also advised me on some natural remedies to take. The day came for the surgery and I did all the presurgery tests and went for a scan. The technician took a long time and finally said that he could not find any gallstone. The stone had been rolled away and I was free to leave without surgery! There was much rejoicing and a testimony that God does heal.

Reading with the little ones

One of the big challenges with the Homeschooling Curriculum we have is that the children who enter Grade one are expected to have a good knowledge of English and can to a certain extent also know how to read. For our little ones, English is their second language and for those arriving at Pasture Valley with no preschool background they find it very hard. For this reason many of the teachers at Pasture Valley (including myself) have had to put in extra one on one time with the grade ones. I have 2 students that I work with and it has been so rewarding to teach them how to read.

Camping on the lawn

The girls and boys camp was very special. The girls set up the tents on our garden lawn and built a big bonfire. We played a few games and had a special devotion time. Cooking the meal on the fire and making stick bread was a highlight. There is also something special with just being in the open and worshipping around a warm fire on a cold night.

Life at Pasture Valley during the lockdown

Lockdown activities

For many the COVID-19 lockdown has been a huge challenge, but at Pasture Valley things have been busier than ever. Since the lockdown we have had to organize ourselves a bit better so that the children’s education would not be neglected. We divided the children into 4 groups. The Homeschool group continued to be taught by Molly and Nelsiwe, while for grades 3-5 were taught by Aunty Jabu at the welcome offices. Uncle John teaches the Grade 6- Form 1’s in Grace house and Nick teaches the high school children. Some of the lessons that are on-line have been downloaded and the children were able to watch them at the Education centre. The teachers were also able to compile tests for each grade to assess the children’s progress made.

Eswatini went under strict lockdown for a while with soldiers monitoring the town and police checking vehicle access into towns. Food prices have increased substantially and vegetables and fresh produce is in short supply as well as specialized parts and building materials. We ordered dry food ingredients in bulk which lessens the number of trips needed to be made to town. Our caregivers opted to stay in so that they did not put the children at risk. The children have each been given masks. Hand sanitizers were placed in front of the education centre and offices.

Fun on the haybales!

We are so grateful to be on the farm during the lockdown. The open spaces, green grass and animals around seem to bring some peacefulness to the situation around us. We are grateful for all the fruit trees and have been harvesting plenty of guavas, persimmons and kumquats. The fresh milk each day has also been a blessing. There seems to be a boom of baby animals being born as 3 new calves have arrived and 6 new puppies too! Hay has been made and the bales are a great place for the children to play.

Food for the children outside of Pasture Valley

With many families not being able to work during this time some have not been able to have money to buy food. We see more children loitering around begging for food as they are hungry. Thanks to the All4Jesus Foundation, we were able to purchase food items for food parcels and have been distributing these around our region.

Education and sports

The children have been really busy every afternoon with a fun activity. We have had cooking competitions, drawing competitions, Bible quiz, table tennis competition, Highland games, drumming competitions, sewing of aprons, initiative games, volleyball, drama plays, soccer and nature hikes. Pasture Valley also had their very own OLYMPICS. The kids were divided into country teams and competed against each other and had loads of fun. Cara keeps the girls exercising with Zumba every Saturday and they are getting good with the dancing routines too.

At Ekuthuleni, the girls have also been studying and doing some movie making, debating, cooking and lots of other activities. They are all well and coping well with the lockdown.

Another highlight was when Jurgens organized a computer building day. Each group of children had to build their own computers by assembling various components and work within a budget to do so

Entrepreneurship with gardening

Growing well

Since there has been a shortage of fresh vegetables, we decided to also use this time to teach the children to start their own gardens. We provided seeds and the land and the gardens are looking really good already with cabbages, onions, spinach, sweet potatoes, pumpkins and beetroots popping up everywhere. Once the vegetables have grown they would be able to sell them for a little extra pocket money. Some of the children that have already exited Pasture Valley have also come to collect vegetable seeds and have started gardens too. Michael has already sold us a big bag of his own sweet potatoes.

Should be a good crop!

A new van for Pasture Valley

For the very first time since we opened the children’s home we have bought a brand new vehicle! All the other vehicles have been second hand and it was so great to be able to get into a new van. Aunty Princess was so happy to have an automatic vehicle that can carry all the heavy food parcels and food to the various sites in need. We are extremely grateful to all of you who contributed to the purchase of this vehicle.

Prayer requests

  • Thankfulness for God’s protection and good health of the children during this time
  • Thankfulness for the Pasture Valley family and the unity we have to keep on glorifying God
  • For the health and protection of our caretakers
  • For wisdom and good leadership for our country during the epidemic
  • For the children and families that are struggling as a result of losing their jobs or income during this time.
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