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Pasture Valley Newsletter January - February 2020

Nahum 1 :7 “ The Lord is good, a stronghold in a day of distress, He cares for those who take refuge in Him”

It's back to school season!

Clothing those in need

The beginning of the year is always very busy here at Pasture Valley. Lines of people come to our office for assistance with school clothes, school fees, stationery and school supplies or food parcels. Over 450 children are being supported through this programme which means that we have to buy hundreds of sets of school clothes from all different schools all over the region.

We are so grateful for God’s provision and the amazing team at Pasture Valley that work hard to get the supplies out to the children. We were also grateful for Mike and Gail Messick joining us for almost 3 months to do the work needed. Seeing a child arrive at our offices at Pasture Valley with torn old clothes and shoes with toes sticking out of them always tugs at my heart.

Outreach to Mpandesane School

On a hot January day we headed out to Mpandesane with the YWAM team and a couple of our boys to help do some painting. With many hands and willing hearts the job was done quickly. The teacher was most grateful to have her preschool painted .

Broken people

"Pasture Valley is in essence built up entirely upon broken people" - Nicholas

“ Pasture Valley is in essence built up entirely upon broken people” This is a Nicholas quote and it is so true. Each one of us carry scars and baggage. Some are deep, traumatic , hurtful and damaging. Each child comes to Pasture Valley because of broken circumstances where in most cases love is a foreign word and only hate is shown. We are a bunch of broken people living together. But how beautiful it is to see healing and restoration through God. How beautiful it is to see goodness coming from someone broken when all hope was thought to be lost. How beautiful it is to see unity when it was not thought possible.

And so another broken child joined our family a few days ago. Her story is terrible to tell and her eyes show hardness and sadness. But there is hope… and out of brokenness I have faith that something beautiful will follow.

Birthdays

It is tradition at Pasture Valley that our children receive the key to the door when they turn twenty one. In February one our girls received her key to the door- the door of life. A bible!

"Once the dust has settled, all that remains is love" - Make Michelle

Keep on growing

Three of our children graduated from Preschool and entered into our small Pasture Valley Home school . Teacher Bongiwe did a wonderful job in teaching them and they performed a little play for us at the graduation ceremony. The home school has also expanded into 2 classes with teachers Molly and Ciniso teaching them with Nelsiwe assisting as well. We currently have 14 students at the Pasture Valley Home school. There was much excitement when the books arrived.

Back to basics: Pain in perspective

This month we celebrated my birthday- 50 God-given years! It was a wonderful celebration where I was surrounded by people special to me and my beloved family. It was an event planned in secret for months by my dear sister Candace. And a wonderful event it was! I am really grateful for all who came and for all the birthday wishes. 50 years did not seem so old until...

A few weeks later however, I woke up to intense pain in my back, not able to sleep and any movement was painful. It is amazing how when we talk about body parts we seem to not mention our backs much - it seems so insignificant until you realize how significant it is. Our manager Sandile Dube popped into the office and asked how I was as he had heard I had back pain. Then he laughed and said “It is the old age!!!”. But one thing pain does- it puts all things into perspective. As I sat looking out of a window of curtains I made from a house we built, to trees outside we planted, all looks so insignificant. All is dust! Solomon in all his wisdom asks Ecc 2:22 : “What has a man from all the toil and striving of heart with which he toils beneath the sun?”

When you are in pain you see life from a different perspective. It is like being a piece of paper under a large paperweight. You feel you have a purpose and you want to be caught up by the wind and go places and do things, but you cannot. Pain does not allow you to do the things you used to do. And then you start to think... what have I done with the time I had without the paperweight? Did I love enough? Did I do enough? Once the dust has settled, all that remains is love. The love for and of God and the love for and of people.

Going to School

I am amazed at God’s goodness. As I look at the faces of the children and see how much they have grown, I see God’s hand in everything. How could we possibly afford to send so many children to school and to educate them? Yet here we are in 2020 and starting a new year with more children than we have ever had before. Two of our children finished school last year- Phumelele and Zethu. They both did really well and are applying to go to colleges in Eswatini. This year we have 4 children doing their final year at school.

Getting moving

Cara Myburgh joined our team in January and has a degree in Movement and Recreation Science. She has been a great help in teaching sports such as gymnastics and swimming to the children. The children have loved their swimming sessions once a week where all the children from Grade 1 to Grade 6 could learn in a pool nearby. Cara also introduced Zumba dancing to Pasture Valley and gets all the girls moving every Saturday morning.

Cara is also helping a group of children develop their skills and they spend time gardening, exercising, making crafts, sewing , baking cakes and decorating. They were very pleased to harvest their first mealies (corn) from their very own gardens!

Uncertain times

Luke 21: 29-31 “ Then He told them a parable: Look at the fig tree, and all the trees. As soon as they put out leaves, you can see for yourselves and recognize that summer is already near. In the same way when you see these things happening recognize that the kingdom of God is near. “

With schools closing, flights cancelled, states of emergencies declared and viruses killing people, we are living in uncertain and challenging times.

Prayer requests

  • Protection from disease for our children and staff at Pasture Valley and Ekuthuleni
  • Thankfulness for the staff, teachers, volunteers and all those that help caring for the children at Pasture Valley
  • For the unemployment in our country
  • For all the building projects coming up – an accommodation unit and school classrooms (the land has already been cleared).
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