The children took part in many activities during the school break. Some of these included a SPELLING BEE competition, a talent show (the children’s gum boot dance was particularly entertaining!), a church fete where the kids had fun with apples on a string, games, face painting and even a dress up corner. We invited 10 children from another children’s home to join us over the New Year and it was wonderful to see the children joining in for the activities. On new year’s eve we were treated to a fireworks display on the farm. This was a gift from my parents to the children. There were loud shouts as the rockets went into the sky and the children loved it!
FIVE NEW CHILDREN ADMITTED TO PASTURE VALLEY
This January has been particularly busy with social work and follow up on reports of child abuse in various situations. Three girls have been admitted to the Ekuthuleni Girls care centre and one girl and one boy are at Pasture Valley. Not all the children will be here on a permanent basis, but because there is no halfway home or emergency shelter in this region for children that are in need, we have tried to help. One child from South Africa came to Swaziland to try and find her mother after her father had passed away and got lost. Another girl had to testify against her own father in court shortly after she arrived and her story was published in the newspapers. She was very brave.
About 2 weeks ago we went to collect another child referred by Social welfare. He is an orphaned boy of 11 years. After meeting with the school we went to his home where he stayed with his Gogo (grandmother). The grass was so tall that we could not see that path to his house and he walked ahead of the vehicle to show us the way. His grandmother explained that she no longer had the strength to care for him anymore and she did not have any cattle or chickens or much food. She only had 3 goats and a small garden. We prayed together and then brought him to his new home where his new 54 brothers and sisters greeted him.
SCHOOL HAS STARTED AGAIN FOR 2017
January and February are probably our busiest time of the year as the children go back to school. School clothes and shoes have to be bought for all the children and school fees have to be paid for the child support programme children. Stationery was bought and books were covered. The little Pasture Valley school started for the Grade ones at the Education Centre the second week in January. Teacher Nomcebo is doing a wonderful job at teaching them phonics, maths, and English. The children have also enjoyed their weekly swimming, art and music lessons.
LORD, PLEASE FILL THE SEATS
After the graduation ceremony last year of the pastors completing their ISOM diploma at Pasture Valley, I prayed that God would make it possible once again for a new group of pastors to receive training this year at Pasture Valley. Since the leader was not able to co-ordinate another training course and we were not certain if there would be any interest, it looked disappointing. However 2 of the pastors from the first training volunteered to co-ordinate another training and on we sent out invitations to various churches. The day arrived and we prepared for the pastors to arrive. I put out 21 seats and prayed that the Lord fill the seats that day. Then the rain came down. By the starting time there were only 4 pastors that arrived. But an hour later ALL the seats had been filled- not one less or one more, exactly 21 seats were occupied. I gave thanks to God for His faithfulness and answer to prayer. Many of the pastors have come by foot and many were drenched from the rain, but they had come with willing hearts to learn
A NEW WELCOME CENTRE AND OFFICES
With the increase of people needing assistance through Pasture Valley, we have found it increasingly difficult to try and attend to all the people in our small laboratory office. Often visitors will arrive and we do not have enough chairs or space to allow them to sit down. Often the consultations and social work is done in a sterile lab setting. As new children come to Pasture Valley, this is their first impression and I often wonder how confused they must be when they come to a place that smells like a hospital. Being uprooted and feeling scared is traumatic enough. Furthermore, the amount of paperwork needed for the various projects requires a lot of administration and there is a need for space to do this in. A plan was drawn up for some offices and a small training/meeting room where people that come to Pasture Valley can be consulted from instead of sitting in the sun or rain on a bench outside. We hope to call this area the WELCOME CENTRE. We hope to welcome many more children and people in need from here in the future.
PRAYER REQUESTS :
- Gratefulness for the wonderful rains that fell and for a great pumpkin harvest.
- Gratefulness for friends and family that support the children and for God’s provision.
- Protection of the children.
- Prayer for the children and that they will grow in their relationship with God each day.
- For wisdom, love and guidance for all the housemothers, caretakers and volunteers.
- For the farm staff as we hope to teach them God’s word through monthly meetings.
- For Siphelele as he goes for his interview at an artisan school next month.
- For Siyabonga and Sandile as they pursue their engineering studies.