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Thursday, December 24, 2009
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
I just received a call from the consulate saying they only received part of Lincoln's application and no others (everything we sent was in 1 envelope). This isn't very surprising to us, the last time we applied they lost all of Madison's paperwork including her passport (which they eventually found). We are just up against a deadline - we fly to South Africa on Jan 22nd and our tickets are non-refundable.
More troublesome is that they are now requiring an FBI background check which takes 8-10 weeks to process. We leave in 4 weeks.
When we got our visas before the FBI was not allowing individuals to request their own records and the consulate accepted a background check from our state. Since then the FBI has started allowing individuals to get their record, but since the state background check was accepted by the consulate last time, we didn't even think to check with the FBI.
I've already checked - the FBI won't expedite. And after we get the FBI records, we still need to submit them to the consulate and then they need to process our visas, which takes 8-10 days.
So, please pray that they find the 5 missing applications and that somehow we can get our FBI background checks immediately and that the consulate will issue our visas in time.
Saturday, December 5, 2009
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Sunday, November 8, 2009
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Sunday, November 1, 2009
Lincoln spent a lot of time in Freedom Park, going from shack to shack with the home health care givers. He visited AIDS patients, bringing them food and clean water from the tap in our kitchen. When we return to South Africa, Freedom Park will once again be a focus of our work.
(The movie talks about Rands , the currency used in South Africa. 1 US Dollar is approximately equal to 6-7 South Africa Rands.)
Monday, October 19, 2009
(If you are in the Denver area and would like to check out what we are selling, please check out this link. We will be adding more items in the next couple of days, so please check back!)
Saturday, October 17, 2009
It's so sad that this would be done in the name of Christ. This is a perfect example of tribal people combining their traditional worldview with Christian beliefs. Africans have a very spiritual understanding of the world. When something happens that they don't understand they typically look for a spiritual reason for it. Unfortunately, as this story explains, they often go on a "witch hunt" to find the reason for sickness, or poverty, or misfortune. I've never heard of this happening by Christians in South Africa, but I wouldn't be surprised if it did happen there. I have heard of traditional healers in South Africa killing children to use their body parts for traditional ceremonies. Only Christ will set them free of this mentality.
A part of this problem is the "prosperity gospel" that has become so prevalent in Africa. Extremely poor people have bought into the notion that following God will make you wealthy and healthy. When this doesn't happen they look for witches that have prevented this promised prosperity. It is a very twisted and distorted understanding of scripture that power hungry men preach in order to gain followers. Yet another reason that I can't stand the "prosperity gospel."
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
From their website:
Since its inception in April of 1999, the Foundation has dedicated its time, expertise and resources to helping at-risk children and their families. More to the core of the Foundation's mission is Jack and Pat McDonnell's compassion for those who simply cannot help themselves. Over the last ten years the Foundation has seen dramatic life change for children and their mothers in battered homes, for children fighting bone cancer and potential limb loss, for children and their siblings stuck in the madness of the foster care system, and for families who have lost their providers and loved ones at war.
Monday, October 5, 2009
Special thanks to Chris Sharber of Sharber Photography for the wonderful pictures in this post.
Click pictures to enlarge.
Stage area at the front of the room.
After all the effort that it took for us to raise support and move to SA the first time, I knew that I did not want to go through that process again. I was determined that I wasn’t going to put my family through the stress and anxiety of traveling around the country for a year raising support. I have many missionary friends right now who are struggling immensely to raise support in this economic recession. In my mind it was literally impossible to begin raising support.
It might sound lazy or arrogant, but I was honestly very determined that I wasn’t going to force this to happen. If God wanted us to move back, then He would have to make it happen.
Well, that’s exactly what He did. Last February after a trip to South Africa my pastors at Red Rocks Church told me that they wanted to send my family to South Africa. That was immediately followed by a few people in our church that wanted to put on a fundraiser to help with our relocating expenses. We were asked to come up with a dream budget of what it would take to relocate. Now, after 6 months of very hard work the gala committee has pulled off a phenomenal event, exceeding our wildest expectations.
I can’t help but laugh as I look back over the last year. I’ve come from telling God that He will have to pull off a miracle, to sitting here preparing to move my family to Africa again. The resources have literally fallen in my lap. It is truly unbelievable.
What is so refreshing about this is that I have no doubt that this is truly a miracle. I have no doubt that this is God’s will for us to move back after seeing what He has accomplished with a few obedient people.
When we were making the decision to move back I had a list of reasons why we shouldn’t move back, almost trying to talk myself out of it for fear of making a decision out of emotion. Well, knowing that God’s hand is so clearly in it takes all that pressure and self-doubt out of it as we know that we are following His leading.
Today in church Pastor Shawn was talking about doubting Thomas. It was a great message, and part of it really resounded with me:
24Now Thomas (called Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came.
25So the other disciples told him, "We have seen the Lord!"
But he said to them, "Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it."
26A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you!"
27Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe."
28Thomas said to him, "My Lord and my God!"
I feel like Thomas telling God that He was going to have to prove to me that this was the right move. Now He has proven it to me in a way that is undeniable. It’s like God is telling me, “Stop doubting and believe.”
And my response is the same as Thomas, “My Lord and my God!”
I know that we have many difficult years ahead of us in South Africa. I know that we will be faced with insurmountable odds, and much heartache. I believe that God has allowed us this time of His grace and favor so that when we face those difficult times we can stand strong knowing with confidence that God has brought us to South Africa for a purpose. As difficult as the future may be, we can know without any doubt that it’s God’s will.
Shawn talked about how historians believe that Thomas went on to be a missionary in India, and eventually lost his life as a martyr. I hope that our life doesn’t follow the same path, but I trust that we will have the same boldness and confidence in our “Lord and God” that we can face whatever the future holds.
Thank you, God, for this gift.
Sunday, October 4, 2009
I feel a bit like the prodigal son. Not that I've left God and am returning....but that I've received ridiculous amounts of God's undeserved favor. Ridiculous Grace has been poured out on my life.
Last night was our Africa Gala. It was a huge success. A lot of money came in. A lot of people heard our vision for the children of South Africa and really got a heart for it.
It's amazing to me that so many people have come together and worked so incredibly hard to support our family as we reach the orphans of SA. I'm so humbled by the generosity of everyone as they've committed their time, resources, and money. I can't possibly say "Thank You" enough to everyone. I'll post more pictures later as I get some in from the photographer.
These are some of the art items donated for the silent auction. Many of these are made from the African shack metal that we brought back. When I get the pictures from the photographer we'll post closeups of this art. It was amazing. You can also see the artwork on our Orphan Art Project blog.
Thank you to Don Ray for the pictures in this post.
Sunday, September 20, 2009
Saturday, September 19, 2009
Saturday, October 3rd 2009
Schedule Of Events
7:00 PM Registration & Silent Auction
8:00 PM Dinner
9:15 PM Live Auction
9:45 PM Music & Dancing
RSVP Info ::
To RSVP, please contact Carol Ammon at:
firstname.lastname@example.org or 303.257.6442
Tickets can be purchased by cash, check or charge.
- Pay at the South Africa Gala table after Sunday services
- Or pay now online by clicking here
Thursday, September 17, 2009
We have some friends who would like to buy our house at the price of what we still owe on it, but their house needs to sell before they can do so. It would be so wonderful if they could buy our house so that we could avoid having to show it (which gives Jenny a nervous breakdown to think of having to keep the house show-ready with 4 children!)
Please pray that our friends can sell their house at the price they need to so that they can buy our house.
Also, we are starting the process of applying for our visas. We had some difficulty when applying for our visas the first time we went to South Africa (one such difficulty was that the embassy lost all of Madison's paperwork, including her passport). Please pray that everything goes smoothly and quickly.
Another request is for the South Africa Gala fundraiser our church is doing for us. So many people have put so much time and energy into this fundraiser. Please pray that everything will come together and that it will raise the money we need to go to South Africa. Please also pray that God would abundantly bless all that have freely given time, money, donations and energy to make this fundraiser an amazing evening.
Thank you, we can't even express how much we appreciate your prayers!
Thursday, September 10, 2009
If one man could change the world
And bring color to this city of tin cans
Rusty blue, helpless but not hopeless hue
Sitting with the answers in your hands
All the lost boys are playing in the street.
Will you come play Peter Pan?
This aint no fairy tale it’s a barbed wire reality
But they’re not losing their innocence
So come sail away with me off to the red soil
Step out of your boat and see what I can do
You might think that I’ve called you off to change the world
Maybe it’s the world that’s changing you
I’ve got everything you want but you’ve got everything I’ve been missing for so long
You live and breathe everything I need
Turns out you’re the one who’s savin’ me
Seems the reaper is standing at your door
But all we found was life inside
There’s nothin’ left worth livin’ for but all you want is more
14 strangers answering a call, nothing special at all
There’s a palm print that’s been left on our hearts
That won’t be wiped away when we depart
*To fully appreciate the song you’ll need some explanations to the meaning of the lyrics:
-One of the team members named the kids playing soccer in the streets of Phokeng, “The Lost Boys”
-In the house next to Martha’s house (Martha is a South African lady that provides care and meals to orphans living in child run homes) there is a little boy that is maybe 2 and everyday he sat on the other side of the barbed wire fence and watched all the kids play at Martha’s. Someone nicknamed him “Peter Pan.” He was so cute and adorable and sad looking as he watched everyone else play.
Kaffir Boy is Mark's autobiography. From Publishers Weekly "In this powerful account of growing up black in South Africa, a young writer makes us feel intensely the horrors of apartheid. Living illegally in a shanty outside Johannesburg, Johannes (renamed Mark) Mathabane and his illiterate family endured the heartbreak and hopelessness of poverty and the violence of sadistic police and marauding gangs. He describes his drunken father's attempts to inculcate his tribal beliefs and to prevent his son from getting an education, the one means by which he might escape from the ghetto. Encouraged by his determined mother and grandmother, Mathabane taught himself to read English and play tennis, and, through the assistance of U.S. tennis star Stan Smith and his own efforts and intelligence, obtained a tennis scholarship from a South Carolina college in 1978. Now he is a freelance writer in New York. In the course of relating his inspiring story, he explains the anger and hate that his country's blacks feel toward white people and the inevitability of their rebellion against the Afrikaner government."
African Women, Three Generations are the stories of Mark's sister, mother and grandmother. From Mark Mathabane's website - "This book tells the true life stories of Mark's mother (Geli), grandmother (Ellen), and sister Florah. All are members of the Tsonga tribe of South Africa and are married under the custom of "lobola," where the man purchases his bride from the bride's parents. These women suffer horrendous abuse at the hands of the men they love and from apartheid, but their strength of will, patience, faith and indomitable spirits help them triumph over adversity."
Before we left for South Africa the first time, Lincoln and I did some research and reading about South Africa. We learned what we could about the history of South Africa while living in the US. Then when we lived in South Africa and met people and heard stories and visited people in extreme poverty, we learned a little more.
But these books have really opened my eyes to what apartheid was like. These books take you into the living hell that black South Africans had to endure under apartheid. The descriptions of severe abuse, neglect, starvation and horror that the children especially had to endure will haunt me for the rest of my life. I know that there is so much more to learn, I have just scratched the surface. I don't think I'll every truly understand what the people of South Africa have been through, no matter how much reading I do or how much time I spend there.
I would highly recommend both of these books for anyone who would like to have a better understanding of apartheid. I do want to give a warning though, both books contain bad language and difficult to read and graphic descriptions of abuse and violence.
Mark Mathabane has also written other books, I plan to read Kaffir Boy in America next.
Sunday, September 6, 2009
“Compassion is sometimes the fatal capacity for feeling what it is like to live inside somebody else's skin. It is the knowledge that there can never really be any peace and joy for me until there is peace and joy finally for you too.” Frederick Buechner
Thursday, September 3, 2009
For one special night we will be honoring and celebrating the Lighthouse Children's Shelter in Rustenburg, South Africa. Join us for an evening to remember including dinner, live music, auctions and more with all proceeds benefiting The Lighthouse Children's Shelter.
-Saturday, October 3rd
-Red Rocks Church (Heritage Square)
18301 W. Colfax Ave. Golden, CO. 80401
Follow signs to complimentary shuttle service.
-You can purchase individual tickets for $100 or purchase an entire table for the guests of your choice ($1,000 - $4,000 per table - tables seat 10 people.) Each person attending will receive a special gift.
-RSVP by September 20th
-Safari Casual attire
-For more information please contact us at JennyLincoln@hotmail.com or call the Red Rocks Church office at 303-279-0425
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Saturday, August 8, 2009
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Friday, July 24, 2009
Our trip to
The kids were incredible. Each one touched my heart & I miss them & pray for them often. To know what they have experienced in their short lifetime shocks me & breaks my heart. It saddens me to be here & know that there are still so many kids who live in
Knowing the children’s stories was so important to me to see what they have been through & how far they have come. The kids were so accepting of us & embraced us, not wanting us to go. I find it harder to be here then there at this time, as I think of what some of the kids are enduring as I write this. I also find it difficult to not dislike some of the kids here in the Western world. The kids in Africa are so happy to simply be loved & have a meal a day & one outfit to wear, where I find most kids here are so materialistic & self centered & always need more (the adults too). That has been so tough for me.
Some of the people we met in
I met a woman in 4th stage HIV (as her body rejected medication) who is in the final days of her life & her smile & attitude will always be engraved in my mind. Despite her immense pain, she was able to smile & hold my hand.
The doctor’s wife runs a program counseling the people of Rustenburg. She takes in babies at any given moment & is on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, willing to do whatever it takes to improve a life. She truly works for God & changes lives.
The woman (Martha) & her daughter who don’t work so they can feed needy children from their humble home move me beyond words.
The YWAM group does so many great projects & helps so many people as well. All of these people will forever be heroes in my mind & I am eternally grateful for the opportunity I had to meet them.
I am thankful for
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
I read an interesting article on MSNBC about AIDS research in South Africa.
Following is a quote from this article:
"During nearly 10 years of government denial and neglect, South Africa developed a staggering AIDS crisis. Around 5.2 million South Africans were living with HIV last year — the highest number of any country in the world. Young women are hardest hit, with one-third of those aged 20-to-34 infected with the virus."
Red Rocks Team Reaction #3
Below is a post by Rick Messer, part of our Red Rocks Team that just got back from South Africa. You can read the rest of Rick and Jenny's posts on their blog.
I chose this post from Rick because it is very real. Not every moment was full of meaning and inspiration. Sometimes the kids we came to love and serve were a little annoying. That's just the real world.
I worked in Phokeng the whole day today and felt pretty useless most of the time. I also felt very selfish when the kids arrived because I was tired of some of them. Some are sweet and kind but some are kind of demanding. One boy climbed all over me for hours (literally). I didn’t know how to to tell him to stop without being mean.
There was no point in time that this kid wasn’t on somebody’s back or grabbing on to their leg!! (gotta love ‘em)
Says it all… Ha!
Amanda showed me how to make swords and dogs out of balloons and that was until some of the kids got a little grabby. We got swarmed!
Ended day at Martha’s playing soccer. We played with about 12 of us in the street. Troy, me and Lincoln were on a team with a few kids from the neighborhood and we played against 6 more. They won some “Coke Lights” from Lincoln (They don’t have diet coke there, just “Coke Light” -minor cultural detail I thought I’d throw in).
For the second time, I noticed a boy who was playing soccer in the dirt streets in just his socks. I learned his name and sort of became friends with him. He’s called and text messaged me a few times since I’ve been back! He wore his school uniform when he played soccer. One time he kicked the ball hard and said his foot was hurting. I asked why he didn’t have shoes and he said they were too big and when he kicked the ball his shoes would fly off. I showed him a better way to tie his shoes, but they still flew off! I decided I would just get him a new pair, so we got some at the mall (yes there’s a mall nearby, I was really surprised too!) and Jenny gave them to him the following Monday.
Me and Lincoln loosing badly in soccer, you can see the kid in the white shirt playing without shoes:
While we were playing soccer I saw a little boy that we all had noticed over the past few days. He lived next door to Martha. He is probably about 2 years old and is alone, outside all day.
The whole yard is dirt and fenced with barbed wired. Some of the team saw him eating some orange peels that we had thrown away. He was reaching through the fence and eating them off of the ground. Troy went over the fence and gave him some fresh fruit that we had in the van.
Below is an excerpt from Jenny Messer's blog about her trip to South Africa.
-Jenn’s Day One-
Journal Entry Tuesday, June 22nd
“One day… I made it to Africa, I hesitate to fall in love.” (This was the first line of my journal entry for my Africa experience, it still rings true in my head as I type this and I am positive will be with me always. I want to go back soon and often. I knew I would have to leave this place and I had to process that very fact before I even left, when I got there to my dismay, it was even more lovely and hard to leave.)
“I breathe the colors and smell the sound of laughter and crooked smiles. I have already been saddened when the children had to leave–just to go to bed! (I am not able to list names of the children on the internet, but she was the one who latched to me and then I could not let go.) “I taught her to clap, grab her cheeks and say OH! We twirled our fingers in the air as trees, pointed to the blue sky and moved like the wind. I feel love as she holds tight to me and says, Mommy.” Today was the first day I heard that word.