This blog is an account of our lives and ministry in South Africa. Please click on the tabs above to learn a little more about us and what we do.

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Monday, January 31, 2011

Kendi's Birthday Party

We celebrated Kendi's birthday on Friday night with some of her good friends.  I love the weather here in South Africa!

When we lived in South Africa in 2007, my mom came to visit for Kendi's birth.  The kids had been wanting olives, so my mom brought some with her.  They wanted to save the olives for a special occasion and decided they would wait to eat them on the day Kendi was born.  So, every year since we have had olives on Kendi's birthday.  We brought this can with us when we came a year ago and had been saving it for her birthday.

 After dinner Madison preformed a magic show for all of the kids.
 She pulled a coin out from behind Kendi's ear.  (Isabel took a front row seat as you can see here.)

 Madison told Matthew she was going to chop off his finger and he stuck it right in to the contraption without a second thought.  It was a magic guillotine and his finger was spared.

Madison asked Kyler to lay an invisible egg.

For her finale, Madison made a gift appear for the birthday girl.  It was a great show!

 Kendi got a cash register, play money, play food, a shopping cart, assorted bubble bath and real money to go shopping with.

Kendi asked for Chocolate cake with chocolate frosting for her birthday.  That morning, just as I was about make her cake, the power went out.  It was out until about 30 minutes after the party started.  We ended up buying "cupcakes" (really, it's just a regular cake cut up into squares) and I let Kendi decorate each one with sprinkles.  She was really happy with how they turned out and didn't even mention not having her chocolate cake.

Make a wish!


Friday, January 28, 2011

~*~* HaPpY *~* BiRtHdAy *~* kEnDi!! ~*~*~

Today our 3rd child, Kendi, turns 4 years old.  I have never met anyone quite like Kendi!  She overflows with personality and sass.  I'm excited to see what God has in store for Kendi, he certainly has put a lot of spunk into this little fireball!

Kendi was born in South Africa when we were here the first time.  Her name, Kendi, is an African name that means "The Loved One".

(She is wearing her swimming suit in these top 2 pictures, she practically lives in it!)


We're celebrating her birthday tonight with friends, I'll post pictures later.


Monday, January 24, 2011

1 Year in South Africa

January 23rd marked our one-year anniversary of moving our family to South Africa.  What an incredible roller coaster year it has been.  We came to South Africa to work with orphaned and vulnerable children.  As usual, God has a way of changing our most well laid plans, and this year was no exception.

When we arrived, we intended to live and work primarily at the Lighthouse Children’s Shelter, just as we had done when we lived here in 2006 and 2007.  We did live and work at the shelter from January to August.  In August it became clear that it was time for us to move on from the shelter.  Since it’s creation, the shelter had been funded and managed mainly by missionaries.  It was always the plan to turn it over to South Africans when the time was right.  Last year in August the shelter was taken over by a local South African church that has the resources and personnel to run the shelter without the help of the missionaries.  So it was time for us to move on.

We moved off of the shelter property and began to spend more time reaching out to orphaned and vulnerable children living in child-run homes in the town of Phokeng.  (These are homes where orphans who have lost all adult family members live and raise themselves and their younger siblings.)  This is a ministry that was begun by our YWAM friends, Derek and Rebecca Van der Merwe.  We have been involved in this ministry at a marginal level since 2006, but last September we took more of a leadership role in what happens there.  We began to develop an after school program where the kids can come each day for a meal and different activities.

In November we moved yet again (for the third time in 2010.)  We had been renting a 3 bedroom flat on a farm/retreat grounds.  It was a nice place to live, but our house there was just too small for our family.  Someone in our church offered a rental house to us that is much bigger than our previous house for just a little more rent than we had been paying. 

Now that we have finally settled down in a home and consistent ministry, we look forward to a productive 2011.  2010 was a great year for us, but it had so much change and transition that we don’t feel like we accomplished as much as we would have liked. 

We are starting a fresh year settled, focused, and full of vision and hope for a great 2011.

Friday, January 21, 2011

School Supplies for Phokeng Kids - Distribution Day

Last Monday Amy and I went out to Agnes' house in Phokeng to hand out the school supplies.  The kids came after school for their meal and to pick up their school supplies.

Mama Agnes (in the white shirt) lines all of the kids up in order of height, the little ones first, to wash their hands and to get their food each day.


 Here are Amy, Madison and her friend Grayce, Amy's daughter, serving the kids their meal.

The little ones like to sit on this old spool to eat their meal.  Some of them come on their own to Agnes' house to meet their older brothers and sisters after school.

The trunk and the back seat of Amy's car were full of the school supplies.

 It was a little (OK, a lot) chaotic as we tried to separate and organize the supplies for over 60 kids.  Each grade had a different school supply list and some of the kids only needed a few items from their list.  We also had more kids show up than we had purchased for, so we had to go through everything and divide it all up to make sure we had enough for each child.

This is one of the 4 or 5 lists were were working from.  You can see Mama Agnes in the background.

We put the supplies in piles according to grade.

We gave each of the kids a grocery bag and went down the line handing out their supplies.  At one point Amy mentioned that she felt like they were Trick-Or-Treating.  I had thought the same thing!  Many of these kids have never had any school supplies before, so this was a big treat for them!

The first graders didn't have a list of supplies, so we didn't buy anything for them.  They waited patiently while we handed out the supplies to all of the other children present.  At the end, they came up to me saying (in their cute broken English) "Grade one?  Grade one?"  I didn't have the heart to tell them that we didn't have anything for them!

I had remembered seeing a bag of new crayon boxes in Mama Agnes' house, so I asked her about them.  Agnes said that they had been donated to her several months before by a group on a missions trip from the US.  Agnes hadn't give them out yet because she said she just knew she was supposed to save them for some reason.

So, we were able to give those little sweeties each a new box of Crayola crayons, and a pencil and eraser that were left over from the older children.

We ran out of a few supplies and needed to buy some more.  On Wednesday, Amy and Mama Agnes went shopping again purchased everything else that was needed.  Even though we didn't raise as much money as we had thought we needed, we were able to purchase everything the kids needed and we actually have a little money left over to help some of the kids buy some new school clothes.

A HUGE thank you to everyone who donated for this!  It was a great day and the kids were so happy and thankful to receive their new supplies.


Monday, January 17, 2011

No Easy Answer

Recently I had a conversation with a local woman about a young lady who needs help.  The 17 years old young lady has 3 children ages 4, 3, and 1.  She was orphaned as a child and became pregnant at 13.

With only a second grade education she can’t get a job and has been living off of grant money from the South African government.  (This is a common occurrence for orphans or those caring for orphans in South Africa.)  Because she failed to renew her grant this year, she won’t be receiving any grant money for the next 3 months while her application is processed.

In the meantime she needs food to feed her young children.  The problem is that she has a history of squandering the help that has been given to her in the past.  I’m told that if she is given a month's worth of food then it will be gone within the first week because her neighbors will take advantage of her.  I’m also told that the police helped this young lady plant a garden and put her through a course to teach her the basics of gardening.  But the garden withered because she was too busy hanging out with friends and playing cards to care for the garden.

So the dilemma we face is how to help three hurting, hungry children and their mother, without continuing to foster this dependency that she has learned.

Sitting in our comfortable living rooms, it’s easy to see hurting, needy people and think that we can solve their problems with money.  We want to make a donation and feel good knowing that we’ve helped.  Unfortunately, true help is much more complicated and messy. 

There are not always easy answers to helping the hurting.


Friday, January 14, 2011

New Shoes

Imagine you are a young girl living in a one room tin shack with your 3 siblings.  Almost everything you own is either a hand me down or something that has been scavenged from the discarded, unwanted items of others.  You are required to wear a school uniform to attend school, but the only uniform that you can come by has been worn by your older sister for the last several years.  It’s been patched and re-patched countless times.

Then one day you receive a gift. A new school uniform and new school shoes.  Think about what that would mean to you.  You now can walk into school with your head held high.  Today you are no different than the other students. 

You can walk with dignity and pride.  

Thanks to a generous donation from General Motors South Africa we were able to buy new school uniforms for the orphaned and vulnerable children we work with in Phokeng.  They received their uniforms a few months ago, and yesterday they received their new shoes.

The shoes are a demonstration of God’s love for these children.

It’s amazing how buying new shoes for a child can be a deeply spiritual act.


Monday, January 10, 2011

Phokeng School Supply Update

We have raised about 1/4 of our goal of $1,600 to buy school supplies for orphaned and vulnerable children in the town of Phokeng, South Africa.

Thank you so much to those of you that have donated toward this!

It's not too late to give if you would still like to help.  We need all donations in (or we need to know they are on their way) by Wednesday, January 12th.

If you would like to help out, there are 2 ways you can donate: 

By Check:
Send your check to:
4380 S. Monaco St. #2092
Denver, CO 80237
Please write "South Africa School Supplies" in the memo section.
By Credit Card:
Go to worldhope.us  Select "One-time donation" then "South Africa" then "General fund" and enter the amount you would like to give.
When you make a donation, please send an email to JennyLincoln@hotmail.com to let us know that the donation is for the school supplies, and the amount so that we know how close we are to our goal.
All donations are tax deductible.
Thank You!!

Friday, January 7, 2011

South African Words

South Africa has 11 official languages, but English is spoken almost everywhere we go.  Although, there are many words that are used that are very different than the English we are used to!  Here are some common words used here in South Africa along with the word we would use in the US. 
1. till - cash register

2. trolley - shopping cart
3. queue - line (like at store)
4. flickers - turn signals
5. koakies- markers
6. serviette - napkin
7. robot - stop light (ex. "Make a left turn at the 2nd robot.")
8. chappies - chewing gum
9. lift - elevator
10. boot - trunk of car
11. nappy - diaper
12. dummy - pacifier
13. pram - baby stroller
14. takkies- tennis shoes
15.  rubbish - trash
16. post - mail 
17. fringe - bangs (hair)

Monday, January 3, 2011

South Africa Stories

At age 13, Lerato* lost her mother to AIDS. She has never known her father. At 13 she was left to raise herself and her two younger siblings, ages 4 and 7. By the time she was 17 years she had two more children of her own.  She struggled to raise her two younger siblings and her two babies.

One day she approached a friend of ours who had worked with her and helped her for several years. Lerato asked our friend if she could get birth control pills. Our friend told her, “No, Lerato, you can’t be doing that. We’ve talked about this, you should not be sleeping with men.”

Lerato’s response echoes the desperation and heartache of young women all over South Africa. “No, you don’t understand. I’m not sleeping with men, but what am I supposed to do when the men break down the door of my shack and rape me? I can’t afford any more children.”

*Name changed to protect privacy