Thursday, January 21, 2010

The skateboard never gets old!

I'm really just trying out some photo editing, inpsired by my friend Farrah Fox and her cool photos. So I thought I'd take a look to see how this simple effect looks on the blog. Pai, or as I call him most often "piece of pie Pai" looks cool on the board no matter how I style it!

Have a happy day!
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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

So, when are you coming home?

Christmas 2009 068 Uh - "I don't know?"  "This could be my last year?  (that's what people here have heard me say for six years now!)"  "Not really sure?"

Oh, wait, I think I know. 

When God tells me to.

It's as simple - and difficult - as that.

December 2009 084 How will he tell me, you ask?  Well, when you walk with God (as I try to do, imperfect as I am), He is faithful to order your steps, faithful to lead you in the path you should take when you trust in Him and lean not on your own understanding.

Just as He made it clear when it was time for me to move here to Mozambique, He will make it clear when it is time for me to return to the US.  "They shall go out with joy and be led forth with peace" the Bible says and that's how it will be for me.

December 2009 112 Although when the time comes to drive down the driveway for the last time, I cannot even imagine how hard that will be or how devastated I will feel, I know I will be filled with His peace and His joy as well.  It's a mystery but it's true.

My mother's health - having had cancer for five years now - is probably the biggest natural factor that would determine how long I stay.  It's been a great blessing to have the flexibility to visit her as much as I have, something that, ironically, I wouldn't have been able to do so much if I was living in California working a 9-5 job.

 December 2009 091 Indeed, I can't quite believe I've been here as long as I have, I never quite expected that.  Some things are challenging but overall, I love it.  And I love my boys!!!

I appreciate your prayers, comments, support and encouragement!

Come visit, why don'tcha???  See these gorgeous pumpkins for yourself and why I don't want to leave them!

Thanks for reading this submission of More Information Mondays!

A final thought - I wrote this email a few days ago in preparation to post on Monday but I'm a day late.  Well, this morning, one of our toddlers in the Baby House died.  His name was Dino and he was three years old.   He came to us directly from the hospital where he was abandoned by his mother at birth.  His death today and the re-reading this post tonight kind of tie it together for me.  Although I don't know that I'll live the rest of my life here, it certainly puts in all in perspective.  What I am doing here with these boys is life-changing, for them and for me.  And that's not meant to be blowing my own horn, it is simply the January 2010 019truth.  Every day that I am here to care for them is precious.  Every sacrifice I make is worth it.  Every inconvenience I experience is no price to pay.  Every boy whom I can pour my heart and love into is a precious gift from God and my privilege is to serve them.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

We've been invaded!

December 2009 013












SEVEN!!!!  Seven boys in one day!!!!  What was I thinking???

December 2009 020Well, in spite of the fact that they all arrived at once, these little lovelies are wonderful additions to our dorm!   They bring my numbers right back up to 32, the number I was at before some moved up and some moved home. 

I'll admit, it's been a little stressful.  It probably wasn't the brightest idea to bring them in all at once but some other considerations made it the best decision.  It's tricky for the boys already in the dorm to absorb seven new personalities at once. 

December 2009 024And these seven have come from within our center.  The ladies on either end, Tracey on the left and Vella on the right, both live in "transition" dorms with very small numbers.  So these boys came from houses of eight and six respectively.  Into a dorm of 32!  So, they've been used to a lot of control and attention and they simply won't receive as much of that in my dorm. 

But we will love them and care for them and they (and I!) will adapt - kids always do! Please just keep us in your prayers!!

Sunday, January 03, 2010

God provides in ways we could never imagine! Meet Marcia Francois!

image Some of you may know that blogging has become an increasingly popular means of communication in today's world.  I am so glad that I discovered it as a means of letting our little world come alive for those of you who might be interested!

I am always amazed at how many strangers visit my blog and keep coming back to read more.  Their comments, gifts, encouragement, prayers and occasional financial support have been such a blessing - and something I could never have imagined!

 Marcia Francois is a time management and business organising coach who helps small business owners break out of overwhelm, make the most of their time and get important projects done.  She also happens to be one of my faithful readers and commenters, although we have never personally met.

She is doing something amazing this month.  She is offering one of her e-courses, Organise Your Home, at a 10%  discount for the month of January. AND, she is donating 25% of the proceeds to MY BOYS!!!

Could I, in a million years, dreamed up that method of provision for me and my boys?  Obviously not!  But God, who is able to do abundantly more than we can ask or imagine, did dream it up.  And he laid it on Marcia's heart who allowed it to become her dream.

December 2009 062             December 2009 063

December 2009 064


And I am so blessed.  I know my loving Heavenly Father cares for me and my boys.  I know He, who clothes the birds of the air, will even more so clothe us!  He chooses to use people to do it!

Thank you Marcia for wanting to bless us!  For sacrificing some of your income for the sake of my boys.

Friends, Marcia has clients ALL over the world!  You don't have to be in South Africa to benefit from one of her courses.  Check out her blog and her website and see if this is something you could use in your life.  Or at least leave her a comment to encourage her in being creative in how she can bless others!  I think most of us could use some help in getting organized and this might be the perfect time to try out some help in the process.  Think about it!

By the way, if you go to Marcia's blog or site, you'll discover she has newborn TWINS!  They are cute patoots!  I thought to put their photo here but it's really not my place to do that so you'll have to go to her site to see them!

Thanks for reading and keep leaving comments so I know you're out there!  I'd love to meet all, or any!, of you someday!  You never know!

Friday, January 01, 2010

Happy New Year!

December 2009 108

Here's my little group (several have gone to visit family) with Rebecca who is helping me in the dorm now, with our little guys, waiting for the festivities to start.

December 2009 137

Pai has enjoyed the decorating activities!

December 2009 139

This is the whole group, with my boys in the forefront, the girls next and the rest of the boys to the far right, all watching a movie.

December 2009 135

Pedro, with his bag of sweets, tired but determined to stay awake!

Five fell asleep but woke up in time to watch the fireworks display down on the soccer field.

Happy New Year everyone!

I pray God's richest blessings poured out on you in 2010.  May you find Him faithful as you are faithful to Him!

One of the most satisfying things I've done the whole time I've been here was . . .

December 2009 003 . . . the time I barely made it to the soccer stadium in time to cheer a group of our boys on when they won the tournament's first place trophy!

Can I tell you I cried???

Look at their proud, smiling faces!  (DeAnna, that's your David carrying the trophy!)  This photo was taken in church the next day.

All the boys except one have lived in my dorm previously, most of them moved up last year, see this post, and some moved up the year before.  I kept telling them they should thank me for all that I taught them (not to mention all those soccer balls I've bought) but somehow they didn't think I'd taught them all that many skills.  Hmmm.

A city league organized a two week tournament since it is school summer holidays here and our center was invited to arrange a team to participate.  All of this happened while I was gone except for the last game which was held during our Christmas celebration on the 18th.  It  broke my heart that I couldn't go to cheer them on, especially when they won and took first place for the whole thing! 

December 2009 005 The next day, one of the other young boys came to tell me "Mana Laura!  The boys are having their ceremony today!  They left at 7 this morning."  It was 9:30 but we hopped in the car as fast as we could (which mean at least 30 minutes as the boys who wanted to go with me had to be rounded up and tell their Educator, etc.) and took off for the stadium.  The problem was, the boy who was SURE he knew how to get there ended up taking us on a 30 minute detour before we found someone who could tell us where it was.

When we walked into the stadium, the boys were down on the field with all the other teams.  I tell you again, my eyes welled up with tears when they saw us.  Their faces broke into huge grins, they waved and called us down on the field with them which we gladly went. 

December 2009 010 Oh, my heart flooded with joy at being here, serving these children who don't have family members to cheer them on in their accomplishments and dreams.  What a great privilege to be there for them, proud of them.  All the other kids had family members who were supportive.  Who do our kids have?  They have us and the Lord Jesus! 

When you wonder why I left my family and friends and comfortable life in America to come here  . . . when you wonder why I'm STILL here after almost seven years . . . think of those boys on that field, winning the first place trophy, having no one there who is proud of them  . . . and then having someone arrive in the knick of time to celebrate with them. 

It only takes a second to put yourself in their soccer cleats and realize what it must have meant for them. 

Long after I'm gone from Mozambique, when people ask me what some of the most special moments were, I'll tell them about this one. 

Once again, thanks to all my readers who help make it possible for me to be here!

Psalm 68:6:  God sets the lonely in families!