On May 31st, 2012 the Maxwell family boarded a plane and moved to Swaziland to live at Project Canaan. I hope to update my blog on Saturday mornings and share, as honestly as I can, the highs and lows of our life in Africa. We are living on a farm in a remote part of this tiny Kingdom and are serving the community as well as the orphans and vulnerable children of the nation. The 365 day count down started on June 1st, 2011, but the real journey begins now. Thanks for joining us.
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Thursday, March 29, 2012
Important announcement: Babies have arrived at the El Roi Baby Home on Project Canaan!
It was Easter morning in 2003 that I first witnessed the rescue of a child who lived on the streets of Lusaka, Zambia. It was an earth-shattering, life-changing event that changed the entire trajectory of my life. I saw hope in the face of six year old boy named Kantwa, as he said goodbye to the filth, the terror and the hopelessness of life as a “street kid”. It may have been in that moment that I first truly understood the power of the resurrected Jesus, and it was Easter morning.
It is now the week before Easter 2012 and I am overwhelmed as I reflect on all at all that has happened in the past nine years. I have experienced intense pain at the death of children I love in Africa and I have cried a thousand tears and wondered if they would ever end. But I have also see miracles with my own eyes, seen buildings built, funding appear from the most unexpected places and felt the hand of God on my life in a palpable way.
3 day old baby boy
But today I am writing to tell you of a new story of hope and it comes with the news that the El Roi Baby Home on Project Canaan, in the tiny Kingdom of Swaziland, is now open. El Roi is the Hebrew name for “The God Who Sees” (read Genesis 16:13) and we know that He sees the babies who are being directed to us just as He sees you and me.
In late February 2012 we opened our doors and wondered when, how and even IF any babies would be brought to the El Roi Baby home. Swaziland has the highest HIV/AIDS infection rate in the world and this murderous and relentless pandemic has a left a wake of orphans and vulnerable children. It has also left women (often young girls) with a feeling of utter hopelessness that results in them “dumping” or abandoning their new born babies because they have to possible way to care for them.
On March 1st, 2012 our first newborn baby arrived. Please allow me to introduce you to the newest members of our family and of the El Roi Baby Home.
Baby #1: Joshuawas a three-day-old baby boy was brought to us because his mother couldn’t care for him and had planned to “dump” him as soon as he was born. The child’s father had been murdered months prior to the baby’s birth and a caring Social Worker convinced the mother to bring the child to life safely and she would help find him a home. El Roi is his new home.
14 day old baby girl
Baby #2: – Esther was a 14-day old baby girl who arrived a couple of days after Joshua. Esther’s mother was young and planned to commit suicide in her eighth month of pregnancy. Again, a caring (and life-saving) Social Worker convinced her to save her own life and the life of the baby. The baby was abandoned at the door of a man who delivered the child to a local hospital. The mother is HIV positive and Esther was treated as soon as she was born. We will know in a few weeks whether she is HIV positive as well, and what her future care needs will be. El Roi is now the home for this little girl.
8 months old baby boy weighing 12.3 pounds
Baby #3: Caleb is a baby boy and is 8 months old and only weighs 12.3 pounds. Fortune was delivered to a local hospital in a cardboard box, by his father who is in the final stages of HIV/AIDS. His mother had already succumbed to the disease and the father was no longer able to care for him. Fortune is HIV positive and is being treated with ARV’s. He has active Tuberculosis and is covered in terrible sores and lesions. If that wasn’t enough for this little guy, he is severely malnourished and is struggling to survive. El Roi is now his home.
8 week old baby boy
Baby #4: Levi arrived TODAY (March 29, 2012) and is 8 weeks old. His mother was raped in South Africa and as a result is HIV positive and while she does not want to have anything to do with the child, the Social Worker encouraged the mother to care for the baby for a time to see if she would change her mind. Today she brought the baby to the hospital and left him there. El Roi is now his home.
Baby #5: Anna is a baby girl, is a month old and has been living in a government hospital since she was found in a pit latrine (outhouse/toilet) just after she was born. She has been struggling with a chest infection since then and getting treatment in the hospital. While she has not arrived at El Roi yet, we are praying that she will be released to our care in the hours/days ahead and El Roi will be her home.
As you can see we have much to be thankful for and much to pray for. The emotional and physical cost to care for these babies is high. Please join us in praying for Helen Mulli and the others who have been hired to provide 24 hour care at the El Roi Baby home. As some of you may know, Helen was rescued by Mr. Charles Mulli at the tender age of eight-years old and was raised by Mr. & Mrs. Mulli at the Mulli Children’s Family Home in Kenya. She has grown to be a wonderful woman of God, married Peter Mulli (Charles’ youngest brother, and Kaleli’s Uncle) and is now living at the El Roi Baby Home to care for “the abandoned and ignored” babies who are brought to us.
As you would expect there is also a high financial cost to care for these babies so that they get proper and immediate health care, the right nutrition for their situation and all the love that can be poured on them. Currently we only have 6 people helping on a monthly basis and are asking if you would consider becoming a Heart for Africa HERO by committing to a monthly donation to support the El Roi Baby Home. It is as simple as clicking hereand signing up today.
This has been a long read, but I hope that you are inspired by it and will join me in prayer and thanksgiving to the Lord who is the giver of life, and to El Roi, the one who SEES us all. Thank you also to Annie Duguid, from the Watoto Baby Home in Uganda, who came to Swaziland to help prepare the El Roi team to be ready to receive babies (including hiring and training women who will love and care for these children). We are thankful for the leadership team at Watoto who invested in the El Roi Baby Home by giving Annie six weeks of paid leave to come and serve with us. Thank you to our Staff at Heart for Africa and on Project Canaan and to our Board of Directors in the US and Canada who have stood by us through the highs and lows as we have prepared the way for the little ones to arrive.