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Saturday, October 6, 2018

200 babies lives saved

On March 1, 2012 we received our first baby – Joshua.  The El Roi baby home was built and ready for babies in January 2012, and we wondered if a baby would ever come.  Since that day, we have received a baby every 12 days on average. Our family moved to Swaziland in May, 2012 to be with the children.

Yesterday we received a call about a baby girl who had been left with a stranger by her mother three months ago (!) and the stranger finally went to the police. Social welfare was called, an investigation ensued and the child was placed with us.  We have named her PRAISE, a treasured name that we had been saving for baby #200, hoping that she would be a girl, and she is!

The past few months have been a roller coaster of emotions for me personally as more babies arrive, more babies start to walk, more children lose teeth and more children can speak in two languages.  How will we fund them? What if we don’t get more donor support, how and when will we have to say “no” to a baby who has been dumped in a pit latrine, or left on the side of the road? 200 children is a lot of children, and our eldest (twins) are only 7-years-old. 

Ian and I think of each child as being a 22-year commitment to each child, because that would get them through any post-secondary education that they might seek. I will be 76-years old when PRAISE is 22-years-old.  I know that there are many great people who are alongside us in the calling, and there will be many more when we are gone, but that is Ian and my reality each and every day. Every time the phone rings with a baby in need, it’s 22 more years.  For our family members in Canada who say that we are retired … we are not.

I try to spend as much time as possible with the kids so that I know their unique personalities, likes, dislikes and what makes them laugh.  This past week I have been working on child sponsorship updates for our monthly donors and it was so fun to sit with the Sr. Supervisors and just talk about the children who have been sponsored.

Here are a few highlights so that you can know a bit more about a few of our children:

·      Shirley is a strong-willed child and is in a time of “testing” our staff.
·      Lucy is very smart and not only skipped Pre-kindergarten, she is at the top of her class in Kindergarten.
·      Timothy likes to paint within the lines, and is left handed.
·      Phephile wants to be Grace’s best friend and Anna is jealous of their friendship and is acting out because of it.
·      Most of our bigger boys want to be a Power Ranger or a Super hero when they grow up.
·      Nathan will cry if you make him do any form of physical exercise.
·      Margaret (2-years-old) is very caring for the other “little babies” and helps them up steps, helps feed them or helps them up if they fall.
·      Job, River and Hosea are the “3 Musketeers” at Emseni One.
·      Lenah, Angel and Deborah (who now prefers to be called "DD") are best friends and love to laugh and be silly girls.
·      Holly and Ivy are IDENTICAL twins, but Holly’s hair looks like Don King, so that is how you know which one she is.  We have nine sets of twins.
·      Jonathan is now speaking in English and siSwati, but his voice sounds like a high-pitched bird. A year ago we didn’t know if we would live.

There is no greater joy I have than to sit and watch these children learn, love and grow. Some days I take my laptop down to the baby home or the Oasis and that is my office for the day. I can’t do that at the toddler home – too many sticky hands and fingers!  The toddler home is for hugs and throwing the ball.

I can’t imagine what our lives would be like if we had not said “yes”, not having a clue what we were really saying yes to. Obedience precedes understanding, and I am so thankful that we were obedient because the blessing that has been given to us indescribable.

Please join Ian and me in sponsoring a child today. We have some awesome gifts from Khutsala to share with you for a limited time. See below.

Live from eSwatini … giving thanks for the support of others.


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