Saturday, February 23, 2019
In the image above, you will see the baby on the right is 5-week-old Nicholas Vilkati (son to our nurse Hannah). He weighs 12-pounds and is 21 inches long.
Beside him on the left is baby Lethu who arrived to us last week. She is 14-months-old and weighs 12-pounds, just like Nicholas. She is a few inches longer, but they are basically the same size.
Below is a photo with a third baby in it and her name is Rejoice. She came to us as a newborn and was born just three days before Lethu, so that photo shows the size that Lethu should be if she had proper nutrition from birth.
This is classic malnutrition, with stunting associated with it. According to the WHO, "Stunting is the impaired growth and development that children experience from poor nutrition, repeated infection, and inadequate psychosocial stimulation." We have a chronic problem in the Kingdom of eSwatini of children not having enough food or not enough nutritious food for proper development. When Lethu came to us last week she had not eaten in days. It’s hard for most people reading this blog to imagine that, but we are seeing it more and more.
We continue to provide hot meals to thousands of orphans and vulnerable children (OVC’s) through our 30 church partners each month. Our partnerships with Feed My Starving Children and the International Egg Commission/Foundation make this possible. But now we are also providing food to other small orphanages, halfway house and social welfare offices so that they have food to give people who come in begging for help.
I wish I could say that things are getting better here, but it seems that they are not. On Thursday we were in the southern part of the country and drove through river beads that were bone dry, despite the rains we have had lately.
Below is a chart with some staggering statistics that was presented to a group of stakeholders who are caring for the OVC’s of the nation.
Please join us in praying for this nation, for the children who are suffering and for the young mothers who have to do unfathomable things to provide for their children.
Live from eSwatini … come Lord Jesus, come.
Saturday, February 16, 2019
This week we received three babies – two newborns and a 14-month-old who is the size of a 4-month-old, weighing 12 pounds. One newborn was the result of rape/incest, one newborn came from a severely mentally disabled woman and one from a young lady who lives on the street and her baby was starving to death.
This week Rick Cogbill and our Canadian friends from the Mercy Tech Mission were busy training our mechanics, teaching our welders, a millwright is here training on our milling machine and steel lathe and another man is helping put a plan together to fix our roads.
This week Pete Wilkerson, a landscape architect from SCAPES LANDSCAPES in Georgia was here to locate and clear the locations of seven buildings that we will build in the next three years. He trudged through bush in the rain, directed hand slashing and taught some basic pruning and trimming techniques so that our property looks beautiful.
|The clearing at the bottom of the photo is where the next Oasis building will go (Emseni #2 Campus)|
This week we had a flock of 2.200 laying hens arrive, which will start laying eggs soon that will be hard-boiled and fed to orphans and vulnerable children throughout the country through our 30 church partners. We also had 3 calves birthed at the dairy.
This week our Pre-kindergarten class went on a field trip, our toddlers went on walks, and 2.5-year-old, Stephen, took his first few steps (something that we didn’t know would ever happen!).
Our Khutsala Artisans were busy making new product, including beautiful new cardinals and the ever-popular unicorns and Llama keychains, ornaments and 3D animals are underway (you can pre-order for a March delivery at www.khutsala.com). They are stunning!
This week we kicked off our adult learning sessions for our staff who cannot read or write. There are three different groups; one in the nearby community of Gebeni, one in the nearby community of Sigcineni and one here on PC - all taught by Swazi volunteers from Project Canaan who commit to 6 hours of teaching every week for a whole year! It is a government program that we are implementing here and it is called Sebenta.
|Ncobile is my favorite Sebenta teacher :)|
This week was a typical week – lots going on, lots of moving parts, lots of love needed and lots of love received in all of our departments by lots of people. We now have 222 children living at Project Canaan and they need a lot of love. February is Child Sponsorship month - will you help us show them love by sponsoring a child this month? You will be blessed beyond measure.
In the US: bit.ly/ProjectCanaanChildrenAngel
In Canada: bit.ly/ProjectCanaanChildrenAngelCA
Live from eSwatini … watching love conquer all.
Saturday, February 9, 2019
|Thuli says "Happy Valentine's Day!"|
There are only six more days until Valentine’s Day, and I would guess that many of you will be celebrating this weekend. We too are celebrating love, but in our own unique way. This week we are learning that “Jesus wants to be our friend forever”. Throughout the Emseni campus you can hear the question being asked, “Who loves me?” with a loud and definitive answer “Jesus loves me!!” The Kids Club for our younger Emseni children activities include making a beautiful Valentine’s Day card for each Auntie/Uncle and teacher (shhhhh… don’t tell them!!). The older children are studying 1 Peter 4:10-11 and learning that they should treat others the way they want to be treated. What a simple concept, and yet one that seems to be so hard for us adults.
Love can heal. Love can soothe. Love can calm. Love can bring forgiveness. And what about the opposite?
I once heard it said that the opposite of love is not hate, but rather it is indifference.
Perhaps it’s not always easy to love our family or our friends, but we do it anyway. I don’t think many people would claim to actually hate other people, but have we become indifferent to others outside of our own circle?
Each week thousands of people read my blog or comment on my social media posts, and I know that many people do care, but I often wonder how many people are simply indifferent. It’s not that you hate what we are doing, or don’t like what we are doing, perhaps you are just indifferent to it? Maybe you think that if you stay at arms-length, you can remain neutral or even safe?
Today I would like to tell you about another brother and sister duo who need sponsorship. Their names are Samuel and Samantha and they are biological siblings. I can’t share much of their early months of life publicly, but I can tell you that their Samuel’s father was an illegal immigrant to eSwatini and we do not have any knowledge of Samantha’s father. Their mother did not live in a homestead, nor did she have a place to lay her head at night, therefore each child was in danger from the time of their birth until they were placed with us through the Police and Social Welfare.
We currently have 9 sets of biological siblings (not including 11 sets of twins). If those children arrive at the same time, they are often very bonded because they were often left alone together. In the case of “Sam” and “Sama” (as they are called here) they arrived two years apart and don’t know each other at all. Either way, we are very intentional to make sure that all biological siblings spend time together every week, see each other at church and always celebrate each other’s birthdays.
Sama turned 4-years-old last week and you can see the sweetest photo of the two of them below. Each child gets to choose a “friend” to walk out to their “growth stick” to get their annual measurement taken. Sama chose her big brother Sam – what a beautiful and meaningful moment that was for us all.
Will you engage with us today and sponsor one of these children, or choose another one on our website? Would you consider sponsoring a child on behalf of a loved one this Valentine’s day and give the gift of love and life at the same time.
Live from eSwatini … love one another.
Saturday, February 2, 2019
I realize that my last three blogs have been very heavy, filled with children dying, children infected with HIV and Tuberculosis and just generally bad news, so I thought I would send a lighter message today. (Thanks for sticking with me through the hard ones).
Yesterday we received a sweet little boy who was only 3-days-old. We are calling him Nathi (pronounced “Nah-tee”). He comes from a very sad family situation that I cannot share publicly, but suffice it to say that his Grandmother cared enough to intervene and begged Social Welfare for help, and they in turn came to us. We pray that his body will be healed and his life will be changed forever by coming to the El Roi Baby home.
In fact, that is what we pray for all our children when they first arrive, and we have seen sadness turn to joy, brokenness turn to healing and fear turn to peace, all through the power of love.
Today I want to share a “before and after” photo of two children who came to us broken, but are now whole and both children need to be sponsored on a monthly basis.
Meet Jabez and Christine. Both came in broken, hurting and needing acute medical attention and lots of love. You can see the pure joy that comes from the depth of their souls in the “after” photo.
|Jabez January 2019|
|Jabez April 2016|
|Christine January 2019|
|Christine May 2015|
February is Valentine’s Day month and a month filled with heart-shaped everything. It is a month that we are reminded to love one another and celebrate love. This morning I had five children come up to me and excitedly remind me that February was also their birthday month, and how many more sleeps until it was their birthday (yes, even Joshua, Michael, Matthew and Malachi who celebrate on February 28th!). They are oblivious to the money that will be spent on flowers, chocolates, special meals and other lovely gifts this month to celebrate love. What these children do know is that they are loved each and every day and that they will get a birthday cake on their special day.
Love, medical care and birthday cake all costs money and that is why we specifically focus on Child Sponsorship during the month of February. We have many children who need sponsorship. Will you consider giving $10 per month? $30 per month? $100 per month? Or any amount that you can to help us continue to welcome children to our home on Project Canaan. Perhaps you can choose a child who shares the same name as a loved one and sponsor them in honor of that person? Or sponsor a child as part of your Valentine's gift to a loved one this year?
In the US: bit.ly/ProjectCanaanChildrenAngel
In Canada: bit.ly/ProjectCanaanChildrenAngelCA
I can't thank you enough for YOUR love and support.
Live from eSwatini … praying for child sponsors from all over the world.
PS - I have heard that some subscribers are no longer getting this blog by email. I had changed the title to "Live from eSwatini" instead of "Live from Swaziland", and it seems to have caused problems. I have changed it back but if you are still not getting it by email, you may need to unsubscribe and subscribe again. Sorry for the inconvenience.