Lincoln and Jenny - Missionary Associates to South Africa

Tuesday, June 27, 2006


Today one of our children was adopted. Her new big brother and sister wanted to hold her. Every child that is adopted from the shelter has a scrapbook made for them. Jenny was working on this childs book last week and Madison wanted to add a page. She made a paper with a picture of the baby glued onto it. Madison wrote on it "I love you. From Madison." It was really cute. I wish that I had taken a picture of it. Posted by Picasa

Monday, June 26, 2006

Suzies Adoption

Today I (Lincoln) had the privilege of being part of the adoption of Suzie (not her real name for privacy reasons). She is such a sweetheart, it is bittersweet to see her go. Mostly sweet, though, because she has gone to a wonderful family. This is their third adopted baby from South Africa. They seem like great parents who will provide a good home for Suzie. Suzie has always been one of my favorites (I know I say that about them all) because she is usually smiling. She has just reached the point where she can walk really good and she really moves quickly investigating everything. She is a very happy baby. She went to her new family with no problems at all, eager to play with her new brother and sister. The bottom picture is Nomhle, (pronounced Nome-clay) the managing director of the shelter. She is with Suzie in the room where the family meets the baby for the first time. It was really special to be part of this amazing experience. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Seal and Dr. Seuss

June 24, 2006
This is Lincoln. Dr. Neal was here today checking out the kids in the shelter. One of the care givers told him that she saw him on t.v. Apparently the music artist Seal visited him at the hospice as part of a t.v. show that was shown in South Africa and will be shown in Great Britain on BBC. He told me how Seal was very moved by his visit with the patients in the hospice. When Jenny and I were there we met a patient named Tebogo who used to not be able to walk because of TB. With the treatment that he has received at the hospice he now is able to walk again. Dr. Neil introduced Seal to Tebogo, and when Tebogo got up to walk in his unstable and jerky manner, Seal began to cry. Dr. Neil told me that Seal wants to visit South Africa again and Dr. Neil told him that he wants to bring him to the shelter. That would be some good publicity for us.
Tonight I took Madison and Kyler over to the shelter at bedtime to read a bedtime story to the kids and pray with them. They don’t usually get bed time books, because the caregivers have their hands full just getting all of the kids to bed. It was a really special time. We read Green Eggs and Ham. All of the kids loved it and Madison said the bed time prayer for the kids. She’s getting so big, I’m proud of her. Words can’t express how fulfilling our work is here. Having the privilege of working here and helping show these kids God’s love brings so much satisfaction. We are so thankful for everyone back in the States that has come together to help support us. Thank you to everyone that has made this possible.

Thursday, June 22, 2006


This is Lincoln. If you have Itunes on your computer I want to encourage you to download a free NBC news special where Brian Williams interviews Bono from U2 about his activism in Africa. In the interview they travel throughout Tanzania and Mali taking about the problems of HIV, Tuberculosis, and poverty throughout Africa. I thought that it was an interesting interview, and hey, it’s free. I also found it interesting that they showed a quick clip of Rick Warren, author of the Purpose Driven Life, praising Bono for his work in Africa. For those of you that don’t know, Bono is the front man for, an organization that has raised millions to end extreme poverty and disease in Africa. He’s one of my personal heroes and favorite musicians. Go the Itunes music store click on t.v. shows, nbc news, nbc news specials and then on #7 Bono in Africa with Brian Williams. I don’t know how long it will be a free download, so if you’re interested you better check it out soon.


June 22, 2006
This is Lincoln. I’ve been reading a book by Thomas Merton called No Man is an Island. My good friend from Denver, Gareth, has been reading it with me stateside and we email comments about it. There was a recent quote that I thought was worthy of comment on the blog.

“In order to be what we are meant to be, we must know Christ, and love Him, and do what He did. Our destiny is in our own hands since God has placed it there, and given us His grace to do the impossible. It remains for us to take up courageously and without hesitation the work he has given us, which is the task of living our own life as Christ would live it in us.”

I love this because it is so packed full of solid thinking on how to live. I can’t add much commentary that would bring anything extra. In Merton’s typical style, his few words hold enormous meaning. I just want to point out that what this means to me is that God has called me to live as Christ would live without hesitation. God doesn’t force me to do this. He leaves me with the responsibility (and privilege) and he equally leaves me the grace to accomplish the task. (And the grace for when I fail as well.) To know Christ, love him, and live like him is to fulfill my destiny and purpose in life. (As a side note I’d like to point out that this has nothing to do with occupation. I could fulfill this destiny as an electrician, missionary, ditch digger, or janitor.)
God is good.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006


This is Lincoln. Today I went with one of the local youth pastors, Noel, on his weekly trip to some of the outlying villages. Today we visited Kanona. Every wednesday he rotates between Kanona and Freedom Park. He always brings a truck load of food to the local clinic there run by the Catholics. We always leave some food at the clinic to be distributed by the workers and then we take some of it and go with some of the caregivers to their patients houses to visit them, deliver the food, and pray with them. This particular clinic that we were at today only deals with HIV patients. We loaded 7 of us into a tiny pickup (the size of a "brat") and went out into the village to visit the people like we did in Freedom Park a few weeks ago. The first lady was a "magogo" (granny) lying on the dirt living room floor of her daughters rusted tin shack. She had some sort of infection on her ankle that caused her extreme pain and kept her from moving at all. We encouraged her to get into town to see a doctor because the infection is only going to get worse and is going to continue moving through her leg and body. We prayed with her and left her a sack of food. She only spoke Tswana and was calling Noel "boss." This is a term left over from the apartheid days when the blacks would call the whites "boss." I've been called that several times and it always makes me uncomfortable because of the racial tension that is behind it. I want to say "Not boss, call me friend." I'm still learning how to negotiate the racial tension. There is more emotion behind it than I can glean from a history book, so I'm trying to figure it all out. We visited another "magogo" who was also in very bad condition. I've noticed a trend that many times the patient does not really understand their illness. We asked her what the doctor told her and she said the dr. didn't say anything. We ask "You've been to the dr. and he doesn't say anything, what does he say?" She replies, "He just gave me this medication and didn't say anything." So, sadly, even the ones that receive some medical attention aren't receiving very good attention. I don't think that this is necessarily a problem with the doctors skill, but rather a problem of translating complex multiple medical issues into another language and culture. It was a good experience today visiting these people. I had a good time with Noel, we have a lot in common. He's about my age with kids about the same age as ours. He used to work in nature conservation in the game reserves and was telling me some interesting stories about tracking animals in the bush. I look forward to spending more time in ministry with him.

New Bathing Area

Today and yesterday we moved the cabinets, sinks, and counter top from the old shelter bathing room to the new infant room. We were able to re-use the cabinets and sinks, but had to get a new counter top to match the new room. (Actualy we just had a counter top donated from a bank, so it was good timing.) We had to partially rebuild the cabinets because some of it was water damaged and rotten. I had a lot of fun working with Johannes as we figured out how to build cabinets and install the plumbing for the sinks. I like working with him. He is such a hard worker and he is good at figuring things out that are new to him. By looking at the bathing area you'd never know that it was built by an electrician and a groundskeeper. Chock another project up to the "new experiences" list. Posted by Picasa

The toothfairy is 4 teeth richer

This week Madison lost her two front teeth. They've been loose since we left the States, but she refused to pull them. Finally, they fell out on their own. I was really glad. She was starting to look like a back woods hill-billy with her two front teeth dangling and blowing with the the wind. This picture show that Dineo has also recently lost her teeth. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, June 18, 2006


About a month ago the kids went to a birthday party for Adino, the son of our children's pastor. It was a pirate theme. The kids had to follow a pirates treasure map to find a hidden treasure. Lucky for them the treasure was a chest filled with exactly two chocolates per child. They had a lot of fun. For some reason Madison and Kyler didn't want to wear the costumes that we bought them to the party, but they like to play with them at home. The bottom picture is a top view of the kids discovering and opening the treasure chest.
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Saturday, June 17, 2006

New Baby Room

This is Lincoln. These are some pics of the new infant room. This used to be David and Janis' living room, but we closed it off from the rest of the house. We still need to install lights and a kitchen. We'll do that next week. The bottom picture is Kamogelo (pronounced Camo-halo.) He is such a cutie, he's one of my favorite babies.

Posted by PicasaThis is Kamogelo.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

"to make peace"

June 14, 2006
This is Lincoln. I’m warning you that this is a graphic post that may be hard to read. Last week when we were in Mpumalanga, I received a phone call from Janis. We had just received a new baby. He had been found on a trash pile in Freedom Park and brought to us in a cardboard box. He had blister marks around his neck where someone had attempted to strangle him at birth. Dr. Neil told Janis that this baby has an amazing will to live. His name means “to make peace with someone.” I couldn’t wait to get back from our trip to meet this new member of our Lighthouse family.
Last night the police brought 4 siblings to the shelter. I’m not sure how much I can say for legal reasons, but they are very badly beaten. They have bruises on their faces and open wounds on their backs from being beaten with a cattle whip. It breaks my heart to think that someone could do that to a child. Please pray for their physical, spiritual, and emotional healing.
The shelter is now in desperate need of expansion. We are hiring more staff to care for the additional babies. We are moving the babies to the new room in David and Janis’ house even though the construction is not done. It’s going to take some time before we have the finances and resources to complete the construction of the room and building of the new bunk beds for the older kids. I’m excited to get to work on those projects, but for now I’m caring for Jenny and the kids as they are all sick. It will all come in time. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Helping Out

This top picture shows the kids from the village helping us carry the tin sheets for the roof. They have no connection to the pastor or this church, they just wanted to help.

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Putting up the Church Structure

The first picture shows some of the boys that came out to watch us work.

The second picture shows me on the truss of the new steel structure in front of the tent that they have been using for a three week crusade. That's right. They have church every night for three weeks in a tent.

The third picture is me again on the steel. I was having a blast climbing around on the steel. I think I want to be an iron worker now.

The fourth picture is me with Pastor Petros.

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Back from Mpumulanga

This is Lincoln. We just got back from our trip to Mpumulanga. It is a beautiful province about 5 hours directly east of us. It actually kind of reminded me of home because they have a lot of hills, mountains, trees, and forests. The mountains aren’t nearly as big as the rockies, but they are still pretty. We had gone out to build a church structure on Tuesday, but we needed about 12 men to help and the person in charge of getting help from the local church wasn’t able to get any help, so we weren’t able to put that structure up. We will have to do it another time. So we had the week to spend sight seeing around the Province. It was kind of nice except that Jenny was really sick with morning sickness the whole time. We did get to go to Kruger Park, but apparently all the animals were hiding from us. We saw a ton of Impala, 1 monkey, 2 turtles, some water buck, 2 herds of zebra, and 2 giraffe. We still haven’t seen elephant, or lions in the wild yet. I’m really wanting to see elephant. Maybe next time. On Saturday I helped put up a church structure. There was a team from Oklahoma City that was here to build churches, so I just helped them. It was a lot of fun. We put up a steel frame building with a tin roof in one day. The local church will finish the rest of the construction, by finishing the walls with brick. The church we built is to help a new church plant in a village that doesn’t have any churches. The pastor is a 27 year old man fresh out of bible college. His name is Petros. He’s a great guy. I spent much of my week around him and he really has a heart for the people of his village. All the kids from the village came out to watch us build and they helped whenever they could. Having a group of white people in a village like that draws a lot of attention. I had to drive through the village quite a bit during the week and everywhere I went people just stared because white people never go into their village.

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Sunday, June 04, 2006


This is a completely unrelated picture. It is our nephew, Avery. He has such a bright smile I thought it would brighten somebody's day (Gee-Gee.)

This week we will be going to the province of Mpumulanga. We will be working with another missionary there who builds churches for small churches in the villages. I'm really looking forward to it. We'll post pictures when we get back. It is about a 5 hour drive, so pray for safety and for Jenny to not be sick the whole trip. If Jenny is feeling o.k. we'll visit Kruger Park which is a game park the size of Rhode Island.

Expanding the Shelter

Last week we made the first step to start expanding the shelter. It's not exactly ideal, but it will work for now. David and Janis are giving up their living room to make room for more babies. We will be moving all of the infants to this room, and the existing shelter will be used for the walking toddlers and bigger kids up to 6 years old. In this picture you can see that Lucas, one our workers, is building a brick wall to separate the Betzer's dining room from their living room. The living room will become the shelter, and the dining room will become their living room. I'm really excited to start work on this project that will allow us to accept up to 10 new children. Posted by Picasa

African American Smith

Somewhere around January 22nd, the first African American will be born to the Smith clan. Yep, Jenny is pregnant. Actually, our child won't have South African citizenship. We've been told that one parent has to be a South African citizen in order for the child to have citizenship, even if it is born here. We are very excited. Please pray for Jenny's morning sickness. (Actually it is "all day" sickness) This is a picture of Jenny explaining the pregnancy test to the kids. They are excited to be a big brother and sister. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Two Gifts

By Jenny
I just want you to know that the following stories will be very hard to read. I will leave out a lot of the details, but even without them, these 2 stories are heartbreaking.
Last week on Wednesday we received a call from one of the Sisters that works at Freedom Park. I am not completely sure of all the details, but what we have pieced together is that there was an HIV positive mom there who was moving away to die and wanted someone to take her 3 year old son named Zihle (pronounced Zeeklay). The boy’s father had continually raped the mother and the son, and the mother did not want the little boy to end up with his father. Derek went out to Freedom Park and picked him up. We only know his name and birthday, we have no other information about him. When he arrived he looked very healthy and well cared for, but his little eyes were so sad. I can’t even imagine what horrible things he has been through in his short life. He allowed me to hold and comfort him. I rocked him for a while, and when I stopped, he pushed back against me to keep me rocking. Zihle only speaks Zulu, he doesn’t understand English. I talked to him and prayed for him, asking God to translate my words of love and comfort to him. He has adjusted to living here very well. In a few short days, he has warmed up and laughs and smiles a lot. He smiles at me every time I see him now. He is such a sweet little boy.
On Friday I got a call from Numhle, one of the ladies who work in the office. She told me a new little boy had just arrived and she asked me if I could come over to the shelter and take pictures of him. I went into the shelter and saw a frightened little boy, who is maybe 18 months old, wearing only a tank top and shorts (it is pretty cold here now) shivering alone in a chair, completely silent. It was supper time for the kids in the shelter, and no one had time right then to care for the new baby. I tried to talk to him but he would not make eye contact with me, or even acknowledge my presence. He sat with his fists clenched and his arms held closely to him, almost in a protective stance. His clothes and body were filthy and he smelled like smoke from a fire. When I picked him up to try to comfort him I felt he was burning up with fever. I also noticed that he was not wearing a diaper, but was completely dry. (We later found out that he was not able to urinate, and the doctor had to give him a catheter.) We don’t know a lot about this baby either. A lady had found him with his step mother, and got a social worker to take him away from the woman and bring him to us. We don’t know his name, birth date, or anything else about him. I rocked him for a while until the head caregiver was ready to give him a bath and check him in. She tried to stand him on a scale, but he would not straighten out his legs and stand up. Later I noticed that the bottoms of his feet were dirty, so he must be walking, since then I have seen him stand and walk. As she was weighing him, I started to notice all of the wounds covering his little body (while I was rocking him, I was holding him close trying to keep him warm, so I didn’t notice the injuries earlier.) He had many open wounds the size of nickels, as well as other scars in varying stages of healing. I asked Esther, the head caregiver, if some one had done that to him, and she just nodded her head. I had to photograph each wound, and was dismayed at all of the horrible things she pointed out to me. He had a huge lump on one of his arms, scars on his neck, back, chest, forehead and knee. His feet were very swollen. I just kept praying and telling him over and over that he is safe now, and we love him and will protect him. Esther gave him a bath, and I wondered if he had ever had a proper bath in his life. He did not flinch, or show any emotion when the soapy water came into contact with his open sores. He held his arms and legs in the fetal position with clenched fists, he would not relax even a little. After he was bathed and dressed, he was served dinner, which he ate well. Esther named him “Gift”. Looking back, I don’t understand how I was able to be in the room, calmly documenting all of the abuse that this baby has been through, without falling apart emotionally. I know that all of your prayers for us daily sustain us, and help us get through all that we have to face. I can’t even fathom how someone could do all of this to a baby, but I am so thankful that he was found and brought here to us. I know that God has a plan for this little guy’s life, and I am grateful that he has allowed us to be a part of it.
Please pray for both of these little boys, Zihle and Gift, that they will heal physically and emotionally, and that they will be eligible for adoption into loving families. Posted by Picasa