Lincoln and Jenny - Missionary Associates to South Africa

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Here I am at 8 months pregnant. I went to the doctor last week and he said that everything still looks really good with the baby. He said that she will probably be around 8 pounds when she is born. (Madison was 6 pounds 13 ounces and Kyler was 8 pounds 10 ounces.) The doctor also said that she has a lot of hair on her head. I was born with curly black hair (I'm not sure where it came from?!?), so it will be interesting to see if the baby has the same. Madison and Kyler were both born with blond hair. We have slowly been getting everything ready for the baby. Baby things here are so much more expensive than in the US, some things as much as 3 times more expensive! So, we have begged, borrowed and stolen as much as we can (ok, we haven't really stolen anything). But, we have almost everything we will need for her arrival. We are getting so excited!

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Thursday, December 21, 2006

Joy, Tears, and Frustration

This is Lincoln writing.
The last week has been an emotional roller coaster for us here at the shelter. Christmas time brings a rush of people wanting to help the shelter and bring donations of food and toys for the kids. A few days ago we had our third Christmas party. A lady in the community rented a slippy slide and jumping castle and provided a wonderful party for the kids in the shelter. Everyone had so much fun playing in the water on the 95 degree day.
The day before though was a day of frustration and tears. We received word that the courts had decided to release some siblings that we have had at the shelter back to their parents. When they came to us about 5 months ago they had wounds all over their body where their parents had beat them. When they first arrived they were so timid and fearful. Over the last several months it has been such a joy to watch those walls come down and see them fit into the shelter family. They became such a joy to all of us here at the shelter. The oldest sibling has such a bright enthusiastic smile, always willing to help and participate. For our first Christmas party the two oldest siblings participated in a human video where the main line of the song is "He knows my name, I am not forgotten." It was so moving to watch them act out the words of the song that talks about how special they are to God, how he has chosen them and named them before they were born. The second picture above shows two of the girls in the human video. Releasing them to their parents was painful for us. We have no choice, we have to obey the courts orders. It is so frustrating to deal with the courts and social workers that will return children to abusive situations. My only prayer is that God has somehow changed the hearts of those parents. God can do miracles. He can change hearts.
Yesterday a family in the community took all of the older kids to their private game farm where the kids got to see animals, swim, have a christmas party and have dinner. I didn't get to go, but I heard that it was a very special time for our kids. While she was there, Nomhle, our managing director, got a call from the same social worker that just sent the siblings back. She told us that she was coming to the shelter today to pick up one of our children to take her back to live with her Granny in Freedom Park for the holidays. Again, this is a situation where she was previously abused and neglected. The social worker wants this girl to return to Freedom Park permanently. In previous posts I've written about the conditions in Freedom Park. No child should have to live there, much less live there in a known abusive setting. Our hands are tied. Please pray with us that she is not returned permanently. Throughout this situation I've been thinking of the worship song that says:

"When the darkness closes in, still I will say 'blessed be the name of the Lord',
He gives and takes away, He gives and takes away,
blessed be the name of the Lord."

I can only trust God that he'll protect those children outside of our care.
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Monday, December 18, 2006

Merry Christmas?

Today we took Madison and Kyler to the mall to see Santa. Then we had ice cream for lunch. (Why not, it's Christmas.) We also went to the baby store and bought a present for Gracey.

There's just something not right about traveling in 100 degree heat to see Santa Clause. All my senses are refusing to admit that it is Christmas. It just doesn't feel like it. Posted by Picasa

Mega Force

Today we had a motorcycle club called "MEGAFORCE" come by to bring Christmas presents for the kids in the shelter. (You gotta love their name.) They had a Santa Clause give all the kids a sack of toys, some sweets, chips, and juice. The kids had a lot of fun opening up all of their new toys. It was a little bit chaotic trying to keep it straight who's toys belonged to who, but we got it all sorted out. We are having to ration out the toys so that their room isn't trashed.
It was great seeing big burly bikers with a tender heart.

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Baby Gracey

Here's a cute picture of baby Gracey. She is such a sweetheart, she is realy winning the heart of our family. Dr. Neil says that he thinks that she is about 3-4 months old, but was probably very tiny when born. The kids are getting good practice taking care of a baby.
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The Garden Grows

A few months ago, Taylor and Maury, firefighters from Colorado, worked at the shelter for a week. Part of their work was preparing the ground and planting a vegetable garden. Well, they will be happy to know that their garden is growing. The corn is doing great. Everything else is coming along slowly but surely. We have carrots, spinache, tomatoes, pumpkin, squash, onions, and beetroot all starting to grow. Thanks Maury and Taylor. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, December 10, 2006

New Baby

Today we received another new baby. We are not clear on all of the details of her story, but from what we were able to gather is that her father abandoned her after the police began to investigate for neglect. No one seems to know anything about the mother. We think she is about 3-4 months old. The father gave no information about her, so we didn't know her name. Lincoln checked the baby in and Madison and Kyler were with him in the office. When we don't know a child's name, we get to pick a name for her. Madison has wanted to name a baby for quite a while, and today she got the chance. She chose the name "Grace". She has suggested several names for our new baby, but has never mentioned the name Grace, so she picked the name especially for this sweet baby girl. I'm not sure if Madison even knows what Grace means. We don't know where she has heard it. We will have to use this as an opportunity to teach her and Kyler about God's grace. This is a perfect illustration of His love and grace. It's an honor to be able to name a baby. I think that our family will have a special relationship with Grace. Anna got to name the last little boy that came in. She named him Joshua, declaring that he will be a mighty man of God. She definitely has a special relationship with Joshua. Joshua is a teeny tiny fragile little thing. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, December 07, 2006

More pics of Christmas Party

Here's some more pictures from our Lighthouse Shelter Christmas Party.

Sorry the pictures and words aren't always synchronized well in our blog, Blogger isn't the most user friendly program. (Either that, or I'm just a computer idiot.)

The top picture shows Anna, one of our volunteers from Florida who is working here for 3 months, and Nomhle, our shelter managing director, going down the wet slippy slide. Yes, they are fully clothed. No, I'm not sure why they are fully clothed. It's a shame they can't just let loose and have a little fun once in awhile.

The bottom picture shows Kyler with his best friend Malachi and Malachi's little brother, Matthew. Posted by Picasa

Lighthouse Christmas Party

The shelter recently held a Christmas party for all the children, staff, volunteers, and families of staff. Everyone enjoyed it.
The top picture shows Sipho, one of our groundskeepers, playing Santa Clause. He was a very jolly Santa.

The bottom picture shows Madison with a unicorn painted on her face. Vanessa did face painting for all the children. Posted by Picasa

Lighthouse Christmas Party 2

This top picture is of Pastor Adrian, our children's pastor, doing "magic" tricks for the christmas party. This is a character he does called "professor vuunderbar" (I spelled it phoenetically). Professor Vuunderbar is a german scientist that uses magic tricks and experiments to teach a lesson, in this case it was the real meaning of Christmas. The kids love him almost as much as the adults. He is very funny.

The middle picture shows the pool at the shelter that the kids swam in for the day.

The bottom picture is the slippy slide that one of our donors paid for to rent for the party. The kids loved it. It was a lot of fun, even though is was a little fast for the little kids. Posted by Picasa

Grandma and Papa

Here's some more pics of Papa Jabo and Grandma Sandy (Lincoln's parents). Well, not the bottom picture, that was an elephant that was about 10 feet from our car on safari. The engine was off and he was walking right towards us. I think that Jenny almost went into labor.
This is Jenny typing now. I have to elaborate on what Lincoln wrote. The elephant wasn't just casually walking toward us, he was angry and looked as if he would charge our car at any minute. He was being very aggressive and it was more than a little scary! This is Lincoln writing now. How do you know when an elephant is angry. Does he frown? It looks to me like this elephant has a smirk on his face. Maybe one of his elephant friends told him a funny joke and he was coming over to share it with us.
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Grandma and Papa Visit

This is Lincoln writing. The last two weeks, my parents were here for a visit. It was really good to see them again and for them to spend time with the kids. We did a lot of fun stuff with them. We took them on a safari and saw all of the coolest animals, which is unusual to see them all in one day. We saw giraffes, rhinos, wildebeest, impala, zebra, lots of different deer variations, ostriche, and for our first time, we saw lions in the wild. It was an excellent day. We did a lot of other fun stuff, but most importantly they spent a lot of time playing with Madison and Kyler.
They also got to go with Derek and Rebecca to feed the orphans in Phokeng, and with me to Freedom Park to pray with people and bring food and water. My dad also spent part of a day with Dr. Neil in Freedom Park. I think that it was a really good experience for them to see what we do. No matter how many pictures you see of poverty, and no matter how many stories you hear, you can't comprehend it until you stand in one of those tiny little shacks on a 100 degree day, see the flies buzzing everywhere, smell the mix of body fluids, sweat, parafin, trash and smoke. Then you can understand the effects of poverty on disease on real people. I'm glad that they had an opportunity to be here and share our lives with us for a short time.

I like the second picture here, because Kyler is holding the mirror so that my mom can do her hair. As we've said before there are no outlets in our bathroom so you have to do your hair in the bedroom. Kyler is being Grandma's little helper. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

4D Sonar Scan

Last week I went for my 4D scan. In the US you usually have to pay quite a bit to get one of these done, but here, everyone who delivers in a hospital gets one for free. I actually got to go 2 times. The first time the baby was head up, and the technician told us that it is almost impossible to see the baby's face when she is head up. So, we got a picture of her right foot, her right arm (I think, I can't tell for sure), and her left hand (top picture). Her foot is in the middle of the picture, her right arm is in the left going up diagonally, and her left hand is in the top left corner. The second time I went she was head down, but kept her arms in front of her face the entire time. We were able to see a profile very briefly. We didn't get a picture of the profile, but the scan was recorded onto a DVD. We were able to pause the DVD and take a picture of the TV screen. It is kind of blurry and hard to see. But, you can see her profile on the left side of the screen, with her right arm over the front of her face. Her lips are puckered up, and I'm pretty sure she has my nose. We are getting so excited to see her! Posted by Picasa