Lincoln and Jenny - Missionary Associates to South Africa

Friday, March 23, 2007

Cute Pics of Kendi

Here are some cute pics of Kendi Grace. She is such a joy. Because she is #3 we are more relaxed and confident. Because we are more relaxed I think that we are enjoying her more.

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Book of Hope Team

We have some friends who are missionaries with Book of Hope. They have interns that come through occassionally and help around the shelter for a few days. Right now they are helping us to finish the bunk beds and refinish our play ground. We have to tear it down and strip the paint and re-paint it. It is a monumental task, but slow and steady wins the race.
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Story Time

Today we had some people from the public library come and do story time for the kids. It is nice to have special things like this to help break up the routine of the kids' day. Posted by Picasa

Bunk Beds

As I said a few days ago, we had a guy from Georgia visiting the shelter who helped us make new bunk beds. Here is Mike and Johannes and I with some of the shelter kids in front of the beds that Mike built. They are awesome. They look beautiful. The Book of Hope team is working to help finish staining the beds. We appreciate all of the help that we get from volunteers at the shelter.
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Monday, March 19, 2007

Restoration Church

Here's some pictures from our church. The top picture is of the kids dancing during worship. It's always fun to watch them dancing and having fun during the fast worship songs. The bottom picture is (from left to right) Anna, from the shelter; Hope, David and Janis' daughter; and Madison. Posted by Picasa

Cute kid pics

Here's a couple of cute pictures of the kids on the jumpy castle at Madison's birthday party. Posted by Picasa

7 years old

I can't believe Madison is 7. That is the age that I really start remembering my childhood. I just can't believe that she is 7, she's getting so big. We actually didn't pose her for the bottom picture. She was just hanging out on the rock, probably pondering all of her new responsibilities that come with being 7. Posted by Picasa

Happy Birthday Madison

Saturday was Madison's birthday. We had a party here at the shelter. We rented a jumpy castle. (They are ridiculously cheap here in S.A.). All the kids played in the water and had a blast. Posted by Picasa

Birthday Braii

Last week we had a birthday braii (a South African barbecue) for everyone here that has a birthday in March. This included Jenny and Madison. Occasions like this remind us that all our friends here truly have become surrogate family. We are going to miss all of our friends here.

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New Bunk Beds

A few months ago we had some wood donated from a local lumber yard (Timbercity) so that we could build some new bunk beds. The wood has just been sitting around because I've been nervous to tackle the project on my own. I recently built Kyler a new bed and it looked like a cross eyed drunken sailor built it. So, I was not confident in my carpentry skills to build four new bunk beds for the shelter. So I was glad to have Mike, a visitor from Georgia helping around the shelter for the week. He has tackled the project with the help of Johannes and Daniel. They are doing a great job. The kids are going to love their new beds. Posted by Picasa

Hugo's New Family

Last year Jenny and I had the pleasure of taking Lesego to meet his "forever family." This top picture shows him with his new mommy at the adoption. The bottom two pictures show him in Sweden with his older brother and mom. They recently sent us these pictures. They have renamed him Hugo. It is really cool to see him happy with a loving family. We wish this could be the case for all of our children at the shelter. We are so grateful for families like this that give our children a good home.

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Thursday, March 15, 2007

Miracle Grow

You may remember that I shaved my head in January. Some of the men in our church shaved our heads and prayed for 21 days that God would heal a teen in our church. He had a rare disease that causes him to lose all of his body hair. The picture on the left is my friend Derek and his son, Mathew, and the teen that we were praying for, Godwin. On day 21 Godwin started to grow hair. The doctors can't believe it. They said that they've never seen anything like it. There is no logical explanation why he should be growing hair again. His hair is really fine, like a baby's hair. At first it started to come in blond, but it recently has turned black. It is certainly a miracle. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Farewell South Africa

Hello Friends and Family,

We recently finished our first year working at the Lighthouse Children’s Shelter in South Africa. It was a year full of new experiences; a lot of fun, laughter and joy. We also had a lot of tears, frustrations, and sadness. It has been a pleasure to be part of rescuing children from the depths of poverty, sickness, and dysfunctional families. We’ve had the joy of being part of many adoptions. We’ve seen many children come to us on the verge of death as sickness and malnutrition take their toll on their little bodies. With the help of our doctor and exceptional caregivers the children have become healthy, joyful children. We’ve had some amazing experiences that we wouldn’t trade for the world.

As you probably know, we’ve made a two year commitment to serve here at the Lighthouse Children’s Shelter. Due to situations completely beyond our control we need to return to the U.S. early. As missionary associates with Assemblies of God World Missions (AGWM), we are assigned to work alongside a full time missionary. In our case, we work with David and Janis Betzer, the founders of the Lighthouse Shelter. They have recently made the decision to resign as AGWM missionaries. They will continue to run the shelter independently of AGWM. Because they are no longer AGWM missionaries, the shelter is no longer an AGWM project. What this means for us is that we will not be able to finish out our two year commitment to the Lighthouse Shelter. We fully support and love the Betzers and are thankful for the time that we had with them as friends, surrogate family, mentors, and pastors. We are not leaving with any bad feelings and sincerely pray for God’s blessing on them and the Lighthouse Shelter.

While we are disappointed to leave the shelter before our time is finished, we are excited to see what God has next for us. During our time here, God has burned missions into our hearts. We came here with a desire to be God’s hands to those who need to see God’s love in a real and practical way. That desire has not changed. We are praying and seeking God’s will as we begin discussions with various ministries that are a fit with what God has called us to do. We definitely feel like God wants us to be involved in missions in some capacity. If you support us financially, we ask that you would prayerfully consider continuing to do so as we move into our next ministry. We will certainly update you when we know the ministry we are transitioning into. If you would be willing to continue supporting us during this transition time, you can send in your support checks as you always have to AGWM.

We will be arriving back in Denver on April 4th. If you have any questions or comments please feel free to contact us.

Thank you so much for all of your support over the last year. We cherish the support, prayers, and friendship of each one of you.

Serving Him,Lincoln, Jenny, Madison, Kyler, and Kendi Smith Posted by Picasa

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Crocs for the kids

My mom and Gloria brought a pair of Croc shoes for each of the older children in the shelter. They had asked the women from our church in Colorado to buy and donate the shoes for the kids. Madison, Kyler, Lincoln, Dr. Neil and I all have a pair so the kids in the shelter have seen them before and were so excited to get their very own pair. The top picture is of my mom and Gloria passing out the shoes, the middle picture is Lewis in his cool camouflage crocs, and the bottom picture is of Madison and Keamogetswe (pronounced Kee amo kate swee).

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Goodbye Ruth

Yesterday was a memorial service for Ruth. We wrote about her in our last newsletter. (We called her Naomi because we can't legally give the real names of children here.) Here is what we wrote:

This is Naomi (not her real name for legal reasons.) We picked her up from the government hospital when she was 2 months old. Her mother had given birth to her at the hospital and left her there. She was 2 months premature at birth. Naomi weighs just over 3 pounds. She is so tiny, that the baby growing in Jenny’s womb (at 31 weeks) currently weighs more than this little 2 month old baby. She is so small and fragile, you can’t help but be moved when you hold her. Please pray for her health and that she will be adopted into a loving family.

Last week Ruth passed on. It's always hard when we lose a child, but this was especially hard because it was unexpected. She had grown quite a bit while in our care and seemed to be doing quite well. The doctor told us that it is not unusual for a premature baby to die unexpectedly like this. Their tiny bodies are so fragile. What also makes this hard is that Ruth was HIV negative, and had been released by her mother, meaning that she could have been adopted.
Even though it is difficult to face emotional situations like this, we wouldn't trade the experience for anything. So much of life is mundane, structured, and seemingly meaningless. These kind of experiences remind us of the value and significance of the life that we have. I pray that when we leave the shelter that we don't become numb with the day to day life. I don't ever want to forget how precious life is and how it is so much more meaningful when you are helping others.

"I expect to pass through life but once. If therefore, there be any kindness I can show, or any good that I can do to any fellow being, let me do it now, and not defer or neglect it, as I shall not pass this way again." William Penn Posted by Picasa

Group Picture

This is the latest group picture of the Lighthouse Family. The bottom picture shows me and Kendi with our three groundskeepers. To the left is Job, in the middle top is Johanness he is our head groundskeeper, on the ground is Daniel. These guys take care of our beautiful property. We have a lot of plants, flowers, trees, and shrubs, plus a vegetable garden. They work very hard keeping it all looking very nice for the children. Plus, Johannes takes care of a lot of the maintenance issues on the property and building new additions. I've taught him a lot about electricity, so he is able to handle some of the electrical problems. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Power Outage

This is Lincoln writing. Here's some cute pictures of the kids. Madison and Kyler love to spend time with Kendi. Kyler tends to be a little spastic and gets Kendi all wound up, so we have to limit his time with her. Madison loves to help out in any way that she can.
A completely unrelated story that is a little funny, but not so funny when you have to experience it. Two nights ago at 1:30 in the morning the dogs start barking like crazy and the power goes out. I go out to check the breaker, because it is not uncommon to have our breaker trip for the property. Everything is fine so I know that the problem is with the power company. The next morning we call the power company and it turns out that the power is out because someone stole the power cables. Yep, ripped them right off the power pole. I've heard of that happening in South Africa, but this was our first time to experience it. So, we had to go get ice to put in our freezer to keep all the food cold. Jenny, in her usual organized fashion, had prepared something like 40 meals before Kendi was born and they were in the freezer. If it all melted we would lose hundreds of dollars in meals. The poor shelter caregivers were trying their best to prepare meals and bottles for 30 children without any electricity. The cook had several loafs of frozen bread sitting out on the bricks in the sun trying to thaw them out. We had to take the shelter laundry to Janis' house and another missionaries house to do laundry. With 30 kids you can't just skip a day of laundry and expect to catch up the next day. On top of that it was probably about 95 degrees yesterday and we had no a/c. I'm not complaining, it's just an interesting story about life in South Africa. So, the power company told us that they would have it fixed by the end of the day, which is typically 3:30. (My reply was a sarcastic yeah, right.) So, at 3:30 when it wasn't on we called and they said that it would be on by 5. At 5, still no power. So Janis started scrambling to find a generator so that the shelter could have power for the night. Our family had gone out to eat, because having meals in the freezer doesn't do you any good without electricity. When we got back, at 7:00 the power was back on. What a relief. I've got to say that I am impressed that the power company actually fixed the problem in one day.

Another cute unrelated story: In January I shaved my head bald. I wrote about that below if you want to go read about it. Every time I went to the shelter all the kids wanted to touch my head. One would come up and reach their hand up to touch my head an they would all come running. The cute thing is that they all say, "Also me, also me." So, now that my hair is growing back they still want to touch my head. Everytime I go into the shelter they all come running, "Also me, also me." Posted by Picasa