Monday, June 9, 2008

Sunday and No Power

No pictures today, sorry--look tomorrow.

Saturday the team from NY was taken to the airport by Louis & Amber and Brian & Lois. The 4 of them had a brief retreat and had a wonderful time. The Pines is a terrific place but when you are here 24/7 you really do need a break. Susan and I watched Meredith and had a good time too.

Saturday night the power went out and was out until noon on Sunday. This place is really dark at night with no light. Last Sunday there was no water!

Sunday was a wonderful day. Susie & I led church and had a great worship time with the children. We began by asking for favorite songs--needless to say the children just started singing. They sang for 1/2 hour and their repertoire began to fade. We figured they knew about Noah so we focused on the covenant and rainbow which they also knew about. After teaching on the God's covenant we split up and worked on worksheets and coloring pages depending on age. We got back together and sang and prayed. What a neat time to see the keen sense of God in these children. You can really see spiritual growth in the children who have accepted Christ.

COLD. B&L say it is hard to describe the cold here is my attempt. Imagine turning off your furnace in March in Iowa. Yeah, it would be cold in your house. Here, in general, people do not use heat. This past week it has been down to 32F or close every night. It gets up to 60-70 during the day so it is really nice outside. I have been wearing my coat anytime I am in any building. On Sunday Susan and I were invited to someone's home for lunch. We walk in and it is COLD inside and everyone was sitting outside on the patio. It was very nice outside--with my jacket on. We were sitting close to the open door to the house and could feel the cold air coming out of the house! Today I went to the grocery store for lunch meat for the team that just arrived. It was colder inside the store at 7:30 am than it was outside! BRR. (side note--one of the cold cuts that I bought was bologna made from beef tongue! Please don't tell the team! OK, I did try it and it was good) Fortunately, B&L have portable heaters so we can heat up our room before bed. They also put floor heat in the bathroom and it takes the chill off. Just so you don't think we are over here suffering. I would hate it if anyone felt sorry for us! We love it here!

Can you handle one last story. It is easy to forget the pain and hardship that goes on here. I was made aware of it this morning. I was shopping for some supplies and stopped to pick up a newspaper. I got back into the car and looked across the road where a pickup truck had just stopped and 20 guys swarmed around it talking to the guy. I didn't know what was going on so I just sat there and watched. While I was watching a guy came up to my window and asked me for a job. There were at least 25 guys working this intersection hoping someone would come by and give them a job. Reports indicate 80% unemployment in this area. Wow.

Liam is growing stronger and cuter by the day. Everyone loves him. Thanks for reading!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Welkom, school and fun

The pictures of town are Winpy's--like McD's, the meat market and school. The children attend a private school and are loving it. The government school they attended last year did not further their education so they were moved to Dunamis school in December. They all love it and are doing well.

Hmmm, all I see around here are ISU apparel. Hmmm.

Tonight we all went to one of the girl's flats and celebrated the birthday of housemother Sylvia. I was sitting on the floor on my knees and Cebisile squeezed herself between me and the couch (it was rather crowded) and pushed her way in front of me and sat on my lap. Talk about melting your heart! This is the girl who came to The Pines March 30, 2007 weighing 13 lbs and on her death bed. Today she is a healthy chunk and gets around like any 3 year old. She will talk if she is comfortable but doesn't talk much.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Weather and Other Stuff

Ok, it is fall here and there is the smell of burning leaves and brush in the air. Some of the trees are turning fall colors and the sun is low in the sky casting those wonderful fall shadows. This is so confusing--Lois said she feels like she should be getting ready for Christmas--and she has been here for 2 years. Tonight it will get to about 40 degrees. We went out for supper and had to keep our coats on . We visited some friends and their house was so cold we had to keep our coats on and we were still cold. BRRRRR. At least the days are beautiful--sunny and warm (65-70) if you are in the sun like I was today. Yesterday was rainy 1/2 the day but that is unusual. I will finish the cabinet tomorrow and start on a kitchen table. Will put pictures on the blog if you are interested.

The children have chores to do after school each day. Today they were raking leaves and cleaning the area around their flat. Yes, even the ladies all use these short brooms and bend at 90 degree angle--it is a wonder they are not permanently stuck that way by the time they are 20. The children love to have their picture taken.

Brian, Louis and the team installed the fence at Reahola today. Next week they will do the playground. Susie completed a huge set of curtains for B&L's flat today. Lois has been working on her nurse stuff--writing instructions to the housemom's as to how to dispense the ARV meds for the children. Occasionally she takes care of Liam--when Susie will let her (mostly feeding time). I even saw Brian changing Liam today--he is a great dad--don't know where he gets that.

Thanks for your prayers for us and B&L and L&A. Just yesterday we learned of 2 more childern in the area accepting Christ as the result of a Bible club. They are going to bring their mom to talk to Louis & Amber. She is in desperate need of a Savior and her newly saved daughters want to help! Our enemy would love to see problems here. Your prayers are vital.

Tomorrow I will try to take pictures of the area and get a few on the blog.

Monday, June 2, 2008

All In A Day's Work

So...what is a typical day at The Pines?

Take the children (15 of them) to school.
Take a house mother to class.
Drop off a house mother at the clinic.
Meet with the team of 12 and make sure they all have jobs to do and the materials to do those jobs.
Get propane and fittings to hook up a gas range.
2 hour meeting for Brian, Lois, Louis & Amber
Care for Meredeth and Liam.
Get food for the team.
Take "lost" child to school after having been assured that everyone was on the van on the first trip.
Pick up house mother from class.
Lois checks out 2 ill team members.
Take 2 ill team members to the doctor, stay with them.
Pick up house mother from clinic--who walks to grocery store and cannot be found for 1/2 hour.
Work on Pines payroll.
Work on Pines job tasks lists for missionaries.
Pick up children from school.
Handle visitors who show up at The Pines gate.
Deal with brush fires on 3 sides of The Pines (actually, an annual thing--no big deal!)
Take team members to top of huge mine dump to see sunset at 5:15--yeah, dark that early.
Play with Pines children.
Make arrangements for 2 children and 2 house mothers to go to the clinic tomorrow.
Work with team members--and even after they have quit for the day.

The above list is a normal day for Louis & Amber, Brian & Lois. These are things that I knew about or observed while I was cooped up in the "shop" working on building a kitchen cabinet. I know these 4 did more today but this is the list I can remember at 10 at night. I am impressed with the dedication and hard work of these 4 brave missionaries...all to see God change the lives of these orphaned young people. Wow!

The pictures posted today were taken today. Enjoy--I wish you could be here to see the sights and hear the sounds and smell the smells--and even touch these 20 children that are here. That is something I absolutely will never be able to convey in words and photos. The joy is indescribable.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

New Pines Update is out!

Go here to see the latest Pines update:

Today we went to church at Reahola as usual. What a neat outreach ministry this is to these poor people.

We came home to a bit of a disaster. There was water all over the floors in two of the flats and another room so everyone pitched in and got it cleaned up in around 2 hours. No, it wasn't rain--let's just say one of the residents was not paying attention.

The scaffolding came from money raised by the Monroe team. THANKS!

The team that is here has taken on an additional job of building a fence and possibly a playground for the daycare that houses the mission church at Reahola. This dear saint who watches children at a very poor housing project rearranges her day care every Sunday to accommodate the mission church. Anyway, money was donated to build her a playground as a "Thanks." She purchased some fencing to secure the area for the playground but is at least $500 short of having enough material to compete the job. She said she would go without salary to complete the project. Now, this is a very sacrificial lady who doesn't have much and cannot afford to go without salary. It would be nice if we could raise the needed money to help her out. She is always helping out neglected children in her housing project and I know it would be a great blessing if several people would step up and help her wth this need. If you are able, please contact me and together we can make this happen!

The children here are extremely talented. One of the first grade girls was spelling the names of Americans when she had never heard these names before. A couple of the boys wore out several team members playing catch with baseballs for the first time every. They could throw the ball over 100 feet and be dead on. Thy guys catching didn't even have to move one of their feet to catch the ball. The return throw was never that accurate!

Saturday, May 31, 2008

You asked for more photos...

Here they are. I had nothing to do with the photo of Liam and Brian in our profile, but it is cute.

Bob & Susan in South Africa again

Three weeks ago we thought about going to South Africa to see our new grandson. Two and 1/2 weeks ago we purchased tickets and now we have been in South Africa for 6 days. Wow, the time flew by.

Liam is as cute as you can imagine. The photos do not do justice for the little guy. Brian and Lois are good parents--they should be after dealing with the 18 Africans here! Yes, we are taking bunches of pictures and holding him as often as possible. We can actually see changes in him over the past few days. He will be walking before you know it.

Susie has been doing her usual chore here of making sure the donated clothing and supplies are organized and in order. The women on the team here from NY have assisted in sorting and carrying the boxes upstairs to the storage "safe." Yes, it is a safe--huge one. Susie talked some of the guys into building her more shelving to help organize the stuff. God has blessed The Pines with clothing and shoes from the US and the means of getting those items here.

Between transportation duties Bob has helped Brian remodel the team dish room/kitchen, install 2 new water heaters and do miscellaneous tasks needed to make the 3rd flat functional. Did you know that water heaters hang on the wall here? Some of them on the outside of the building 10 feet in the air!

As usual, The Pines is a busy place with around 40 people living and working here right now. That includes 18 children, 6 missionary family members, 12 team members, 4 staff, and Susan and me. The third flat was opened on Thursday and Mama Agnes and 4 girls live there now. The 4th flat is nearing completion. The Monroe team did a great job in constructing the flat, there are a few details that need to be completed.

The children here are attending a wonderful Christian School so they are gone most of the day. Bob gladly accepted the job of taking the children to and from school most days. There are 16 children who go to school. Somehow I cannot account for one child but Lois says they are all here. I am sure glad I don't have to keep up with 18 children. If I find out that I have lost one somehow, I will let you know!!

I am attaching a few pictures and will do so in the next few days. Let me know if you enjoy the posts by responding with feedback! Thanks for reading.