Monday, May 21, 2007

Sisana Nxumalo

A product of a hard life. She still had a heart for her community and the children there who no one else cared for. She will be sorely missed. I pray for a hundred more who have a heart to care for those who have no hope. Sisana knew hope's name is Jesus.

1965.......19 May 2007

Monday, May 14, 2007

HIV/AIDS Awareness/Education at Makholweni

The last two Saturday’s we had an organization called TASC to come out to the Makholweni CarePoint and Children’s Wellness Center to educate the community on HIV/AIDS and the importance of testing. We had about 45 people show up for the education. Twenty-five people stayed to be tested. Baylor also sent one of their nurses out to help us as well. Since we started too late in the day, we weren’t able to finish testing everyone, so we asked them to come back the next Saturday to be tested. Between the two Saturday’s, we had 32 come for testing, 14 were children, and 22 actually tested. If the parent’s tested negative, they wouldn’t test the children, unless there was some other reason that they thought they needed to be tested.

On the second Saturday, one whole family came, Dad, Mom and 6 kids. Dad and Mom both tested negative. We didn’t even have to ask, he came out of the room shouting, “negative,negative.” So the 6 children weren’t tested. They all seem to be relatively healthy, except for a little bit of malnourishment. The father is injured and can’t work, so they are having a very difficult time. Many times they don’t have food except what the kids get at the care point. We try to send home extra food with them each day so they will all have something to eat later. We gave them some Nutravit, which is a vitamin rich corn meal and some multivitamins to help out a bit. I was taking pictures of the kids while they were waiting on Mom and Dad. When I showed them the picture, they laughed and giggled! Then they said they wanted to sing a song for me. It was so cute! Each one sang a verse and danced, then they all sang together. It was in SiSwati, so I had no idea what they were saying. I asked the teacher, and she said that it was about HIV/AIDS, and how you need to be tested when you see yourself getting thin (losing weight).

Another mother who tested positive, wouldn’t allow her kids to be tested, much to our dismay. She said that she had to check with her partner. I pray that she will allow the children to be tested. We can take them all to Baylor to have them all tested and treated if necessary. We will have to try to talk to her and explain how important it is for them to be tested. She works for a factory, and she says that they will not let her have a day off. So it will be difficult to get her to come to Baylor , but her life, as well as her kids may depend on it. I pray that God will give us wisdom and grace in this situation.

We are hoping that Baylor will send a doctor to our Children’s Wellness Center once a month to dispense the medications for all of the kids that we are taking to Baylor on a weekly basis for AIDS treatment. We now have about 21 kids/care givers that we bring to Baylor. Abraham picks them up from their care points every Wednesday. Each of the 21 people have to go once a month to get a new supply of medication. This is a very important part of the work that God is allowing us to be a part of here. Again, it is a blessing to have this amazing opportunity to work with these precious Swazi people.

Sandra Lee

We have spent a lot of time this week helping a friend get ready to receive 5-7 new babies into her orphanage. We have been hanging curtains, cleaning windows, moving things, going through clothes, etc. It has been fun. Friday, we had the privilege of going to the government hospital to help bring the babies home. These are all babies from the abandoned children’s ward. It was quite an exciting day. We were able to bring 5 of the 7 home to the orphanage. The other two had parents listed that they had to contact to make sure they don’t want them before they can come to the orphanage.

When we drove up to the homes, all of the other 14 children that live there were waiting outside. It was very interesting to see all of the dynamics, as they all got to know each other. My girls, Danielle and Joelle each have a baby that they have fallen in love with as we have visited them in the hospital. It was very exciting for them to hold them on the trip home and get them settled into their new home. Little John (the one Joelle is crazy about) was so excited to see all of the other children. He laughed and smiled and waved his arms as Joelle walked around holding him. Sibongile, (the one Danielle is crazy about) is too small to know what is going on, and is just interested in being fed and sleeping. I had to drag Danielle and Joelle away last night and the night before. They were really enjoying mothering these little ones. Thank God for our friends that have a heart for these abandoned babies and are taking the responsibility to raise them and give them a good home!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Forgotten & Neglected

We visited the hospital again today. There is a little boy that has been in the hospital since February when he was hit by a car. He suffered a severe head injury, surgery was done to relieve the pressure from the brain. He was left with sever brain damage. He is so thin and emaciated at this point that he looks like a skeleton with skin drawn tight around it. He has had no physical therapy , has not been turned regularly and has not had proper nutrition. So you can imagine how malnourished and how much skin break down that he has. He is an orphan, who has one distant relative that has been faithfully by his side the whole time. She has no financial support herself either.

God put this little boy and his care taker on Kristen’s heart and she started raising money to help him. I have to be honest, when Kristen called me and told me that she was raising money for him, I thought, there is not much we can do for this one. But I called one of the doctors from Baylor, she said that she had just decided that it was time to do something to help this little one. She said that they had walked by this one numerous times and thought, it’s no use, and passed by. One day she was drawn to stop and held his hand, as she was asking about him, he squeezed her hand. She knew at this point that there was something still there and that she had to try to help him. There is a strength in this child to hold on, even when everyone had given up on him. She was saddened by the state that he was in just from neglecting to give him proper nutrition and physical therapy. She was so excited when she heard that we were raising money to help him. She said the money could be used for his tube feedings, physical therapy and wound therapy.

At this point he has bed sores on each hip, and starting all the way up his back. Everywhere that there is a bone protruding, there is a sore, the two on each hip, showing muscles, ligaments and bone in varying degrees. So, we got the formula for the tube feedings and started on our quest. I contacted a wound therapy nurse that I knew, and she came today and dressed all of the wounds so they could begin to heal. Our next step is to find a physical therapist that can work with him on a daily basis to help loosen up his arms and legs. He is drawn up in a fetal position. We instructed his care taker to exercise his joints daily and to turn him every two hours. We also got an egg crate mattress for his bed to try and prevent further skin breakdown.

It is so exciting to have the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of those that are otherwise forgotten. There are many others that are in great need as well, we can’t help them all, but by God’s grace and leading, we will do our best to do what we can. The doctor that made rounds today was so excited at what we were doing for this little boy that he had us come and see another similar case in the next room. Our financial resources are limited, please pray for us to be guided by Gods wisdom and not our own as we move forward.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Parental Responsibilities

A recently heard quote from a Swazi to Teresa regarding the Children's Cup CarePoints: "When you give them food, you become their parents." Talk about a growing family. Talk about responsibility. We have to rely on God for the resources and the wisdom to be "parents" to all the children we work with. We have to rely on you being obedient to God's call as well. Pray...Give...Go!

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Big Audacious Dream

I think we do what we do very well (and all this by the grace of God alone). But it's time to bump it up a notch or two. We are feeding 2 to 3 thousand kids a day, the clinic and teachers are taking care of the kids basic medical needs, and the teachers are doing a great job in the informal schools and afternoon Bible clubs. This is all great and a tremendous blessing for the kids and the community they live in.
But I have to be honest, it's not enough. These kids are still left to themselves over the weekends, some may go to a church, most do not. We don't have the means to bus (or khombi) 3000 kids to a church. Besides, most of the churches here in Swaziland aren't geared for children.
So our dream is for there to be CHILDREN'S church each weekend at each CarePoint. That is 10 services right now with up to three more by the end of the year each weekend. We can't do it. Our time and energy is sapped by the end of the week working with the existing programs. So our really big, audacious, huge dream is for God to put it on the hearts of children's pastors and workers to come and dedicate their lives to these children in a way we can't.