My first trip to South Africa was in July of '09. I immediately fell in love with the kids and when Grant and I got married I told him the one thing that I wanted to make sure we did before we had kids was take a trip to South Africa together. (Not that I think that you can't go to Africa when you have kids. I just wanted to make sure that we could go together and not let the kids become our excuse.) So, when I was 20 weeks pregnant we headed over there :)
I could not wait to meet the kids and see how things were going at the new orphanage. I thought that the Lord was going to just reteach me the things that I had learned last time that I was there: to find joy even in the hard times, to LOVE on orphans and widows as He commands and to find satisfaction in Him alone. And, while I did get a refresher course on those things, He taught me so much more (but I'll get to that in a second.)
The boys were busy helping build the house that would be Louie and Amber O'Tools. To me it looked more like they were playing with legos the entire time! I wasn't able to help out with that - but I did get in on a few other things that we did while we were over there: planting a couple gardens for families in Thabong, sharing the gospel with some kids there as well and helping the girls at the village with homework most days.
|I LOVE this picture - Those little, bare feet and dirt-covered knees are always |
a reminder of the precious kids that we spent some time with in Thabong.
As we were there serving I was able to see Grant fall in love with the place the way that I had my first time visiting. It was so great to know that he would finally 'get it'. While we were there we also fell in love with the kids - and the Lord laid it on our hearts to sponsor a girl named Lerato.
|Please notice Grant's creepy mustache.|
What I believe the Lord sent me over to Africa for this time, though, was to learn a little bit more about the lives of the missionaries over there and to learn how to be a great wife and mother. I was able to see their amazing love for Christ, for the people, and their love and support for one another.
You see, the boys were out building the house most days, and I wasn't able to help since I was pregnant. So, I got to stay back at home with Amber and 'help' her out with her everyday life. She was such a great example of a Godly wife and mother. I began to realize very quickly that family is the most important part of ministry. Without help and support from each other, neither would be able to accomplish much. I felt like I was seeing a couple working as a team for the Lord in a way I hadn't ever quite seen before - and I am so thankful for that. My challenge was (and is) to be that same support system for Grant with the ministries that we are involved in. Crazy that I had to go all the way over to Africa to learn that - but God had His plan!
|This is Amber. I'm sure that she appreciates I'm using this picture of her :)|
SIDE NOTE: Masterpiece is great!
All of that doesn't even begin to tell of all of the things that we experienced and learned while we were in Africa. I could go on and on for hours about the specific ways that the Lord taught me while I was there - and I'm totally willing to share more so feel free to ask. But, for right now I just wanted to share with you that snippet of our trip.
And, if you want to learn more about Restoring Hope Village, click HERE.