Rarely have I been as excited as I am today to write an update about recent happenings here at the orphanage. For those that know me (Amber), you know that writing is not my gift and that I often struggle with it but God has done so many wonderful things here lately that this time, I just can’t wait to share it all with you
Before I go any further, let me say a big THANK YOU to all of you who prayed for Baby Isaac. He returned back to the orphanage last week and is doing amazingly well, gaining weight and looking like a whole new baby. In fact, the housemother’s even joke that he is drinking too much now : ) We were overwhelmed with messages of support and prayers from all over the world for him and I have no doubt that that played a role in the miracle that God provided to save his life. Only God knows the plans that He has for this little one but we do know that at such a young age, God has already used him to display his love, grace, and healing power to many in this community. To God, the true author and finisher of life, be the glory forever and ever AMEN.
Baby Esther’s Graduation and Sylvia
Now if the miracle of Isaac’s healing wasn’t enough to give God praise this month, God also showed us his love and watch care over the “least of these” in the life of little Esther as well. Please allow me to tell her story.
For those of you that might remember, little Esther came to us in October of last year (2010). Her mom was very sick and died shortly after her birth and although Esther was probably born only a few weeks early, she was very small at only 2kgs (4.4lbs). Even preemie clothes were big on her. Her situation was different than most however because unlike all of our other children, her father was still alive. Here we were stuck with a dilemma. We had decided from the beginning, that since we wanted this to be a community orphanage we would only take double orphans to live at the orphanage. Unfortunately we had seen too many times parents wanting to give away their responsibility as parents to let other people raise their kids and we didn’t want to encourage that or ask the community to take on a bigger burden than they could handle. However, tiny Esther had no milk and the father had no money to buy formula for her. Not wanting to start the trend of giving out formula (for many reasons) we told the family to bring the child to us to care for her until we could decided what to do.
After a few hours of intense prayer we decided that since we had 2 housemothers and only 8 kids and 1 baby at the orphanage at the time, we would agree to make an exception to care for Esther but only if the father was able to agree to three important requirements- 1) that she would only stay at the orphanage until 1 year of age when she no longer needed formula 2) that the father would have to volunteer one day a week to visit and help at the orphanage in exchange for her formula and care 3) that the father would have to attend all of her medical check ups with the housemother. We then left the choice with him as to whether he wanted us to agree to care for her (with those conditions) or if he wanted to take her to another orphanage 2 hours away from us. We were surprised when he agreed and then even more surprised when he actually did what he promised to do (with a little prompting) and showed up almost every Sunday for a year to visit her and help with manual labor at the orphanage.
As the year time frame began to near however, Gift (the father) began to beg us to keep Esther longer because of difficulties at home. He feared that his other wife would not care or look after the needs of Esther since she was not her own. While Ennie (the housemother) and us all shared his concern, knowing that that often happens in this culture, we felt we would be setting a bad example to keep her longer when she did have a father who had the responsibility to care for her. We discussed other options that the father could look into (having another family member care for her until she was older, etc) and basically said that we would pray along with him for God to help him find a solution. The year date was fast approaching though and it looked like she was just going to have to be returned home, to a family that she barely knew, and that we were just going to have to pray that God would look after her there. That is…. until something amazing happened …. : )
Somewhat out of the blue, one of our part time housemothers, Sylvia, who had been with us since the start of the orphanage, came to us, relaying her desire to resign her post at the orphanage. It seems that she was struggling with traveling the long distances between her house and the orphanage and it was starting to effect her health. We told her that we would miss her but understood her situation and she gave her two week notice. Then, the next weekend we heard rumor that she, somehow being distantly related to Esther (which we didn’t know) had offered to take her to her home to care for her. Being a widow herself with only one 8 year old son, she felt she had the means and now the time and since Esther was already familiar and attached with her, it was evident that this was GOD’s perfect provision. The father agreed and even now, I can’t help but smile at the way that God works.
While we will miss both Sylvia and Esther and their presence at the orphanage, our hearts are now at peace knowing that God has brought the two of them together, and that HE will continue to provide for all of their needs, just as He has from the beginning.
All of this blows our roofs off (literally!)
I will leave this blog entry with pictures of the preschool roof which took a hit when a big wind came through a few weeks ago. While not the kind of news we wanted to hear (or see), especially when it seems we just finished putting that roof up, it is pretty hysterical how it flipped the whole side over, just like the page of a book – all one piece completely attached. Please pray that God will give us wisdom how to try to fix or reattach it without too much difficulty. After trying to flip it today with a whole “crew” of men from the local villages, we confirmed that it was too heavy to flip back in one piece like we had hoped. The men however agreed to all return on Monday and Tuesday to help reconstruct the roof piece by piece. Maybe this community involvement is what God intended from the whole thing : )
with much appreciation for your prayers and continued support of us and the ministry,
Amber, Jako and Jakob John Joubert
Donations can be made out to Mission of Love with Jako and Amber in the memo line and send to:
21457 Lake Sharon Drive
Land O Lakes