Our Vision

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P.O. Box 620170, Kalomo, Zambia
Our vision is to bring the love of Jesus Christ to the children of Zambia through physical and spiritual means.Our hearts longing is to empower the local church and village community to meet the great need of the many orphans and widows through the development of an orphanage.(Psalm 68:5-6a)

Saturday, October 29, 2011

The God who “truly” looks after the least of these

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

Baby Isaac

Oct 2011 052 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. IMG_2438 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 IMGP2058 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 Esther 1 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 IMGP2137 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 blogOct 2011 026 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 ALyssa Oct 2011 211completely 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

Florida

34638

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Baby Isaac Update

Thank you, thank you, thank you for the many prayers that have gone out on behalf of precious baby Isaac and Praise be to God for His grace and healing hand that has sustained Isaac this far.  ALyssa Oct 2011 214 We are happy to report that he is doing MUCH better now and looked like a completely different baby when we saw him on Sunday.  He had noticeably filled out with his skin more elastic and supple and was even awake and quite active when we were there.  The word we got then was that he would most likely be released to go home on Monday but today we heard that they are wanting to hold him just a bit longer.  We don't mind as all that we want is for him to be well and healthy by the time he is released so the longer they are able to monitor and help him at the hospital the better. ALyssa Oct 2011 222 We are full of joy because he is doing so much better, full of gratitude for all of your prayers, and stand in awe and wonder once again of God's goodness, love and power to save, protect, and heal.  Thank you for your continued prayers as Isaac is still very small and fragile.  We will let you know when he is home at the orphanage and how he does after his arrival.  We are sending with a picture so you can see how much better little Isaac is looking.  We hope it does your heart as good as it did ours

Urgent Prayer Request for Baby Isaac

This Sunday we received our newest addition Oct 2011 010into the orphanage- a one month old baby that was born to a 19 year old mother who  got pregnant while going to school.  While she was pregnant she ended up getting an infection and gave birth a month early, only to die a few weeks later.  When we received the baby the mother had passed away 3 days earlier and the baby had survived until then on a bit of goats milk.  While he was obviously small and very thin (2.5kgs/5.7 lbs) we didn't think he looked too bad and figured that his health should improve pretty quickly with access to formula and good care from the mothers. 

However, that never happened and despite frequent feedings where he drank well, his little body did not seem to improve and the slight cough turned a bit worse.  He even looked like he was loosing weight but we took him to the clinic on Thursday where he was prescribed some medicine and we hoped that that would do the trick.

This morning however we were woken up very early by the mothers saying that Isaac was  Sep 2011 176very sick and that he had been up the whole night vomiting, with diarrhea, and was too weak to drink.  As soon as we heard this we made quick plans for Alyssa and Gretchen to get him to the nearest "good" hospital, a 3 hour drive away, all the while praying that he would at least make it there.  Upon arrival he was admitted almost immediately, given an IV, and they say that he will be there until at least Monday. 

PLEASE PRAY FOR THIS LITTLE BOY WHO IS FIGHTING FOR HIS LIFE.  When we received him and before the family left, we publicly dedicated the child to God and broke any bonds or dedications that might have been made for him at birth and so we are asking for immediate prayers for healing for Isaac in a way that would bring God glory and honor and show those around, in this community, and further - once again, the power, love and grace of God our Father. 

Thank you for taking a moment to life this little life up in prayer, to the care of the best Father there is, and for asking for wisdom for us, the mothers, and the doctors in how best to provide for his needs. 

The pictures below are one of Isaac taken Wednesday afternoon and the other as he was admitted into the hospital around noon today (Friday).

“Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you.”

Jeremiah 29:12

Friday, October 7, 2011

September 2011

South Africa Breakdowns

We enjoyed the rest of our time in South Africa connecting with friends and supporters but were also very busy running errands and getting various supplies for the orphanage.  Our trip back to Zambia however proved more eventful than we had hoped as we were plagued with multiple vehicle breakdowns.  Thankfully P9070006 God allowed us to get to a big town (Ellisrus) and then provided a wonderful family with a guesthouse who allowed Jako to park the Hilux out front and turn their drive into a temporary workshop.  This family (who we had never met before) was more than hospitable not only offering us a good price on their lodging but good home cooked food and friendship as well.  After 1 1/2 days of Jako getting dirty and replacing and checking many things (bearings, brake discs, fuel pump and prop shaft) we were back on the road and happy to be moving again. 

Amber’s Surprise

The rest of the drive thankfully proved uneventful but Amber was quite surprised when we arrived Sep 2011 122back in Zambia and stopped to visit a friend but found a whole houseful of people yelling “surprise” instead!  Unbeknownst to her, Alyssa and Gretchen had been planning this surprise baby shower for some time and it was such a blessing – great food, fellowship, and fun.  Needless to say that the thoughts and effort behind this touched Amber’s heart more than words can say (by the way if you didn’t get the news Jakob will be getting a baby brother)

Baby # 6 She… no He

Upon our arrival back home we were happy to find things in good working order.  We were surprised to find that this 12 day old little girl we had heard about and admitted while we were gone Sep 2011 052 was actually a boy named Emmanuel.  Zambians often confuse the pronouns “he” with “she” as the Tonga language is gender neutral so that is probably where the confusion came in.  With his mother very sick (she passed away a few weeks later) and an unknown father he was referred to us by the local village clinic (see below) and is a very lovable little boy.  We found out later that the grandparents (who were caring for the mother) are busy caring for 10 other kids, (6 under the age of 10) three of which are his half siblings, so resources and their ability to care for another child are very stretched.

Stella doing stellar : )

We were happy to see that our temporary house help, Stella, was proving to be a benefit when the mom’s Sep 2011 086took their turn being gone on their annual holiday.  It is so good to see the way that God  provide for all the needs of the orphanage. In fact it even seems as though Stella will eventually be hired to work at the orphanage preschool when it opens in February.  This will be perfect as her understanding of English is very good and she will still be available to fill in at the orphanage on an as need basis when one of the mom’s is sick or in special circumstances.

Home Improvements

God, in his great wisdom, knowing the amount and size of the tasks needing to be completed here before the rains come and we return to South Africa the end of November for the birth, blessed us with two American friends from Kalomo to help us for a while.  Tara was able to stay a week and Gretchen will be staying with us for a month.  Both have proved to be big blessing and helped.

Jako (and Alyssa) have been working furiously on our big “to-do” list around camp and Amber has been extra happy that their DSC_0082 house is finally getting some upgrades.  While we have been living in the house for over a year and a half now, often other needs such as orphanage needs, crops, community needs etc. end up having to take priority (which is understandable) but now “finishes” such as sliding curtain rods in all the rooms (instead of pushing the curtains through the burglar bars), doors on all the inside rooms (instead of the temporary fabric hangings), light and an electrical outlet in all the rooms and having the guest toilet,Sep 2011 062 guest shower and master bath all fully completed with plumbing, fixtures and painted is extra nice!  With all of that done, it definitely feels more like “home” here and the house won’t be a construction zone when we bring home a newborn.  Thanks Tara for varnishing all of our and the orphanage’s wooden doors and Gretchen for all your help painting those tedious bathrooms : )

Bed Bugs Bugging Us

Our home was not the only home to get attention though.  For longer than a year now, the orphanage house has been plagued with nasty little insects called bed bugs.  These things hide during the day, come out at night to bite the kids, and are extremely difficult to get rid of.  Despite buying different chemicals to spray on them several times and even having the local village clinic come out to spray for them more than once, these little bugs were still bugging us…. that is until now.

Sep 2011 038Recently we decided that it was time for drastic measures.  Wednesday we gave all of the kids plastic bags and asked them  to place all of their belongings in one bag each.  We then asked the moms to do the same with all of their things and then literally carried everything that was moveable outside of the orphanage.  Thursday Charles sprayed the entire house, top to bottom, making sure to get up in the ceiling, get all the corners, and thoroughly coat all the furniture that was stripped bare inside and out.  Due to health reasons from the fumes, the moms and kids “camped” out in the kitchen for two nights.  During the day the moms and the ladies here (Amber, Alyssa, Gretchen and Tara) helped to clean every thing that was washable before it went back inside.  Sep 2011 128 The mom’s tackled all of their personal items as well as all of the baby things while we took back to our house ALL of the kids clothing, blankets, bedding, curtains, and mosquito nets to be washed.  What a job that was!  As soon as a load was finished and thoroughly dried each item had to be ironed to be sure that every bug and every egg was killed.  We were going to make certain this time that no bug made it back inside.

Saturday was our big move in day and everyone (including all the Sep 2011 045 kids) worked hard to wipe and clean the house before starting the work of moving back in.  Everything that the kids brought back in had to be “approved” and we, as management, used the big “spring” (really summer) clean as a chance to rearrange rooms and give the moms a more space with our ever growing population of babies.  I think every one was excited to get to start off again with fresh clean everything (as well as new rules to keep things that way) and so far PRAISE GOD – no bed bugs!!!!!  The house moms and kids say they are sleeping lovely now and the babies and house mothers seem to be enjoying the baby play corner that each of the bigger bedrooms now have.

Other Work being done (Spiritual and Physical)

September month provided little rest for the weary out here.  While Charles has been busy cutting poles to redo the orchard fence (cattle have already eaten some of our banana trees once again), Jako and Alyssa have been busy finishing both the roof on the preschool and Sep 2011 083Alyssa’s flat, putting a roof on the orphanage kitchen pantries, fixing lighting and electrical issues at the orphanage, fixing broken doors, handles, and furniture at the orphanage, accepting preschool applications (due to start early Feb 2012), planning for field clearing and planting and hiring locals to fill some of these jobs.  Amber has been hard at work on getting caught up with much needed Administrative stuff and of course the daily/weekly programs of community welding, Children’s sunday school, and Sunday Bible Study still continue and are growing strong.  Jako has been able to have some good discussions with locals that He has been discipling lately and Alyssa was even able to start a weekly Bible study with the house mothers.

Transportation Provision

One bit of encouragement that we did get this month was a “new” (actually a redone) LandRover.  After finding out that Amber was pregnant again we realized that the needs of our family and ministry were fast outgrowing the provisions that we currently had.  Just in doing the numbers- our family of four and Alyssa would fill up our Hilux (leaving no space for locals going to the hospital or clinic or no space to pick up any volunteers) and even though Jako fixed the broken chasis of it as best as he could, it is still greatly limited in the amount of weight it can now carry in the back for building supplies or orphanage provisions.  Our other original vehicle, an old 1964 Landrover, while a great work donkey in the bush, is simply not suitable or reliable enough for lots of open road driving.

Earlier this year we started praying and looking at different vehicles, pricing them and weighing the short term and long term benefits that each would offer not only for our family but for the ministry as a whole.  We knew that no matter what we got the vehicle would have to do “double duty” – being able to handle the daily demands of off road conditions, hauling in building supplies, and heavy orphanage provisions while also being able to serve as a basic family vehicle for traveling back to South Africa and for business in Lusaka and Livingstone.  After much prayer and looking around we realized, once again, how limited (and expensive) good second hand vehicles are in Zambia.  Almost by accident, God happened to lead Jako to a business in Livingstone that fixes LandRovers where he learned that the owner was in the process of redoing an older LandRover and trying to decide if he was going to rent it out for hire or sell it.  God began to make it clear that this was the vehicle that he intended for us.

While it technically is an older model (1989) it has been 90% Sep 2011 080redone which makes Jako happy (as he is always having to fix one of our vehicles- the joys of off road conditions), and it’s design is just perfect to meet our growing family and ministry needs.  Not only can it fit up to 10 people in it with it’s bench seats in the back, it also has a luggage cage allowing it to piled to the top with building supplies or orphanage provisions.  It was built to carry a heavy load and has strong roof rack on the top providing it the ability to carry big or awkward size building materials/ supplies and was amazingly in a price range which was “reasonable” (very rare for Zambia).  We received the vehicle in the middle of the month and are just so thankful to God for ALL His continuing provision – that He lead us to the right place at just the right time to get the right vehicle.  Please pray for God’s hand of watch care over the vehicle so that it can continue to meet all the needs of our family and the ministry for many years to come. 

What’s in Store for October/ November ?

Work, work and more work…..Please pray for an added dose of strength, energy, motivation, grace,Sep 2011 001 mercy, and blessing on all of us as we continue to work long hours every day to try to get all the tasks completed that we hope to have completed before the rains begin and we leave end of November for the birth in South Africa.  Some of the big things on the list is the finishing of both Alyssa’s flat and the education center/preschool (we had some difficulty with the previous builder which caused some BIG delays and since have hired someone else to finish and correct his mistakes).  There are also small maintenance projects that need to be completed at the orphanage as well as clearing and preparing land for plowing and planting all before the end of November. Please pray for us during this busy time – that God will provide energy and strength to work, sweet periods of rest and refreshment in between, provisions for every need, and wisdom to know what projects to tackle when. 

Kauwe Clinic Prayer Need

One last things that we wanted to mention and ask for prayer for.  During the past few months there has been rumor of the government closing down the local village medical clinic at Kauwe.  At only an hours drive away it is the closest medical facility to us.  The nearest hospital is about a 2 hour drive away one way.  The reason for this is increased instances of witch-crafting and spells being put on nurses and doctors.   It has already been closed for a few days and then reopened and we have been told that it is most likely to permanently close on October 14th.  Please keep this situation in your prayers because not only does it affect the medical care that us and the children at the orphanage receive (vaccinations, ARV treatments, general medicine) it also affects the quality of life of all of the villagers out here.  We fear that many people will die because of lack of care if this clinic is shut done and it will be a great hardship to us and the children here as well but we also know that God can use this situation to show more of His Power.  Please pray that God’s love and power will be made known in this area and that everyone around will see that Perfect Love (God) casts out  all fear and that nothing in this world is greater than He. 

Sep 2011 060To God be the glory, great things He has done and Great things He will continue to do!

With much appreciation and  gratitude to God for making all of this possible and for all our wonderful prayer and financial supporters,

Jako, Amber and Jakob John Joubert

 

Donations can be made out to Mission of Love and mailed to:

21457 Lake Sharon Drive

Land O Lakes

Florida 34638

Please put our names in the memo line of the check