The start of 2014 was a very interesting year in that it was the first time since we got our first baby (Genesis)in June of 2010 that we have not had a baby under 1 year old. Our youngest Wilson turned 1 in September of 2013. How quickly it seems that we went from our first original 8, to a whole nursery of babies, to now a whole crew of toddlers, quickly growing into preschoolers.
God did however bless us with two new baby arrivals. Chipo born August 29th of this year – born perfectly healthy to a mother who is mentally ill and an unknown father. He is such a sweet baby with adorable dimples all over his body and the girls as well as the mothers love to dote on him. He is growing fast\in so many ways!
Next came Baby Moses in early November of this year. Born on October 30th to a mother who was very sick with HIV and a father who was also sick with the same disease, we received him at 3 days of age and he seemed to be doing okay. The mothers were given the blessing of naming him but not long after he started to get sick with diarrhea, and did not respond to the medication given to him at the local clinic. Despite the best care from his housemother Belita. God called him home on Nov 8th in transit to the hospital at only 8 days of age. His mother's other three children all passed away at the age of 7 months, 4 months, 3 weeks, and now Moses at 1 week. This was definitely a difficult first that we never wished to experience but we rejoice that we were able to dedicate this precious baby to the Lord at his arrival and that we had the privilege of loving him and getting to know him for the week that he was with us. While we miss him greatly, we look forward to seeing him again, one day on the other side.
Wilson, the 1/2 brother of Salomi turned 2 in September and is now finally able to keep up with all his big brothers and sisters and
Then comes our three and four year olds…..
By looking at Isaac you would never guess that he was once the really sick baby that he was. He is now a nice, healthy, muscular size and is our rough and tough boy, although with an extra soft spot for him Mommy, Ennie. His struggles with asthma seem to be well managed by daily medication that he is on.
Emmanuel has an easy smile and is turning out to be the adventurous tree climber of the group. It seems that if any of the moms look away for a moment and he disappears, all they need to do is look up into the nearest tree. He has beautiful skin with no evidence of the eczema that once affected him so severely.
Salomi is still small and quaint by stature but her personality is starting to show her to be a sweet independent little girl who loves to look all pretty and is easy go with the world.
Genesis is thriving under the care of the housemothers here and her difficult “different” qualities have calmed down quite a bit. She doesn’t ask for attention in negative ways like sage he used to and is now quite easy and peaceful and loves to have fun, although still with a bit of a mischievous streak : ) She is also turning out to be a great little momma loving to tie baby Chipo on her back and carry him around.
Ruth has come out of her shell to stay with no remnants of the sick, no will to live “failing body” that we first received. Her HIV status is being managed well and she has such a bright, beautiful, sunny outlook. One of the first to smile in any situation, laugh loud, and to run up and give you a huge genuine hug, she is such a beautiful blessing and we thank God for the tremendous healing that he has done in her. Even her bow legs are straightening out to the point that you rreally have to look to notice them.
Mainza,who just turned 5 in Nov. is Jakob’s best buddy and both enjoyed starting preschool this year. Mainza’s smile (and spunk) is much bigger than his small stature and while he has the sweetest, most innocent face and smile, watch out for his mischievous streak as well – he is definitely all boy : ) We had a bit of a scare with him earlier in the year when his face and lips began to swell dramatically in a matter of minutes in what appeared to be a severe allergic reaction to something. We rushed him to the clinic where they treated him for “mumps” but all symptoms pointed to a severe allergic reaction to something that we can’t identify. We know that God saved and preserved him and just pray that God will continue to do so, and keep him away from any danger that might cause that to happen again.
Sanford, having turned 7 just finished his last year at preschool. His English is doing super great due to his years at the preschool and he has really taken on the role of being the oldest boy in the children’s home now that Sylvester has left. His shyness is being overcome by confidence and he seems to be finding his place at the home as the Biggest of brothers.
Millium and Otavia are best of buddies and turning into beautiful young ladies. They are enjoying school, taking good care of their younger brothers and sisters and being a big help in the kitchen and the garden. They still have a lot of little girl left in them and they LOVE to jump on the trampoline or take a splash in the small kiddies pool that we set up. Millium still has a lot of spunk and personality but the extreme wildness that we saw in her when she first came to us is now under her control and becoming a beautiful thing. Otavia’s HIV status is also being monitored at the clinic but her health this past year has been wonderful, even when she (and Millium) got their turn at the chicken pox. They are excited to transfer to Nguba, the bigger government school in January and to be the oldest girls in the house at the same time.
Otavia seemed quite sad earlier in the year, especially when it came time for home visits and no one came to pick her up. God showed her love to her though by providing alternative places for her to visit on school holidays - visiting the older children and Purity in Kalomo once and another time visiting Pastor Petrus and his family. Then one day (after dropping her at the Children’s home 2 1/2 years earlier) her grandfather showed up and wanted to see her. Funny enough she gave him the cold shoulder saying that she didn’t know him but things got better however and next visit he came to fetch her and has been keeping close contact ever sense. It is hard to feel like you are not wanted and it is great to see her now becoming more confident and more life in her eyes.
Cecilia is growing up fast also. She works hard with her studies, is shy and cute at times but also determined and strong willed when she wants to be as well. She is a great help in the garden and is looking forward to moving and going to school in Kalomo with her brother Sylvester in January.
Precious is still as sweet as can. When she first came to us she was very far behind in school and struggled to read , write or do even basic math. During Olivia’s year here with us she spent much time with Precious tutoring her one on one and encouraging her in the studies. After Olivia left we hired a tutor for her at the school and we are happy to report that she is now reading and able to do good practical math. Her grade 7 test results this year were an improvement from the year before but due to her struggles with school and her turning 18 next year we have decided to pursue means to teach her a trade – tailoring. Currently the plan is for her to go to Kalomo with Cecilia where she will receive personal instruction and an internship with a tailor in the town, while staying under the care and guidance of Purity there. She is very excited about this opportunity and we are very proud of how hard she has worked to get to this point, how far she has come, and what a sweet special young lady that she is.
And as for our children in Kalomo and the housemothers – Stay tuned….. Updates on that soon to come : )