Friday, December 4, 2015

Keeping Busy

It is December 4. The kids are finally finished with exams, hooray! They still have school for three days next week; not sure what they do on Monday, Tuesday is their Fun Day and Wednesday is the Honor’s Program. Then School’s Out for Summer!!! The kids will be off until the 13th of January and Grandma Karen arrives on the 12th. Whoop Whoop!

We are still, yes still, looking for a house. We wanted to go see one today, but the owners weren’t home. There is one other one that we are waiting and praying on, but this whole situation has really been testing our faith. There are days where I just don’t get it. It’s like, “Ok, God, we said we’d be out of here months ago! Why are things not moving along???” and then I start to feel stressed and icky, so I try to just let go, but then I feel like I am in denial.  There is a fine line there between denial and letting go, at least for me! So we are waiting, praying, and trusting and KNOWING that God has a plan and that His timing is never late or early!

Today we brought Amo to her family. She will be there until Wednesday, when we will fetch her for a couple nights. Friday she has appointments at the hospital and her aunt will be coming along to meet the physiotherapist and dietician who I have gotten to know over the past several months. Then I will bring them all back home again. We are thankful that we are still in this area and are around to help the family when they need a back-up plan!

For many people in South Africa, things are wrapping up right now and the December holiday is a time to go on vacation, take a break from work, sit back and relax, etc. While I am sure we will have plenty of time to chill, Darin and I are both really busy right now with different aspects of Take Action Ministry.

Darin has been really involved in Busetsa Wood, which is job creation initiative that is an off-shoot of Take Action. The hope is to train young men to build items to sell overseas, in crafters markets, and in their local area using old pallets. Busetsa means “to take back” or “renew” in Tswana, and the hope is that we will not only be able to renew old wood, but that in training young men, we will be able to “take back” their families from the grip of poverty and bring renewal to the local communities as well.

Here are a few of the products that are being made now.

Darin has a lot of involvement with the finances of Busetsa and setting up the business side of things. He will also be doing a bit more with the marketing for now, and hopefully a Facebook page and website will be up in the New Year. There might even be an opportunity for some of these items to be imported to the US, so save some of your Christmas shopping money if you see something you like!

Take Action recently got a huge book donation from Australian Books for the Children of Africa. These books were given to us at no cost, which is such a blessing as a lot of book programs require you to come up with your own shipping costs. I have been busy setting up an excel spreadsheet, listing the titles, authors, and condition of the books. This is the easy part as we also plan to make check-out cards and we really want to cover the paperbacks in plastic/contact paper to keep them in good condition for longer. I have 300 books on my spreadsheet, which are about 6 boxes worth of the books that we received. Only 10 more boxes to go, plus the various crates of books that I’ve been pulling out from donations we’ve received over the past year. My friend, Wanda, told me she also has loads of books, so I will be busy with this project for a while. We hope to have at least 2 portable libraries built, and filled with sorted and cataloged books by sometime in January. I might be enlisting Grandma Karen to help cover books if I can’t find some local help!

Tyson and Jori are really enjoying the recent influx of books into our house, as I’ve been taking a few boxes home at a time to sort and list in excel. They both love reading as you can tell. Jori even helped me by inputting data from 10 books. Administrative Assistant in the making!

Another program that is starting this week is something I have decided to call “Build Hope”. This is a program to support individual families that Take Action has some sort of connection with already. It may be a family that we know personally or that is involved with one of our community partner centres. We have been collecting fresh food donations from Woolworths, a high end grocery store, 2 days a week and have been awarded an extra day starting this week and will be taking on another day in January. This is really exciting as more food means more people we can help.

I made up a contract earlier this week for the families that will be in the Build Hope program. We want to make sure that we are not creating dependency, but rather coming alongside and helping the family to make positive changes in their overall situation. For this reason, the families that are involved need to have a measurable goal that they want to reach by not having to spend so much of their money on groceries. Maybe they will start a small business, pay off a loan, pay for job training, plant a garden, finish building their house, etc. Tomorrow the families will be coming to collect their food and will also be shown the contract. Please pray that this food will truly be a blessing to these families and that we truly will be prepared to walk a road with these families and encourage them to meet their goals! Pray also for the logistics and the language barriers as making sure people show up ON TIME and then understand what you are trying to tell them does not always happen! We do have a few local women who will be meeting with the families next week to go over the information sheet and contract so that everyone is on the same page J

The other big job Darin and I have to work on over the holiday is to get the distribution centre tidied up and put in order! This is no small task as there are constantly new things being brought into and leaving the distribution centre; JAM porridge deliveries, boxes of trousers, books, clothes, household items, furniture made by Busetsa, including shelves, tables and chairs, and so much more. Hopefully there will be a few cooler days so that we can work and not be overtaken by the heat!

In between all of this work, we will find time for fun. Hopefully we will be in a new house soon and the kids will be able to spend time exploring and getting to know their new surroundings. I am sure we will also take a few trips to the arcade and hang out with friends as well. We will be doing some fun things with Grandma Karen in January and my parents in March, so we aren’t planning on taking any trips over the school holiday, just hanging out, having fun and getting some work done as well!

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