IF WE HAD ONE WORD TO SAY.. That one word would be Joy
“It is His joy that remains in us that makes our joy full.” ~ A. B. Simpson
“This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalms 118:24
It’s been a while… a long while… since I’ve updated you on what ZoeforKids is up to! The reason has more to do with my life being jam packed… NOT that nothing is happening at ZFK! Amid the madness of day to day life… one priority always stands out: our collective love for our 250 vulnerable children in South Africa! They will ALWAYS be our priority!
Now, before I update you on our amazing Easter week outreach… I HAVE to share some long awaited news!
Because of your generous donations, and many years of faithful patience, we have finally gotten the right African project team together!
Based on our current plans, and with your covering prayers, we are shooting for the kitchen to be fully constructed, equipped, and operational by sometime in September!
Our budget is a bit underfunded, but that won’t stop the progress in the least! (I can always work more shifts!) The Lord has done and is doing great things! Soon our cooks will no longer labor in the ‘open air’ kitchen!
THERE is no greater JOY than gathering with fellow believers to celebrate the anniversary of our Salvation and our blessed hope of Resurrection! The Lord has risen! He is alive! He revealed His face, His blessing, and His glory to us in every way possible during our week-long outreach!
In South Africa, the Flames Christian Church gathered from Thursday night… all the way until Resurrection Sunday evening, for a holy celebration that is hard to put into words!
Our ZFK team stood alongside our African brothers and sisters as we walked through Christ’s death starting from Thursday till Friday night; we waited in hope and anticipation thru Saturday and then… on Sunday we celebrated with JOY the resurrection of our Lord with communion and incredible worship!
There was dancing, praying, salvations, testimonies and each of us gave messages of hope: African and American together! Even now, as I am driving to work… as I am doing housework… as I am feeding horses or my little Zoelle… I break out in a broad smile. Even now, I am still overwhelmed with JOY… I can’t quite contain it, it spills over in a deep far away smile, it rolls down my cheeks as tears of joy, as the sounds, sights and worship from Africa takes me far away from wherever I am. It lifts me up!
Each day brought with it MORE JOY in different ways! The Monday after Easter is always a holiday in South Africa. We decided to have an outreach in one of the most dangerous villages in NW Britts: Oukasie.
This place needs the Lord’s salvation like nobody’s business! It is quite unsafe and you can’t be in this village past dusk. You might remember that we have held crusades here in the past. Sister Sharon has done major street ministry here, as well.
We chose the town hall as our ‘headquarters’ and there we held a games day, the wrapping it up with a message of hope and salvation.
Of course, we provided refreshments: peanut butter sandwiches and sweeties!
It is not hard to gather a crowd in Africa, really. All you have to do is set up a sound system and the children gather around and start dancing. It reminds me of how children always were attracted to Jesus and He wrapped His love around each one.
I’m sure Jesus didn’t have a sound system or sweeties, but I’m sure the disciples sang Psalms, and there were loaves and fish for all!
Oh, Lord Jesus may people always see YOU within us! May we always faithfully share Your message of Life, and Love, and Forgiveness, and Hope, and Salvation. Ever fill us with Your Spirit and draw people to Yourself through our messages faithfully given so that the called will come, repent, seek You, follow, and be filled with Your eternal JOY!
Just look at these pictures! It was a day to remember! In the youtube video below that you can actually see and hear the sounds of Oukasie! We set up several stations with different games, competitions and prizes! We had a big message at the end and even some adults joined in the fun!
We were helped by Flames Youth and the day was quite-a-day!
This was the day that we celebrated EVERY BIRTHDAY for ALL OUR KIDS! Thanks to all the donations we received at Christmas for new clothes we had a BIG party for all 250 of our vulnerable children at Majakaneng school!
They each received a new outfit,
… birthday cake
… and birthday cards filled with love!
Pastor Kenny had a great message about Nicodemus and his ‘birthday’ question…
“How can I be born again?”
It was a beautiful day and THEN the MOST joyful moment came in like a flood for me. In fact, JOY came rolling down my cheeks as it happened. God showed me in His way that our daily feeding and pastoring of our kids several times a week really REALLY is making a difference.
That moment played out like this:
After Pastor Kenny and Kurt were finished with their message about eternal birthdays, I asked our kids who wanted to say a prayer before we cut the cake?
One little boy hesitated at first… he attempted to raise his hand, several times in fact. He finally built up the courage and came onto the platform to offer a prayer.
As he came up, tears were rolling down his cheeks and he refused to look at anyone. I hugged him and told him he didn’t have to do it, if he didn’t want to. But, he continued forward without saying anything to me and took the microphone. As he started his prayer in Tswana, the tears continued to flow down his cheeks. The prayer continued on and on.
I couldn’t understand the words of this humble prayer –
…. but my heart could,
… and our Father certainly did!
It was one of those moments… the world went quiet… the heavens opened up… Jesus tuned His ears into this humble plea and I believe all the angels looked down in wonderment.
He prayed for at least 5 minutes straight, becoming more earnest with each second. The crowd of children stood silent. I simply had no words to speak after he was finished.
… and so did I …
… and our JOY was made complete.
That evening the ZFK team was invited to speak to a local youth group. The youth belonged to the church attended by one of our South African volunteers, Lorraine. We had an amazing evening and the youth group was so energetic about worship! It was an incredible night to remember and many hearts were touched—theirs and ours!
They got certificates at the end of our messages that were signed by each one of us —encouraging them to give God the blank page of their lives so that HE can fill it with what HE desires! They were encouraged to be Daniel’s of their generation!
A local cheetah sanctuary invited 60 of our orphans to come to the park for the day! So we loaded the children up in taxis and off we went!
We hiked through the park and even had a huge Easter Egg hunt!
It was quite an experience to load the children up and take them out of their village! Some had never been outside of their village and were wide-eyed with curiosity and pure happiness! Some had never seen live cheetahs, wild dogs, and vultures!
It truly was one of the best days filled with awe and wonder at seeing a bigger view of God’s creation… and the JOY we felt was palpable in every second….
We got the privilege of going to Opkyk Pathways Education Center. They invited 30 of our orphans, many of whom suffer from being HIV+, to come for the day and learn by…
… participating in some science projects,
playing soccer, and jumping on trampolines,
… building with Legos,
… setting off rockets,
… and grooming and riding horses!
… did I mention there were HORSES???
This was an incredible day of great JOY! The kids were completely outside of their normal environment and were able to ‘let loose’ and be kids for the day—but, also learn a few things too! We thank this Education Center built for handicapped children for inviting us to come alongside their children and enjoy a day! Every handicapped child at the school added their laughter to the giggles of our children!
Our last day was Thursday. After our Opkyk adventure we went back to our Majakaneng school.
We played a few games…
And we enjoyed the chaos of attempted to say goodbye to our coworkers…
… and to our kids. How does one say goodbye? Look at those faces…
The good thing is, when you are a Christian, it is NEVER goodbye… it is only, “Take care and be blessed, until we meet again or at Jesus feet!”
“These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” John 15:11-12
“It is His joy that remains in us that makes our joy full.” ~ A. B. Simpson
I can’t thank each of you enough—for what you are doing for these vulnerable children of Majakaneng. With our little orphan boy’s prayer—God showed me.
Lives are being touched.
Lives are being changed.
Hope is in the air.
Our Joy Is Being Made Complete.
I love you all so very much, Thank You for what you are doing for the least of them…
Thank you for letting me share our trip with you, Sal