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
Our visit will be from April 13-22 and will be a “team event” once again… SIX of us are going to minister to our orphans.
Or… if you are familiar with ‘Alice in Wonderland’, perhaps it should be named a BIG UN-BIRTHDAY BLOWOUT… because we will be celebrating EVERYONES birthday on that day!
At the UnBirthday Party… each little one will receive an outfit that YOU so generously donated at the end of last year.
we will be holding youth services with FLAMES from Thursday (13th) until Resurrection Sunday (16th)— all day, each day. What an opportunity this will be to bond with our kids, and teach them about Jesus, forgiveness, true love, and salvation.
I will also be giving a message called ‘Color Me Brave’ to the youth of our Majakaneng school. I will distribute workbooks to each dear one, and teach them about how to build healthy relationships and how to recognize abuse.
we will head for Oukasie to reach out to the unsaved youth that tend to aimlessly wander in that poverty stricken area. We are preparing plastic eggs filled with candy and Bible verses – after hiding them, we will supervise as the kids as they hunt for these Bible-filled treasures. Pray that the Spirit will direct the right kid to the exact meaningful verse each child needs to hear at that moment! While the candy will be sweet on their tongues for a moment, may the verses we select be a sweet savor in their hearts forever.
we will have a big meeting for the Oukasie youth… Pastor Kenny and Pastor Kurt will speak to their hearts and call them to salvation… call them to abundant, meaningful life through Jesus. Pray that the Spirit will prepare these young hearts to hear the Gospel, and pray that the Spirit will fill the mouths of our two faithful pastors with the words He wants these children to hear and absorb.
…we will be taking another select group of children to the therapy riding school for two days of socialization, spiritual, and emotional healing.
In my “spare time”, I will be working on getting an agreement that will allow us to start building the new kitchen!!!
… for traveling mercies
… for the health of all
… for safety and good weather
… for the Spirit to go before us and prepare hearts to receive His message
… for God’s will to be done in each heart
… for peace dealing with a full and crazy schedule
… that God’s Word will put down deep roots in the hearts of ALL who hear it
… that our kitchen project will be well received and finally be launched
AND, LAST BUT NOT LEAST… that we collect enough pictures and stories so that YOU can feel like you were there with us… for it is only through your generosity and obedience to the Lord that we can bless these wee ones with love, the news of salvation, clothes, food, moments of extreme joy, and again LOVE… your love.
I know we have been talking about our KITCHEN project for a VERY… VERY… VERY long time.
There is something I had only heard about, but now I have experienced it… when it comes to getting projects done, there is ‘American Time’ and ‘African Time’ and they are nowhere near equal. It is TRUE that most things in Africa take MUCH longer than we are used to expecting. This is not a value judgment; it is just a fact… and a factor when planning a big project in South Africa. I must confess, it has taught me A LOT about patience…
I have now three proposed kitchen plans and we are actively looking to choose a project manager! In September, I visited a brick factory. I then reviewed a few of the kitchen project quotes with the principal of our Majakaneng village school—Eunice.
Principal Eunice is very excited to see this the progressing we are beginning to make, and so are we!
When God allows… our cooks will be replacing their outdoor wood fires….
… with stoves and ovens in a big, modern INDOOR kitchen!
Our children will no longer eat in shifts in three or four different classroom, but will gather in one big dining room to eat… and bond together… and encourage each other… and do group activities together… and listen to Pastor Hendrick together!
Thanks to all of you faithful ZFK supporters who have donated, I have money in the bank waiting to be build this kitchen! As the project progresses, we may be forced to exceed our current budget… but we will labor to be good stewards of your donations and deliver the blessing YOUR kitchen will bring!
I am so excited… but we still need LOTS of prayer for our kitchen project!
Loving Father, You are sovereign over all things, even the projects and plans of men. We place our plans for a kitchen at Majakaneng village school in Your hands. We ask that You would bless our desire to serve the orphans in this school. We choose You to be the Senior Manager of this project. We choose You to select the plans, hire the right personnel, arrange for the delivery and assembly of all the building materials and appliances, keep it on budget – or expand Your funding for it, and we trust that You will set the project schedule to bring the kitchen project to fruition– not in American-Time or in African-Time, but in YOUR-time! Our trust is in YOU alone, because YOU alone are Able. We ask this by the authority of the great name of Jesus of Nazareth, Who had mercy on those gathered to hear Him… and He fed them all. Amen
I want to thank you ALL for being part of this project!! I will share the plans with you as soon as I find a sharable format! I love you all sooo much!
This September, I arranged a ‘test’ field trip with a few of our orphans to see how it would go. JUST WOW!!!!
Near Majakaneng village, there is a very, very special school named
“Opkyk Pathways Therapy and Educational Center”.
This school is especially oriented for vulnerable children, like our ZoeForKids orphans. Inside a converted old farmhouse they have built a computer and therapeutic school for children of need… and, close to my heart as you know, EQUINE THERAPY! YES, I SAID HORSES! The only thing better would be horses AND DOGS, but I digress!!!
But back to our story….
Our story starts in Majakaneng village school, where I chose 16 of our orphans to be our ‘test pilots’!
As we departed their township by taxi, two of our cooks lead us in a little prayer. We then piled into a local taxi! AT THAT MOMENT, the great adventure had begun! The eyes of these 16 children were as big as the moon.
You see, many of our kids have NEVER been in a taxi, and have NEVER gone beyond their township!
Their response was priceless!
As we were leaving, the taxi driver put on the music of their culture… and suddenly the brightest sunbeam hit inside our taxi… it nearly blinded me in tears! The hard outer shells of these abused and rejected children cracked – they became true ‘children’… smiling, boisterous, rejoicing children. Excitement beamed from each face and they began to dance and bounce with the bumps and turns of the taxi. I seriously, lost it. I wanted to hug each child and never return them to their meager shacks.
One child, who is albino, and her brother have been part of ZFK since 2008. I had NEVER seen them smile before. They had NEVER felt comfortable enough to interact with me, personally.
We soon arrived at the Opkyk Pathways Therapy and Educational Center. For perhaps the first time in their lives, they were able to just be kids, to let loose and JUST PLAY!
They lighted off rockets,
… they practiced balancing,
… they ate good food,
… they jumped on trampolines,
… they became masters of ‘sand art’…
… and most importantly– learned how to take care of a precious horse named Mercy,
walked and rode her and her friend around the arena,
… and loved on them ALL DAY LONG!
Most of all, they had FUN, they were able to be just kids enjoying their youthful energy and learning to open their hearts to the possibilities that life offers… a very rare opportunity to experience ‘life outside the village’… more than they have ever known or dreamed possible. I’m sure it was a surreal experience for them.
The thought keeps coming to my mind… that this is what going to heaven will be like for us. We are each so used to the routine and limitations of our lives here on earth, that we cannot even imagine or dream what God has in store for us. The boundless joy, the happiness that I saw in those little dear eyes… is just a foretaste of our future with our Lord Jesus in Heaven.
I still have not stopped smiling. Praise to our God the author of all true joy and satisfaction!
I have a prayer of thanksgiving to share with you, our precious ZoeForKids supporters! For years, we have been praying that God would provide a pastor who could commit to visiting our 300+ kids regularly and feeding their spiritual needs. So I would like to share… that GOD HAS ANSWERED OUR PRAYERS!!! PRAISE AND GLORY TO JESUS!!!!!!!!
Our tri-yearly outreaches have been great. During our visits, God has enabled us to bless them with… clothing, blankets, school supplies, personal hygiene…items of basic need; and Bible stories, players and speakers to teach them about God’s love for them. But these kids… like all kids… need constant, regular ministry of the Word of God.
It is my delight to share with you that the Heavenly Army of our God has landed “boots on the ground” in this battlefield for the souls and lives of our Zoe kids. As I write to you, there is now a team of dedicated South Africans who are devoted bringing the Gospel to them to our kids WEEKLY and caring for their spiritual needs!
Our team leader is Pastor Hendrick! He is a beloved, local South African pastor who has a deep heart and calling to serve the youth of SA. He and his team currently minister in MANY poor schools, and now… our Majakaneng Village school is an official stop on his weekly route. Pastor Hendrick is excited to be given this trust and is already busy at it.
Here’s how it works…
Through our ZFK nutrition program, classroom by classroom, our kids are fed a second meal at the end of each school day. Pastor Hendrick goes to each room during this time, sharing the Lord, sharing the Word, and praying with them. He reports there was one child with vision problems and as he prayed for him, all the others began coming for prayer and the ministry was amazing. He has asked nothing from us… because IT IS GOD WHO HAS CALLED HIM to serve these kids… like the Apostle Paul said in I Corinthians 9, he is compelled to preach and share the love of Jesus to see these little lives eternally changed.
As I have shared with you, many times, our dear wee orphans are surrounded by evil and live on a very violent spiritual battlefield. They are too often the victims of evil… Spiritism/Satanism, spiritual oppression, greed, theft, assault, sexual abuse and slavery, physical deprivation, death… the list of evil perpetrated against them just goes on and on. The Apostle Peter told us in his first letter, “Be clear-minded and alert. Your opponent, the devil, is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.”
There were times, over the last few years, when my faith began to wane and I thought that our service would be limited to just regularly providing for our kids physical needs. But then I would remember the founding vision of Pastor Martin Tivane, who loved these children so much but who was called Home to be with Jesus. Pastor Martin would always say, ‘We must continue to press through disappointments and challenges, and the day of victory will come’. The enemy is always at work trying in so many ways to destroy these little lives… these young souls—but we must press through to see them rescued in the name of Jesus!
I thank God for YOU, our faithful ZFK supporters. The blessing that has been rained on our orphans, ‘Spiritual Special Forces, Team Hendrick’, is because of YOUR faithful prayers and generosity. God has sent His ‘re-enforcements’ to this spiritual battlefield. I invite you to join me in covering Pastor Hendrick and his team in prayer.
Loving Heavenly Father, You are our Provider, our Protector! You are our God who sees our needs, hears the cries of Your children, and Who answers our prayers beyond what we can ask or dream! We praise You! We thank You for Pastor Hendrick and his team of volunteers. We thank You that You have called them to serve on the same battlefield on which we have also been called serve. Speak through them Your words of Life to the children of Majakaneng Village and all the other children they serve. May many young souls be saved and freed from the bondage of sin and evil. Bless their efforts each day to the Glory of Your Great Name! Protect all who serve and all those young souls who are served from temptation and from evil. Protect each one with the Whole Armor of God. Give Your people, the old and the young, great victory on the spiritual battlefields of South Africa. Push back the enemy, and let Your people flourish in the newness and abundance of life that only YOU can give. We thank You for calling us to Your service through ZoeForKids… through the power of Your Spirit, may we be faithful and always seek You and Your will for those who minister and for these vulnerable young orphans… may You remind us daily to cover them in prayer… Precious Lord, shelter them all in the shadows and under the feathers of Your wings. Brood over these young ones until they can fledge, and soar like eagles in Your Power. In faith… because You are Faithful… and You are Able… we ask these things by the authority of the name of Jesus of Nazareth, our Savior, our Lord, and our soon coming victorious King. Amen
Give praise to the Lord ALWAYS!!!
An update from Pastor Hendrick…
We were at the school this morning. We ministered God’s Word and laid hands… praying over all the children. We also prayed for all the teachers in the staff room after
I know, it’s been a while! I’ve been being pulled in many directions… but… I’M BACK!!!!
Many of you, our beloved and faithful ZoeForKids supporters, have been asking… WHEN IS YOUR NEXT DRIVE FOR OUR ORPHANS? WHAT ARE WE GOING TO BLESS THEM WITH THIS TIME?
I now have the exciting announcement you have all been waiting for…
On November 29, 2016… GIVING TUESDAY… we launched our January 2017 ‘Christmas’ Drive which we are calling: “LuLaRoe Goes to South Africa”
My sister and I are joining forces to purchase and deliver Mae dresses and Sloan Shirts AT COST for 300 of our wee ones—our dear orphaned children in South Africa!
Here is what they look like:
So if you would like to bless our kids this ‘Christmas’, please consider making a donation to fund the purchase of this clothing.
As you have faithfully done in the past, if the Lord leads you to donate to this cause, just click on the DONATE selection above. On that page you will find instructions to securely donate online, or how to direct your checks. We ask that if you send a check that you would write ZFK/LuLaRoe in the note section.
Check out LuLaRoe at (https://www.facebook.com/groups/LuLaRoeLoriPugh/)
Oh, and one more update on our kids— they are getting regularly fed in more ways than one!
Due to your generosity through the Lord. They are physically being fed through our daily nutrition program and their health has improved by leaps and bounds! And they are being fed SPIRITUALLY by the new visitations by Pastor Hendrick from a local SA Church.
Our “babies”, from the small to the tall… are ALL being blessed and are flourishing. Blessed be the name of the Lord! And I thank Him every day for YOU!
I just wanted to share with you this BIG THANK YOU for our October Celebration that we received from Pastor Alcy…
We would like to extent our gratitude to the Marchiano team and all the sponsors that are giving towards the work of God in South Africa.
It is because of your generosity that disadvantaged and orphaned children are fed, clothed, and are also equipped for learning.
Our hearts are deeply touched by your commitment and in the way that you reach out to us.
The teachings that you shared with our South African young people will help guide them into making the right choices in their lives.
Pastor Alcy Tivane
We at ZoeForKids would like to thank Pastor Alcy for all the hospitality shown to us on our visit. We count it an honor to serve these needy children to the glory of God, along side the wonderful saints in Flames Ministries.
Thank you, Pastor Alcy, for allowing us to participate in the great work that God is doing through your missions in South Africa!!!
October 2015! This was my 40th trip to South Africa since my first one, in May 2003.
…but for me the most exciting part was to see the street ministry in Oukasie.
Our VERY FIRST ‘kiddies crusade’ took place in Oukasie in December 2003… and throughout the years, we’ve done lots of street ministry there. BUT, on recent visits, we seldom did any work with the kids there. It has been a prayer of mine to see our team do some real work with the kiddies in Oukasie again!
I was OVERJOYED when our plans came together on this visit to have an after school activity time for the Oukasie kiddies as they walked home. During our activity time… and the message from Pastor Kenny we had more than 700 KIDDIES… all having fun… and hearing the gospel.
Thanks for your prayers!
We praise Jesus for what He did during the week!!!
The whole week was AMAZING as we watched God put together all the pieces to serve Him with our individual gifts and personalities! I love all the people I met, and hugged over a thousand!
I never want to forget the worship and am so grateful to be able to listen to the awesome CD of the South African worship.
They LOVED Allison’s Choice! The small groups of teens and young people, which we had the privilege to lead, was such a blessing… as they yearned to talk about the topic and discuss how to be strong to abstain in the first place.
I loved sharing my testimonies of answered prayers to the women on Sunday morning, and one of my fondest memories was when Sasi said, “Mamamoruti, I didn’t know God really answered prayers until I heard you, so thank you for sharing… because I’m going to start praying more now.”
I loved the pastors, the church families, Lorraine, Maggie, Miemie and John, school children, the shut-ins, the high school students, the park children, the squatters (a Muslim even played my keyboard there).
None of the opportunities we had would be possible if Bruce hadn’t started a ministry there.
The team jelled like we had been best friends all our lives. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!!!!
What a TRIP!!!! I don’t know that I had any expectations of what our mission trip to South Africa would look like, but I was fully confident that the Lord had His plan for each moment, and He did!
He let me see the hearts of so many people. People He loves so much and cares for… in ways I could never care for them. Our trip included a huge variety, from working with multiple age groups to getting accustom to traditions and culture that was different from mine. Pastor Alcy and the Flames Church have a huge heart for people to come to Christ and express that through many ministries, including feeding children. I was blessed by their intentional, genuine love expressed through the multiple ways they served others.
The young adults and teens that saw Alison’s Choice were full of questions and had a hunger to learn more of God’s plan… as well as wanting to be disciple… and involved in our small discussion group. They were very transparent in our discussions.
The children we ministered to were hungry for food and attention. They were very good listeners to God’s Word, as we shared lessons with them.
I guess if I were forced to sum up what I learned of significance on our trip… it would be that we are much more alike than we are different. We ALL have the need to be loved… the desire to have someone pay attention and make us feel important and valuable… and we ALL need our Lord Jesus and the grace He extends to us each and every day.
Finally, our team was FANTASTIC!!! Each member had their gifts and each was a willing servant to help with anything that was needed.
My wife Donna was great with music, working with the children, and speaking to the ladies as well as serving in multiple ways.
Sharon had so much good advice and experience that really helped prepare us daily. Her continued relationship with the people was obviously important to them.
Kurt, he is the most kind and considerate man I’ve met in a long time. He was so encouraging in words and actions… a living picture of Christ. He also has a great ability to interact with the kids, wonderful!
Patrick had a huge heart for capturing the moment through his pictures. He did struggle with illness but made our team so much better by being with us.
Sally, oh Sally… Her heart for this ministry is written all over her very being… so genuine and passionate… never an obstacle that can’t be overcome. She had the trip very organized and structured in a way that we could accomplish so many things. A true blessing!!
So many thoughts… so many possibilities. I thank Bruce for the opportunity to share in a piece of his world of ministry and appreciate his answer to the “call” God laid on his heart for South Africa.
“Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think” Ephesians 3:20
I cannot put into words the mighty work that God has done in our October trip to South Africa!
It is hard to explain or pick out the “best moment of all”… for ALL the moments combined into a week of amazing outreach… each day just as good or better than the day before. We thought we would do something different and let each team member speak for themselves about how they thought our week with our orphans in Majakaneng went… time with Flames church …. and time spent in several villages and schools reaching those in need of some love…
But, first… the rundown..
we had our first outreach with our 260+ orphans from the Majakaneng school… where we have our daily feeding program. All 260+ kids scampered onto the buses and came to the ‘tent church’ of Elandstrand. There… thanks to all of you!!!… they gleefully received backpacks… filled with school supplies and personal cards; handmade dresses… with our love sewn in every stitch… and food… and the Good News of the gospel!
we had an outreach for all of Flames youth and young adults… we showed Bruce’s brand new movie “Alison’s Choice” and then broke into discussion groups. This was topped off with a scrumptious meal and a message by Pastor Kenny. It was an amazing day, filled with active participation by OVER 200 youth!
we were privileged to meet with all of the Flames Churches that gathered at a village church in Mabaloka. There, the messages that each team member gave were INCREDIBLE and so was the reception of the people who heard….
we went and prayed for the shut-in’s! It was an all day event—traveling from one village to another… visiting shut-in’s… hearing their needs and praying with them….
we had our FIRST ever… Ministry in the Park of Oukasie—one of the most crime riddled villages in the area.
We had our Flames youth and pastors with us who went to the streets to gather kids for our outreach… and they came back with OVER 700 CHILDREN!
We had games, music, Bible stories… and a powerful salvation message at the end for all of them!
All children received T-shirts–donated by YOU, our supporters!
It was one of the first times we had done this and our Lord was merciful… the need was great… and there was a great outpouring of love to all. One little one came back to me with a big hug and said, “Thank you for coming to us!” … Oh, how that touched my heart, a jewel of heaven, touched by love…
we went to a high school that has been aggressively attacked by Satanists!
There we shared time and the gospel with the entire school.. Then, we went and had an outreach in a squatter camp where the poor and destitute came and heard the gospel and embraced the outpouring of love….
Our day ended Majakaneng school, spending time with our orphans… we played games… shared Bible stories… sang songs.. .
… a few faces got painted… and kids were giggling all over the school yard!
That’s MY rundown… each team member will be sharing a bit from their own perspective! … So many stories to tell and how God brings individuals together at points of need can be shared, for sure…
Thank YOU… for all the love, prayers and support you have given… Thank YOU for everything you gave and letting us be your ambassadors.
Our kids in the feeding program are doing SOOO WELL! Not one copper-topped head in our bunch! Nutrition needs are being met and we rejoice that we are able to bring that to these destitute children who have nothing! … Thank you for making our ministry possible!!!
Hi Sally and ZoeForKids friends,
It’s such a blessing to see how God uses people to do His work for Him! I used to just drag along and watch how you do things… and just “sponge” everything you do, into my brain, for “one day”!
Having your team in our country [South Africa] is truly from Heaven! We are trying to carry on with the seeds that you plant every time you are here, and we are so blessed to see the fruits!
Last week, Saturday, we gathered a few kiddies and I told them I want to teach them a song. I started singing ‘Do you know my Jesus’, then, a few voices carried on…’Deep deep, down down…’
We saw kiddies with familiar T-shirts that were handed out by the team, and that brought tears to my eyes… In my mind I saw Sharon with hundreds of little kiddies gathered around her feet… listening to her stories… pressing forward to get a kiss… and getting thrown by a ‘sweetie’.
Then there was Sally with the teens… hanging on to every word… listening to her teachings and illustrations of God’s wonderful love… playing all kinds of games… even with the little babies ( I don’t know where she gets the energy from).
Pastor Kenny, when he speaks to the children and adults, they keep quiet and take every word in… such powerful messages…
And then sweet, dear Donna! She has this beautiful ‘heavenly instrument’! Every time she plays, and people hear it… EVERYBODY just starts to smile and sings along…it’s like a magic tool that makes people happy!
Patrick, dear Patrick… always so friendly, running around with his camera. I admire his energy, and then he also gives powerful messages!
Then Kurt… he has so much love inside his heart for the kiddies. I wonder if the guy has a private life, because He just puts EVERYTHING into the kiddies…and when he starts laughing, the whole Brits community starts laughing… it’s just so contagious!
When these people team up and start working together, you can feel the Holy Spirit working through them! They don’t have to say much… everything just falls into His great plan!
I love you guys!!!
Greetings from Patrick!
As most may know, I’m one of “Sister Sally’s” mission team that has the honor and privilege of traveling to South Africa. Our mission is to in some small measure bring hope, love, encouragement and caring to our Flames Christian Family Church, and the precious orphans in the surrounding very poor villages. My task… beside an occasional “preaching,” and loving on the kids as they swarm me, wanting their picture taken… is to document our trips in video and photography. Have you ever smiled so much your face hurts? Well, that’s what the little ones do for me!
John 12:15-17… as Jesus told Peter: “… feed my lambs, care for my sheep – feed my sheep”.
This was Jesus’ commission to Peter… and we today should do the same.
This year’s trip, as you will read from Sally and others… was an AWESOME success. Well, that is… for everyone but yours truly. You see, the second night of our trip, I got violently ill, resulting in my being taken to a local hospital ER three days later. Let it be known – traveling with a MORE than qualified “Nurse” (… won’t mention any names, but her initials are SALLY HERMAN) has its benefits! I was well cared for.
Even though I was very sick and in tremendous abdominal pain, I got unbelievably BLESSED by our Flames Church family! Their love and caring for me… was something to behold. You see, on the night that Sally determined I needed immediate medical care, I entered the hospital ER waiting room, with two people assisting me as I could barely walk… only to see many of my beloved Flames family. They were there to greet me… and to pray for me.
I’m NOT ashamed to say… I broke down and cried, buckets… especially when I noticed my dear young brother in Christ, Tshepo… whom had gone out of his way to come and see me. Sally told me later… I had the whole room crying… including the hospital staff attending to me. Wow!!!
This much love… from people I see only once a year… there just aren’t words to adequately convey how I felt, and the love I have for them. My heart and soul goes out to these people. They not only accept us, they LOVE when we come to serve them… in some small way.
God has blessed me with my Flames Church family… I love them so much!!!
May God bless you and yours!
Ye ‘ol Irishman… Patrick.
Hello Sally and the ZoeForKids Family,
I just want to share some of my thoughts on my trip to South Africa.
It was one of the most amazing trips that I have been on. To see Christ at work in His body of believers in Flames Church is a sight to behold. I was honored to be on such a gifted team and to be doing many different jobs for the local church.
We worked with orphans in giving clothing, school supplies, school backpacks.
We ministered to high school and college age students in sharing the film “Allison’s Choice” and the breaking into groups to share and discuss this amazing movie. That fostered so many comments and questions in these young adults’ minds and hearts. This was a highlight because it got to the core of where a lot of these young people struggle with in their lives and in the lives of family and friends.
It was also a joy to share what Jesus wanted me to share with the men of Flames Church on Sunday. It followed nicely what Pastor Ken had shared earlier to the rest of the congregation. Jesus gets all the glory for what He did through the activities, sharing, prayers, and discussions with the people that He brought into our lives there.
We were well taken care of by the Flames church and their Pastoral staff and the staff at the guest house. It was all due to the fact that there were several hundred others who were praying for us and praying against the evil one, who would have enjoyed us not being able to serve and pray for so many in a short amount of time.
Thank you all for being on our team back on the home front… praying that Jesus Christ would be honored and glorified to so many. It is because of you that we were able to share Christ and Him Crucified to the glory of God.
May Christ richly bless you!
… discussing what would be the best way to bless our orphans this coming fall.
(OK, I will tell them… She says, “Hi!”)
We talked about our ZoeForKids orphans in Majakaneng… how adorable and courageous they are… oh, those smiles and giggles are infectious. Zoelle laughed and laughed…reminding me how much our little ones have grown in the last five years that we have served them… and how new little ones have joined the ranks in the lower grades.
Then it came to us…
…That’s a lot of growing, and a lot of wear and tear under the bridge.
…with the Lord’s leading and YOUR generosity, we want to bless each of our 300 orphans with STUFFED backpacks… chock full with all sorts of back to school goodies. To do that, we would need to collect $20.00 per child. The reason we want to collect funds instead of physical backpacks, like we did in 2011, is to avoid having to explain that the 300 stuffed backpacks are ‘carry on luggage’ and then have to ‘pray them through’ South African customs!!!
So we ask you to please prayerfully consider going to the DONATE page on zoeforkids.com and making a donation to cover one or more backpacks.
If you can’t afford a backpack… donate whatever you can and we will put it toward their essentials like pens and paper.
If you can’t afford to donate… we still covet your prayers!!!
Zoelle and I… and all our orphans appreciate you sooo much and the many blessings that the Lord rains down because of you.
I’m happy to announce, that I WILL BE keeping up the tradition of HAND CARRYING pillowcase dresses to our little girls… and to some of our ‘not so little’ girls!!
A great friend and ZoeForKids supporter, Deyanne Koster, participates in a wonderful sewing ministry through her church, Cedarhome Baptist Church in Stanwood, Washington. The ministry’s name is called ‘Jackie’s Laughter’… it continues the mission of a dear saint named Jackie who went home to be with the Lord in 2012. (https://www.facebook.com/Jackies.laughter12?fref=ts)
WELL… for months and months, Deyanne and her friends have been busily sewing BEAUTIFUL dresses for our little orphan gals. Sooo… at the end of September all those wonderful dresses will be arriving at my door.
Heh, heh… Zoelle just said we were going to have a “DRESSAPALOOZA” in the garage. Oh, how she loves sitting on top of all those neatly stuffed duffle bags!!!
So, please join Zoelle and I in saying a big “THANK YOU” to the wonderful, talented, generous, and loving ladies at Jackie’s Laughter. There are going to be so many wee hearts swollen with joy… going happily back to school in their brand new summer dresses… each stitch made with love. I will take lots of pictures so we can all share the joy.
I plan on taking groups of kids from Majakaneng Village for equine therapy at a nearby equine therapy ranch. The owner is a wonderful Christian sister. Her healing ministry that blesses both children and horses, is so close to my heart… I cannot tell you how excited I am.
Keep our wee ones in your prayers… not only for our October visit, but every day. Our orphans need and appreciate your intercession on their behalf… for all of their daily needs, their blessings, their protection, their love comes from our Father and through YOU. Thank you for all that you do, and for partnering with us!!!!
Back to lazy summer nap time…
Our May 2015 trip to South Africa is in the books!
I can’t tell you what a blessing our trip was!!!! It was amazing…. thanks for the prayers… because with God’s blessing and guidance it was a big success! I can’t thank you enough for praying and loving these kids from afar! May God bless all who devoted time, resources, and prayer to this week of outreach! It really was TRULY amazing…. If I haven’t said it before (haha!)… THANK YOU SOOOOO MUCH!!!!
Because of God and YOU, many people… many different GROUPS of people have been blessed… not only our kids at the Majakaneng School… but the teens, the babies and the ‘gogos’ at Flames Christian Church as well. I want to send a special thanks to all the “surrogate” mom’s and dad’s out there… for without your prayers, labor, and financial support… NONE OF THIS would have been possible. Thank you all… I love you all!!! Thank you for allowing me to be the instrument of the Lord’s blessing , through YOUR generosity and faithfulness… sometimes I feel guilty, because I am the one who gets to see the joy and thankfulness in the eyes of those YOU have blessed… What a privilege to represent you!!!
May is a hard month for me, because it is the month that we said ‘goodbye’ to Pastor Martin. While we thank God for the comforting knowledge that Pastor Martin is yet alive and in the presence of the Lord, for those of us who he left behind… our hearts cry out because of his absence and the feeling that he was called to be with the Lord “too soon”. We don’t understand why he was taken in the prime of his life, BUT, his family and his ministries continue to honor the Lord and Pastor Martin… living out his legacy… working to fulfill his vision for the churches he planted and the children of South Africa who he LOVED!
So, join me as I retell the South African adventures WE (ALL ZoeForKids supporters and team members… and me) had…
Sharon and I arrived safely in South Africa and were greeted by Pastor Alcy (Pastor Martin’s wife)!!!!
What a faithful, energized, and talented woman of God!
ALSO, being a woman of FINE TASTE, she did her hair style today… just like mine!!!
The entire congregation of Flames Christian Church sends their greetings to all ZoeForKids supporters… yes, it would be appropriate to wave back at this point… They love you as much as you love them!!
Over 200 of the Flames Youth teens gathered for an amazing day of teaching and worship. What an amazing group of young people!!!
I presented a teaching about Eleazar and seeking the will of God in your life…
(Link to my notes: THE BEST LOVE STORY EVER)
Eleazar, a ‘type’ of the Holy Spirit, was commissioned by Abraham to go find a bride (Rebekah) and bring her home to his son and her groom, Isaac.
I challenged them to make a contract of God… asked them to give God a ‘blank check’… to give God permission to write the details of their lives from this day forward. Would YOU sign a blank document before you know what the details are? …. Most of us wouldn’t. But would you if you knew the author was God? Do you trust Him enough to surrender the pages of your life and let HIM write the story?
Here is the contract I asked them to sign…
I called them to realize that they could step out in faith, as Eleazar did, and allow God to direct each step… and live a life with eternal importance. We talked about Gideon, and how he asked God to reveal His will by using a ‘fleece’. Do you want God’s Will even before He shows it to you? Do you trust Him enough to turn over every blank page of your life, so HE can fill it?
And step out they did… there was a line out the door
The girls signed…
The boys signed…
… I witnessed their signatures…
YES, the ALL signed!!! They ALL affirmed their commitment to let God have His way in their lives. 200 lives newly committed to seeking out and walking in the will of God!!!
It was answered prayer… would YOU sign it?
My ZoeForKids teammate and colleague from Marchiano Ministries, Sharon Puterbaugh gave a wonderful message on Christian living from Romans 12 that the teens just LOVED.
She impressed upon them that the Body of Christ cannot work effectively and efficiently unless every organ… every appendage… every CELL is alive, awake, and doing its job. Where there is ‘sickness’ or malfunction… the whole Body suffers.
We also had a street outreach in the village of Oukassie. Lots of kids came out to hear the gospel as Sharon fascinated them with her bubbles and sleight of hand presentations.
Many of our talented ZFK supporters not only hand knit and crocheted hats for our orphans… they also made wee ones for the infants and toddlers at Flames Church. Yes, there are orphans in the Church family who are being raised by grannies, aunts and uncles. Also, given the sexual child abuse and the irresponsible nature of young men in their culture, it is not surprising that there are also unwed mothers in the church. Thank you ladies for caring for ‘the least of these’… the babies!!! Warm hats for the babies of Flames!!! Those little gifts were so needed and so loved!
This precious little guy is about 6 months! This is his granny watching over him…
She told me that all her grandchildren were blessed by a ‘sangoma’… the local village witch doctor… except this one….. This little guy was blessed by Pastor Alcy Tivane!!! …that is why he is twice the size of other babies his age!!! LOL!!!
I spoke to the gogo’s about the power of a woman to save a household… it was a teaching on Abigail. Here are my notes: THE POWER OF A WOMAN TO SAVE A HOUSEHOLD The thought of “me” speaking to gogos about powerful women…LOL… they are the embodiment of POWERFUL WOMEN!!!
When we visited in the fall of 2014, we took pictures of each of these dear ladies. On this trip we presented each of them with their personal portrait… They LOVED them!!!
Sharon presented them with rice tote bags made in Cambodia and letters written by her ‘Rosebud’ friends.
SUCH beautiful women of God! SUCH a blessing to the Church and our kids.
The weather in South Africa is beginning to turn cold… winter is fast approaching, officially arriving June 21!!! It gets rather cold in the shacks, down to 30 at times… and in the classrooms!
We visited our ZFK orphans at Majakaneng Primary School to distribute warmth – – coats, hats, gloves… and LOVE. Pastor Alcy joined our visit… and was swamped by loving little ones…
Our ZFK supporters donated enough money to purchase 250 coats IN SA… YES, this time I didn’t have to lug 20 huge duffle bags… AND they match their school uniforms. Do you know, this will be the FIRST COAT some of these children have ever had?
I did however, personally ‘escort’ some of the handmade and/or purchased hats, scarves, and gloves that YOU sent to me for this trip!!! Sharon carried over 200 hats handmade by her sisters in her Church.
Thank you all who have blessed our kids with the gift of winter warmth!!!! Our vulnerable ones have been blessed beyond their dreams!
Here are some photos of our little ‘fashionistas’ modeling … and LOVING…their new winter best:
What is all the commotion?
This is what it is like to read a story to over 100 of our kids all at once!!!!!!
Some of the emotions our orphans have to face is loneliness and abandonment. The book we are reading is The Invisible String. It is a story about two children who run to their mother during a scary storm, she comforts them by telling them about the Invisible String, which connects people who love each other no matter where they are and it means that they are never alone. ZoeForKids wants each of these dear ones to know that they are never alone… Jesus is ALWAYS with them… and there are many people all over the world, especially their ZoeForKids friends… who love them and pray for them.
AND WHAT’S A PARTY WITHOUT GOOD GRUB?
Here are our beautiful and talented cooks in action… having just carried their HUGE caldrons in from the outdoor kitchen!!!!
Fatima is our ZoeForKids head cook who personally makes sure ALL the orphans are fed and makes sure the food is blessed before they eat. She is so faithful. Serving these children is truly her passion.
You see… she, too, was an orphan herself and knows their lives ‘from the inside’… she WILL NOT let anyone on HER watch suffer like she did….
The deputy of the school took control over the excited kiddy chaos and made sure that no one ate until they prayed and gave thanks!
They had TRIED to wait patiently… with various degrees of success…
Thanks to YOU and your prayerful generosity, you funded not only this mini-party, but you have funded the entire ZoeForKids Feeding Program.
This program provides our orphans with two nutritious meals a day, AND provides our most at-risk orphans with much coveted take home ‘dinner’meals, and school break meals!!!
These two little brothers are bringing treasure back to their bare-cupboard shack.
This is the face of ‘success’…. a face of hope and health…awaiting his extra meal before leaving school…. This face is an example of what a little bit more food does for a child. He glows!
No child should EVER have to worry about not getting enough to eat at home… and eliminating this worry from the mind of EVERY CHILD is one of ZFK’s key missions.
This picture says it all!!! After we fed all our at-risk children, this little guy came back to the kitchen to lick out the pans… he didn’t want one drop to escape him…
I don’t have words to describe what this does to my heart… Lord, have mercy on our babies!!!
Thank YOU for the success of our winter outerwear distribution drive… especially those of you who worked your knitting needles and crochet hooks into a frenzy! There are 250 little orphans who will be much warmer this winter… all because of YOU and YOUR LOVE.
Thank you all for the support of our feeding program…
thank you for improving health,
thank you for less empty rumbling in tummies…
it’s all because of your faithful giving and the labor of faithful saints like Fatima.
Someday soon, Jesus is going to come for His own. When that happens we are ALL going to stand in His presence… along with Pastor Martin and ALL our kids… After worshipping Him together, lets plan a HUGE ZoeForKids Hug Fest!!! I can’t wait to personally meet each one of you who have prayed, given and watched over our little ones … who faithfully continue to support the feeding program; covering the costs of the shipments from Tender Mercies and the wages of our African cooks.
YOU and YOUR PRAYERS are so critical to our mission… I depend on you… the kids depend on you … now, we need to work toward building an indoor kitchen.
Would you please pray with us that God would move the hearts of landowners, village officials, contractors, wholesale or retail kitchen suppliers, and donors so that we can bless the orphans of Majakaneng with an enclosed, efficient, sanitary, indoor kitchen???
We have a vision… we need God to make a way, if it is in His Will. Also, pray that we are able to discern His Will, step by step…
… we may have to invest in a ‘fleece’ like Gideon did!!!
Go to our new Kitchen Project Video:
After my big “Congo Adventure”, I’m going to be preparing to visit our wee ones in South Africa in May. YES, I am also going to be meeting with people about planning the kitchen…
BUT… as our kids will soon be entering the winter season… I was ALSO thinking… (boy, are we ALL in trouble!!! HAHA!!)… maybe we should do a fundraiser so that I can locally buy coats for our orphans when I get to SA… (that way I wouldn’t have to hand carry them all!!!)
Pray about it, please!!! I’m figuring it would cost about $10 per coat… what do you think? Is anybody up to this challenge? Do you think we could do this by May?
I could hand carry donated hats, mittens, and scarves, if you find any end of season sales or want to put your knitting needles to good use… but I think collecting the funds for warm coats will be most important. If you are with me on this… go to the DONATE menu option above… AND CLICK IT!!! You will be able to donate any amount though Paypal, or get the information you would need to send a check.
May God bless each of you as we seek to bless these fragile little ones with warm winter coats.
Also… let’s pray their winter is NOTHING LIKE the one we’ve had in the northern hemisphere… I hear our Zoe friends Bev and Betty have spotted polar bears moving onto the glaciers that are still on their lawns!!! HAHA!
THANK YOU for considering participating in this fundraiser. – – Sal
Please redouble your prayers for our little ones in Majakaneng.
Their village is experiencing violence and decreased government assistance causing riots and such… We don’t know all the details yet, but we will let you know when we know more! Thank you in advance for your love, care and prayers of support. Our little ones… these vulnerable sweet children need to be fed and they need to be surrounded by angels to keep them safe from all evil. By your prayers… the prayers of the saints of God, to the King of the Universe… we CAN help feed them and protect them.
Dearest Heavenly Father, send Your angels to surround our children in South Africa… with their swords raised, protect them from the evil that surrounds and threatens them. Send your angels to cover and guide the delivery of the shipments and distribution of food. You are our Rock and our Protector… our strong Fortress. Our faith is in You alone, oh Lord. We commit our ZoeKids to Your personal care. We pray this in the name of Jesus, our Savior and Protector of our souls. AMEN!
You may be thinking…
“Why do you do what you do?”
“Why are your supporters so moved and motivated?”
Please watch this AWESOME video. This is why:
(This wonderful video is from the YouTube post of Eric Ludy of the Ellerslie Mission Society and is called “Depraved Indifference”)
It is still early in the year, so I haven’t collected my thoughts on what we should do for our 2015 collection drives and projects. (Who am I kidding, you all know how busy I have been globe trotting for little ones all over the world and getting my house back to pre-storm working order!!!) But it’s time to get planning (almost) for our Zoe Kids.
Here is what we need to do this year….
1. “SA Winter” Collection Drive (for delivery in May): Do you have any ideas??? Let’s hear them! … some ZFK supporters have told me they are working on scarves and hats.
2. In 2015, we want to kick off our Majakaneng Kitchen Project for the school. Please pray for us as we start planning, financing, and figuring out how we are going to bring this vision into a reality for our kids. I especially need the Holy Spirit to show me how to get started and how to do this well.
3. For our “SA Summer” Collection Drive (for Christmas delivery) we have been blessed with a surprise gift for the girls in the schools in Majakaneng and Maboloka (see more below). We still have to come up with ideas on what to do for the boys.
Let me introduce you to the, soon to be internationally famous and well-loved Cedarhome Seamstresses!!
HERE THEY ARE….
THESE beautiful, talented, and compassionate ladies are from Stanwood WA. They attend the Cedarhome Baptist Church and VOLUNTEERED to craft 300 beautiful dresses for our little ZFK gals… all to be distributed in October!!! I am… all of ZFK is… so blessed by their surprise gift. I didn’t even ask… God is at work through them and is providing for our wee girls in AMAZING ways!!
Just look at those adorable dresses!!! They bring tears to my eyes! There are going to be many grateful little orphans in October… not only from our new school of orphans in Maboloka, who didn’t participate in our last dress drive, but also from those in Majakaneng who have grown out of… or worn out… their old dresses. I can see the broad little smiles and the tears already!
Here is their fabric table… just waiting to be crafted… transformed… into 300 AMAZING summer dresses for our ZFK young ladies. It humbles me to know that they chose to do this out of their own passion for our kids and the leading of the Lord we serve!!! THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!! I love you all!
Zoe For Kids supporters are the best! You are all so full of the Lord’s compassion for ‘the least of these’… His vulnerable, orphaned children in South Africa.
I promise to get back to you soon with some firm plans for our collections and projects. I love you all sooooo much!