I think it is a bit late to wish you all a good new year so I wish you a good 5/6th balance of a good year instead. Hopefully it has been a good start for all our friends and supporters.
Certainly here at HNO we have started off with a bang. We have stepped out in faith and admitted 6 more children into our daycare program and Mary and the staff together with assistance from the physiotherapist and occupational therapist who visit us every month from St Apolonaris hospital have started individual programs of exercises and stimulation for these little “newbees”. Five of these children come from a residential home for disabled children that has recently opened up in Bulwer. Most of them suffer from Cerebral Palsy and in the short while that they have been coming for therapy there is already an improvement in some of them.
We have also opened our doors on a Monday and a Thursday to 12 mentally disabled children and young adults who are physically more active. We have worked out a program of activities for them and they love visiting us and playing in our lovely playground and sharing a nutritious lunch with our other children. These youngsters also live in the recently opened home in Bulwer, which is run by a very courageous and loving ex teacher who is running the home on a shoestring budget. More about her another day.
So you can imagine how busy and noisy Mondays and Thursdays have become here at the centre. But it is a happy noisiness!
Three of our new children who have been admitted this year.
Of course, you will know what is coming next. As we turn in one direction to welcome these children we turn in another direction with our hands cupped. Although our basic overheads such as electricity, maintenance, administration etc is not affected and therefore taking on more children makes it very “cost effective” in that we are able to utilize our assets and resources to reach out and assist more children, the burden will fall on our food bill and possibly a need to increase our staffing. Working on one extra care giver per four children and about R200 for food (two meals a day) each child will cost us an extra R500 per month. We would like to appeal to anybody who might want to sponsor a child, or share sponsor one. We would send you half yearly reports on the child.
THAT WAS THE GOOD NEWS AND NOW FOR THE BAD…
On Sunday the 24th of February one of our vehicles was stolen. Even, as we know that this is almost par for the course in our country it still comes as a shock when it happens to you. The vehicle was taken in the early hours of the morning while Carol and Neil were asleep despite our very good fencing (razor wire on top) and two big dogs. This is the first incident of that nature to have happened in over 8 years and we will be looking at stepping up security at the centre but we would ask for your prayers for protection in the future. The vehicle was insured but is very old with high mileage and so we will not easily be able to replace it. We are now down to two vehicles and we will manage with that but it will take some extra juggling. In the meantime the show must go on…
AND IN PIETERMARITZBURG THE SHOW IS DEFFINITELY GOING ON…
Our branch in Pietermaritzburg is quietly and determinedly carrying on with their ministry in the prisons. Recently Andy and Xolani have had more doors opened to them to get into prisons to address the inmates. This work with prison requires a lot of patience, determination, transparency and faithfulness. Over the years they have managed to gain the trust of the Correctional Services. But it is slow going and for as many successes there are many more failures. But neither Xolani or Andy have given up despite many setbacks and disappointments. For them every single person who genuinely turns his life around makes the hard work worth while.
Andy has formulated a course in which offenders are taught about forgiveness, relationships and how the choices they make affect the quality of their lives. It has been very successful and he has even had inquiries from Colenso and Harrismith. Xolani has been asked even in the community to address young people with these ideas. Here is one of the reports from Andy:
“Sometime ago Xolani helped two youngsters reconcile with their parents somewhere near Greydown. The Induna was at the reconciliation and asked Xolani to teach his youth: Well 4 weeks ago he called Xolani and had organised a day where he could teach young people. He got there at 8.30 to find 80 young people already there. The Induna had provided teas , lunch etc and arranged the whole thing. They had three sessions ending at 3.30. The same the next week and last Friday also. The booklets are being used as material and back up and the young people are enthusiastic! The Lord is good.”
How much more effective to influence the youth before they land up in prison!!!!
This week Andy and Xolani were given the opportunity to do an intensive 3 day course with juvenile prisoners and I will report on that next time.
Here we have Andy, and then Mqomboti an exprisoner but now a co-pastor of a large church, then his daughter in front of him, then Nkosiyazi, an ex-prisoner who is a strong believer working for Andy and an evangelist at heart, and lastly Hlanganani, who was celebrating 5 years of being bailed out by Andy (he was in prison for 2 years with no court case and then after Andy bailed him out his case was thrown out of court.)