Qwa Qwa Newsletter October 2016

Incorporating: The Mustard Seed

Using Scripture Union materials and programmes

Registration Number: 137-284 NPO

Qwa Qwa Newsletter

October 2016

Praise God for Julia who heads up the work of the Mustard Seed Children’s Centre. This newsletter is dedicated to the work that Julia does at the Mustard Seed, and the children who reside there under her care. This letter is about five children who were brought into the Mustard Seed and changed the direction of this ministry. In the next few newsletters we will try to introduce you to some of the other children who live at the Mustard Seed.

The Mustard Seed: Five children rescued from hell.

A very thin childish brown body lay on a sandy floor. Her legs pulled up close to her scarred body, with lymph nodes swollen, she waited anxiously whilst the woman who had carried her for nine months, haggled withhold drunken men for money. She was six years old and had been doing this since she was five. It made her mother happy, because her “job” provided her mother with money to buy alcohol. And if the business showed a profit, she just might be rewarded with a stick sweet. To a family of seven her job was vital. Her three brothers knew she did this, and often joked about the money they had made with that monstrously overweight old man, who paid twenty rand to participate in an act called, “The ham sandwich.” Their mother was so proud of them that night, and they were given cakes that had real jam inside.

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The children understood that their mom could not work, and accepted that their job was to help her. It usually fell on their sisters thin little shoulders to bring in the money. Their rotund mother drove a hard bargain though, she would fight and haggle until, the stinking, unwashed and usually diseased ridden old men, paid her the right price. In a land, where aids is rife and superstition abounds, their six year old sister, with the swollen glands, and who was covered in strange looking lesions, was busy. A man knew that sex with a virgin would remove AIDS from his body. Their mother was so smart, as she explained that “the girl” was a virgin. They paid double for that. As an agreed on price was settled on, “the girl”, closed her eyes, turned her small head to the side, and waited for the first man to do, what men seemed to love doing. “The girl” did not understand this fact, as she hated the feel of their sweating skin and their greedy groping paws. She had learnt now to blank her mind, and she could dispassionately, watch this whole scene from her own numbed out zone, and feel nothing. For you see “the girl” had lost herself worth, and her emotions, a long time ago. She always felt like a dead plastic, lifeless doll. Occasionally she would feel a terrible scream arising from her solar plexus, and threatening to come out.

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But she was disciplined to halt it. And at the age of six, she was a strong mannequin, lifeless, but strong. There was no escaping, it just seemed to be “the thing” that “kids” did. She knew nothing else. She knew she hated it, but sometimes, funny spasms, that were quite pleasurable, would grip her. It made a girl of six very muddled. But who cared anyway, she was just a filthy whore. Sometimes “the girl” wished she could die. She tried to hold her breath, and hoped she would just slip away, but she could not keep it up. She did nothing right, but then, she was just a useless whore, only created to satisfy the lusts of men.

This life carried on for three more agonising years. One day “the Girl” and her brothers saw, a funny looking young man. He looked funny for he was another colour. He came to Matshekeng Village, and he asked them if they were hungry. “The girl” got ready to do her thing for food. The young man just pushed her away and started feeding them. When he saw their shack with no roof, as the mother had sold the zinc to buy alcohol, and as he spoke to the other women in the village, he told them to get into a big van. He was going to take them to his mother’s house. Too surprised, and not understanding the funny language this pale young man spoke, and loving the taste of bread and polony, they all followed.

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“The girl”; her big brother of twelve, who lived on the streets, and had an acquired taste for benzene and glue; her eleven year old brother, who possessed remarkable intelligence, but had the urge to run away all the time. They were accompanied by a “munchkin” of a boy, aged seven, and an unruly baby girl. The little family that would change His ministry, from a ministry of feeding, giving out clothing, and a drop in centre, into a child and youth care centre, This was a step into many unknown areas. So there stood these five little scruffs, diseased, utterly broken, and a huge psychological mess. We had to physically force them to enter our door.

They had never seen a white woman before. With sunken cheeks, lice and CD4 counts of 12, they entered into their new home. We moved forward hanging onto Christ our strength and guide. Here we sat with five children, who unhealthily, pined for a mother, who was subsequently arrested. Children, who were half child and half beast.

Children, who were mostly uneducated, and lived by wits and guile. They destroyed everything, sniffed, and ate all they could lay their hands on, sometimes with horrifying results. Boys, who would mention such subjects of pure degradation and debauchery, you blushed. “The girl” who would proposition any male for five bob. She soon had a company of paedophiles accompanying her to the shops. She quickly acquired a healthy bank balance for a child of 9. There are a lot of sick men in this world. The temptress had a concave chest, was covered in sores and boils, and was beginning ARV’s, and so suffered with vomiting and diarrhoea.

These children were also very brave, totally endearing, and often, very funny. I enjoyed their street wisdom, and their strange brand of honesty. “The girl” became my girl, as her humanity and vulnerability crept through. I would findcards made for me filled with such love. We grew so close as we struggled to treat huge sores and boils on her head.

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She held me tight as she vomited up her strong dose of ARV’s. As we picked out hats, to cover her shame, we became the very best of friends. One Saturday morning I heard peals of laughter emanating from her bedroom, I walked in to find her playing dolls with another resident. Just a normal nine year old child.

God has brought her far. She has no more flash backs, and spends most of the day playing soccer or dolls. She is now very healthy, and can discuss her past without tension. But I know we have only peeled away the top layer of her trauma. We have had to place her in a room with older girls, as she has pull towards little girls sexually. She hates her compulsion, can discuss it, and recognises the strength of it. Through Christ, my girl is learning how her actions affect others, and how to restrain herself. She acknowledges now that she is a precious, very precious child of the King. She is doing well at school and is becoming breathtakingly beautiful. We have a long road to travel, but there is hope, and an assurance of complete healing. In God we trust as his light shines into her broken life.

Much love in Jesus,

Reg and Cynthia Schafer and Julia O Connell.

Qwa Qwa Newsletter October 2016-1

Incorporating: The Mustard Seed

Using Scripture Union materials and programmes

Registration Number: 137-284 NPO

Qwa Qwa Newsletter

October 2016

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who are called according to his purpose.

For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son….

Romans 8:28 – 29 NIV

This scripture is very meaningful to me. During our ministry in Bulawayo, it was a source of strength and comfort when many of our trusted friends and congregants turned against us. Through times of difficulties in the work place it kept me strong and focussed. In times of unemployment, and having rent to pay and a family to feed during our time in Greenside, it encouraged me to look to God’s wider purpose, and caused me to see that God is with us in all circumstances, and will turn it around for our good. But the one thing we often forget is that God uses all these trials to change us to be more like Jesus. The Christian life is not easy, but it is a wonderful adventure, that leads us through dark valleys, and bright mountain tops and everything in between. All of these are designed to make us more like Jesus.

We had hopes of getting water laid on again. These hopes have been dashed. We have had a Jojo tank installed and connected to our water system, but at the last hour, the municipality cut off the water supply to this area. There has been very little rain over September and October. The water level of the dam that supplies water to this area stands at eleven percent. So we continue the long haul to Lusaka and back for water. Some of this water is poured into two or one litre bottles, so that Cynthia and Heather can handle them. This can take from half hour to an hour every day.

Our electricity is also very erratic. There are days when the power can go down three times, and come back one or two hours later, or a day later. Then the power can be stable for a week or more, then it all starts again, especially when there is a strong wind or rain. So, when you work on the computer, you have to save your work as you go along, as you never know when it will just go off.

It could be very discouraging, were it not for the encouragement of the Scriptures, and the assurance we have, that God is with us in all these things, and is working for our good in all circumstances, good or bad, favourable or unfavourable. So we rejoice in the God of our salvation, who works for our good in all circumstances.

The Church in Mabolela

The church services have been going well. We are reinforcing the teaching we received at our annual network retreat, to cement the teaching on the Holy Spirit in the lives of the people. We have dealt with such subjects as, the Holy Spirit will effect change in our lives as we look into the scriptures; The Holy Spirit will create a deep desire for God in our hearts, that will express itself in studying the Word of God; The Holy Spirit is a vital, but neglected member of the Trinity; The Holy Spirit will always lead us to Jesus, and make us more like Jesus through true fellowship with God in prayer and the Word; etc. These teachings are beginning to take effect. Some people have asked us to do more Bible studies.

The services are not as well attended as they were a while ago. The Reason? For years we have been supplying food to some of the poorest people. But lately, the finances for the food parcels has dwindled, and the only source of finance for the food parcels is the donation from the His Place Church, Hastings, in England, and a lovely lady from Uvongo, on the south coast. These donations on their own are not sufficient to support all the families who look to us for food, about one hundred and thirty to one hundred and fifty, women and children. As a result we have only been able to give each family a bag of maize meal. So, many of these people no longer come to the church. Now we know who was coming just for the food, and who had a genuine interest in seeking God. That is a good thing, for now the hidden motives have been exposed.

October Holiday Bible Club

Much hard work goes into running an HBC but it is well worth it when you see the bright eyes of the youth in anticipation of being leaders and being used by the Lord during the HBC (their eyes are not so bright by the end of the week but they have a sense of fulfilment in their hearts).

They teach the children the ways of the Lord, sharing in their lives, feeding an average of 150 a day both physically and spiritually, getting to know them better through spending time with them, playing games and singing songs. They really enjoyed performing the drama of the Prodigal Son which spoke into the lives of the children and teenagers. The theme was Character Building – our own, others and then what Jesus’ character is like. We all aim to be Jesus-like to others but its only by the Lord’s grace that we have any hope of being that. One day we will be like Him, seeing Him as He is. Glory.

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Martha from SU Vaal helped us a lot with the HBC and we thank her very much for all her time and effort. She also preached at our church service and was greatly used by the Lord. She is a blessing to us all.A special thank you, to all those who responded so sacrificially to our appeal for funds, for the HBC. The Funds received were sufficient for us to give the children a good meal after each day’s activities, and to feed our hardworking leaders, and to give the children snacks, as they left for home each day. Thank you so much for your generous giving. A number of children responded to the gospel call.

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Food Project

Over many years we have supplied food to many vulnerable people, mainly, orphans, widows and their children, single mothers and their children. A very big “thank you” to the His Place Church for supporting this endeavour over so many, many years, and to all those who have, and are giving to this cause. Thank you very much. It has been a great privilege to be used to meet the needs of these people, through your donations. As we are no longer able to meet the needs of all these people, because of financial constraints, we believe that God wants us to focus on the most vulnerable. That is, child headed homes, orphans and widows, where funds permit. Please pray that we will have enough funding to meet these needs.

Prayer Requests

Finance on the whole has been a problem over the past three or four months. There is a shortage of funds in all areas of the ministry. In the past when there was a shortage of funds in one area, we were able to make up any shortfall from our own resources, this is no longer the case. Our income has dropped off. This month we have not been able to pay our rent, and now another month’s rent will be due. This is a problem. Please pray that God will give us wisdom to be able to raise more support for the work and ourselves.

Julia is out growing her present rented house, the church needs a building to meet in, and big enough to run a Holiday Bible Club. We have been praying for the money to buy a large piece of ground where we can build a Christian Community Centre. Please pray for the release of finance to buy the land and build this centre.

Thanks

Thank you so much for your faithful prayers for us. We are very much dependant on your Constant prayer support.

Thank you for your gifts to us and for the various projects of the ministry. We appreciate all that you do for us. Thank you very much. We appreciate each one of you.

Much love in Jesus,

Reg and Cynthia Schafer and Julia O Connell.