Incorporating: The Mustard Seed
Using Scripture Union materials and programmes
Registration Number: 137-284 NPO
Qwa Qwa Newsletter
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.
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.
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.
“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.
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.