“Now thanks be to God Who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. For we are to God the fragrance of Christ.” II Cor. 2:14
South Africa in October
As your weather begins to cool, here in the Southern Hemisphere the temperature gauge is heading north. Summer has officially started, bringing with it the summer rains that give drink to this dry and thirsty land. The other night we had an amazing lightning, thunder, rain, and hail storm that was beautiful. I stood outside in it (until the hail got big enough to hurt) and as the power was out it was absolutely black except for the lightning that split the sky. Whew! I’m still excited about it.
Ministry has been going very well here. We have started a program called “Jewels of Hope” at the orphanage that is blossoming. Currently we have seven girls between 15-17 years old who come once a week to learn how to make jewelry. It is a ten week course altogether, and by the end we hope to have taught them a very basic knowledge of business (adding, multiplying, and profit/loss), how to make the actual jewelry, and in weeks 8-10 they actually begin making some money off the jewelry they make. This week will be our sixth together and it has been a wonderful outlet from the orphanage work. The seven girls are from shelters and squatter camps and are in the program so they can bring in some money for their family. As I teach them how to make jewelry they are teaching me Zulu and more importantly, they are telling me about their lives. I pray each week for an opportunity to be a beacon of light in their dark and Christless lives. With many prayers and financial support we hope to open the program up for 100 children by the end of next year.
Inside the orphanage, as I’ve very eagerly told many of you, one of my children, Lindiwe, has moved her way from being one of the precious ones to being my favourite. Every time I go into the room, her eyes light up and I’m all she wants (thankfully it’s reciprocal). She is 1 ½ years old and has “the Virus” (AIDS). There should be a picture on my webpage of her shortly. She looks like a wise old grandmother to me, the kind that would sit around telling stories to her grandchildren – or an old tribal bard, keeper of the ancient stories. I think she is beautiful, many think hers is a face only a mother could love. And though I’ve never been a mother, I cannot imagine a stronger maternal attachment than the one I have for Lindi.
I have also given Lindi a sister, Faith, who has a more progressed AIDS. She is a fighter even when she has no strength to suck a bottle. Many nights I have spent syringing liquids down her every hour in the hopes that God would spare her life just one more day – and He has. She has had a week without sickness and her legs are almost able to support her weight (with a bit of aid). We continue to raise her up in our daily prayers because she can turn in the matter of six hours and lose half her body weight in three days. Needless to say, she gets a lot of my attention. It has been kind of surprising to me that I gravitate towards the sick babies, but am thankful that God has placed them so heavily on my heart.
Though I haven’t figured out how to rightly communicate this, I have found a passion in what I’m doing that I’ve not had before. It’s not just working with children or starting bible studies, driving children around, or teaching – it’s everything. Relationships, people, children, learning, just living and working in the Lord’s service, however or wherever that happens to be has become a wonderful and passionate endeavor for me. I think I owe some thanks to Natali for convincing me over the past few years that emotions are a great part of our humanness, and our Image bearing. But what I’ve found is the more I have this passion (in head and heart) for life, the more things hurt as well. The more I love Faith and give of myself for her, the deeper the pain goes when she gets sick. I’m sure that most of you already learned these things a long time ago, but it is rather new for me and makes me feel very vulnerable. But I see God using this vulnerability to build in me compassion that goes through my works, thoughts, feelings, and prayers.
This update is overdue already, so I am going to close for now. But hopefully the next one will be sooner in coming and some stories should find their way onto my webpage soon. Thank you for your care, prayers, and support of me – your emails and cards (and tape messages) are greatly appreciated. It is such a blessing to know that each day we are unified in Spirit though separated by many miles, and your correspondences always reaffirm that.
Together in the Fight,
Nicole de Martimprey
“May we learn to love Thee Whom we have not seen, by loving our brethren whom we have seen.” -Henry Alford