On a more personal note… The last six months of my life have probably been the most trying time in my Christian walk. I know deep down that God works all things out for the good of those who follow him, but over this period I’ve been struggling to see His hand. I feel as though I’m in a twelve-round fight right now, and like Rocky, I’ve been beaten down in the first eleven rounds, and just waiting and hoping for a comeback in round twelve. On December 13 my mom passed away, after over 20 years of battling cancer. We all knew the day would come, but we can never prepare ourselves for the realization of the finality of death, and the fact that we will never see her again on this earth. My brother and his family were coming here on the 16 December, and we decided to go ahead with those plans, and for my dad to have the memorial service when we all got home in January. Looking back now, I can see that I didn’t really process anything during that time. I flew out on the 31st December, and I arrived “home” on the 1st January 1.
On 3 January we found out that one of our house mothers was taking donation items and selling them to her neighbors.
We had to fire her immediately, which meant that Hearts That Hope was down one housemother. All the pressure was falling on Lyndall back home, and I felt useless as everything was out of my control. On 15 January I arrived back in South Africa, desperately needing my wife and family, but they were exhausted from being shortstaffed. I didn’t know whether to continue to mourn the loss of my mom, or to help my wife and Hearts That Hope.
On 17 January, Owen, Lyndall’s dad, asked if Lyndall and I could meet him for coffee. He proceeded to gently tell us that he had seen the doctor at the beginning of January, and had been told that his prostate cancer had spread and was now in his lymph nodes, and he had spots on his lung and shoulder. He was starting a heavy dose of chemo to fight his battle with cancer. On getting home we were at a loss for words, and the following few days we were so confused. I wanted to mourn my mom, but also help Lyndall through the news of her dad, and help her family out as best as I could. I knew no words would help, and Lyndall was trying to be strong for me and give me time. She was often in tears, not knowing what lay in the future for Owen.
We received a phone call on 19 January, to place a four-week old baby into our HTH family, and we hired our new house mother the same weekend. It was exciting to see God’s provision, and we named our little baby Rae, after my mom Carole Rae. By the end of January the South African Rand(our currency) had strengthened by 20% in the last two months, which means HTH receives 20% less monthly from the USA, and puts HTH and our family into critical financial strain. From February to mid April I went into a serious funk, where I totally lacked motivation and was feeling quite numb about life. I knew I needed to get going, but felt almost paralyzed and unable to do anything, and I didn’t want to leave the house. I started questioning all the decisions I’ve made to get to where we are now, and wondered how we are going to make it. I felt all the weight of 13 orphans and four of my own children, and not knowing where anything is going to come from. Lyndall was still trying to take up the slack, and my lack of motivation was continuing to drain me.
In mid April all four of our children went down with fevers, vomiting and terrible headaches, and Lyndall was exhausted. She succumbed to fever herself, and was diagnosed with shingles. As I write this on 2 May, I still feel finished, and wish I could hit “reset” on 2018, but I can’t. I know God loves us and loves what we do in looking after the widows and orphans, but I just feel that the light at the end of the tunnel that I can see, is just another train, and it may be about to hit me, if it hasn’t already.
Time ticks by and life goes on, and the children at HTH continue to have needs, so on June 16, my mom’s birthday, we will be arriving in the USA to spend a month with family, and to raise funds for HTH. Please let me know if you would like to meet up with us during that time.