What made me smile.

The highlight of this year was my parents coming to visit. No one knows me like my mum and dad do. They know my heart, my calling and my passion better than anyone. They understand my gifts and my downfalls. They love me unconditionally and their guidance and love for me really have kept me going this year.One of the favorite most exciting parts of their trip here was going to purchase a car for the boys and I. We had been without a vehicle for months and it was making life and ministry very difficult. Before coming over they did a fundraiser and managed to raise enough money to buy a great car.

So many of you supported the fundraiser by donating and by sharing the posts on social media. We are beyond thankful to you all. What a blessing this car has already been to us as a family.

Another blessing was having the opportunity to let my parents get to know the people who are in my life. Friends invited us all over for meals, friends bought meal to us to share all together, friends invited my parents and I to join them on outreach ministry and invited us to go and spend time with their charities. Friends made so much effort and took time to make my parents feel so welcomed and loved. And these friends assured my parents that they have me and the boys hemmed in by their love and friendship.

What a blessing it was to have them here. We were incredibly sad to say good bye, but there is such a great anticipation for the coming year that we have managed to put the sadness aside.

And just one more thing that has taken my mind of the sadness of being away from family is this…One of my precious precious friends was married this past saturday. Why is this so significant? Well this stunning bride was one of the ladies that we cared for through our ministry. I met S at the lowest point of her life, sleeping rough, addicted and so broken. Over time we built a beautiful relationship and encouraged her that she can walk in freedom. We prayed with her, held her, fed her, cried with her, and now we REJOICE with her. I look at the life that she is now living and my heart is overflowing with love and joy and pride. Her life has been transformed and she is now starting her own charity caring for women like herself. Yesterday she married her wonderful husband. Every time I look at her wedding photos I cry, so much joy. Her strength is an example to use all. This photo here makes all the pain that was endured in ministry so very worth it. To see S walking in her freedom is EVERYTHING to me. This is why I refuse to do this ministry half hearted. Its all or nothing. I will continue to fight for the others who have not yet found freedom.

New and Glorious.

I’m not gonna lie, 2019 has been a year of extreme turmoil. I have NEVER been this broken. I have NEVER been taken so low. And yet here I am, closing the year with my precious sons and some dear friends.I’m a little OCD when it comes to Christmas, it’s pretty much the only thing that I am OCD about. I want everything to be perfect for my family. I want the perfect tree, the perfect amount of fairy lights, the perfect ornaments in the perfect location on the tree. I want to bake, to fill my home with the smells of cinnamon, cookies and gingerbread. I want squeals of joy and carols playing and a cracking fire. I REALLY want snow. I want to go late night Christmas shopping, Christmas markets with mulled wine and chestnuts. There are so many things in my mind that make up my dream Christmas.But I live in Africa and that means that Christmas is so so very different from my dream. I still battle. Even this morning, 2 days before Christmas day I woke up feeling a great sense of loss. Grieving over what I have lost this year.And then God…And then my little boy climbed into bed and snuggled into me and told me that I am an amazing mummy. My middle darling made me a cup of tea and my fantastic teenager sat on the end of my bed and talked at me for an hour about Star Wars. 😂Then my best friend gave me a massive pep talk, hugged me and told me how I am the strongest person they know and how 2020 is going to be the best year ever, but that will only happen if I get my butt out of bed.What I realized this morning is that it doesn’t matter that my Christmas tree is drooping because of the heat, or that my stupid dopey dog chewed my fairy lights so now I have no twinkles. It doesn’t matter that I can’t bake because I don’t have an oven, thankfully I have essential oils and a diffuser that are making my hot little home smell like gingerbread😂 .This mornings squeals of joy were created by the little one being hosed with cold water as the veggies were watered. I have carols playing on my laptop as I clean and do laundry and later I will go get some mince pies and maybe make some mulled wine.As I look back over the past few weeks I have much to be thankful for. And even though the majority of the year has been awful, there has been moments of pure joy and healing.I am so incredibly thankful to those who have been lifting the children and I up, to those of you who made it possible for me to move out of the city and to those who helped me to have the most wonderful car for my family.I’m beyond thankful for those who have continued to believe in the calling on my life and who have stood by me and have held space for me during the really hard painful times, and who have rejoiced in the times of miracles and healing. To those who have remained even when I have not been at my best, those who have refused to walk away from the mess that I was sifting through, I love and appreciate you so so much.Thank you for being strong for me when I was beyond weak.I am eternally grateful to those of you who have financially supported us throughout this year. Your generosity and love is NEVER taken for granted. This coming year holds an incredibly exciting ministry journey. The Father is bringing together a tribe of warriors who are ready to fight and we are excited, and nervous and somewhat cautious. I am eager to walk into a new season as 2020 unfolds. I am more confident in my calling than ever and there is a renewed determination to walk in obedience to His voice. I know its not going to be easy, I know that there will be continued healing for me along the way, but I know that I am called and therefore He will equip and provide.My prayer for you all is for a joy filled Christmas season, for an anticipation of greatness for 2020, and for the fulfilment of long held dreams throughout the coming year.Be bold. Be brave. Be great.We love and appreciate you all.Christmas blessings.Vash and the boys.Xxx

Please help.

My parents started a fundraising campaign to try and get me a vehicle. Now that I live out of the city I rarely get to see my precious ladies.
Today I have been talking with the members of our city homeless task team and plans are being made to provide the vulnerable street sleeping ladies and their children with a safe place for emergency accommodation during the coming storms.
This is a real answer to prayer, but without a vehicle I will not be able to get to town to find the ladies and let them know where and when this accommodation will be available. Tomorrow night will be too late as the building will be full.
Without a vehicle I am so restricted. Its painful. As part of the task team I am invited to the task team workshops and meetings but without a vehicle I can not attend these meetings. It’s incredibly hard for me to deal with.
The fundraiser has 2 more days and we only have 1/5 of what we need for a vehicle. Please can you help? Every penny helps.
Below is our gofundme link.

https://www.gofundme.com/f/a-car-for-vashti?utm_source=facebook

We really appreciate your support so much.

Protect and Expand.

I spent time with the lavender this weekend. As I was working on them I asked for the Father to speak to me. The past couple weeks I have been battling with trying to figure out where I fit. Life has changed so completely that I hardly recognise it or myself. That’s hard. So this weekend we visited Hope Farm and took some time out together as a family.

As I sat in the lavender garden pulling up weeds the Father began to speak, a quiet calm whisper directly to my heart.

He shared 2 things with me. Firstly as I pulled up weeds from around the individual lavender plants I noticed that where there were more weeds the lavender was stunted and prevented from growing and flowering, the weeds were preventing the lavender from flourishing. As I took this in the Spirit whispered “protect your peace”. I had been so busy striving to find my foothold, make room for myself in ministry again, that I hadn’t taken time to protect my peace. I wasn’t protecting my energy and the enemy was beginning to wear me down and suffocating my peace with busyness. As I sat in the dirt, pulling up the weeds I asked Him “how? How do I protect my peace?” again the Spirit whispered, “by being still with Me. Just like this. Right here, in this moment you are building up your strength and focusing on My voice.”

Exodus 14.14 says “the Lord will fight for you, you need only be still.”

Psalm 46.10 says “be still and know that I am God.” In the Passion translation it says “surrender your anxiety! Be silent and stop your striving and you will see that I am God.”

SURRENDER YOUR ANXIETY.

Anxiety and fear are the destroyers of your peace.

When I read the Passion translation I knew that He was speaking directly to my heart. Lavender is known for its calming and peace giving properties, this is the main reason why we decided to use lavender to start the essential oils garden. The weeds were suffocating the lavender, rendering it useless in its potential to be turned into a peace bringing essential oil, just like anxiety renders me unable to walk in His peace.

After pulling up the weeds and cutting back the peppermint I started to move the rocks back that circle each lavender plant.

When we put the lavender into the ground the chickens came running to scratch and peck through the freshly turned soil, and although this is great for the soil and the chickens it wasn’t so great for our lavender babies, so we took rocks and circled each plant so that they were protected from the chickens scratching.

The rocks hemmed in the lavender, protecting and giving it a chance to root well.

Now was the time to move the rocks out a few inches so that the lavender had room to fill out and take up more space. Chance to grow, expand, flourish, take up space.

Then the Spirit spoke this scripture to my heart.

Isaiah 54 1-6. Message translation. “Sing, barren woman, who has never had a baby.
Fill the air with song, you who’ve never experienced childbirth!
You’re ending up with far more children
than all those childbearing women.” God says so!
“Clear lots of ground for your tents!
Make your tents large. Spread out! Think big!
Use plenty of rope,
drive the tent pegs deep.
You’re going to need lots of elbow room
for your growing family.
You’re going to take over whole nations;
you’re going to resettle abandoned cities.
Don’t be afraid—you’re not going to be embarrassed.
Don’t hold back—you’re not going to come up short.
You’ll forget all about the humiliations of your youth,
and the indignities of being a widow will fade from memory.
For your Maker is your bridegroom,
his name, God-of-the-Angel-Armies!
Your Redeemer is The Holy of Israel,
known as God of the whole earth.
You were like an abandoned wife, devastated with grief,
and God welcomed you back,
Like a woman married young
and then left,” says your God

This scripture has come up throughout my life on so many occasions and during so many seasons. Each time it has encouraged me to keep moving forward in my calling. And even now during this season of unknowing, I am encouraged to keep dreaming big, keep reaching out, not letting any situation or fear hold me back from growing and flourishing. He has spoken promises over my life, including more children, joy, a home, a legacy, and over the years anxiety and fear have taken my focus off His promises for me.

As I moved each rock, giving the lavender space to grow and breathe I spoke out the promises, calling them forth in faith.

I don’t have all the answers that I desperately want right now, but I do have the answers that I NEED.

Protect your peace and keep moving/expanding.

I don’t know how it will look, but I do know that the Spirit will lead my steps.

If you would like to give financially to support us as a family as I continue the work I have been called to please do so via HSBC 40-36-22 91808885 PayPal at downseyluff@aol.com or email lindsey.toms57@gmail.com to set up regular giving.

Thank you.

We love and appreciate you so much.

Blessings

Vash and the boys xxxx

Fourteen.

He turned 14. FOUR-FREAKING-TEEN!!!!!!!Idont even know what’s going on with time these days. Has it sped up? This guy was a chubby little baby like last week.

I’m struggling to find the words to describe how that makes me feel. All I know for sure is that he is MY child. He is introverted and yet hysterically funny. He is incredibly intelligent and works hard at everything that he puts his hand to. His creativity is so beautiful. He is gently coming out from under so much heavy stuff and into a beautiful freedom and as his Mum it’s a joy to behold. Joseph Kheta I love you dearly, thank you for making me a Mummy, you will always be a ray of hope in my life.

She came to us late last night. Hobbling though the parking lot, covered head to toe in Norwegian scabies and very dirty.Last time I saw her I didn’t think she had much time left this side of heaven, and yet here she was as determined as ever.
She received her meal and sat down with us on the grass and
proceeded to change our lives.Contagious joy and faith spilled out of Cindy last night, wisdom and honesty hand in hand dancing into our ears and our hearts, reality checking our spirits at every turn as her words twirled and leaped in a beautiful dance choreographed specifically for each of our team members. Her joy becoming ours, her faith boosting ours, and her words making a direct path to the Father’s ears.The Holy Spirit filled our little circle of obedient hearts. A fierce tribe who earlier had asked the Father for a direct encounter with His love. And here was His answer to our cry, Cindy, a very sick and dirty homeless woman who was a living message of love from our heavenly Father.And right there, sitting on the grass, I was reminded of why I started this journey 12 years ago, and why I have not quit. For Cindy, for the Father, for such a time as this.#missionarylife #ministry #livingbyfaith #livinginafrica #homelessnothopeless #iseeyouiloveyou #unconditionallove #extravagantgrace #hopeforthesoul #FrontierChurch #frontierministries #Heartstringscommunityproject

The lightness.

Years ago I arrived in KwaZulu Natal. The country was in the middle of the AIDS and orphan crisis and I spent my days in rural communities playing with and teaching the children, providing sponsorship for the ones who were orphaned and loving the Gogos and aunties who were caring for them.I loved my times in the valley with the rural people, but there was a longing in my heart to be with ladies in the city. I was torn in 2. And eventually the calling to the streets of Durban and her inhabitants became my main focus.

For 12 years the sex workers and marginalised women of the streets of Durban have been my priority. It has been a journey of a bit of joy and lots of pain. A bit of light and lots of dark. For the past few months I have been focusing on my kids, but still having one foot in the ministry supporting where I have been able to, while trying to heal from some deep personal wounds.

It’s not been easy, but the Father has been so very kind and gracious and patient with me. He knows my heart and He knew that I have needed some time out of the darkness of the ministry to the sex workers. And although my heart has been torn, I have known and felt His guidance during this time.

He has placed the boys and I in a beautiful community and has returned me to ministry to the rural children. I never saw myself back in this kind of ministry. Even as I type this it makes me chuckle because its now very much out of my comfort zone. I mean sit me on a bed in a brothel talking to a sex worker while she puts a needle in her arm, or put me in a dark alleyway while young girls negotiate with potential clients and I am in my element. I know how to deal with those scenarios, for 12 years it’s been my life.

But put me in a Zulu crèche where no one speaks English and make me jump around singing like a crazy person and my comfort zone is so far away I can’t even see it anymore.

This Wednesday I went to the crèche as usual, dropped off the yummy meal that had been prepared for the children and teachers and I got down on my knees with the children and sang some songs. At the end they piled onto me all wanting a hug, and something lifted in my soul.

You see, I NEED ministry of light right now. I NEED joy. I have been living joyless for so many years now. I’ve forgotten how to have fun, how to relax, how to be silly. The darkness of ministry to the sex workers had me broken to an extent. I had experienced so much pain and trauma during those 12 years that my joy was gone. The Father knew that during my time of healing I NEED to not be in the dark places so much. Not that I have totally separated myself from the city side of the ministry, but I have distanced myself for my own healing.

The distancing has been difficult at times, I miss seeing my precious ladies on a regular basis, but there is an incredible team that I know is loving them really well, and that has made the transition into this second phase of ministry that much easier for me. There’s so much happening in the charity right now, and a lot of it is behind the scenes and not quite reading to be shared yet, but it’s really exciting and my prayers from the past 12 years for our ladies are being answered, I want to pour it all out right now, but I can’t jump ahead of the Spirit, so all I can say is that I am so so SO excited.

If you would like to give financially to support us as a family as I continue the work I have been called to please do so via HSBC 40-36-22 91808885 PayPal at downseyluff@aol.com or email lindsey.toms57@gmail.com to set up regular giving.

Thank you.

We love and appreciate you so much.

Blessings

Vash and the boys xxxx