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

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This week.

This week has been a busy one. The kids are on school holidays and it’s been a week of ministry, hanging out with friends, and fun.

For most of the week Jesse has been at the farm with his best friends, he had a blast. We are so blessed to have Andrew and Rae and their family in our life, they are a safe place for us when we need a shoulder or when we need a break from life. Being on the farm, living off grid and being around animals, open space and friends is just really good for us all, especially Jesse.

At the church property there has been lots of things happening. Frontier Ministries has become the covering for the work that the team does with the ladies on the beachfront, and the boys and I have become fully immersed in the community of Frontier. This week a section of the land needed to be cleared of Bush, non indigenous fauna and dead trees. This project gave Joseph and Hudson an opportunity to spend time with the other ministry kids and be helpful. Joe chopped down his first tree, it was EPIC!!! He was so proud of himself, his grin was so beautiful. I love watching him come into himself, discovering that there is life outside of a screen, a life that involves fun. He is also really loving school, he is making good friends and the teachers adore him and his quick wit.

Hudson is doing so well. Still the sweetest 5 year old I have ever known. He is loving puzzles and art and that is making my heart so happy. He has helped to chop trees and chop veggies with Heartstrings Community Project this week, preparing vegetables for the meal for the crèche and for the beachfront ladies, he loves to be involved and is always excited to be able to help.

And then there’s me. What can I say? I am trying to follow His gentle voice as much as possible. Even though the direction that He is calling me is TOTALLY different to the direction that I believed that I would be going for the rest of my life. I’m working on a post about that, it’s taking me a while because I am processing as I write. In the meantime I am serving. My pastor in NYC used to say “If you do what you know, then you will know what to do.” so here I am, ministering in a rural crèche, singing, dancing, loving on the children and teachers. We cook them all a super healthy, nutritious meal and take it to them every Wednesday. We help with a bit of English language teaching through songs and dance. Wednesday is a good day. Like I said I’m working on a post that will go deeper into my personal journey, so watch out for that one.

As I sit here at this moment we have some pretty urgent needs. I’m going to share with you all in the hope that you will pray for a miracle for the boys and I.

Firstly we are in desperate need of a car. We are currently 100% dependant on friends and neighbours to take the boys to school and for me to be able to get food and our needs from the shops. We are now rural and walking to the grocery store is not an option and public transport here is just not safe for a single white woman. We urgently need a vehicle.

At the moment our bills are also not covered. School fees and rent need to be payed in the 1st of each month, currently I do not have the funds to pay for either, not even close. Please pray for a financial miracle to happen during the next week so that I can pay those bills. I am trying super hard to not let anxiety rise in my heart, it’s hard, but I know that the Father is in control.

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 xxx

Fallish.

There are days when I miss life in North America and England. One of the things that I miss the most is Fall/autumn. Its my favourite season. As summer fades and a chill hits the air, cheeks get rosy and breath becomes visible. Layers of clothing keep you toasty and hot apple cider and crackling fires keep you cozy. Apple picking and pumpkin choosing consume the weekends and anticipation of bonfire night, Thanksgiving and Halloween leaves you feeling excited and childlike. As the greens of summer turn rusty my heart warms more that the summer sun could have ever made it. 🍂🍁🍂🍁
The past few days here in South Africa have been uncharacteristically “Fall-y”. Its been chilly in the shade, but just right in the sun. The sunset has hit my bedroom window just right as the cool breeze blows through rippling the sari that makes up my bedroom curtains. It’s spring here, for for the past couple of days I’ve pretended that it was Fall. A girl can dream… And I dream of walks through the rusty trees, pumpkin spice something in my hand, breath catching on the cool air. I dream of bonfires and sparklers and hot cocoa. I dream of giving thanks over Turkey and mash potatoes and of kids knocking on the door hoping for a candy treat. All memories from my past that feel so distant. Memories that I wish my children also shared. Now is a time for new memories, memories shared with my children. They will be very different from my childhood. And I’m learning that that is OK. It’s not easy for me to let go of ideas of how this time of year should look, of how the following Christmas season should look, I’ve been here for nearly 15 years and Christmas has been a hot, sweaty, humbid battle for me every year, but this year it will be different. This years memories will be beautiful, I will make sure. And the memory making starts now. 🍁🍂🍁🍂 #livinginafrica #missionarylife #livingbyfaith

Update, shmupdate…

My Mum is always asking for an update, life gets so busy that I constantly forget, so after weeks of being reminded here we are 😂😉Since joining Frontier Church a few months ago my life has drastically changed. Like full 180 degree change. We have gone from living in an apartment in the city, to living in a cottage on a beautiful rural property. We have gone from formal private education to unformal rural private education. We have gone from alone and isolated to surrounded, hemmed in and supported by beautiful people. We have gone from misfits to accepted and embraced into the most wonderful family of holy misfits. Ministry has continued throughout this transition, but it has also grown and evolved. Our incredible team is no longer part of Hope’s Anchor. We have walked away from something that was not for us and have placed the ministry under the Frontier Ministry banner and spiritual covering, and it is GOOD!It has been a difficult few weeks, as individuals and as a ministry team we have come under heavy fire from the enemy and we had to constantly remind ourselves and each other that this war is not against flesh and blood. The spiritual opposition was pretty hectic for a while and we weren’t sure which way we were to go, but God. BUT GOD!! The Father always knows. He protected us and guided us and now we continue to move forward in our calling to love these precious ladies. Our team is incredibly excited about the direction that we are going in and we know that this is His plan.

A few weeks ago we gave out 90 handbags filled with toiletries and treats to sex workers and homeless ladies. 90 in one night! Almost 100 ladies came to us in need, that’s such a large amount ladies who had found themselves in need in one night, and that was only on the beachfront. Had we ventured down the allies and side streets of Durban we probably could have found 100’s more. Our city has a crisis and it is so very heart breaking for us to see. But we can only do what we can, and trust the Father to protect and provide for each of our ladies. We will continue to do what He calls us to.

Since joining Frontier I have started to use my days to serve the church and their various ministries. The community kitchen is one of those ministries and Wednesday has become my favourite day of the week. Spending the morning chopping veg for the crèche meal and for our ladies on Thursday nights has become such a great way to be behind the scenes and actively helping. I haven’t been able to get to the beachfront often and sometimes I feel like I’m useless, but being able to volunteer with the community kitchen helps ease the feeling. It’s also pretty therapeutic chopping veg and spending time with others from the church.

After chopping and the meal is ready comes the fun part, delivery to the crèche. We stop by and sing some songs and love on the kids and teachers. It’s the best. About 20 or so little Zulu speaking toddlers and preschoolers all trying so hard to use their English words, and me trying even harder to use my Zulu words. Laughing, dancing, singing, acting crazy, all for Jesus. It’s the BEST. And I love that I get to do it all with one of the best friends that I have ever had.

It’s hard to describe how life is looking or the direction that it is going right now as there are plans and directions that the Father is in the process of unfolding, and we are trying to be careful not to go ahead of Him, so let’s just say that I am excited for the answering of year long prayers.

Another SUPER exciting bit of news… MY MUM AND DAD ARE COMING TO VISIT!!!! The boys and I are incredibly excited. We can’t wait. They are coming at the end of November for 3 weeks, we CAN’T WAIT!!!

And lastly this dude became a teenager this week! I just don’t know how it happened. How do they grow up so fast? I now have two 13 year olds and it’s very evident 😂🤦🏻 thankfully my teenagers are amazing. So there it is, an update. There’s been so much happening and didn’t want to bore you with all the other stuff. These were the highlights 💗We would really appreciate your continued support through prayers and also financially. It’s been a long road single parenting by faith for the past 5 months, and I’d like to thank you to those who do support me and the kids as I continue to walk in His calling.

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 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. Xx

The Leaning and the laying bare.

The past 3 weeks have been hard, harder than usual. I’m learning to heal. It doesn’t come naturally to me to just ‘be’. For years I have been independent and stoic in my ability to ‘just getting it done’. I have had to be. I’ve been alone in the fight, the only one fighting a battle that is so much bigger than anyone understands it to be. I had resigned myself to doing it no matter what, and doing it with out the support that I so desperately needed.

I haven’t had a cheerleader on my side, telling me how proud they are of me, cheering me when it got tough or when I needed the encouragement to keep going. I didn’t have the safe place to come home to at the end of a painful night of ministry, no arms to wrap around me as I broke for our beautiful ladies. I guess I didn’t realize what I was missing at the time, I had a feeling but ignored that nagging loneliness and just kept going, because really what was the other option? That void had left my heart so vulnerable and desperate for intimacy that I had built myself a fortress around my soul and I wouldn’t/couldn’t let anyone in through fear of being left bare for the wolves of insecurity, rejection, self-loathing and loneliness to devour my heart.

Since moving to our new home and new church family there has been a beautiful but very painful healing that has started to take place. Learning to trust again in so so painful. I’m told daily to Lean in. My new family is consistent and true in their love for the boys and I and daily they are helping me to trust enough to lean in. Lean in and ask for the help and support that we need, lean in and ask for the love that we need, lean in and trust. It’s so hard, but it is so beautiful. The walls are coming down in this safe place. And although my heart is still hurting, there is a healing balm that is gently softening and opening my being to His love for me. I am leaning into His arms, His protection, His provision, His plan. And although I’m still battling to trust I know that deep in my heart that I can. I can defeat the anxiety, the loneliness the pain as long as I fix my gaze on Him and His love for me and my children.

He is daily challenging me to lay it all bare before Him. Man it’s hard, there is so much that I’d rather ignore or hide from Divine Love. Those ugly imperfections, those things that make me feel less of a “christian” and unworthy of the calling on my life. How can I lay my desire to be loved unconditionally before Him? How can I lay before Him the stains and scars that have come through years of insecurity and self loathing? How can I trust Him with my heart when my heart is so bruised by being dropped over and over by those who had promised to love me forever? How can I place my heart before Him, trusting Him to heal? I’m trying, I really am, but my heart hurts and the leaning and the laying is hard. But it will come. I know it will.

This time of healing is raw and yet also joyous. It is deep breaths and sleepless nights. It is holding my boys and holding myself. As the Father holds us all. It is learning to lean into those that He has place around us, those who have hemmed us in with their love, grace and strength. It’s trusting that I can lay it all bare at the feet of Divine Love, because He only has goodness and mercy for me. And maybe one day my heart will be whole and I wont need to lean as much.

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 PayPal at downseyluff@aol.com or email lindsey.toms57@gmail.com to set up regular giving. Thank you

Home.

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It has been almost a week since the boys an I moved into our new home and we are so so happy. An incredible peace has fallen on our little family and the Holy Spirit has very gently been reaching into the deeply broken parts of each of us and has been pouring in a healing balm. Moving was not easy. It was intense, confusing, complicated and at the same time we had a beautiful anticipation for our new life that was waiting on the other side of this big move.

Packing up a home alone was hard work. I purged, big time. Letting go not only of the physical but also the painful emotions that needed to be left behind. In the lead up to the move a number of things happened. My car died, like beyond help died. Two of my main financial supporters were not able to support us this month and general life got really hard. It was all spiritual. All push back because of the Godly decisions that we were making. Isn’t it always the way? Pushing forward in the calling, in obedience, and then BAM! The enemy freaks out and all hell breaks loose and the way forward seems blocked by all the negative circumstances.

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Isaiah 43:18-19

18 “Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.
19 See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland.”

The new way in the wilderness is just so beautiful, peaceful, scenic and full of love. The new way is not a lonely path, I am now joined by a family, a tribe, a community. Loved ones who hold me and the boys so very gently. Ushering us forward into our freedom, embracing and supporting us the whole way.

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Our new home is a beautiful cottage on a property belonging to our church. It is peaceful and rural, with lots of land and so many birds. The view is to die for and the children and our pets are the happiest that I have seen them in years, and that for this Mama’s heart is EVERYTHING.

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One of the best parts of this move is that we are now within walking distance from our beautiful church. We are excited as this means that we will be able to fully immerse ourselves in the ministry of the church as well as the work that I am doing with Hope’s Anchor.

We have been having a shifting and a changing in the ministry and it is so exciting. I love how passionate Divine Love is not only about our ladies but also about our team. So many of our team members are going through some really hard battles (myself included) and yet His love is gently ushering in healing and growth. It has been exciting to watch how our Hope’s Anchor work is being braided together with the work our church’s ministry Heartstrings Community Project. Love is orchestrating the most beautiful symphony and my heart is overflowing with peace and joy.

I want to say thank you to all of you have been lifting us up and interceding on behalf of our family.

For those who have been wondering, Martin has returned to the UK for the in foreseeable future to be with his mother who is battling cancer. Please keep her in your prayers. I am not at a point where I am free to talk further about him returning to the uk. If you have questions about our situation you are very welcome to email me.

We love and appreciate you all so much, Thank you for believing in the calling and for caring for my precious little family. We would really appreciate your prayers for a vehicle for us so that I can get the boys to their new school which starts on Monday. and we would also appreciate your prayers for new financial supporters to come forward so that I can continue to follow the call here in South Africa.

If you would like to give financially to support us as a family as I lead Hope’s Anchor please do so via PayPal at downseyluff@aol.com or email lindsey.toms57@gmail.com to set up regular giving. Thank you

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Love never fails.

Oh my precious precious ones. These 4 are my secret favourites. 😉 I’m not supposed to have favorites… but here we are… my 4 favourites. 🤣❤️ 3 of them hadn’t seen me for 4 months and we were so excited. K burst into tears and J wouldn’t let me go. I was scolded for being away for so long and then forgiven because our mutual love for each other is very real. They are reason why Divine Love has placed me here for such a time as this. K has literally climbed the fence of rehab twice and yet I will NEVER give up on her. J has told me time and time again that she will never leave the trade and yet I will NEVER give up on her. Love never gives up. I’ve had so many people give up on me throughout my life, so many times I have ran away, “jumped the fence”, so many times I have refused to believe in better for myself, and yet… Love has never given up on me. NEVER. Our “slogan” is Unconditional Love, Extravagant Grace and Hope for the soul. This is what we live by as a ministry. This is what we offer our ladies and each other. It’s a challenging commitment, especially when we are let down by behaviour and habits. But this is our calling and we have committed to walking in it.

If you would like to support me and my family as we minister to Durban’s most vulnerable women please donate to our PayPal account Downseyluff@aol.com

Or email lindsey.toms57@gmail.com for our private banking details.

Every single donation is an incredible blessing to us and it keeps us here following the call. ❤️