Home.

We have found our home. Our “church” home. As an empath it is incredibly difficult to find a church that works for me. Most places of worship leave me feeling drained and emotionally depleted. Non empaths do not understand how this works. Being around large groups of people can be hard to contend with when you have empath tenancies. The energy of other people impacts us in both positive and negative ways and being in situations where there are tight crowds or people sitting close together can impact me in a negative way. I’ve searched for a church home for so long, feeling like a flake along the way. Settling in longing for a church family to be my church family, only to realise after a while that it is not the right fit. There’s not necessarily anything wrong with the church, but rather my needs are different and I have to take them into consideration, along with the needs of my 3 children, one of whom is also an empath. It’s been so hard not understanding why I just don’t fit. And then I was drawn to Frontier Church which is lead by my sister friend @paulalstrydom and her husband Mike.
The first service that the boys and I attended we knew we were home. Peace and calm and nourishment. Friendship, community, family. Everything that we had been searching for. Divine Love so evident and very present. I am excited. The journey is different and so so so good.

If you would like to help support Vashti, her family as she works lead the Hope’s Anchor team and the ministry they have with the homeless and sex workers of Durban, please use her PayPal account

downseyluff@aol.com

If you live in the UK and would like to support the family with monthly direct debits please contact lindsey.toms57@gmail.com for more details

Thank you

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Don’t be a Bubble Dweller.

“They should have their children taken away from them.”

I have lost count of how many times we hear this phrase.

So many members of the general public, our community, our city, live in an opaque bubble of privilege.

There is an incredibly distorted idea of how the “other half” live. It’s not a “white” bubble of privilege, but rather a bubble belonging to anyone who has a decent paying job and a decent home, a car and have their kids in a decent school, across the races and cultures.

This bubble blurs the reality of the lives of the “other half”. It enables the bubble residents to ignore the reality, the bigger picture, the severity of the plight of our precious girls and their children. 💔💔💔💔

Almost daily I can go on any one of the Durban Facebook pages and find this phrase on a post. The quotee usually referring to an underprivileged mother of one or more children who are begging on the streets or trying to survive by some other means.

“They should have their children taken away from them.” And then what exactly? Take their child and put them where? Do you know what happens to those who are taken? Do you know where they go? Do you know how so many are treated? You make a blanket statement from within your Opaque bubble and actually have no idea what the outcome would be if every child belonging to an underprivileged mother was taken away.

Lets take a moment to have an enlightening chat…

Imagine for a moment that the social workers came and took Lihle away from Thuli, Banele from Andiswa and Avilah from Siwe. Each of these mothers would be sleeping on the street with their babies if it weren’t for the support of Hope’s Anchor. Each of them do what it takes to provide for their baby because they are GOOD mothers. And yet recently a bubble resident who assumes that she knows everything decided to put all over Facebook that our precious Thuli drugs her child to make her sleep while Thuli begs for money at a traffic light. The bubble resident assumed this because when she drove past in her car Lihle was asleep in Thuli’s arms.

So this woman put it all over social media and the sharks started to circle.

“she doesn’t deserve to have a child”, “take the baby away”, “arrest her”, “these people should be sterilised.”, “stop them from breeding”

I feel sick as I type this as I know Thuli very well. I love her and her little girl and I know how much she loves her child. I know that Lihle is fed, clean, has a place to live, is in crèche every morning and is very loved. And yet the bubble dweller decided that this mother deserves to have her baby taken from her.

South Africa is in the middle of a crisis when it comes to babies and children needing families. It’s out of control. And yet the government is making it almost impossible to adopt a child.

So here’s what is happening, the child is removed from the mother, placed into a government institution and the likelihood of them being adopted or even fostered is slim to none. So the child is raise in an institution, zero love or nurturing and very poor education. Then if they manage to hang in there until 18 years old (many run away before 18 due to abuse) they are then kicked out to fend for themselves. With no family, government or financial support.

The girls mainly turn to the sex trade, fall pregnant and the cycle continues. Another mother who “should have her child taken away”.

Now before people start getting the wrong idea, I am not at all talking about the babies and children who are being neglected and abused by their parents. Those little ones definitely need to be placed into the care of social welfare.

I am referring to the mother’s who love their children and are doing everything they can to provide for them.

We know as an organisation how our girls struggle, every day they hustle to make ends meet. Every day we are blown away by their strength and resilience. They are incredible and we cheer them on at every step. These mothers do not deserve to have their babies taken from them, they deserve to be empowered and enabled to raise their children in healthy environments with the support of others who can teach them and guide on their parenting journey.

This is one of the reasons why Hope’s Anchor exists. Empowering our precious girls to be the best versions of themselves. Walking in their Divine identity. Raising their children better than they themselves were raised. We will always fight for our girls and their little ones, because we believe in a better life for each of them

please pray for the Hopes Anchor Team as they minister tirelessly to support these young women and their children

if you would like to help support Vashti, her family as she works lead the Hope’s Anchor team and the ministry they have with the homeless and sex workers of Durban, please use her PayPal account

downseyluff@aol.com

if you live in the UK and would like to support the family with monthly direct debits please contact lindsey.toms57@gmail.com for more details

thank you

In the balance.

We spend too much time trying to balance everything. I realized that this past week. We put so much pressure on ourselves and our families to have “balance”.

Last week Martin flew to the Uk and we currently are not sure when he will be back. So I am home with the kids, running the household, doing school runs and running the charity. Before he left I was anxious about how I was going to cope. With all of my responsibilities was I capable and strong enough to also carry his daily input too?

This week I discovered the answer is a resounding “YES”. Yes I am capable. Yes I am strong. Yes I am enough. Yes I do have the energy. Yes I do have the capacity.

Why was I even questioning it in the first place?

Here’s why… the pressure of “balance”. People were questioning me “how will you cope?”, “what about the early mornings?”, “isn’t it going to be so hard on you to juggle everything?”. All the questions from so many people had me doubting myself, doubting who Divine Love has ordained me to be. What a crock of you know what!!!

Of course I am able, because Love makes me able. For the past 2 years I have discovered just how able I am.

So here I am, just dropped the kids at school at 7am, sitting in Starbucks drinking a chai latte and feeling very proud of myself.

I have decided to reject the pressure of balance. I don’t have to carry it. My incredible Hope’s Anchor team is more than able to fill in where I can’t during this time. I can drop a spinning plate knowing that I have a support system who will gladly take over the spinning. I don’t have to walk the line between parenting and ministry, one day is all about the boys, the next day I am in the shelter for a couple of hours, and then the next day I’m getting my hair done. I’m not letting the fact the I can not do as much ministry right now be something that I feel guilty about. Right now things aren’t balanced, and that’s ok. Because without the pressure of balance I am finding freedom and peace.

I am learning that life isn’t always how you thought it would be. And that’s ok. Hold your dreams lightly up to the Father and left Him refine them. He may return them looking completely different, but know that His version is always so much better.

Having boys.

We are currently in the middle of school holidays and the kids are being amazing as usual. On Sunday we went to the farm and let them run wild. Climbing trees, riding the horse, getting super dirty. Everything that kids should be doing, and not a screen in sight.

Jesse decided that he wanted to stay at the farm so I left him there for 2 nights and he had a blast. I love that I can leave my kids there knowing that Andrew and Rae will parent them exactly how I do. I know that he is with his best friends and enjoying the outdoors. He really does thrive on the farm and it is hard for me to know that I can not give him that lifestyle right now. He climbed trees, rode the horse and the donkeys, made spears, got really dirty and has a blast with David, Bugsey, Annie and Teresa. It’s also so healthy for him to be best friends with other adopted kids who have white parents. So often my kids feel like the odd ones out because of our different skin tones. So hanging out with families that look like theirs is really good for them.

Jess has done really well this past school term. His grades have gone up and even though he is still struggling with his reading and writing he has improved.

His teachers have said what a kind, loving and polite child he is and what an example he is to the other children. For me that is success. He is winning in life. He will change the world even if he always struggles with his reading and writing. Kindness is so so important and I am incredibly proud of him.

He is amazing.

Yesterday Hudson and I went to hang out with my friend and her family. They run a home for abandoned babies so you know I was over the moon to spend time snuggling and playing. I’m so blessed to have friends who’s hearts are in line with mine.

Both of us have adopted kids and both of us are from the UK so we kinda get each other. Hudson was in his element playing with Soldier and Ryder and popping in to the baby home and loving on the babies in there. Leanne and Kim fight tirelessly for the safety of babies and children who are so incredibly vulnerable. I don’t know how they find the strength, but they do. They do the hard stuff and I am blown away by their determination.

Hudson is now in grade R and is rocking it 😂 he is learning to write and has his name down pat, which he is very chuffed about and I keep finding it written in random places, like in my bible, on the back door and on the laundry cupboard door 😂

His teachers adore him, as does anyone who meets him. He is so easy and content and is very much a mummy’s boy, which of course I LOVE! He is great at making friends and has a kind heart like his brothers. When I think about how his life could have turned out I see a miracle standing before me.

He is amazing.

Then there’s my teenager… 😂 this kid is something else. His school report was amazing. As a reward he received a pair of Marvel Hero Vans and I’ve never seen him smile so big in my life 😂😂😂

This kid loves anything movie related. He is fascinated with how movies are made, the musical scores, the actors, the writers. He can talk about movies for days and I love that about him. He’s super academic but has a passion for the arts and that excites me. He really could do whatever he wants in life and he will do it so well.

He has started coming out of his shell a bit at home and school and that is encouraging. After our attack in 2016 he really battled and became very introverted, even more than he already was (he’s like his mama, introverted extrovert) and now he is finally getting back to his old self. He is very much a quality time kid so I try my best to use that.

He’s amazing.

Ministry is going. Some days going well, some days not so well. Our main struggle is lack of funds. There is so much that we need and so many who need the support of the ministry but we are so restricted by the lack of funding, and it’s frustrating.

We currently have 20 girls and their little ones who we are housing in a homeless shelter. It’s not the best situation but without our support they would still be sleeping outside with their babies. There are at least another 20 who need accommodation but we simply can not afford to pay for them. It breaks my heart.

We are seeing changes in these girls. They are opening up and really learning to trust me. Last night they let me video them for an instagram video and this was a real sign to me that they trust me. They are incredibly vulnerable, but they are also very strong and independent. They are fierce and brave and I love them so much.

We really appreciate all of your love and support. Please pray for abundance in our finances so that we can continue to make a difference. Please pray for my precious girls and their babies. That the Father will continue to heal and strengthen each of them. And please pray for my family’s financial situation, it’s been hard work this year and I am genuinely tired. But I keep going.

Thank you for your interest in the work that Vashti does with Hope’s Anchor in Durban, if you would like to support the Downs Family  please use PayPal downseyluff@aol.com or email lindsey.toms57@gmail.com for bank details or their Stewardship account where the tax from UK tax payers can be claimed back.

 

Human Rights?

Today is Human Rights Day. And my heart is heavy. When I think of our girls and Human Rights it stirs such an anger deep in my soul. I googled the list of Human Rights and my mind was blown. Out of the 30 human rights my precious girls have at least 14 stripped away on a daily basis.

• Born free & equal

• Don’t discriminate

• The right to life

• No slavery

• No torture

• Equal before Law

• Human Rights are protected by Law

• No unfair detainment

• Freedom to move

• The right to your own things

• Social Security

• Workers Rights

• Food and shelter for all

• No one can take away your human rights.

EVERY SINGLE DAY these rights are stolen from our precious girls and their children. So as everyone takes the day off work to celebrate their human rights please consider those who have had so many of their rights stripped from them. #unconditionallove #extravagantgrace #hopeforthesoul #durbansextrade #weseeyouweloveyou #humanrights #humanrightsday

Victrix Ludorum

I’m sitting here writing up one of my girls CVs. I’m trying to hold my emotions together as I type. You see every single one of the girls that we care for has a story. None of them chose the sex industry or drug addiction. Not one.

As I type I think about “F”s life, I know how she got to where she is today. I know how the rape of her 10 year old daughter drove F into a severe depression and how she started numbing herself with over the counter pain meds. I know how the pain meds were not enough to kill the pain that she was in, so she turned to harder drugs to numb her, to remove the blame and shame that she felt for her daughters rape.

Soon she lost her way completely. Her great job, her family, her little girl, her home, everything gone. Now homeless, jobless and addicted F found herself fighting daily to survive. Her beautiful child sent to stay with extended family was finally safe and back in school but there is still a long road to healing. F is now full time in the sex trade and living day to day, but she is ready to leave.

So here I am writing down her amazing accomplishments that came before her child’s rape. Victrix Ludorum sports girl of the year, secretary, marine shorehand, courses in first aid, fire fighting and survival at sea. Skippers license. This woman is AMAZING.

We will fight for her freedom and her healing. We will love and pray her back to herself and to the Father.

 

Thank you for your interest in the work that Vashti does with Hope’s Anchor in Durban, if you would like to support the Downs Family  please use PayPal downseyluff@aol.com or email lindsey.toms57@gmail.com for bank details or their Stewardship account where the tax from UK tax payers can be claimed back.

Girls

9am and their drugged bodies are strewn about the room. 10 women and a small child crammed into one room. Before this room their home was the street. Trying to survive, hustling, begging, selling their bodies, just to get through the day. To survive the next 24 hours. No dreams for the future, trying to forget the trauma of all their yesterdays. Killing the memories, hiding the shame, with whatever drug they can afford at the end of the day. This is their life. This is their reality, their truth. The room was heavy with despair and shame. Half naked bodies, sick and broken. The sun was up but the room was spiritually dark. I could feel the darkness watching me. Evil torment crouching in the corners, watching my every move. I could feel it, see it. I told it to leave. As these precious girls slept their souls vulnerable to the darkness I prayed for light, for love, for peace. As I prayed a couple of them stirred. One fully woke, beautiful smile breaking across her face as she notices me. She crosses the room in just her panties and drops into my lap and hugs me. Her body covered in stab wounds, track marks and sores, she snuggles into me and tells me that she is so happy to see me. She then runs to the bathroom and vomits, the withdrawals already kicking in she frantically pulls on her dress and goes looking for her needle and a rock. This is how my days are starting to look. Things are shifting as I truly learn what it means to fight for these girls of mine. The last couple of weeks I have been putting in more time and effort, fighting harder than ever. I am tired, exhausted even, but it’s ok. This is my life and I LOVE it. #unconditionallove #extravagantgrace #hopeforthesoul #durbansextrade #weseeyouweloveyou

Thank you for your interest in the work that Vashti does with Hope’s Anchor in Durban, if you would like to support the Downs Family  please use PayPal downseyluff@aol.com or email lindsey.toms57@gmail.com for bank details