Displaced but not unloved.

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Last week was exhausting. On Tuesday I had a call from the Shelter telling me that there was rioting outside on the street. That they were setting fire not only to rubbish and tyres but also humans. My girls and the children had locked themselves in the shelter while all the men went to see what was happening. Then the news broke, social media went ballistic and pictures started to rear their very ugly and scary heads.

Pictures of thousands of people fighting, fires burning, bodies set alight. Bush knives swinging and blood flying. The pictures were horrendous. The pictures told the story of thousands of African nationals who were being targeted due to the fact that they are NOT South African.

A week later and the fighting has calmed somewhat but now we are fighting another battle. Literally thousands of people, homes burned to the ground, belongings stolen or set alight, terrified children, broken hearts, all crammed into refugee camps scattered across our city.

Those of you who know me know that I literally can not do nothing. So we teamed up with our best friends and started putting calls out for donations. Clothing, blankets, food, baby supplies started to pour in. Soon our storage space was so full that we were overflowing. So many generous people stopped by with support, both physically and emotionally.

On Sunday afternoon we took a trip to one of the refugee camps to deliver the items. 5 large vehicles packed with donations made their way to the camp where we were greeted by the Red Cross and some amazing refugees. As we unpacked the donations we were overwhelmed with the generosity of hundreds of others who like us had decided to not sit still and do nothing. So many like hearted individuals who believe in the beauty of the country, this continent.

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After the horrendous things that we had seen during the week it was encouraging to see so many people, of all races, religions, classes pulling together to love on these beautiful people. We spent time loving on a number of mothers and their babies. Sitting with them and listening to their stories and praying with them. Sharing the love of God and ministering peace and joy.

I was humbled by these beautiful women and their capacity to forgive those who had done so much wrong to them and their families.

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The women’ s tent had over 500 people sleeping in it. Women, babies and toddlers everywhere. Newborns squalling as their mothers tried to change their diapers in the freezing cold. Rain coming in the sides of the tent. Toddlers running around bare foot having a ball, unaware of the situation. All they knew was that they had a load of new friends to run and jump with.

Women huddled up together trying to stay warm and catch five mins of sleep while their children played. Some sat and chatted, some braided each others hair.

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I was overwhelmed by the peace and calm. Their capacity to band together and lift each other up spoke volumes to me. We didn’t want to leave. And now I am eager to go back. I am eager to build relationships with these women, to hear their stories. To love on them and to learn from them.

If you would like to support us in this new mission that God has called us to please donate to PayPal username downseyluff@aol.com

The camps are far away so we will be using most donations for petrol money and the road tolls. We will also be purchasing diapers and baby products. Please also feel free to share this post with anyone who you feel would be able to help.

Your love and prayers are so so appreciated.

Love from Martin, Vashti and the kids. xx

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Because she’s worth it.

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Ronelle has been so sick for a long time. A couple of years ago she had a real bad bout of TB. We got her help and with the right meds she got well and strong. Now she has been battling for about four months with a very bad cough and a heap of other ailments. She her health has been going down hill fast. She had been in and out of the government hospitals and clinics trying to find out what is wrong. No one could give her answers. They would just give her an injection (of who knows what) and send her on her way.

Life in the shelter is full of sickness and germs. Almost everyone living there is sick with one thing or another. There is no ventilation so everyone is breathing in everyone else’s germ infested air. It’s no wonder that Ronelle is constantly sick.

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Two weeks ago I visited the Shelter with some students from Bethel and I spent time talking with Ronelle. It was clear to me that I needed to do something to help her. I couldn’t just walk away knowing that my dear friend was so very sick.

I committed to helping her and made an appointment to take her to see a private GP to see if they could get to the bottom of the problem. Lots of blood was taken and sent to the lab for testing for everything. Then the next day I took her to the x-ray department to get a chest x-ray.

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Back and forward and up and down to Durban was taxing on my pocket and my time, but she’s worth it. I managed to raise some money from friends to help cover her blood work, doctors appointment and x-ray. I paid for her meds and the petrol myself. Both Ronelle and I are beyond thankful for those who supported her during this time.

Her default setting is fear and survival. She spent her childhood with an alcoholic abusive father and lost her mother when she was 12. You can find her horrific story here.

She was so full of fear when I picked her up for her appointments. I had to hold her hand when she had her blood taken. I had to go into all the doctors rooms with her and reassure her that we wont stop until we have figured out what is wrong with her.

Because she’s worth it.

The blood work came back and there was nothing out of the ordinary. Everything seemed fine. The chest x-ray showed some scaring from her previous bout of TB but nothing serious.

The doctor gave her a course of antibiotics, no change. The doctor gave her another stronger course of antibiotics and she is still coughing and still suffering. I don’t know what the next step is. We have run out of funds. I am frustrated and she is really battling. I don’t have the answers and it seems that neither do the doctors. I guess she needs to go for more tests but sadly that’s out of our reach right now.

So what do we do but pray? Please join us in trusting God for answers and for healing.

2 Kings 20:5 God says to Hezekiah “I have heard your prayers and I have seen your tears, I will heal you.”

So many tears have been shed for Ronelle. So many prayers lifted up on her behalf. We are now trusting Him for answers.

Because she’s worth it!!

If you would like to give towards this journey of getting Ronelle healthy please donate to our PayPal account. You can find it at…

http://www.paypal.com     User Name :  downseyluff@aol.com

Thank you for your love, support and prayers.