where we are at

We have been asked by a number of people to write a post explaining just what we are doing, where we are doing it and what where we see God leading us.

As most of you know, we have been here in South Africa since 2004. We met and worked together in New York with Metro Ministries for 7 years. Martin had spent time previously to that in South Africa and knew God was calling us here. We were married in 2003 and spent a year in the UK before moving here. We knew God had called us to work with the poor and disadvantaged in the beautiful country.

And that is what we have been doing since we arrived in 2004. We began working with orphans and those who were caring for their orphaned grandchildren and over the years this has always been a part of our ministry. Although we have taken on other aspects of working with the homeless, sex workers and other vulnerable people along the way.

Until last January we have always been greatly blessed by having properties loaned to us that have been on the market,  in return for us keeping and eye on and looking after those properties. As many of you know, last January, the farm that we were living in was broken into in the night, we were robbed and physically hurt. We had to move out of that property due to the owners not being able to afford to secure it. Friends who we were renting our car from, offered us a property on their land that had just become vacant. We therefore began to pay rent on top of the car payments, this was a new venture for us. We were very grateful for having a roof over our heads but the place was very small for a family of five and we knew it would only be a matter of time before we would need to find somewhere else to live. We had to keep a lot of our belongings in a shared garage as the house was too small. We only discovered when we came to move that much of what we stored had been stolen. The area, although supposedly ‘safe’ was a target for many break-ins during the time we were there. This caused much stress particularly for me and the boys, who we were home schooling and therefore spent most of the time in the house.

All this time we were praying for Gods guidance, we both felt that we weren’t really spening time doing the ministry that God had called us to. The shelter where I had worked so much in the past was too far to make regular trips to, petrol isn’t cheap and we needed the money for rent etc.

Then a few months back we were contacted by some long term friends of ours, Marc & Nicole. We had been in church with this lovely couple some years back and then both families moved away from the area and although we kept in touch we hadn’t met up for a few years.

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They contacted us and asked to meet up. Basically, Marc & Nic were planning on moving back to the city and follow the calling that God had put on their hearts to see the city of Durban restored to Christ through love, every thing they told us during that meeting was exactly what God had laid on our hearts over the years.

They planned on church planting in Durban as part of the ministry of One Future Foundation www.facebook.com/onefuturefoundation and would we like to be a part of this church and ministry?

We, of course, prayed about this but knew immediately that this is what God wanted us to be a part of. Our hearts are full of excitement for what God has planned.

We began going out on the street of Duban every Wednesday to meet and build relationships with the homeless and vulnerable. On Sundays we meet together as a church and have seen many of the people we reach out to during the week, come along and join us.

If you scroll down through my blog you will read some of the stories I have posted.

Our vision is to ‘Feed the homeless and vulnerable, building relationships with those people including the sex workers. Providing clothing, food and hygiene products. While restoring the city to Christ through love.

So back to our family, just before Christmas our friends who we were renting from told us that wanted to renovate the property and would need us to vacate by January. This didn’t give us much time to find somewhere else but of course God doesn’t need much time. All the odds were against us To be fully involved in the ministry we needed to move closer to the city, this brings with it a higher rental, we dont have a regular income which landlords like to see and other people were interested in the flat we liked. But God came through and we moved in just a couple of days before Christmas. The flat is spacious and has a garden.

The next thing we needed to sort was schooling for the boys, we have been home schooling them for a few years but as they are getting older, and it was clear that Jesse has some extra educational needs, we knew we were limited in how beneficial we were being as home educators. Also for us both to be involved in the church and ministry, it would be easier if the boys were in full time education.

The thought of finding and paying for a school near the flat was daunting, we had a meeting with a head teacher who didnt have spaces but was really helpful in organizing an assessment for Jesse. I then bumped into an old friend whilst out shopping, and one thing led to another and we were offered full bursaries for all three boys and a great school!

We are so thankful to God for His provision and to all of you who so selflessly helped us financially, to get together the deposit for the flat and with moving expenses.

Our future hope is to return to the UK, for our boys to be part of our extended family and to be able to spend time with their grandparents, uncles, Aunties and cousins. But realistically we know this is going to take at least two years, laws for adoption have changed since we adopted the boys, our paperwork is taking ages to get sorted and time just goes by. In the mean time we know that God has called us to this beautiful city and to the lives of those who we meet every week on the streets, some we have known for years, some we are just beginning to get to know, all needing the love of Jesus in their lives. Church planting and ministry building excites us both, we know God is in this and we are enormously privileged to be doing it with great friends.

So how can you help to be a part of this work? Well we need your prayer support. I mentioned earlier that we rented a car from our friends car hire company,  well yesterday that car broke down and the company have decided to sell it as they have all their other cars. So now we are without a car and without the means to buy one and  that means the boys are unable to get to their new school which they are absolutely loving.

So our prayer requests are as follows:

For a car that will suit our family needs, big enough for five of us to be able to travel together.

A regular income to cover our rent and other outgoings.

We have a small number of regular supporters, for whom we are really thankful,  it would be so helpful if we could build up a number of regular givers so we can budget around what we receive in each month.

We have a Just giving page hosted by my parents church, which offers a tax back payment on every gift from UK tax payers www.justgiving.com/kingsroadchurch this website gives the option to make one off gifts or to make regular monthly gifts, to the right hand site of web page under the ‘donate’ button. On tax back giving a gift of  £10 will increase to £12.50

We have a PayPal account under the name downseyluff@aol.com this is free for our donors who are not in the UK. 

We also have a Stewardship account which is a Christian organisation and offers the same tax back giving. Or we have a UK bank account. The details for Stewardship and bank account can be got from my mum at lindsey.toms57@gmail.com

We want to thank you all for your continued love and support for our family and for the ministry that God has called us to.

Martin, Vashti and the boys xxxxx

 

 

 

 

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