This is a combined newsletter, as it has been so busy in the home, that we didn’t manage to do last month’s newsletter on time. As we wind down to the end of the year, we reflect on all that has happened during 2016. It has been a busy and hard year for us with staff issues at the beginning of the year and 2 of our older staff members leaving, new staff coming in and Robyn having to train them, Kevin leaving us, Robyn going away to the UK for 6 weeks and then coming home to problems with Kitty and Collin and them signing themselves out of our home, as they no longer wanted to continue living with us in ABC. Jaun moved in with us in January and then decided to move out in April and dropped out of school again.
We were at full capacity with 8 babies, and then Welfare begged us to take in just one more baby in February so we have had only one new baby enter the home during this year, as we wait for the adoptions to open up again, hopefully soon. Sam and Josh got their driver’s licenses in March and have been such a help in the home with assisting in driving kids to and from school and running errands for us. Josh struggled in the first few months of the year, not knowing what he wanted to do after Bible College, so we offered him a job in ABC as the driver and an assistant to Gerry and the gardener. Sam started studying Motor Mechanics in June, at a training centre just around the corner from us. José completed his first year at Bible College at the end of October and has done really well. Lozi wrote her JCSE finals for Form 3 at the end of October and has been assisting Robyn in the home, as the ABC chef and turning out some amazing meals. Keturah has completed Grade 2 getting a merit pass and coming 3rd in class.
Because of all the issues we have had with the older children over the past 2 years, we have decided to keep our focus on the babies, as we are mainly a baby home for abandoned babies. We will no longer be keeping our babies past 3 years old and they will have to move to other child care facilities if they are not adopted out. We do not have the space for older children and we cannot bring in adult beds for our children who reach 4 years old, as our rooms are limited and can only accommodate the toddler beds and baby cots. Welfare have backed us up on this decision especially after all the teenager issues we have had this year.
As sad as it was to lose our older children who have been with us since babies, there have been many happy moments. The birth of our new grandson, Judah, in August was one of them. We also had a very special visit from one of our adopted babies who visited us in November with his family, from the USA. It was wonderful to meet him again and see how he has grown into such an amazing young man and we were encouraged by their visit to ABC.
We have had a number of teams come in during 2016 who have assisted us and encouraged us. We are so grateful to Rick and Laura Clapp whose team came in during June and painted our lounges and dining room. We signed a new house lease, for the next 3 years, with the rightful owner of the house, the husband, and he gave us permission to close up the swimming pool which we are now making into a playground for the toddlers. We started by filling it in with all the building rubble that is lying around the yard and then we received a donation for the sand to fill in the rest of the pool. We also received a donation towards fencing so we can fence in the garden in front of the house and around the pool area, to make a safe play area for the toddlers and babies.
Little Wandy’s mom completed her schooling and plans were made to integrate her back into her family by Christmas. Her mother started visiting her regularly to learn about caring for her and for Wandy to bond with her mother and on the 20th December Wandy was reunited successfully with her family. The process has also been started for Tino to move over to his new care home, which we hope will happen in the New Year. Tino will be turning 4 years old in February and needs to move into his permanent care home.
Gerry and the boys worked on putting up the double roofing over Dominique’s container cottage to keep it cooler in summer. The cars gave us some issues and Gerry is still working on the Toyota Rav and Cressida. They had major engine failure, so Gerry decided to take out the engines on both cars and do a complete overhaul on them which will give us 2 good cars when he has completed the massive task. With Sam doing Motor Mechanics, he is helping Gerry and learning a lot as he helps.
Andrew arrived home for the December holidays as he is no longer allowed to return to Bulembu. Andrew got himself a temporary job at Ngwenya Glass Factory, just up the road from our home, which will help with his finances for his 3rd and final year at Uni in 2017. Chris was only able to be home with us for a week and then had to return to Bulembu to carry out his obligations to them, which also gave him the opportunity to attend Luke’s wedding.
Of course, the event of the year for us was the wedding. Our son, Luke, married Florence on a rainy but very happy 11th December. It was a lovely wedding, small and intimate. Our older children, at Luke’s request, surprised Florence by playing and singing a special song for her to walk down the aisle with her dad to meet her groom. The new Mr & Mrs Richter will continue to live in Mbabane, so we are really blessed to have them living so close to us.
We are grateful to Woolworths for their continued supply of groceries, fruits and vegetables, to the many people who have so generously given to our home in any way over this past year, which has helped us continue with this amazing work with the babies that we are called to look after, for the prayers, love and support of everyone connected to us in any way. You are appreciated and we are thankful to God for you and your obedience. Without all of your support we are unable to look after these precious babies.
May God grant you a peaceful Christmas and a prosperous New Year for 2017.
God bless all of you
Gerry & Robyn
At this time, may we remember that HE is no longer the baby in a manger but the Saviour of the world, come to set us free from our sins and give us life and life more abundantly.