So often here, I can’t make sense of the world I live in. I often find myself feeling sorry for my self and overwhelmed. I mean, yesterday I had to travel internationally to go to mine and Caleb’s dentist appointments, so he could fix the botched job the last dentist did. Because of new laws Matthew and I both had to travel to the police station get a special paper signed, track down a printer and copier, get copies of this and that all in preparation for me traveling with one of our kids without Matthew. Because of child trafficking the laws are strict now. Although, in the end, they didn’t even end up asking me for half the documents they now “require.” Oh the stress. But we made the most of it and spent four hours traveling and a few hours shopping. Thank goodness the town we went to had McDonalds, or Uncle Donalds as Caleb calls it. We did shopping in South Africa that we can’t do here, like getting bibles in English, getting yummy crackers and tomato soup with out MSG, and buying playdough and a little Lego toy for Caleb, since he was so brave at the dentist and didn’t have any cavities! Oh, and coffee and chocolate filled croissants! I was so tempted to buy myself nice things to decorate my house with, or a new pair of pants or just something pretty. And don’t get me wrong, I do do that occasionally, but the way I see money and spend it has drastically changed since we moved here. No matter how hard things can be, or how uncomfortable I am, there are so so many that have it so much worse than me.
When we came here I was so shocked at the reality of how rich I am. I am constantly aware of how blessed I am. What I wouldn’t give foe a taste of home. My heart aches daily for family, friends, comfort and home. But God is daily working in my heart to heal, grow, mold and teach me that I need to be grateful and thankful for what I do have! And not sad about what I don’t. Contentment. A house, warm clothes, lots of food, a phone, a car. I can afford to take my kids to the doctors and afford medication for them. When I see others, how can I ever complain again. Matt and I have no debt. We live on a budget and we are blessed to have a savings account. I cannot tell you all who help to support us, how eternally humbled and grateful we are to you! THANK YOU.
I was having a conversation with one of the dear Mosotho women in my life recently. She was so so sooo happy to tell me she had finally found a small piece of land to build a house on. The last plot of land she bought was actually sold to numerous different people so she in the end got screwed out of her life savings. This is a huge problem here. People pay with out receiving the proper paper work, because it takes money to get the paper work, and in the end they have nothing. She did end up getting some of the money back, and is now only $350 short for the new piece she found. She was asking me if we could help here. In total her small plot of land is about $1,500.
I asked her how she would afford to build a house on the land she buys. She explained that she can’t. But she will look for some of the metal sheeting used for roofs here to build a small shack, so then at least she can live there and not pay rent anymore. Then slowly she can start to build with bricks as she gets the money. Living here has totally revolutionized how I view and spend money.
You see. She, like so many other “lucky ones” with jobs here live on, around, $100 a month. She is a widow. She takes care of her daughter who graduated school but cannot find work, and also her granddaughter who is an orphan. She told me $50 is for rent a month. Then $20 for her granddaughters school a month. Then that leaves $30 for EVERYTHING else. Food, electricity, water, etc. My heart broke. “Mme, what do you eat?” She along with the rest of the country live off of Papa, which is maize meal. Corn porridge and spinach, or cabbage cooked and seasoned with MSG. And maquenia, like a fat cake, and more corn. Sigh. It is so cold here now, and paraffin, gas for the heaters is expensive. My heart was so broken. Can you imagine having $30 to eat with and heat your house in winter, and travel with for a whole month, every month, for 3 people? In America it was so easy to ignore poverty, and honestly often I wasn’t sure how to really make a difference. I didn’t really know any poor people. But now…
But we can’t just become paralyzed by the scope of the suffering. All we can do is make a small ripple. But with the Holy Spirits leading he will show where he wants us to make that impact. I am learning on a whole new level what it means to love my neighbor like myself. What good is it if a man clains to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? In scripture it says, “Suppose a brother and sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you sayd to them, “Go in peace and keep warm and be well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? (James 2:5-6, 8, 14-16). We cannot give to every need because we feel guilty. But we cannot restrain from giving because we’re afraid we’re going to “do it wrong.” It’s all about being so in-tune with His Spirit that we know when to act and when to pray.
Please pray for us as we navigate the extreme poverty we see daily, and the intense wealth God has for some reason granted us with. Pray for wisdom and discernment and peace and Joy as we share His love and the Good News with the lost and hungry here. As we work to make this home. Let me know if you too want to make a ripple and support in some way with the many I know here either spiritually or financially. We are currently collecting socks and gloves and leggings for the Local Church outreach next month into one of our most isolated and poorest airstrip communities we serve in.
God Bless you. Love, Carolyn
Driving home from visiting friends at the orphanage. Typical housing you see in 85% of Lesotho.
The kids playing with local kiddos while we were setting up The Jesus Film
Heading home from visiting Daddy at work, keeping warm for the 35 min drive.