Monday, October 14, 2013

Two weeks of baby Diego

Life really could not be more beautiful! I am sitting on the couch in Maputo and next to me is a handsome little man who I love more than life itself. Little Diego was born on the 28th September. His birth did not go according to plan and I ended up being wheeled off for a c section after many many hours of labour pains.
Turns out recovering from a c section was way easier than I though. IN FACT... easier than dealing with hours of contractions. :) What I realised on that day that it really didn't matter what plans I had to bring him into the world. How I wished it would happen.My plans really didn't matter at all. God had it in control.. Diego was there. In my arms. Healthy and happy. What a blessing.

Here are some of the things that I have learnt and loved over the past two weeks.

I have always loved that little proverb or quote that speaks about a village raising a child. I love the idea that as parents you are not on your own. I love the idea that the responsibility of raising a child is with a whole community. I think I have learnt to appreciate that while dealing with the boys here. Sometimes parents cant raise their kids. Sometimes input and advice from neighbours proves to be invaluable in a child's life. Sometimes its the people around us that impact our kids and inspire them to be better people. That's the positive side to that quote. These past couple weeks I have learnt what the flip-side to this little proverb is.

I have had to learn to stand up for what I think is right for my child. To push aside comments that I dont want   and to take into consideration others which might help me and my child. Everyone and I mean EVERYONE has an opinion on how you should raise your baby. How to feed him. How many blankets to wrap him up in. Whats good and whats not.... Opinions are not lacking. At first I thought it was so wonderful that people cared enough to share what they though was best. But I quickly got tired of it and found myself crying one night feeling like a complete failure. There was not way that I could please everyone.
Luis very patiently listened and then reminded me that this child was given to us to raise. God chose me to be his mom. Yes I need help and advice but ultimately I need to figure out whats best for my child and trust in my instincts. This has not been an easy thing for me. I want to please everyone. I want everyone to feel like I am taking their opinions into consideration but I also need to make my own decisions with out feeling guilty. This village that is helping raising my child is made up of people with very loud voices.
I am Diegos mom. God has given me the privilege of having the loudest voice in his life. (at least for now- until he is old enough to not want moms opinion. (: )

Here is another thing that I have learnt...

I am overflowing with pride and love. Not only for this beautiful child that is staring up at me but for my husband. I am reminded every day I see Luis holding Diego how blessed I am to have a husband that is utterly in love with his child, praying for him, loving him and waking up for him when he is crying at night.
I am more in love with my husband than ever before. God has blessed me with the perfect little family. Not perfect like movie perfect... But perfect for me kind of perfect.

So I keep learning. Everyday. Through motherhood I am learning more about myself, my husband and mostly more about the love that my father in heaven has for me. Everyday I realise a little more how perfect God's love is.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Things I learn in hospital lines.

The past few weeks I have sat for many many hours in government hospitals. It seems to go in waves. These few months we have had alot of sick kids.  Hospital visits with kids are never fun. Some trips to the hospital are less serious than others. A broken arm. A stitch or two needed, those sorts of things. Unfortunately I have spent more time with more serious cases lately. Boys get abused and raped. Others I have sat with as they hear they are HIV positive. My heart has broken over and over again at sad news and hopeless results.  As I sat in line for the third hour yesterday, I was reminded of the brokenness of this world. People around me, sick and broken. Dying and hopeless. How do you truly comfort boys who have been through or are going through this? The truth is. I can’t.

I can be a shoulder to cry on or a hand to hold but I cannot heal. God does that. And the beauty about what I get to see every day is just that. God healing helpless situations.  There are not many times where God has chosen to heal kids of diseases or injuries but he is healing hearts every day.
I have been in awe as I have seen brokenness turned into joy. Hopelessness disappearing.  Street children choosing family.

Sickness is not what God wanted for us. But time and time again we see at Masana that God uses sickness to change lives and change hearts. Even in sickness and pain there is HOPE. God is hope.

In the same hospital lines that I sat in yesterday and saw death and hopelessness, there was God. A young boy reading his bible to his sick aunt. An old grandfather sitting with his bible in his hand and stories of God healing and restoring hope.  

Monday, June 24, 2013

My thoughts on my hero Mandela.

I have been glued to the news. I find myself praying that God will heal Mandela. Im not sure if this is a fair prayer or not but I have to keep hoping he will pull through. What God reminded me of today was that this is a very old, very human man. I find myself wishing that he would live forever. Isn’t that what Hero’s are supposed to do? I have to be careful of putting him so high up that he seems almost God like. Someone who will live forever...   But I am reminded that although this man is, and forever will be a hero to me and many other people in South Africa and the world, he is still a frail old man. 

Maybe he is very ready to leave this world.
My biggest dream on earth was to meet Mandela. To just have two minutes with the man who has shaped so much of the country that I know and love and also shaped me as a young South African women. Honestly- this week was the first time that I started giving up on that dream.  I was a little less sad that I expected.  (... I REALLY thought it would be possible to meet this man!) I was less sad because I had realised that I have met a little of Madiba. I grew up in a country that is free. Mandela is in that freedom. I watch people of every colour having deep and real friendships. Nelson Mandela is in those people. I have a family that is very much part of the rainbow nation because of a man that fought for unity! Madiba is in that rainbow nation. Mandela is in every single one of us. He is such a powerful man that he left a little bit of who he is in all of us. He made his mark on the world and on every single South African.

So I may never get to shake the hand of my hero but I get to be a part of the work that he started in South Africa. Even from far away.. My job, my calling... is to continue on with what Mandela fought so hard for. Unity, togetherness and an inexplicable love for our country and each other. What an honour and a privilege to call myself a South African!

My heart breaks for his family and for the nation as they prepare themselves for his death. Mandela won’t live forever but his legacy will! Praying for him and his family daily! 

Monday, May 27, 2013

IT'S A BOY!!!!

We are half way there! As of this week we are at twenty weeks. Little Baby Bras is wriggling and moving around in my growing belly and I am starting to feel his little kicks. YIP, that;s right... This little miracle that is happening inside of me is a little BOY!

Luis and I had a fun doctor’s appointment on Friday trying to see if it was pink or blue. Our little man moves around so much it took a while but thankfully our doctor was incredible and was just as excited to see him as we were.  

So, we are due in October and will be having our baby right here in Maputo. I LOVE our doctor already and am excited that God seemed to pick the PERFECT doctor for Luis and I.

I cannot believe how in love I am with this little guy already!  God has blessed Luis and I beyond measure! Never in my wildest dreams did I think that right now in my life I would be looking down at a growing belly and dreaming of what my son will be like. But God is good and I could not be happier.
As I pray for my child, I am so grateful for the miracle that is inside of me. That the Lord chose me to be a mother. I am too blessed and VERY grateful for a happy healthy, MOVING little boy! 

My boys at Masana have started to talk to him already, so he is going to come out ready to be a part of the Masana family. :) 

Friday, December 21, 2012

My story- Durban to Maputo

When I was about thirteen I was shown something that would change my life forever. A friend of mines dad had been going into the center of Durban to work with some of the homeless and prostitutes. I loved the idea of helping someone in need but needed a whole lot of convincing to actually do it.

I never could have imagined the dramatic effect that one night would have on my life.

I met people who helped me and shaped me into who I am today. 
I fisher woman called Vanessa told me every day that she saw me that I was meant for something great. That I could do anything. And that God had every person in a specific place for a reason.

An old Gogo(grandma) living in a shelter who taught me about service and giving the little that you have. She taught me about the power of a mothering heart and how a little love can change a childs heart.

A little street boy called Lucky who showed me that everyone can change. He taught me about how important it is to invest in the one. I’m not here to save the whole world. I am here to help change one person’s life at a time.

And a little girl called Chantel who’s story still breaks my heart every day. She taught me about how important it is to learn from what is not spoken. To understand peoples stories not from their words but from their lives, their actions their every breath.

These were only a few people who changed my life. Out of my time in Durban my passion and love for inner city people and street kids grew. I know I am supposed to say that I had massive impacts on these peoples lives but the truth is, they had more of an impact on mine. I craved time with Vanessa. She inspired me. Sitting on Gogos bed in the shelter talking about the old days became a place of comfort and safety for me.

As my passion grew, it took me beyond borders. Before I knew it my bags were packed and I was moving to Mozambique. A good few years down the line, my life is still here. In the dirty streets of Maputo.  I now work with a group of boys who continue to shape me and change me. Masana  aims to get these boys living on the street back to live with their family. I am very grateful to be a part of that.

Choosing to be a missionary was easy. Living as one is not. I am actually terrible at it. Thank goodness God is gracious. I mess up. Sometimes the boys don’t see my best, most “Godly”side. Some days they really just bring out the worst in me. But I have learnt that I am not here to be perfect. I am here to do life with them. To be real. God will do the rest. He chose me to be here. I fully believe that my place in Mozambique is not a mistake. This is where I am at home. Making an impact on the amount of children on the streets of Maputo.

So. I don’t have a job or receive a salary. I live off other peoples donations. Like a street child I have to work for my money by asking for it. (My least favourite part of being a missionary) Humbling!?! More than I would like to admit.  Next year I need to raise money to be able to stay here and continue to work with these boys. I am looking for monthly or once of donations for next year. All my support goes through and is monitored by my church- Westville Baptist Church.
Wont you consider helping me work here? Please consider a once off or monthly donation.
My email is if you need anymore information or would like to support me for 2013. 

Thursday, March 1, 2012

The green spoon.

God has has been teaching me about how the little acts of love can impact greatly. He keeps reminding me that it's a blessing to be wiping runny noses and cleaning scratched knee's all day. The point is that I am there for these boys. Ready to watch them for the tenth time as they learn to skip. Ready to help them wash their clothes and celebrate with them when they remember to wash their hands. These little acts of love, seem so insignificant but every now and then we catch a glimpse of something much greater. To me, it is just the tenth time he has skipped past me. To him, it's the fact that someone is watching and cheering him on. If this is all I am here to do.. I will gladly accept this beautiful responsibility.

A few weeks ago I gave one of the little boys a special spoon to eat his food with. He thought his green, frog spoon was the most amazing thing ever. I love serving him his food because every day he gets excited about his little spoon. It never gets old. Grinning from ear to ear he will always show the other staff members his special spoon.

Today, I wasn’t serving the food and Luis’ spoon ended up on someone else's plate. Ian called me over to show me what had happened after that. Something I would never have expected. After trying to beg and plead for his spoon back he decided that he would barter it for his cup of milk. His trade was accepted very eagerly and both parties finished their meal very happy. I never realised how much it would mean to little Luis when I gave him a special spoon. It was something that was his. One thing in the world that was given to him, one thing that he loved and owned. It was worth more than his glass of milk which the kids are so happy to get. I love that I get to see those special moments. A little bit of love and attention means the world to these kids, even if to me, all it is, is a little green, frog shaped spoon.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


This month my life took the most wonderful turn. After dating Luis since last year, this amazing man who loves the Lord and loves me got on one knee and asked me to be his wife. As the weeks have gone by we have started to not only plan our wedding day but our lives together. I could not be happier. This is better than I could ever have imagined it! Thank you Lord for allowing me to love and be loved like this!

Looking at budgets and houses, beds and appliances it was all of a sudden very clear to me that my life was about to change. There I was looking for a house for just the two of us. Although this has been something that we have spoken about for months and although I am more than ready to begin my life with this incredible man, still my heart aches a little for what I leave behind.

My friend Layne was praying for me a few nights ago and she managed to put my feelings into beautiful words. I feel as if I am mourning the loss of a time in my life. The end of a season. I have been almost like a foster mom for over a year now. My housemates and I took in 3 of the most incredible boys who really became our own. I have spent a large chunk of my time cooking dinners, doing homework, playing and laughing but also disciplining these boys. Our conversations about the Lord and what they have been learning have been some of the most precious memories. I have loved my responsibilities with the boys. And I have loved what they have brought to my life.

These boys have been a part of my life, and always will be. They are my boys. Things are just changing. As I look to a new season of my life. As I am eagerly awaiting becoming a wife and someday, hopefully a mother to my own children I have to learn to let things change.

Change is good.. In this case.. Change is the most exciting and beautiful thing I can imagine! Sometimes with all that goodness comes a little sprinkling of heartache.

But I won’t be living with these boys anymore. And although my role in Masana won’t change, although I will see them all throughout the weeks, I have realised I only have a few more months of 24hour time with my boys.

So I am letting myself be a little sad for the change that will happen in a few months. But REJOICING, and in complete awe of the Lord’s blessing for bringing me the man who I get to love and be with for the rest of our lives. BRING ON THE CHANGE!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


Just before Christmas, I was on my way to a regular house
visit. We were taking one of our Masana boys to visit his family for the first time in years. Little did we know that visit was going to change Cesars life forever. We sat down and were greeted by a grandmother.She had come down from the North of Mozambique to help with funeral arrangements. 3 days before we arrived, Cesars mother had died.
A 16 year old child is not supposed to hear that he has lost
his mother. Cesar sat quietly and still as he took in the news. Not only had he lost his mother but he was not the oldest boy in Mozambique, he is now the man of the house. With 3 younger siblings to look after, he had some huge decisions to make.

Cesar only cried when we got back into the car. I sat with him for a few minutes, only able to comfort him through my own tears as I wept with him.

He stayed with us at Masana for a night or two while he mourned the loss of his mother and dealt with the pain and disappointment of
not going home sooner. Cesar chose to return home and stay in his mother’s house. His younger siblings will be going to live in a center. For children in these types of situations I am so grateful that centers exist.
Cesar has no intention of leaving his mothers house. He is terrified that if he leaves his aunt will sell the house. No matter how much we spoke to him about the things we can do to make sure that didn’t
happen, he didn’t trust the system. He doesn’t trust people and their word enough. He needs to stay there on his own to make sure that house stays in his family, even if that means struggling for food and living on his own.
This past week we spoke with him about his plans, he is still very excited to go back to school. Praise the Lord for that. We met some
incredible neighbours who are helping out and looking after him as much as they possibly can. Although I don’t think it’s a wise option for a 16 year old to be living alone, looking after a house, I also admire his determination to do whatever it takes to make sure this house is there for him and his siblings.

Cesars story has rocked my world. Visiting these children’s families are not always happy reunions. This little kid is fighting for a life
at home again. Without a family. I am so thankful for neighbours who have chosen to be his family.

Monday, October 24, 2011

David, another prodigal son returns home.

David had been on the streets for 3 years. Some boys get to visit their families while they live on the streets, this was not the case for David. Our visit to his home was his first since he had run away.
David decided on the day of our visit that he didn't want to just visit his family but he wanted to stay there. He packed his little bag with his few items of clothes and other odds and ends he had collected. He was ready to go home.
His house is about 2 hours out of the city- in a very remote village. I wasn't sure that he was going to remember how to get there.

When we arrived at his aunts place, we sat under a tree waiting for Luis to give the introductions. It was a very unusual thing for a couple of white people to be in the area.
He introduced us one by one... "I am Luis, this is Sarah and Lauren and of course you know this young man sitting with us. "
She looked at David and shook her head. She didnot recognise him. Just as Luis began to explain who he was she realised who she was looking at. David's aunt jumped up and hugged him, shouting with such joy and emotion. As she ran away to call the other family David began to cry.

His aunt cried. We all cried together. Such joy. To David's family, he was lost, maybe dead. They had no idea. They had, had no contact with him for 3 years. And now he is home.

Moments like that will stay with me forever. Shouts and cries of such immense joy can't be described. I wish I could accurately paint the picture of what a real, modern day prodigal son returning looks like. This stuff didn't just happen in Biblical time. I am getting to see it happen now!


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Catching up.

There is so much happening at the moment that I have barely had time to blog. So bare with me as I update you on all the latest happenings...
First of all. My BEAUTIFUL friend Sarah is back from 7 months of cancer treatment. I cannot begin to explain how wonderful it is to have her home.

We have 3 boys in our 1 month transition phase. They will be living with us for the month of October, then will be heading home. Our other 3 boys are thriving in school and life and are just the most incredible boys. I love them. I also love having a full house. More boys means more kids going home to their families!

One of our boys at home decided that we should spend one night a week and pray together as a family. Tonight they led worship and a time of prayer. It was one of the most beautiful moments I have had here. How amazing that these boys are seeing the importance and power of prayer and choosing to pray more.

I am so blown away at God constant provision and hand over Masana. He has been so faithful over the last few years. He has been so good to us!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

“He does not weep who does not see”

I think crying is great. I think it really is so good for you. I cry alot on house visits. I find myself shedding tears of joy with parents and family members who have welcomed their son home. Today, was different.

I visited a family of a boy who has become a very important part of my growth and understanding of these boys. He is an older boy who I struggled to connect with and even love a few months ago. Over time, God started to open my eyes. Somehow he softened my heart and I started to spend time with and really try to understand this boy. He is a hard kid, with many many stories of how life on the streets is not easy. Being one of the older ones, he lives his day to day life bullying little kids to what he wants.

Over the past few weeks, I have really seen a change in him. He has become someone I really look forward to seeing every day.

Today we visited his family.

His aunt and sister live only a two minute walk away from Masana. We are practically neighbours. As they sat and shared their story about the day he left and about how they were desperate to have him home, I saw more pain than I could bare. The hearts of his aunt and sister were broken for this lost child.

Tears streamed from their faces throughout our time there. Pai, sat very still and quiet.

Finally as I began to pray for the family, I broke down in my own stream of tears. My heart breaking, at that moment, more than I have felt in a long time. As Luis squeezed my shoulder and carried on my prayer he motioned for me to look over. Pai, our hard, emotionless Pai, crying with no shame. For a long time we all just sat and cried. It was a beautiful moment where everyone was unashamed and open.

This time our tears were not tears of joy but tears for a broken family and a hurting son.

I am praying with all of my heart that this was the beginning of Pai's journey home. Today he finally saw just how much his family loved him. I hope this is not the last time. “He does not weep who does not see”. Pai has finally seen and out of that has wept. What a beautiful moment to be a part of.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Cooking and cleaning, an attitude worth changing.

A few years ago, I was so against the idea of a woman cooking and cleaning for her family. I hated the expectation that when a man came home, he needed to be cared for, looked after. It was never my intention or dream to stay at home and look after the kids and house while my husband went out to work all day. Not because I needed a job or wanted to work all the time, but because I wanted to break the mould of what woman should be. I think especially in Christian circles, the idea of submission and the role of woman has become so warped and messed up.

Little did I know… God was going to flip my ideas and perceptions around, and now I want to change those warped ideas.

The past few months have been an amazing transformation for me. Woman in Mozambique are expected to work and serve all the time. It is their responsibility to cook food, look after the children and serve their husbands and any other male figures around them. When I moved here I decided that I needed to embrace all that comes with Mozambique. And so began my journey of submission, service and housework. J

A few months down the line I could not imagine anything else. One of my favourite things to do is cook a good meal for my little family. Keeping the house clean is hard work, but I have been amazed at the sense of pride and accomplishment that comes with the finished product. Sure, my boys cook meals, Ian is awesome and cooks dinner too. Some days I am too exhausted to clean our huge house but the point is my heart has changed. My attitude towards all these task has completely changed. Its awesome!

I find it the greatest joy and privilege to be able to serve my family in this way. It’s a gift that I can give to them. This is my role and responsibility. I really believe that part of my calling and plan in Mozambique is to serve and care for my family. The one I have now, and the one I will have one day.

Pope John Paul II says this about family,

To maintain a joyful family requires much from both the parents and the children. Each member of the family has to become, in a special way, the servant of the others.

I think this has become such a reality to me over the past few months. As we serve and love each other, we find joy.

So grateful for finding this new love and passion for being a “home maker”, for serving my family and in general being a bit of a mom.