John and Bethany Arndt

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Monthly Archives: July 2009

babies saved.

July 29th, 2009 by | Leave a comment

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8 babies who were abused, abandoned or neglected have been placed in loving and safe homes so far.

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Countless new baby packs  have been given away, including ongoing packs to the moms who come to hospital with absolutely nothing. Thanks to Baby Safe they now go home with the essentials, including a booklet on Infant Care and Baby Safe contact details.

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Baby Safe is preventing baby dumping by connecting with the pregnant women before they give birth or immediately after. Over 125  pregnant women and brand new mothers have been served, including a dozen women scheduled for abortions who have changed their minds and decided to keep their babies or make an adoption plan.

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Another baby safe has been installed in Jeffreys Bay and and a couple in the works for East London and Somerset West and one in Nambia, inspired by Baby Safe.

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Intervening with neglected babies, supporting pregnant women, and empowering new mothers…Baby Safe is offering life, hope, and options.

That kind of sounds like a commercial : ). Its not…just my every day and my joy.

Are you interested in helping Baby Safe continue, grow, and save more lives?

YOU ARE NEEDED

Email me!!-bethany@thebabysafe.org

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transformation

July 12th, 2009 by | Leave a comment

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Life is intense sometimes.

..in my heart, in my body… in my spirit.

When I rest, I sit amazed at what he is saying, how He is stretching my understanding of His Kingdom: His rule, His domain. Jesus told those who asked him, that His kingdom is not something which is coming or which will show up someday, but rather that is WITHIN us. His kingdom is within us who believe. In kingdom is ruled by rightousness, justice, and peace. I am completely exhilarated by simply being His container. I feel like a Tupperware pitcher…you know the kind with the slits in the lid that need to line up with the spout, in order for the kool-aid to come out. I am trying to make sure the slits are always lined up with my spout, to make sure that it’s Him who comes out, especially in the face of many hurting people each day.

My new landlord is on the international leadership board if the biggest missionary organization in the world, YWAM. As I was unloading my laundry at his house next door, he was saying that missiology shows that right about this time, between 1 and 2 years is when missionaries actually experience a different level of culture shock. We were chatting about this as I had my arms completely full of wet clothes, on my way back to my place (no tumble dryers in these parts). As I was overloaded a pair of my wet underwear dropped on the floor in front of us. We both looked down at them in silence, when I looked up my eyes said, “I can’t really pick them up my arms are full.” His eyes said, “Akward.” Thankfully, with no words exchanged he reached for them and placed them on the pile in my arms and we smiled and continued the convo.

This is the time I guess, when you have a deeper realization of the complexities within a culture. He said that many well known ministers and groups have come to South Africa and they have only stayed 2 years or so. They have blessed the nation but often go “home” feeling that the iron like grip of the generational poverty and religiosity of Africa seems impenetrable, this has kept them blessing and not building. I can see clearly why this happens.

This is the place that we are at and the more I get to know people, the more I struggle to wrap my mind how to best impart change. For instance there is Nosipho (name changed), I deeply love this woman. We spend a lot of time together. Her smile is constant. She tears up nearly every time she tries to articulate what Jesus means to her. She often reads the Bible with her neighbors and will gather them to discuss it. I am trying so hard to encourage her to stay in an art/business school that we got her into. But even with a small scholarship, and her son sponsored by our Vulnerable Children Project, she is struggling to survive financially and grow up in her faith. Sometimes I forget the facts: She shares a one room, cockroach infested shack with sometimes up to 5 people, and one bed. One of which is her very sweet, yet ceaselessly drunk mother and her 4 year old son who has acted out “raping” other children recently. She was raped by a family member and she lies awake often in the cold damp night thinking about this. She married her son’s Father solely because it was more likely she wouldn’t go hungry in life. He gave her HIV and then left her. She currently is experiencing an additional STD outbreak (ouch). Her CD4 count is dropping, she is worried…the skin lesions brought on by HIV are back. Before Jesus was in her life, she was sleeping with men so they would give her food. I could spell out the calamity and the severity of sin’s corruptive nature that seems to have vomited all over Nosipho. As she sobbed before me one day, I drove away feeling a rage towards Satan and the havoc he has reeked on this world and the pain and the evil He perpetuates, which is part of nearly everyone’s story here. Amongst those on my Masi team, “success” often feels elusive. In the time I have been here…if anything I can so vividly see a collision of the kingdoms.

We fight helplessness sometimes in the face of the problems that have multiple layers and what seem like cliché practical solutions. We sure have to walk with these ones; we have to stick with them, teach them, pull them out in a physical and spiritual sense. Instant freedom seems evasive… I am seeing that liberation is more often a journey and there is a fine line between empowerment and helping. I know salvation through faith does happen in an invisible instant, but life transformation within a culture that is thick with destruction, I am learning that this is a voyage. I confidently hope in this freedom though… freedom from the world view that sees scarcity as the only option, freedom from chains of mere survival. I want to see these chains blasted off, even if it means undoing them one link at a time…

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Nosipho came over to my house yesterday. I told her that it was a dream for me to be able to live in this cottage (I recently moved). We stood on my deck and looked out at Masi from a far, then the coastline of white, then blue, and the surrounding mountain range. As we were appreciating the view… she repeated my words to her from two days prior. She said, “I can dream. With Him, I can dream.”

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Nosipho went back to school last week, deciding it was best to keep learning rather than quit to find a job cleaning some where for mere pennies. Now on her off days she is going to use the sewing machines at school to make purses and quilts that she will begin selling now. I have been able to obtain a small loan for her so she can purchase the materials she will need. I will post pictures soon of her products and gladly take orders! Her son is going to play therapy at a counseling center in Cape Town. Her mom who has accepted Jesus and was baptized a while back, because alcohol is such a struggle she is going to start rotating weekends with staying at Pindi’s and Roda’s, two house church members in Masi who have offered to have her, so she will not feel tempted to get drunk with her neighbors. This is what the family of Christs is about. Nosipho’s skin lesions healed up, within days of having prayed for them. But most of all, I see hope, tangible hope, entering her line of sight. The hope that life doesn’t have to be this way and the belief that it won’t always be this way.

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