John and Bethany Arndt

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Monthly Archives: May 2010

The Gift of Beauty

May 20th, 2010 by | Leave a comment

The Gift of Beauty

~By Danielle

“A thing of beauty is a joy forever: Its loveliness increases; it will never pass into nothingness…” -John Keats

At this present moment our office situation is anything but a thing of beauty.  For the past couple years Baby Safe has been driving back and forth using various rooms and amenities other ministries have graciously lent us.  We’re either down the back halls into the tiny white room with the leaky ceiling at a local church, in the over-crowded, busy, and VERY yellow All Nation office at Africa House, or we’re shuffling around other organizations and trying to find a spare room at the meeting places in the communities.  Don’t get me wrong, we’re grateful!  Each of these places provides space and services as they are able and for free.  But we daily pray and long for a place to call our own.

As we are praying and working towards this goal, we recently received a very generous and beautiful gift.  Ellen Spencer is an artist in California who knew of Bethany through mutual friends; her work has a strong African influence and often centers around women and celebration.  In hearing about Bethany and our work here Ellen contacted Baby Safe and offered TWO of her paintings, framed and shipped, as a gift to our office and the women who will enter it.  We were overwhelmed!  The pieces recently arrived; “Mother and Baby” capturing the special bond between a woman and her child, and “The Dancers” exhibiting the beauty of women rejoicing.  Both so perfectly capture the heart of our ministry here!


In our work here we find beauty in the most difficult of circumstances and the unlikeliest places.  We see it in a woman’s choice to give life to her child, in sometimes making the sacrifice of choosing another family to raise him, in hope-filled eyes where once there was despair.  Every day we advocate to see mothers raised up and freedom where there was bondage; “Beauty for ashes and garments of praise for heaviness.”  So as we continue to move towards a permanent office on our own property, we pray that it would be a place of hope, freedom, celebration, and beautify; and we pray these lovely gifts will be a constant encouragement and reminder of this to our own team and to every woman who walks through our doors!

THANK YOU ELLEN! www.ellenspencer.com

Vovo is a rockstar in Zambia!

May 16th, 2010 by | 1 Comment

Mike & Kalyn just left here to visit our  outreach teams who have gone into Zambia, Namibia, Zanzibar, and Zimbabwe for two month experiences in reaching the least and the lost.

Vovo, my beloved Xhosa sister is on the Zambia team. Everything in the world came against her ability to go on this trip. First there was no possible way to cover costs of travel, and provide for her mom, sister, and son while she was away. The Lord took care of that pretty quickly!

Vovo's neighborhood in Masiphumelele

She then had to get a South African ID, which has never had success in obtaining, then she had to apply for a passport. She had her application in for months with Home Affairs, and despite regular visits, calls, and help from us, they were not responding. The day before her team left, without her passport she was downcast, suspecting the Lord has other plans for her. This was just after a few weeks prior she had gone to the clinic to get her CD4 count read. This the count that determines when HIV turns into AIDS, and when ARV’s must be started.

I was at the hospital doing some trauma counseling, when I ran into Vovo then. She was so concerned because her CD4 count read dangerously low, and if this was the case she would need to start ARVs immediately. Starting the anti

retroviral medication is often a stage of defeat; those afflicted dread these side effect giving meds, mostly because they know they will be taking them until they die. The doctor had already instructed her that she would not be going on any trip at all. But Vovo was convinced that the HIV counselor who took her test, had confused her results with another person’s. Yet, no one believed her, and to be honest I was having a hard time understanding what she was explaining. I have a few friends in the HIV counseling dept of the hospital, so I took Vovo to see them and hoped they could help. After I left her there a few hours later Vovo waited for me,  but now with a smile on her face, sure enough, her CD4 count was not as low as was told her and she would not need to start ARVs.

Fast forward, the week before she left for Zambia, she was considering yet once again whether or not she should go. Malika is her 5year  old son, and she did not feel good about leaving him with anyone, not her mom who gets drunk on the weekends, and not his father, whose current girlfriend is so vindictive, having once spread rumors about Vovo being a witch. She worried that his father’s girlfriend would try to intentionally infect Malika with the HIV virus, as both she and his father are positive. One would think she is ultra paranoid, but knowing this culture and this girlfriend, I was just as concerned. Vovo would need to stay home with no one to care for her son. I ended up asking two different trustworthy  families I know, who also have young sons, if they would be willing to care for him over the next two months. Both happily agreed! Now, if only God would provide a miracle with her passport. Let me tell you, nothing, I  mean nothing logistical or technical is every easy or smooth here. Even when I renewed my visa I had to visit home affairs over 7 times, being told conflicting instructions each time I brought what I thought was required. With the team leaving the following day, our guy liaising with home affairs, prepared her for disappointment, as they had tried every day to get info on her passport for weeks, with no answer. Sure enough, 4pm the afternoon before they left, her passport miraculously came through! Vovo could not have been more excited and I knew this trip would be pivotal in her journey with Jesus. I just got this email from Kalyn, who is in Zambia visiting her team:

” I have to let you be the first one to know how PROUD I am of Vovo. She is just amazing! I think by seeing her  that I like the kind of training we did with her. Gathering the leaders, and then one on ones with Bethany, then the group of larger women that she practiced her leadership. She is just a stand out. She knows how to lead a group even better than some of the recent cpxers because of our modeling it with her then making her do it. She is so full of Joy she shares deeply with everyone she meets. On the other hand, She is the girl you want to take with you if you camp. She can start a fire, cook homemade bread in a pot, cook very good meals for a crowd. Then she can build a mud hut.

Vovo in pink on the left.

She is deeply in love with Jesus and it shows.  She has shared openly with a hiv/aids person who is so sick. She said to her.” Look at me, do you think a person like me would have aids? the girl answered no. She said well look at me what do you see? and the girl said you look so good and healthy. Vovo says well I do have HIV and you can look like me too. Jesus is the reason I look Iike I do. He has touched my life. So the girl gave her life to Jesus. That”s what I am talking about.Bethany, I know we were wondering if this gamble to have her go to cpx would be a good risk. Is she ready?

Would she be able to stick with it? Well I can say I thank God she had the opportunity. She just giggles like a school girl every day so many times in a day with Nicole, and Abel and the team. She is truly having this incredible team experience worshiping each day and praying, laughing, being scared out of her wits at the hippos coming up at night right by her tent. I am so glad she is experiencing the life of God this way. They are even sleeping in a grave yard and that has been a wonderful thing as she was freaked out from ancestor stuff but she is FREE. She believes Jesus is her protector. Isn’t this FABULOUS.

Of course I could tell you of all the other wonderful team members and what they are doing. But I am just so in awe of Vovo. I wanted you to share in the incredible fruit of someone you poured into..” – Kalyn

Vovo will be continuing in our trade school, when she gets back, picking up with explainding her sewing skills or else hospitality training, so she can have a skill to provide income, while she does full time missions work. Her entire family has been in our Vulnerable Children program for the past year. She has an amazing sponsor who helps them with food each month. Would you consider also sponsoring Vovo, so she could continue changing people’s destinies. $20 a month or even $50 would provide for her and her families most vital needs, like electricity, toiletries, and clothing.

Gotta love the grannies!

May 11th, 2010 by | Leave a comment

Taken from my friend’s Jon & Sofia in Whales: www.jonathonandsofia.com

Love the grannies!

Some of these ladies invited us to their ‘Senior Citizens Tea’ gathering, to talk about our time in South Africa and The Baby Safe. After hearing the story about baby dumping they felt that they really wanted to contribute in some way. They decided to knit blankets for the babies (and mothers) that the Baby Safe supports. They also spread the word to their friends who then came to join them in the knitting! So a few weeks ago we were able to send off a large number of blankets to the Baby Safe in South Africa, were they were warmly welcomed. The timing was perfect as the winter has now started over there. Most of these ladies were part of Beulah Baptist Church, who also deserve some cred for organising the shipping and being a lovely community.

day to day

May 2nd, 2010 by | 1 Comment

A perfect visual caption of how things often are: complicated. This is how I charge my computer.

The animal that was crawling towards me the other night. Haven’t screamed that loud in a long time.

My life size, 12 week, gummy fetus, that I use in counseling. I often love to blow their minds with the reality that a little person is inside them, I also love to squeeze its head when no one is looking. I am very tactile.

My besties here. We think our lives would make a rivoting reality TV show called: Crazy Ass Missionaries. Somebody call ABC.

The view from my kitchen window. They routinely break into my garbage can outside scavenging for food scraps.

On of our beloved foster babies, daughter of an addicted prostitute and a majestic, all powerful King.

One of our fave families in Ocean View. Their story would blow your mind, will have to tell it one day.

Another sweet heart who was dumped by his mom in Masi. I am sending out a mailed Newsletter now, if you haven’t received one from me before, and would like to hear more stories of how God is rescuing the helpless, simply email me with your address @ bethany@thebabysafe.org or leave a comment here.