John and Bethany Arndt

Header image
 

Monthly Archives: April 2012

Couple visits the safe their adopted baby was left in.

April 22nd, 2012 by | Leave a comment

A German couple visited our original baby safe recently. They were not there to see how to volunteer, or to learn how to install and manage their own baby safe like most others. They came because their newly adopted daughter was left in it last August.

Emotional? Yes. But joy and gratitude were the strongest feelings they expressed. She wasn’t dumped in the ditch, bushes, or rubbish heap. Her mother made a well thought out plan in not being able to care for her child. Sure it was a last resort, but it in fact was a bold choice and we rejoiced with this family as they learned about where there baby came from.

20120422-213004.jpg

Oops, She almost did it again.

April 22nd, 2012 by | Leave a comment

Penniless, jobless, and hopeless she abandoned her three month old baby in the middle of the day. She just left and didn’t return. The baby was taken to the police. The police called Baby Safe. This healthy infant girl was placed at a baby home.

One week later the mother retraces her steps and contacts us. Full of shame, fear of punishment, and a sense of loss she explained why she left, but that she has changed her mind and misses her baby. This mom was in her early twenties had never held a formal job in her life, had no support from the baby’s father, but returned with humility and a desire to start over.

After a thorough investigation and matching her with a Baby Safe ‘mummy mentor’ who lives in this women’s community, the baby was returned and she was given intensive relational support, and job coaching. She landing a job with in just 3 weeks. Many people look for work for months on end. She was empowered and coping well.

But recently she lost this job, and things started to feel like they were caving in on her again, no diapers, no formula, no rent money….she actually was thinking of where and how to leave the baby again. But then…Then she recalled the words of her mentor, saying that God is her provider, He is the one who she must turn to for help, and He is faithful to those who call to Him. She said a simple prayer and waited. And then…

Then the next day a neighbor arrived with a fresh pack of nappies, and a tin of formula. This mom was amazed that He heard her prayer.

She has begun the job pursuit again and we know that this time she has first hand experience with the One who sticks closer than a brother. This is a snapshot of what we are laboring for, its our joy and aim to build a bridge from creation to Creator, eliminating the temptation for those we serve to become dependent on us. He is in it with her for the long hall, far longer than us. She is discovering His commitment to her and He is delighting in a daughter learning to trust.

” Blessed be God— he heard me praying. He proved he’s on my side; I’ve thrown my lot in with him.
Now I’m jumping for joy, and shouting and singing my thanks to him.
God is all strength for his people, ample refuge for his chosen leader; Save your people and bless your heritage. Care for them; carry them like a good shepherd.” (Psalm 28:1, 2, 6, 8 MSG)

20120422-200419.jpg

reality

April 15th, 2012 by | 1 Comment

We can trust that everything that is good is from God and everything that is hard He uses as training. Behind every green leaf and every child’s smile is a force of Life that longs to communicate with us. What we see, is not what we get; there is a reality that is hidden from our senses and is only accessed by belief. From the seas of the world to the vast Himalayas, they were each originally formed by the spoken Word. Something stemming from nothing; nothing but words.

The fruit of one’s labor that actually counts for something, is immeasurable and is only made known at labor’s conclusion. Divorcing ourselves from temporal values will eventually produce a harvest of right standing and peace. We can trust that our own understanding is inevitably flawed but yet, there is purpose in suffering and a reward for patience. In the horror of poverty there also exists a Hope that can obliterate mountains, it’s a substance that when activated, brings change, new beginnings, and 2nd, 3rd, and 4th chances.

This Life Force is busy looking for ways to intervene through His creation; constantly constructing pathways for his indefinite love. Each day isn’t merely for existence sake but another 24 hours of opportunity for us to indulge in this Love, channel this Force, and believe in this Hope.

The unseen is more real than our hand in front of our face, and more powerful than the collective strength of mankind. Through belief and even unsure faith, there is a government that is near, a system that is coming, that will prove transformative. This new rule will show our current experience something so bland and our faculties so handicapped. Kindness is the cornerstone of the Force that is worthy of all the devotion we are capable of; Mercy is the foundation of His identity. Endurance is the precursor to partaking, and even the most feeble of believers will be included in the outpouring of Grace.

If you struggle to trust, if this mystical worldview seems incomprehensible, if you doubt the unseen realm, and perhaps even mocked those who don’t, I challenge you, simply pursue engaging with this Force, and let Him do the unveiling for you. “You will seek Him and find Him when you seek Him with your whole heart, He will be found by you. “

Trust can be birthed from the most barren of wombs, its conception happens when desire meets relationship. Trust’s offspring is always contentment; it is not with out questions, but it occurs when confidence outweighs uncertainty. It longs for the day when we will know, even as we are fully known.

Incarnational

April 7th, 2012 by | Leave a comment

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about living incarnational and being in full time ministry, are they mutually exclusive? the same? is one more effective then the other? When it comes to kingdom expansion it’s seems pretty obvious, especially based on scripture (Luke 10) that the best way to reach communities is by going and living in them. Clearly living among the people you love and serve, is going to give you the greatest return. You have to depend on them to satisfy your need for “church”, for personal relationships, you teach by example, you influence by embracing a culture, and you certainly learn how to best reach and love them by living with them. I.e. Jesus joining us here on earth.

This is my fourth year in South Africa. I have never lived in a township. The majority of women Baby Safe serves do live in the townships. White people just don’t move in there, unless they’re homeless, addicted, or living missionally. And the latter is a very new concept in our area. Up until 10 years ago most White people wouldn’t even dare to venture into the townships
much less live there. I have South African friends both blacks from rural areas, and whites who live just kilometers away, who still find it heroing that we would go in and out on a daily basis. To be honest I love Masi, I’ve spent a lot of time there, a lot more before our programs began to grow, but I have never desired to live there. It’s not because people get stabbed there on a regular basis, because I would likely live in shack without plumbing, because there is trash everywhere, music is played until 4am some nights, and I wouldn’t be able to walk on my own street alone. Looks can be deceiving because there is much beauty in Masiphumelele. While these things might serve as deterrents, to be honest I think it’s possible that I could grin and bare it; and learn to love it. Now don’t get me wrong I love my hot shower and peace and quiet but the reason living in the township does not appeal to me is because of the day time ministry we do.

It’s pretty hard to imagine supervising all the crisis intervention cases that I do, at times counseling up to 10 women at the hospital in one day, arranging for moms to get into rehab, and adoption homes, advocating with police and social workers to do their jobs, intervening with desperate women and abandoned babies,training new team members in leadership and ministry, making disciples of the few, being involved in the church and then to get home and have an open door and engage more with the hurting and the poor at night and on weekends. This sounds exhausting, unhealthy, and not very sustainable.

My first three years I was on call, for two years it was nearly 24/7, long story short because I lived and worked at this pace I can only work part time now due to health reasons. I just wonder how these missionaries do it?

Now clearly it has a lot to do with what sort of mission each person is called to. But I wonder what it would look like for our community to move towards total submersion locally. Jesus never said following Him would be safe, in fact He indicated it would be far from comfortable, so that is not the real issue to me. My question is, do those who are called to live this way know it because they want to do this and it becomes sustainable because God graces them for what He calls them to do. Or should we all be a bit more open if our desire is community transformation? Baby Safe,s mission is not comm tran, we are more about individuals, and our mission is unique, so I don’t doubt our calling but may we always challenge our methods.