LifeCorps News and Press Releases
James Sullivan, Paul Gray and Danny Robinson have returned from their work in Swaziland at the El Shaddai orphanage compound. They were away from home for three weeks. With the help of your donations they were able to purchase needed supplies and also hire a few local labourors to work with our team, building a teachers dorm. The block structure was completed in that short time period. There are still more buildings needed. Danny Robinson, a first time volunteer to El Shaddai was impressed with how the orphanage was being run. My heart was moved as he told me some of the stories. He said, "Currently, one woman "Charmain" is doing her best to run the compound and in the process care for approximately ninety orphans. There are a couple locals and volunteers who also help her with food preparation. Food is being supplied along with school supplies. The school has approximately ten teachers at the school, but two of these are student teachers from El Shaddai and have come up through the orphanage to now help teach local children. ESM (El Shaddai Ministry) pays for four teachers and the Education Ministry pays for six teachers.
Danny Robinson at the Border
Even though there is great progress being made, there are still many needs to be met on a continual basis. The water tower which provides water to the entire community needs to have repair work done. The compound is miles from a big city. There is a great need for vehicles to transport the necessary supplies which keep them up and running. There is no working vehicles at this time. There are constant repairs needed such as fencing, plowing to be done etc. It can be frustrating for Charmain because these things need to be done, but often the supplies are not there or they don't have someone who can fix these things. One woman can only do so much. Our volunteer visits do a lot, but not enough it would seem."
New Teachers Dorm
When I asked Danny what he learned from the experience of volunteering, he said, "The only difference from there to here is the milkyway. People need to be edified and encouraged to give them selfesteem and purpose. They need education to make change and they need the hope found through Christ Jesus. The children at the orpanage are being cared for and look happy. They are coping with what they are given. The model for this orphanage is working well. It would not be so successful if not for all the people who are catching the vision and pitching in to help in one way or another."
Danny enjoyed the comradery of the other volunteers and the heart connectors he shared with the children. Everything from mixing cement and carrying blocks for the building, fixing a cement mixer to running with the children, interacting with a teenager by trying to fix an ATV. He found it frustrating because he did not have the proper tools. We are so used to having everything at our finger tips. If we don't have it, we go to the store. At the El Shaddai orphanage, you can't do that. That young man was thrilled to be able to work with Danny. An impact moment: A moment that can change lives forever. I don't know whose heart was impacted more. I'll just say that perhaps Danny and I will go there next year but for a longer period of time. I definitley feel my heart strings being pulled in that direction. What about you?
Danny Robinson (left), James Sullivan (right)
Our LifeCorp team met with a team from Watu Youth Village, South Africa , who donated their resources and time to install computers for the school. Educating these children in modern technoloy is crucial for this upcoming generation. El Shaddai is on the right track. Their model is working. The children are putting into practice what they are learning. Students are harvesting vegetables from the garden. El Shaddai has one student sponsored to a college in California. Maybe you would like to sponsor a young adult to further education. Keep the circle of progress going.
This was Paul Gray's third time going to Swaziland. He really has a heart for the people in Africa. Paul comes from a different perspective than Danny as he feels that it is not a big deal to go there and help in any way he can. For Paul, it is simply like taking care of his family. By going to the orphanage, he is just doing what he is called to do. Paul desires to serve God with all his heart, mind and soul. To do this Paul feels he wants to be obedient to God and the call placed on his life. Paul reminded me of a scripture, he tries to live out daily. James chapter 1:27 "External religious worship (religion as it is expressed in outward acts) that is pure and unblemished in the sight of God the Father is this: to visit and help and care for the orphans and widows in their affliction and need and to keep oneself unspotted and uncontaminated from the world.
Isaiah 58: 10 And if you pour out that with which you sustain your own life for the hungry and satisfy the need of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in darkness, and your obscurity and gloom become like the noonday.11 And the Lord shall guide you continually and satisfy you in drought and in dry places and make strong your bones. And you shall be like a watered garden and like a spring of water whose waters fail not.12 And your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt; you shall raise up the foundations of [buildings that have laid waste for] many generations; and you shall be called Repairer of the Breach, Restorer of Streets to Dwell In.
Paul does not get all emotional about going to El Shaddai. He says, "I don't see the poverty in Africa as most people see it. I see many opportunities for these people. People just need to be educated. I see it from a positive perspective especially for Swaziland. They have cheaper labour, so they can produce things and become independant. They just need a little guidence. There is a glass company in Swaziland that produces a variety of glass products. This is just one example of utilising the trades. I would love to meet someone who is knowledgeable in ceramics. I can envision the people in Swaziland utilizing their resources by making cups and dishes or by educating the older students in a variety of trades as to help them build their own networking system. Again we need experienced teachers and the funds to accomplish this. North America is bombarded by advertisements which tell us we need this and that. These messages can create unhappyness. The children at the orphanage are getting one meal a day. Some don't have shoes and yet they are thrilled when a box of used clothing arrives. It is such a contrast."
In class El Shaddai School
There are challenges to overcome and for those who are always giving of themselves, there is a need to be replenished spiritually. One of Pauls hightlights in the trip was enjoying the spiritual time in bible study with the South Africans who also volunteered. He was uplifted and encouraged. Paul does not think that his personal skills can do much to help them. He is more a supervisor or a facilitator. It is a slow process in finding the right people to put the pieces together.
James has visited the El Shaddai orphanage a few times. James also recognizes the opportunity that these people can have. James says, "The people in Swaziland may even be freer than we are here in North America only because they are not loaded down with stuff. We need to help educate them to effectively use what they have around them. I think it is also our responsibility to help identify areas, where things we as foreigners introduce, are used effectively throughout the life span of a product or material so that it does not become a hazard or waste or used altogether the wrong way. Yes the start of life for a lot of the children has not been ideal and it is still an uphill climb. We have the opportunity to help build a new generation and a better country for future Swazi's. I would want the same for anyone anywhere."
James has an interesting story from his visit. "I was pulling cans out of the garbage to build something. One of the boys was caught getting plastic from the garbage. He wanted to make a soccer ball. The boy was reprimanded for doing this. My heart went out to the boy and I decided to help him by getting him some plastic so he would not get in trouble. The boy watched me. He was thrilled to get the plastic. He ran off to try and make that basketball. "I think it is that sort of innovative spirit that needs to be fostered all over this earth - to use what's at hand. I think there is no such thing as garbage. Everything has a purpose and a place. We just have to make sure to use it in a beneficial way.
For El Shaddai, Paul, James and Danny agree, "One woman cannot do it all herself." While there is much success, there is always oposition whether in the spiritual or in the flesh and we do often have a battle to overcome. It is said that the toughest battles are won on our knees. Prayer! We definitey covet your prayers on a daily basis. The time you give to commit to prayer for El Shaddai is the most important thing you can give. We need your continued support. Together we are making a difference. Thank you for your donations and volunteering your skills to help build a future for these children.