When We’re Not at Lily – Part 1

Even when we are away from Lily, we are often thinking of the kids and the needs there.  There is much to do.  There are times we are away for spiritual renewal and connecting with other SIM missionaries. Such was the  annual SIM South Africa Spiritual Life Conference in July of this year, in Port Shepstone, South Africa:

Introducing at SLC 2014

Introducing Ourselves

 

New SIM South Africa

The New Members of SIM South Africa

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Strategy Session Planning our Region’s Presentation

Game show Lori

Lori hosting “TV game show” region presentation

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With the Riddells, Lily’s assistant managers.

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Ellie in one of the group sessions

 

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Outdoor Egg Obstacle Course

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Eden and her group working diligently on their project

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The SIM South Africa team

 

There are times when we have been away for personal “R and R” (rest and relaxation) such as this time in July visiting the Drakensberg mountains in South Africa:

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Our Lily co-workers and friends, Josh & Nix, who showed us around their beautiful country.

Our Lily co-workers and friends, Josh & Nix, who showed us around their beautiful country.

 

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Ellie meets a friend

Ellie meets a friend

Mike, Lori, Ellie and Eden at waterfall

Mike, Lori, Ellie and Eden at waterfall

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Currently, we are spending time in the U.S., and we have been doing quite a bit of travelling. Our next post will continue with “part 2″ of where we’ve been when we’re away from Lily…..

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“Hello, When Are You Leaving?”

  “My! People come and go so quickly here!” -Dorothy, The Wizard of Oz

 

The 8 year old took my hand as we walked together across the playground of Phase 2; the boys’ side of Lily of the Valley Children’s Village. He didn’t know my name yet, but had already decided to be my buddy. During this, our first encounter, he wanted the answer to one question, “How long will you stay?” He knows we’ll be leaving, because everyone leaves. There’s a lot of coming and going at Lily of the Valley. The children have grown accustomed to it, and many take what they can get where the attention of adults is concerned. He’ll eagerly make friends, but he’s already anticipating our leaving.

Enjoying lunch on Sports Day

Enjoying lunch on Sports Day

As I reflect on the past six months, I think about how far AJ* and I have come. He drops by my office after school, sometimes with exciting news about his day at school, sometimes just to hang out. But then, AJ stops at every office with an open door; I’m part of his regular routine; part of his constant search for love and belonging.

At the opposite end of the spectrum is Emily*. Where AJ is everybody’s instant friend, Emily has never met a person that she’s not prepared to challenge. She customarily greets a newcomer by running past them, shouting a curse in isiZulu. She’s defiant, always ready to argue or fight, and doesn’t need anybody over the age of 12. But when she gets a time out, and she’s sitting with me in my office, I see a different side to Emily. She talks and talks; mostly about fighting, sure; but in spite of all her nine-year-old bravado, her fear and her desire to be loved quickly become obvious. She’s reaching out too; even while she pushes away. Emily has some strong and good qualities; she is smart and confident, is a natural leader, and has a strong sense of justice. When I tell her about her good qualities, the inner struggle is visible on her face. She’s eating up the compliments, but frightened to accept them at the same time.

Since before coming to South Africa last October, our desire has been to minister at Lily for the rest of our lives. That desire is driven by our belief that what the children here need most is permanence and commitment. The past seven months have shown us that we only had a hint of how profound that need really is. It eclipses everything else. Seven months in, we’re just beginning to get to know and understand these children, seven months on; the trust is just starting to grow. I suspect that many don’t really believe we’ll be coming back. And why should they? So many volunteers have come, loved them and left, and were never seen again. But I’m eager to get back; because I love this place and its children, because I see Jesus here, and his purpose for my life is here. I’m also eager to return because I want these children to see my commitment to them; I want the abandoned children at Lily of the Valley to know that they are not abandoned by God; or by me His servant.

When we return back ‘home’ to the US at the end of July, it will be to do several things. Ellie and Eden are both finishing high school in the next couple weeks and we will be bringing them back to start the next phase of their lives. Lori and I will be attending cross-culture training in Colorado for four weeks in the fall (9/22-10/18). And we will be seeking the remainder of our support so that Lori and I can return to South Africa as long-term missionaries. We now know better than ever how important that long-term commitment is.

Some of Lily's littlest ones at preschool

Some of Lily’s littlest ones at preschool

We are so thankful for all of you who have made our first term at Lily of the Valley possible. We are thankful to so many of you who have already made a commitment to partner with us on a long term basis so that we can make a permanent commitment to serve Christ by serving the children here. Please pray for us as we prepare to return to the US for a season. Pray that God will lead us to the remaining supporters that we need to return officially as long-term missionaries. And please put us in touch with anyone you know who might be interested in partnering in this work. We will be visiting with families and churches from mid August until September 21; and then again from October 19 until we have the necessary support and can return to Lily.

On Wednesdays, Mike hosts assembly with all the children in the village. Assembly is a time for lessons, announcements, and a devotional message from our pastor. This past week at assembly, we introduced our new Operations Manager to the children. Thula told a little bit about himself and then invited the children to ask a few questions. The very first question – “How long will you stay?”

-Mike

* names have been changed

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Baby “M” Update

Many of you are aware of the little one that we have been caring for over the past months.

Getting acquainted

Getting acquainted

 

A baby in the house at Christmas!

A baby in the house at Christmas!

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Baby “M” came to Lily the week before Christmas, and she was placed in our home under our direct care.

She was 5 months old, and she was a “little munchkin”.  Because she has some medical concerns, we were trying our best to keep her as healthy as possible.

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In July of last year when we were in the process of making plans to go from  long term to going short term for nine months, this little sweetie was born, prematurely. With God there are no “coincidences”.  Fast forward a few months, and after being in South Africa for seven weeks, Baby “M” came to be in our care.  Prayer and care…. has helped her to thrive and grow.   She is so beautiful and we are so thankful for the opportunity God gave us to take care of her.

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A second opportunity that has been available while she was in our care, is for Lori to get to know Baby M’s granny who comes to visit her often.  It has been a heart touching experience to hear her granny express that she feels Lori is “keeping the baby as your own”.  This granny obviously cares for Baby M, and seeing that she feels satisfied with the way her granddaughter is being cared for, touches Lori deeply.

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Visiting Granny

 As our first term here at Lily is approaching it’s end , we are placing our trust in God’s timing and care for Baby “M”.  So that she can make an adjustment to her new home and caregiver, she is now placed in one of the other houses here at Lily.  We have been making May a transition month for her, with much of her time spent with her caregiver, Ma Rose; and then when Rose is off duty, Baby M gets to stay with us.

 

Silly face

Silly face

It is a hard thing to let go of her.  We are faced with questioning where we place our trust.  Ultimately we know we need to pray and trust God who loves Baby M more than we ever could.  Please pray with us that she will continue to grow and thrive, and stay healthy.  She is scheduled to have a medical procedure when she is one year old provided her weight growth is sufficient.  It’s hard to know we won’t be here when that happens.  So when you think of this little munchkin, bring her before the throne of our Savior asking him to bring her safely through this procedure, strong and healthy.  And most of all, please remember to ask him to help her heart find it’s way to her need of Jesus.  When we return to South Africa from our time in the States, you can be sure we’ll be checking in on her.

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Building Up and Moving In

Thanks to a generous donor, Lily has a several building projects in progress on  the property.

The current church/youth center is being expanded to a more spacious and functional building for the needs here at Lily.  Below are some pictures of the construction…. still a work in progress:

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Back of church being extended

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Front side of church being added onto

 

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Side view of church…back built two stories up now…front extension done.

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View from other side. New church will have kitchen as well as other added rooms which makes the building more functional.

 

Also, there is a new “Reception” building being constructed.  This building will house reception offices, and guard house.  It is built to align with new security measures which are being put in place here.

Photo below:

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Another building is a new staff house.  That is to be the house Mike and Lori will be living in upon our return to Lily long term.  But!…. all four of us get to move in soon – before we leave South Africa!  So ….

We’re moving!

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View of our new place from the road into the “valley”

A few pics of the construction phases:

An older "garage/storage" building is being added onto.  On the left you see the original building.  Walls being added to the extension.

An older “garage/storage” building is being added onto. On the left you see the original building. Walls being added to the extension.

 

Addition going up

Addition going up

 

 

Far side of house.  New walls going up on extension.

Far side of house. New walls going up on extension.

 

Back side and far side with addition up

Back side and far side with addition up

 

 

Far side after walls and windows in.

Far side after walls and windows in.

 

Back side with new water tank.

Back side with new water tank.

 

 

Addition on, doors & windows in.  Left window is kitchen.  Doors on right enter into living room/dining room.

Addition on, doors & windows in. Left window is kitchen. Doors on right enter into living room/dining room.

 

 

 The original timeline had us moving into this new place upon our return to Lily after our time back in the U.S. this summer.  But a new staff family has been added to Lily, and they are going to move into our current house now.

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 This way, they can get settled into their  house without having to wait until we leave Lily end of July.

It will be an adjustment for us four… moving into a two bedroom (Ellie and Eden sharing  a room) from our current four bedroom (no more spare room).  We will be settling into a new place for the duration of the next two months, during which we will also be wrapping up the girls’ senior home school year, and then packing up for time in States this summer. 

 

Kitchen

Kitchen

 

Dining/Living Room

Dining/Living Room

 

 

Bedroom 1

Bedroom 1

 

 

Bedroom 2 (didn't want to ask the worker to leave)

Bedroom 2 (didn’t want to ask the worker to leave)

 

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1/2 Bath

Bathroom

Bathroom

 

 Stay tuned to our blog for “after” pics once we get settled in.

Panoramic view from top of drive into "valley" (Bush Willow)

Panoramic view from top of drive into “valley” (Bush Willow)

 

 This part of the property is actually in the bordering game preserve.  So we expect to have some nice views!

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We value your prayers along with us over these next few weeks for these buildings to be completed in timely ways, and that they will be used to bring glory to the Kingdom.  Pray that as we adjust to this move we will reflect Christ’s love to each other and those around us here at Lily.

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January 2014 Newsletter Link

We will be updating with some new blog entries soon….

We neglected to link to our January newsletter here on our blog.

 

So here’s the link in case you missed it.

 

 

 

 

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World AIDS Day 2013

Lily Observes ‘World AIDS Day’

On 1 December 2013, staff and children at Lily of the Valley marked World AIDS Day together. As December 1 fell on Sunday this year, the day began with our church service in which Brendan Stapleton, CEO; delivered the message.

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Brendan explained that regardless of our HIV status, we will all die; HIV is just one cause of death. But that in Jesus Christ, God has defeated death.

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Therefore, our status as children of God; heirs of life through Christ; is of far greater importance than our HIV status.

 

At the conclusion of his talk, Brendan took a pair of scissors and transformed the red ribbon he was wearing into a cross, representing how God changes our identity in Jesus Christ.

Ribbon to Cross

 

 

Each child had been given a red ribbon and each of their ribbons was then cut with scissors to transform theirs into a cross as well.

 

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In the afternoon, our children celebrated their health and strength with a series of games. Six teams of younger children were lead by pairs of teens through six different race stations where two teams faced off against one another.

 

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Eliana and Eden and the group of teen team leaders

The games involved running various obstacle courses that required climbing, crawling, spinning, tossing, balancing, and a lot of cooperation.

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Eliana served with teen team leaders

 

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Eden participating as teen team leader with her team.

 

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Team huddle before relay

Prizes of sweets were awarded after each contest…

 

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….and at the end of the games, each team received a word to add to the banner that summed up the day’s message; “I Am God’s Child In Jesus”

 

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Jesus gives us the message of life and hope.  What are you holding onto as your identity? Give it to Jesus and let Him transform your identity in His own.

 

 

 

What is World AIDS Day? World AIDS Day is held on 1 December each year and is an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, show their support for people living with HIV and to commemorate people who have died. World AIDS Day was the first ever global health day and the first one was held in 1988.                   

Source: http://www.worldaidsday.org/about-world-aids-day.php

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Sawubona!

Dear Friends,

Hello from South Africa! Sawubona is “hello” in isiZulu. Literally translated it means, “I see you”.

Here’s a quick note about our arrival in South Africa and how we’re getting settled in at Lily of the Valley.

With Elizabeth and Ammi

With Elizabeth and Ammi

We arrived in Johannesburg on Tuesday morning, October 29. Both of our flights went smoothly, and yes, all of our luggage arrived with us. We were met by Ammi and Elizabeth Saayman. Elizabeth is the short term coordinator for the SIM South Africa office. Elizabeth arranged for lodging during our 4 days in Johannesburg, and they hosted us for several meals, plus shared their insights about life in South Africa. On the afternoon of our arrival Ammi took Mike to shop for a suitable vehicle for our work at Lily of the Valley. With his help and knowledge, we found and purchased a 2009 Nissan Livina on Wednesday afternoon. It was ready for us to drive off the lot on Friday, and on Saturday morning we set out on the six hour drive south to our new home; Lily of the Valley Children’s Village.

Squeezed in for the six hour ride

Squeezed in for the six hour ride

The Livina is a small car, but it has a big ‘boot’ and ours has roof rails to which we fitted cross bars to accommodate extra luggage. Amazingly, we managed to get our 8 large pieces of luggage; which were all at the maximum size and weight for airline checked baggage; plus 4 smaller bags, 2 backpacks, 2 purses, and more, into or on top of our little Livina. Eliana and Eden showed their true colors by making the six hour drive without complaint; even though they shared the back seat with two backpacks, a small suitcase and a large duffel bag.

On arrival we were met and warmly welcomed by new friends as well as friends from our visit here in 2011. Even though we’d already been in Africa for four days, we finally felt like our traveling was over and we had reached our destination.

Our first week here at Lily of the Valley was a busy one. We made several shopping trips to get things we needed to set up our household, and to get at least one of our phones working here. We’ve participated in the weekday prayer meetings with the staff each morning, and met with the people that we will be working most closely with. We are still figuring out what our roles and duties will be here at Lily, and trying to find the best ways for us to contribute during our first nine months here.

We are very pleased by the obvious desire of the folks here to serve the Lord and the children in our care faithfully; and to do all of it in a manner that is based on the principles of God’s Word. The challenges here are great, and the needs are many, so complete dependence on our Lord is essential.

Many thanks to all of you who helped bring us to South Africa through your prayers and financial support. We look forward to sharing with you what God is doing here at Lily over the coming months.

You can get more frequent updates on our Facebook ministry page: facebook.com/RosenbauersInSouthAfrica We try to post something every couple of days, and we’ve recently added photos from our trip. Please join so you’ll get notifications when we post!

Shalom,

Mike, Lori, Eliana and Eden

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Counting the Days…

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Mike together with his sister Eileen and brother Paul in Newark, New York

We are praising God for all that he has done since we last wrote to you! It’s been a busy couple of months; making departure arrangements, sorting, packing, selling our house, filling out paperwork for visas, saying goodbyes, and much more. Here’s a brief summary:

Our house went on the market in August and we had an offer just three days later. We expect to close shortly. We thank God for working it out that our house sold quickly. One wrinkle has delayed the closing for a couple weeks, but we know that it’s just a matter of time. Please pray that we are able to close before our departure to Africa on October 28, so that we can settle the financial matters in person before we leave.

During October we’re visiting family in Maine, Texas and New York. We’re grateful to have had those opportunities to be with loved ones before our departure.

Our yellow lab, Savanna is with a new family in New York. We were glad to hear that she is doing well in her new home.

Mike’s last day as a school bus driver at Portland Schools was September 30. He is thankful for all of his co-workers who have been so supportive of our plans to serve in South Africa. They gave Mike a great send off, and he will certainly miss his friends there.

On October 6, we enjoyed a benefit concert by our friends Mark Farrington and Dave McCalmon; a.k.a. Red Flannel Hash.  Mike had an opportunity to talk about our work at Lily of the Valley during the event, and to share about the ways that God has let us experience the spirit of Jesus through the service of his people. The event allowed us to establish connections with some folks who hadn’t heard about our ministry before; and it raised funds to help with expenses.

AND, we have our plane tickets. We are leaving for South Africa on Monday, October 28. We’ll spend a couple days in Johannesburg for SIM orientation; buy a vehicle there, and then; road trip! It should be an adventure making the 530 kilometer (330 mile) drive to Lily of the Valley through countryside that is completely new to us in a right hand drive car. What a way to see our new home!

We are so excited as we approach the “big move”.  Please keep us in your prayers as we make this transition to a new phase of ministry. And thank you to all of you who are helping to make it possible! Without the generosity of God’s people, we would not be able to serve the vulnerable children of South Africa. You are serving Christ himself as you partner with us to serve “the least of these” (Matthew 25:37-40) at Lily of the Valley Children’s Village.

Shalom,

Mike, Lori, Eliana and Eden

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Send Off Concert at Hollis Center Baptist Church

The excitement is growing as we approach our departure to South Africa. Though we haven’t set a date yet, we are on track to be on our way in Flyer 2October. Shortly before leaving we will have one more opportunity to meet with our friends and partners and to invite others to share in our ministry. And you will have an opportunity to hear a little about that ministry and also to hear some really good live music.

Red Flannel Hash; the musical duo of Mark Farrington and Dave McCalmon; have graciously offered to perform at this event. Red Flannel Hash will be sharing their blend of gospel, bluegrass and folk Americana with us. You may have heard their music at SoulFest last summer, or at one of their performances around our area.  Everyone will have an opportunity to hear them on Sunday, October 6. You are invited to join us at 7:00 pm at Hollis Center Baptist Church, for an evening of music and of celebrating the privilege of serving others in the spirit of Jesus Christ.

First, Red Flannel Hash will be serving all of us as they perform their music. And because of their servant hearts, we can offer this concert to you free of charge. There will be a freewill offering which will give you an opportunity to serve; by joining in our work of serving the orphans of South Africa at Lily of the Valley Children’s Village. We will also invite you to join our mailing list so that you can follow the news as we serve in South Africa.

If you aren’t already familiar with our upcoming ministry in South Africa, take a look at some of the earlier posts on this blog and especially at the short video on the top right of this page. It will explain about our mission and ministry.

Come join the fun, and be part of what God will be doing at Lily of the Valley!

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August 2013

The Rosenbauers Are Headed to

South Africa! 

That was the title of our first prayer letter; from September 2011. We’re happy to report that now our departure is finally drawing near.

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Our destination: Lily of the Valley Children’s Village
in the community of Mophela, South Africa

We had hoped to already be serving in South Africa by this time, but our long term support need is not yet fully met. While it might not be our timetable, we thank God for the progress we have seen, and for all the folks whose hearts He has moved to join with us in His work of helping to raise vulnerable children to become servant leaders. We are grateful to God, and to each one of you who has made that commitment. Thank you! 

Ever since our survey trip to South Africa in February 2011, we have been eager to begin working among the displaced children at Lily of the Valley Children’s Village. Eliana and Eden each have a strong desire to minister with us there as well. And since our daughters will graduate from high school next spring, their time with us is drawing to a close. So over the last few months we began to wonder how much longer it would be realistic to plan on them going to South Africa with us; given our current levels of support.

So we are very excited to announce an answer to prayer; that God has opened up a way for the four of us to serve together in South Africa beginning in the fall! We plan to leave as soon as all the arrangements can be made, most likely sometime in October. (Processing the visas is expected to be the biggest factor in setting our final departure date.) Our first term at Lily will be nine or ten months long. At the end of that term we will return to the States with Eliana and Eden and help them get established with their after-graduation plans. Then once Lori and Mike are at 100% support, we will go back to long term ministry at Lily of the Valley.

In the meantime, we have a lot to do! In addition to the matter of visas, there are things that need to be done with the house, pets, lots of sorting and packing, saying goodbyes, and plenty more. We also still have a way to go to reach full support for long term service, so if you’re one of those who have been waiting until we got closer to leaving before making that commitment, the time is right to get on board. We would love to have you share in this ministry with us!

Donate Now

 

We are so thankful for this answer to prayer that will let us serve together at Lily of the Valley as a family. Praise the LORD!

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