Aug 19, 2012

A New Leg of the Journey!

Happy Sunday to you! I pray that this email finds you well and enjoying a day set apart for our Jesus. I was happy to be greeted with sunshine this morning. We've had some very cold weather the last 2 weeks and I am thankful that we are (fingers crossed) entering our spring and on our way to warmer days. 

I was especially excited to be able to go to church this am because I was at home last week with one of our new preemie baby girls who needed some extra TLC and one-on-one care. This little gift was delivered to us 2 weeks ago Wednesday, two weeks old but born at 34 weeks gestation and tipping the scales at just under 4 lbs. She was doing okay on Thursday and Friday day but on Friday around 6pm I was called back to Baby House 3 because she was too cold despite all of the Aunties' care. When I showed up and tried to take her temperature she was so cold that she wasn't even registering a temperature at all! I held her skin-to-skin with blankets warmed up in the microwave but after 20 minutes there was no change in her temperature at all. For a few scary minutes I wasn't even sure if she was still alive... her breathing was so shallow, she was so floppy and I was considering rushing her to the hospital but I didn't think she was going to make it the 20 minute drive there. As I prayed the Lord brought to mind the electric heater we have at the house, I quickly undressed her and stuck her in front of the heater on full blast. It was too hot so I had to keep rotating her round and round like a little chicken on the spit to keep her from getting too hot too fast but after 15 minutes she finally started warming up and responding to my touch. I decided to bring her home where she spent the rest of the weekend either skin-to-skin or warming in front of our heater at home. I was trying to bulk her up so she was eating every 2.5 hours around the clock and by Monday morning she was able to maintain her body heat and come back home to her Aunties at the Baby House. All in all my weekend was quiet was full of baby girl "M". I am so thankful to our Father for preserving her life and giving me the wisdom I needed to do so! 

I have some exciting news to share with you! After lots of prayer and provision from the Father, Door of Hope has decided to expand! We are working in conjunction with another ministry called Refilwe here in Johannesburg to open a new baby house on their property! Refliwe is a ministry who's mission is to design and implement caring support, educational, training and mentoring programs aimed at equipping people to be sustainable in every aspect of their lives. They have a beautiful piece of property about 1 hour north of where I am currently serving which hosts various projects including their long-term "God-parent" foster program caring for over 50 children in long-term foster families. Their youngest is 13 months and their oldest is 19. They have a beautiful house on their property that they are preparing to open as a baby house at the end of September. It has been zoned for 28 babies between the ages of Birth to 3 years old and DOH has offered to "lend" me to Refilwe for 6 months to help get their home up and running. Come September I will be devoting the majority of my time to this new baby house and once we receive our first baby I will be moving to Refilwe to live in the baby house and get it running well!

It is going to be a wonderfully challenging, fun and brand new adventure for me here in Jo-burg. We are literally starting from scratch asking God to provide for us all the things we need from Aunties and House Parents to nappies and formula. The good news is that a local company has come in is currently updating the house and getting it baby ready for us including a new roof, new bathrooms, a new kitchen and painting in the whole house. We are looking for Staff in nearby churches, creating our yearly budget, going through donations and planning the lay-out of each room. I will be responsible for not only the training of the day-to-day baby care workers and the running of our home but also working to create a network of care for our children in a brand new area. I will be getting to know a brand new hospital, a new Social Welfare Department, new Police Stations and seeking out a new pediatrician and other  medical professionals to help us care for the babies that the Lord is going to bring us. Just like DOH's homes we will also be working through Abba Adoptions seeking forever family adoption placements for all of the abandoned babies the Lord brings our way. 

I have spent the last few weeks praying and am convinced that this new opportunity has come from the loving hand of our Father and it is a new door that I am excited to walk through. Honestly there are parts that are scary and hard... I will be moving an hour away from the community that I have spent the last year and half cultivating. I will have to say goodbye to having daily contact with babies, Aunties and friends that I love including my roommate (ever since I moved to RSA) and friend, Lisa. Refilwe is a beautiful piece of property that lives a bit off the beaten dirt path. Not that it is completely rural but I will have drive 20 minutes to the nearest grocery store, I have a donkey living in my backyard and a whole herd of sheep living in my front yard! We have to tractor in all our drinking water and it sounds like we will sometimes be without power and running water for sometimes days at a time. Thankfully I've already gotten to know some of the Staff and Volunteers at Refilwe and I am confident that our Father will help me to carve out new community in my new home. 

You can learn more about Refilwe at www.refilwe.org. Please be praying for me as I begin this new leg of my journey here in Jo-burg. Here are some specific ways you can be praying:

-  Please pray that our Father will provide all the things we need to open this new home including Staff, two House Parents and all the supplies we'll need to care for the babies from formula to nappies to Volunteers to help love on the babies the Lord is going to bring us

-  Please pray that I will be able to feel "at home" soon in my new environment... finding my way into an established yet always evolving new community. Pray that I will be able to run to the Lord with all this newness and be faithful to process it in healthy and appropriate ways

-  Please pray that I will be able to have success in networking medical care and additional support for our babies in a brand new area and that I will quickly find my directional "sea legs" in a new part of town

Thank you for your prayers, love and constant encouragement! I am continually blown away by the ways that my support base gives, loves and encourages EXACTLY when I need it most. Thank you for bringing me tangible messages of Christ's love for me in your words, love, gifts, emails and financial support. I can't wait to share this new leg of the journey with you as it unfolds! 

Here are some fun pics for you to feast  your eyes on... xoxoxoxoxo from Nicole and all our babies!


 Here I am in the SNOW! That's right, it snowed here! Who would have thought?!

 Baby Girl "M" when I fetched her from the Preemie Ward at Jo-burg Gen

Here is Baby "M" hanging out in front of her heating center I created for her in my living room

 She is just such a tiny little bit of a girl!

 Sleepy on an early morning at the hospital with baby girl "B"

 Baby Boy "J" resting during his CT Scan... a wild day with 3 babies, 3 CT Scans and 20+ IV drip attempts... poor babies! It was a long, rough day!

 The front view of Refilwe's baby house and my new home come the end of September!

A pretty rainbow over the Refilwe property (sorry it's blurry!)

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