Nov 11, 2012

Happy Fall from Jo-burg!

Happy Fall to all my friends in the Northern Hemisphere! I am missing fall colors and pumpkin spice lattes as we welcome November and rising temperatures here in Jo-berg. We are heading into our summer complete with super sunny and hot days dotted with beautiful thundershowers closing out many of our afternoons.

So many wonderful things have happened since I blogged last… here are the basic highlights and a brief rundown of all that God has been doing with me and at El Roi, our new baby home in Lanseria!

New Home

On September 27th we had our official house opening of our new El Roi Baby House! El Roi is the name given to God by Hagar in Genesis 16 when she says in verse 13: “You are the God who sees me”. We believe that it is our God that sees every abandoned baby He is going to bring our way.

A few days later on October 1st I spent my first night in my new home! It is a HUGE and beautiful home with 9 bedrooms, 5 bathrooms, 2 kitchens, a lovely playroom, isolation room, laundry room and office! We are still in the process of getting all of the parts of the house livable and are dealing with some minor inconveniences like the toilet that is constantly leaking in my bathroom and a lack of hot water because the hot water heaters are too old to work anymore! Thankfully we have competent (but super busy) people who are helping us get all of the minor issues like these sorted out. One of the best parts of my new home is the fabulous oven that we’ve received. I have been baking up a storm and have the privilege of hosting a volunteer dinner on Monday nights.

New Babies

Our plan here at El Roi is to start with 6 babies for the next 6 months as we get all the kinks worked out of our new home, training new Staff and getting find our footing before we begin to fill up the house with the 28 babies between the ages of 0 – 3 that we’ve been zoned to eventually house. As of today we have 4 babies! Our big sister is a sassy and sweet soon-to-be two year old who is a wonderful big sister to our 6-week-old little man, our 2-week-old princess and our 5-day-old sweet baby girl. We have 4 amazingly sweet Aunties who are scheduled around the clock to help care for our babies and help keep our home running smoothly. We also have had 2 international volunteers who have been staying at the house and helping with day-to-day needs when their schedules allow. We are anxiously awaiting the other babies that our Father is going to set in our home in the next few weeks.

It’s weird to think that I’ve only been living here on “the farm” for only a month or so. I am used to the roosters’ crows, the donkey’s hee-haws, the bleating of the two baby lambs that often munch on the grass in our backyard and that sounds of the hundreds of school children who walk the dirt road outside of our house to and from the school that is directly across from our front door. I am feeling connected to the community here at Refilwe and excited about all of the good things that our God is doing in the community as a whole.

New Dog

I decided to embark on a brand new adventure by adopting a puppy the weekend before I moved to El Roi. Her name is Thabisa and she is a 3-month-old mutt that I was able to adopt from a community that my dear friends and missionaries, Mark and Sara Williams, serve a few hours from here. Thabisa is an African name meaning “one who brings joy” and she lives up to her name most of the time! She is super friendly, energetic and sweet when she isn’t chewing up everything in sight! I often feel like I have a second toddler in the house! I do appreciate her and am thankful for the new depths of patience and mercy that the Lord is using her to develop in my heart! I have never had a dog before and I am still working on becoming a good puppy owner but Thabisa has grace for me!

Love and Support

I am often humbled by the amazing ways that our Father works out blessing and refreshment for His kids right at the perfect time! Just a few days after I moved into El Roi, my friend Cynthia Stafford traveled 24+ hours to be that perfect blessing to me! Words really can’t describe how perfect our time together was… she served us tirelessly helping us get set up by washing, hanging, folding and sorting load after load of laundry, planted California poppies in my backyard, purchased and hung bright and cheery curtains in the babies’ rooms and helping me fetch and care for our first baby the first 72 hours he was home and before we’d trained the Aunties to start working. Cynthia blessed me with news and stories from home as well as a whole suitcase full of love from the babies and me! Cute outfits, desperately needed thermometers and other baby supplies, cans of pumpkin and birthday presents and letters sent from my family! God arranged for her to be here over the weekend of my birthday and she and her family blessed me with 3 days and 2 nights on Safari! I really can’t explain how spoiled and treasured I felt… we were treated like princesses the entire time we were there and got to see display after display of our Creator’s ingenious and beautiful handiwork. It really seems like a dream when I think about how wonderful it was… it was a once in a lifetime experience and truthfully one of the best birthday presents I’ve ever received. I was sad to see her head back home but grateful for the stories and experiences she was sure to share with people back home. Thanks for coming to see and bless me, Cynthia! Baby “P” and I miss you and send you lots of love and hugs!

Thank you for all of the ways you are continuing to love and support me and the adventure that our Father has set me on here in South Africa. Please pray that I will find my footing in our new home and in the community here at Refilwe. Please pray that our Father will continue to watch over us at El Roi and that He will be the Lord over our new home. October was a hard time to be away from home. Please pray that I will be able to trust God’s timing and hand in the lives of my friends and family who are going through difficult times. I love being here in South Africa and I know that I know that this is EXACTLY where I am called to be but I often wish that California and South Africa were only 10 miles apart rather than 10,000! Thank you Jesus for modern technology like email and facebook! I feel loved and upheld by each email and comment sent my way. Thank you for holding us in your prayers! 

Much love from Nicole and the babies at El Roi 

Sweet big sister and little sister.... our first infants together.... our first baby's hospital tag

Such a good "mommy".... our precious newest baby "A".... our big girl coloring


Our little man on his first day home.... our big sister playing outside... Thabisa helping check my email


Being spoiled by Cynthia... this is how close the animals came to our jeep!!!


  1. Hey, it looks like you are having a great time! You are such a blessing to the ministry at Refilwe!
    -Mark and Sara

  2. I always have a huge smile when I see you have a new post up, it warms my heart to hear all that is happening there, and to read about your strength and passion in every situation your handed! God Bless You! and see you soon :) Candice

  3. Nicole! I loved reading this and I can see you completely in your element in your new home :) It's really so exciting to see how the Lord has placed you somewhere where all of your gifts can shine, your leadership skills, your ability to create a "home" out of a house, your mommy skills, your vision, your ability to adapt :) This made me want to jump on a plane and join you and your precious babies! You inspire me my dear friend! Lots and Lots and Lots of love -Corinne


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