Thursday, April 18, 2013

Pray for Atlehang

It has been a long time since I've had the time to blog. It seems a bit daunting to even start again because I have so many fun and exciting stories that I wish I could have been sharing along the way. But it is very fitting and appropriate time to start blogging again because I know many of you pray for us and you will also pray for this little girl.

Atlehang was officially put into our care at Restoring Hope Village on March 28th at the same time she was admitted to the government hospital with a diagnosis of pneumonia but really her diagnoses could go on and on. Atlehang was referred to us through Morning Star Children's Centre and a social worker was willing to place her in our care and out of her granny's care.

Atlehang is 9 years old, only weighing 27 pounds. (Lindie, 3 years old, is wearing bigger clothes than Atlehang) She has been neglected for a while. She was living with a granny that used the foster care grant for gambling and not properly feeding and caring for Atlehang. Atlehang spent 20 days in the hospital and was recently discharged. After only being with us for 10 days yesterday she had to be admitted again to the hospital. We are praying this hospital stay isn't as long, but reality looks as if is might be as long or longer.

Mama Selina has formed a special bond
 with Atlehang that is heartwarming to see first hand. 
The doctors are currently uncertain of what is happening in her body but we heard a lot of speculation yesterday all revolving around TB issues. Her body has no immune system to fight anything.

Yesterday our housemother spent from 7AM-10:30pm at 2 different clinics and casualty (ER) trying to get her admitted. I spent a few hours helping with this making 2 trips to the hospital and taking them lunch and supper since the day was dragging on forever. Our newest short-term missionary, Abby, spent the last 4 hrs with them last night. Brian was finally able to fetch Abby and our housemother at 10:30 last night and Atlehang was finally admitted to the children's ward.

Dieketseng painting Atlehang's nails. 
We ask that you pray with us that the doctors will have wisdom and compassion in knowing how to treat whatever she has and that Atlehang's body will respond to the treatment. Also pray for her to have peace and comfort while at the hospital. We are only able to visit for an hour or little more in the afternoon because of set visiting hours at the hospital. And please pray for all of our staff at The Village as we try to arrange transportation and scheduling to visit Atlehang. 

Here are a few pictures of Atlehang during her last hospital stay.

We try to do a few fun things and shower her with special food like KFC and Pizza.

Here we had a little pizza party in her ward room and shared with her little neighbor. He thought it was the best.

Atlehang's little neighbor in the ward enjoying pizza with us

We didn't really know each other before the hospital but after a few visits we now know each other quite well. 

Dieketseng playing her guitar and the girls singing at the hospital

Monday, November 26, 2012

Happy 1st Birthday Charlie!

Today our little guy turned 1 year old.
It doesn't seem possible that he could be 1 already. The days sure do go by quickly and we have enjoyed our days to the fullest with him.

He is a perfect fit to our family and we love him dearly. Charlie is an easy going little guy that enjoys keeping up with his brother and sister. He hasn't started walking yet, but I am sure he will be soon. He walks around when holding onto things and stands on his own in the middle of the room. I can see him processing the thoughts about walking, he just hasn't managed it yet.
He moves at a quick pace in crawling and covers all the territory he desires. Since being back in the States, he has become a champion going up the stairs.

Our family 1 year ago today

He is loved by all, including the children at The Village.

Charlie is great fun, full of smiles, giggles and keeps us running. We are looking forward to another fun year of watching him grow-up. We love you Charlie! 

Birthday Cake Fun

Charlie has his first celebration on Thanksgiving day
with grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles

This was his practice cake for getting messy
Thanks Grandma Susie for the cake!

Today, I made Charlie his 1st Birthday cake 

Charlie dove right for the frosting

you can see that he had both hands in the cake and feeding his face

 We had a fun afternoon watching him eat his cake

Sunday, November 25, 2012



We are so blessed to be back with our family during this special time of year. Our time back has been filled with so many great events, funny comments from the kids, beautiful memories made with our family and so much more.

This time last year I was very pregnant with our little Charlie boy and we were fixing a Thanksgiving supper with our South African friends. We gathered in our house for a great night of food, laughs and light hearted comments about having the British sitting around our table sharing a Thanksgiving meal with us. We have been blessed that our dear South African friends have embraced some of our American holidays with us. There are many traditions we have given up, created many new traditions with our growing family but have also kept some of those important traditions that we grew up with. Thanksgiving has always been one of those special holidays we have continued to celebrate and have always shared this day of Thankfulness with those that are around us.

But this time, this year, we are here to enjoy our mom's cooking, to sit around the table with our families, to eat a lot together, to enjoy the crazy family days, lots of loud cousins playing together and to embrace our new memories. This year we are Thankful to be celebrating Thanksgiving Day in Iowa.

Lindie making pie with grandma

Indian Hats for Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving lunch with my parents and sister's family

Liam playing with a few cousins

The late afternoon was spent at Brian's sister's house and we enjoyed Thanksgiving
Supper with Brian's parents, Amy's family and Stephanie's family

Charlie had an early birthday celebration

Lindie and Jael coloring together

Friday, November 2, 2012


We have been back in the States for 6 weeks now. At times it seems like we've been here a lot longer than 6 weeks because we have already traveled more than 6 thousands miles and have been in 10 States along the way.

Counting our blessings.
1. Safety as we have been traveling many miles and for my parents who graciously have given us their van to use while we are back in the States.

2. For the encouraging church meetings we have already had. It is so heart warming to return to a church and hear that so many people have been praying for us and that people really do read our updates we email out.

3. For our family and friends. We have been blessed by all our friends and family. The wonderful get togethers, conversations and reminiscing over old times.

4. Liam and Lindie have LOVED getting to play with cousins, grandparents, aunts and uncles-it is such a treat to all of us.

5. We spent almost 2 weeks out East in Ohio and New Jersey area because we had 2 church meetings on consecutive Sundays. Our dear friends in New Jersey graciously blessed us with a week at their home on the Jersey shore. What a wonderful week our family had together. We did nothing but relax for the most part. We were blessed with nice weather allowing us to brave the chilly ocean water and play in the sand.
We also thank the Lord that he guided us to go to New Jersey early in our visit. If we would have been much later the most recent hurricane could have interfered. Now we ask you to keep those along the Jersey shore who are facing great devastation in your prayers. Our dearest friends are praising the Lord as their house was spared from any major damage.

Picking pumpkins at Grandpa's farm

Fun with cousins

Lindie and her cousin Jael

Papa with Charlie-lots of fun for both of them

We stopped in Ohio to visit family on our way to New Jersey. 
Aunt Mary took us on a walk to this water fall. 

Uncle Ed with Lindie and her favorite animal-a donkey

Uncle Ed on the Jersey shore with us at Sea Isle
Thank you Ed and Sue for a wonderful week at the shore.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Birthdays and More Birthdays

We don't just celebrate our birthdays but we celebrate everyones birthday at The Village and we have fun doing it. Once a month we have a birthday celebration to celebrate those that had a birthday that month. We have found that individual parties for each child is a bit overwhelming and have decided that one celebration a month with cake, candy, popcorn, games and gifts is the best for everyone. We try to make it a special day where we all gather together to sing to each child and/or adult and have an organized game time included. When a child is new to The Village this will often be their very first time to celebrate their birthday and we try to make it special.

We want each child to feel loved, secure and special within our big family and we also want them to come to understand that they are special in God's family. Our most important responsibility at The Village is sharing God's love with each child and that includes teaching and showing them what it means to be part of a family. We aren't their biological family but we pray that they will come to know that we will always be here for them as their Heavenly Father is always here for them.

In June we celebrated Allison's 21st birthday. Allison is a very dear friend who has become part of our family. She has spent her last 5 summers with us and pours out her life to each child. She has become part of everyones family when she is with us at The Village. We are excited to see where the Lord leads her in the future and as she finishes her last year in college.

Ma Paddy, a dear lady who has become part of our family and blesses us with her talents and love. Paddy spends much of her time with us, the O'Tool family and the kids at The Village. Paddy always has sweets in her pocket for Liam and Lindie. She graciously gives of her time and resources by teaching our oldest girls how to make jewelry. We celebrated her birthday by surprising her with a cake on the 4th of July. (Her birthday is the 5th)

In August we were blessed to celebrate a very special birthday-Pops turned 76 years old. Pops and Nana are so very precious to our family and especially our children. Pops and Nana are our South African grandparents and they pour every ounce of love and energy they have into them. They give of their time by babysitting when I need to grocery shop, run errands, when we have teams or if I just need to get out. Our kids love being with them-actually they prefer them over us.

It is the people like Ma Paddy, Pop and Nana, and other local friends that help us carry-on our daily tasks and makes it feel like we belong in Welkom. In that last few years, we have really felt the love and connection of those around us locally that have given us the extra encouragement to keep going when the times get tough. God has given us these special friendships and it is so important and needed. We love you and Thank You. 

We also celebrated three special girls in August. Paulina, Lerato and Modiehi all had birthdays and they were celebrated in barbie fashion. We had a team from New Jersey with us to help us with the party and Mallory and Lauire planned the games. This was Modiehi's first time to have her birthday celebrated and to receive gifts. It was heart warming to see her face and to feel her appreciation. 

Mal and Laurie planned a little pin the tail on the donkey, musical chairs and an egg toss game.

As you can see, we have a lot of fun amongst our daily tasks in keeping everything organized at The Village. 

A barbie birthday cake for
Paulina, Lerato and Modiehi

Modiehi, Lerato and Paulina unwrapping their presents

Paulina and her new dress

Modiehi and her present

Papa Revival playing Pin the tail on the donkey