The Story of Ester: Saved from a Nightmare

I met a girl called Esther in Uganda while visiting there on my mission’s trip. Her story was heartbreaking. Click here to hear it.

There are so many children and young adults in Africa that need help that sometimes the task feels overwhelming. But every soul we help, every child we nurture, we bring the Kingdom of God closer to our worlds we live in.

Nimule, South Sudan – Living Water

After staying over at Juba overnight, I was off to Nimule which is approx 200km away from Juba. Due to Rebel forces activity on the road it was not safe to travel by road.

The Catholic Church I slept over in at Nimule

I was then taken to the village where we had funded the drilling of a waterhole. It was such an emotional experience I could not really understand why I was feeling this way about it. For those of you who know me well, this was not me. And yet the Holy Spirit moved me there in that village.

The chief spoke and thanked us for the water and then his wife said this:

The Chief's wife telling her story

“We used to carry water from the town to our village on our heads in buckets. Because of this labour our hair at the top our heads stopped growing. Now that we have this borehole we do not have to carry on our heads anymore so the hair will grow back. Thank you for allowing us to be beautiful again.” Enough said!

I had wonderful times with the staff of IAS in Nimule and hope to return soon to the place.

I was on my way back to Juba for an overnight stay and then back to Entebbe. This was indeed a trip worth the wait.

Juba, South Sudan – Meeting new Friends

The IAS Team at Nimule

I arrived in Juba with so excited to be able to at last see the Water we have been so hard at work fundraising for. It was hot and muggy. The airport facilities were rudimentary to be kind. We got through and on our way to the IAS compound on the outskirts of Juba

Resting after a bumpy flight from Nimule

 

The men and women do such a great job out here against huge odds that you can just admire them. The bureaucracy in Juba is astounding. In order to want to assist people with water boreholes you have to jump through a myriad of loops. It is ridiculous.

The hill just outside our compound

On the last day of my stay in Juba I got hold of a Boda-boda, which in our language is a scooter and did some sight-seeing. It was an experience. There is so much hopelessness mingled with hope that the landscape becomes confusing at times.

Ate a great deal of these little monsters

Next stop, Nimule! Next week.

 

Announcing the S4J-2019 athletes captains and vice-captains

They’re ALL on the 2018 S4J official team photo that was taken the day before the Comrades Marathon. This is the ONE opportunity when S4J athletes from all over South Africa gathers. Team business like S4J support points at race day [referring to the Comrades Marathon] is sorted out…and then…a team picture is taken for the year.

The 2018 S4J Team Photo

It’s NOT because they’re on the team picture that they’re selected as captains and vice-captains. It just so happens that when…with hindsight …the 2018 S4J team photo is closely observed, you will find these four deeply appreciated members of the S4J team.

So here is the announcement:

Here are the captains and vice-captains for the S4J athletes leadership for the 2019 year:

  • Men’s Captain: Jan Carel Coetzee
  • Ladies’ Captain: Annelize Hietbrink
  • Men’s Vice-Captain: Nollie Hietbrink
  • Ladies’ Vice-Captain: Lizette Sander

All of them have been involved with the S4J for several years.

Jan Carel and Benita Coetzee

Jan Carel Coetzee is the most experienced of the four. He ran the Comrades Marathon a combined 47 times with his wife Benita Coetzee. They run for the Bethlehem Marathon Club and is from the Warden district in the Free State Province where they farm.

Nollie and Annelize Hietbrink

Annelize Hietbrink joined the S4J as athlete in September 2010, which was the birth year of the S4J. EVERY year, from 2011, she ran the Comrades Marathon as part of the S4J. Next year on 9 June 2019 will be the 10th year that athletes run as part of the S4J team. What a milestone! Annelize is the wife of Vice-Captain Nollie Hietbrink. Annelize runs for Magnolia.

Annelize with Nollie’s father Sarel Hietbrink who has also ran the Comrades marathon as part of the S4J team.

Nollie Hietbrink has completed the Comrades Marathon successfully five times. Two of those were sub 9 hour times and one a sub 9:30 time. Nollie is part for the Fit 2000 Club.

Annelize Hietbrink ran the Comrades Marathon every consecutive year as part of the S4J team from 2011. This is the 2011 S4J team photo.
Lizette Sander

Lizette Sander ran the Comrades Marathon successfully for the past seven consecutive years. Her BEST time for the race was THIS year with a time of 9:52. Lizette runs for Kempton Park.

It is abundantly clear that this is an EXPERIENCED group of runners. We do trust that they would serve the S4J athletes well and inspire them to run for this greater cause…S4J: changing lives and changing nations.

Uganda – S4J Children’s Fund

Children at School in Nimule

I arrived in Uganda full of excitement and rearing to see how the people live there. I visited with Daniel, a Brazilian national who has an unflinching heart for Christ and who has a children’s ministry in Entebbe.

Our home away from home.

I stayed in the house above, which was once a hospital, very small hospital! Very spartan, a reminder that we need very little to survive. It is our wants that get in the way. Daniel was a very gracious host and offered up his bed for me. I duly accepted. This would be my home for the next five days.

The school we visited above displayed clearly the plight in which these children are. Daniel and his team help where they can but resources are scarce.

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Daniel and his team have created a very solid program for the children and involve them in all church events. They are so hungry for God there.

Victoria Lake

I even had some time to visit the great Victoria Lake. This “dam” is massive. Unfortunately the resource is not utilized very well but it is still a lovely place to sight-see.

On the last day of my visit Daniel informed me that he was going to show me how to really braai as the Brazilians invented the process!!! I must say it was not what I was used to but the meat was delicious.

I was told later that the people in Abaana’s (The Children’s Project name) care see meat maybe once every six months. I must say that my perspective of food has changed drastically since my return. I have realized that food is a blessing and must not be consumed indiscriminately.

I said goodbye to Uganda with a feeling of relief to be honest to be getting back to SA, but also with a grateful heart that I was able to witness what God was doing for these people in who we have invested.