The Grants' African adventure

“Suffering children are safe in His arms….”

Okay, are you ready for a serious blog?

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A couple of days ago we made the extremely bumpy trek in Debbie’s poor old car out to the Sandra Jones Village, about 25km outside Bulawayo. There are two groups of children who live here – ‘The babies’ (there were about thirteen between the ages of eighteen months and six years) and the older girls (twenty-three between the ages of eight and sixteen) – are the ones who will eventually, “hopefully”, move into Hotel Rio in September.


We went first to the babies home, where the children are cared for beautifully by two ‘mama’s’. Everything is extremely basic but the children are well-fed, warmly dressed and running around happily. When we arrive we are immediately swamped with the little ones climbing on us and holding our hands! One little boy (whose name I couldn’t pronounce let alone write) didn’t say a word to me but just led me by the hand all around the place. He looked about two years old but was apparently about three and a half. Most of the kids are like this – looking much younger than their actual age. This is due to being underfed whilst they were babies and also, often, HIV.

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The children have some basic toys – a couple of little trikes and scooters and a swing set. At the end of our time there, this little boy let go of my hand and disappeared into the garden. He emerged a few minutes later and quietly pressed an orange flower into my hand! I gave him a kiss and told him I’d keep it forever! The next day in church (Andrew’s family’s old church – Bulwayo Baptist) we sang that song with the words “suffering children are safe in His arms…..”. I held back the tears as I realised that so many songs that I sing in Australia have an entirely new meaning here. There is this huge team of people – many different organisations; some Christian, some not, but all of them are “God’s arms” for these beautiful children. He has put us (by that I mean all humans!) here to fix up what has gone so horribly wrong.

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Yesterday eleven of us once more jolted our way out to SJV to help build a fire-break, as there is quite a bad drought here and bushfire is a huge threat. Well, we didn’t end up making the firebreak, for whatever reason! We ended up (along with some lovely Irish people who had come to Bulawayo as part of a yearly project) taking the kids down to an open field and playing games with all the kids. We played volleyball and soccer and cuddled babies in between. The older girls danced and sang in a totally spontaneous way along a broken-down old wall – Andrew video-taped them because their sense of rhythm and natural musical ability is amazing!

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Over the last few days, through talking with Morag and Debbie, it’s become apparent to us that each girl and baby has a horrific story to tell. One girl, who is now sixteen, was sold into prostitution by her family for six years between the ages of six (!!!) and twelve. Another was sexually abused by her dad. The little boy that I particularly loved was given rat poison by his mum who tried to kill him and herself. I know it sounds horrific to be telling you this, but almost every one has a story like this and there are many places like SJV across Bulawayo and indeed, across the world. Suffering Children are safe in His arms.

Anney…

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6 responses

  1. Jenny Humphrey

    Thankyou Anney. Very beautifully and sensitively written. Do you know the song ‘Do you see what I see?’ It just came to me while I was reading your post. Your coming here and our coming here (and all those others who have been called)wasn’t an accident! It was God ordained! We have had a small glimpse into what God sees and knows! We have ‘seen’ what He sees! What a blessing! Thankyou Jesus for ‘rescuing these children and us!’ Thankyou for your love. Jen

    June 26, 2012 at 3:44 pm

  2. Lindy Hedgecoe

    they are amazing stories anne, it must be so hard to see and then leave a place like that, you must went to take all the kids home with you.
    The children do look happy, they must be well looked after.

    June 26, 2012 at 3:46 pm

  3. Sheila Grant

    OH MY DEAR ANNIE,… YOU KNOW HOW TO MAKE TEARS COME TO ONE’S EYES! Sad tears, but also happy ones because there are so many good people who do care and love them, take care of them or provide the finances to ensure the second part of their lives will be happy, healthy physically and spiritually., Be aware that re-entry here is going to be hard for you…you cannot see all of that and not be emotionally involved.
    Love you, Mum

    June 26, 2012 at 3:56 pm

  4. grandpa1931

    Oh Anne it’s no surprise to me that you have got right to the heart of this ministry. After all this is what Jesus said you were to do…”Care for the widows and orphans etc! Aren’t you glad/fortunate that you are not confronted with these needs every day of your life as the people working there are having to cope with. These workers will be among those who will receive “a crown of righteousness” form His omnipotent hand, surely.

    June 26, 2012 at 4:17 pm

  5. Busi moyo

    Your reward will be in heaven. You guys have Christ living in your hearts. God bless and thank you for inspiring the rest of us.

    June 27, 2012 at 1:32 am

  6. The Inalds

    Oh Anney I just had a big lump in my throat too! You do write beautifully. I’m so glad the kids have found SJV (or been found) and are in a safe, happy place. May their lives just get better and better and they forget about their early traumas. Poor little things – please give them all big cuddles from me : )

    June 27, 2012 at 9:27 pm

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