Thursday, August 23, 2007

A Funny Story

Hello Again Friends,
I forgot to mention a story from my time in Masoyi. I don't know how I forgot to tell you, but I did. My bad guys.
So on the last night of my time in Masoyi, our very drunk neighbor decided to pay a visit...and he brought a friend, actually his daughter. I thought "okay, maybe it's an african thing to bring your daughter to meet the foreigner who's staying next door." Well, it is if you want the foreigner next door to marry your daughter. He proceeded in drunken english/suswahti to inform me that his daughter would give me many children. And his daughter was right there! (that wasn't awkward at all) Although he made several good cases, I really thought it would be best to decline. Besides, I didn't have the 30 chickens and goats he was asking for. To be quite honest, I'm just a bit surprised by all this. I wasn't exactly looking my dashing self. Full beard and no shower for about 4 days and I just returned from working on a building site for a new care center. Not exactly looking my devastatingly handsome self.

Awkward Africa moment #372: turning down the neighbor's daughter.

Awkward Africa moment #373 sure to come soon.

Much Love,

Monday, August 20, 2007

A Week in Masoyi

Hi Friends,
Last week I spent the a few nights staying with an orphan headed household. I can’t give their names, but let’s call them S and A. S has a 4 year old daughter, L, who is stocked full of vibrant giggles! L is 20, raising her 4 year old daughter, going to school, and raising her younger brother. Things I have not much of a grasp on. Admittedly I wasn’t sure what to expect. So I decided a good start would be to have a heart willing to learn from the differences and embrace the moment. Strangely enough, I was blinded sided by the similarities, not of our social status but by our hearts. Granted I have no idea what it means to grow up without parents, nor to raise a younger sibling and a daughter, provide for them, or get them to school on time. I was rather struck by the common bond of relationship. More than anything, my new friends just wanted to be understood and have a sense of belonging…not so different from myself or perhaps even you. More than wanting to be “helped”, S and A wanted to be understood, to know someone was in their corner. I guess I’m that person now.
As I walked thru the community, I could feel the stares. Particularly because I was one of the few “whites” who had ever really stayed in the community. There wasn’t an American for miles around…literally. Word travelled fast thru the neighbourhood. Plenty of people stopped in to say hi. Which is great, until you try to remember everyone names…slightly embarrassing. My “fish-out-of-water” syndrome was most evident when I went to fetch water at the bottom of the hill. We loaded up the wheelbarrow and headed down the hill. When we got to the well, I could feel the eyes of all the people around bearing down on me. In South Africa, it’s completely strange to see “whites” carry water, much less a foreigner such as myself. Next came the trip to the house, complete with a wheelbarrow full of water jugs - slightly more difficult, to say it politely. But this is a near daily routine for S and A.
To be quite frank with you, S and A are my hero’s. They are examples for this community and the hope that is coming here. At the same time the reflection of the crisis at hand. It is devastating and full of hope all at the same time. I find myself scratching my head at the things I see and the stories I hear.

On Another Note:
In one of my previous blog’s about a grant proposal to USAID and the twenty-four hours we had to turn it in. Well, my nerdy-ness paid off and with a “little” help from the Lord. We got the grant! This was so crucial and now starting in October the funds will be released to us: so that we can continue to feed and resource the 9000 orphans in Masoyi! This is a big deal! It’s somewhere in the neighbourhood of a million USD! This is huge! Thank you for praying. It really means more than you know.

Much Love,
Dave Henry

Monday, August 13, 2007

A Big Week!

Hi Friends,
Today I'm heading into the Masoyi community to live with an orphan headed household until Thursday. For those of you wondering what that is, it's a family that is headed up by an orphan, usually under the age of 18. This orphan cares for his younger siblings just as a parent would. If can imagine being 16 or 17 and raising your younger brothers and sisters, providing food, money for school & supplies, keeping them out of trouble. Providing everything that a parent normally would.
I'm basically going to live like them in every way. Be a part of their lives. It's a really a small thing, all things considered, but I'm excited by this time of learning and experiencing life with these precious ones.
I know that I stand to learn more than I care to. But it is the stark reality here in Masoyi and most of Southern Africa.

All this to say, expect a blog post about this week in the near future. I'm expecting to get rocked, so that means you'll be reading and eyeful this time next week.
Thanks again friend! I really appreciate you!

Much Love,

PS. I also added some links to friends of mine who I have the privilege of working with at some level. They're ace's in my book!

PSS. One more thing. A few of us who've been working here are going on the road this fall. If you're interested in having us come thur your church or community please feel free to email and we can chat about it! Hopefully we'll be seeing you soon!

Friday, August 03, 2007

Way Out Of My League!

Hi Friends,
Here we are…3 and a half weeks into OUR African adventure….(yes, you are a part of this too). It has been quite the ride. There are plenty of moments of holding on for dear life! Sometimes for fear of the treacherous roads, enormous spiders, and creepy animal noise at night. Sometimes it’s because of the stories I hear and see day to day.
This trip is certainly different than all the rest. Africa, the orphan, and widow aren’t just a phase for me, but something I have to live in light of. Especially, since I claim to follow Christ. And now my journey with Him has led me to this place.
Last week, one of the directors of the ministry here asked me and my friend, Dave Song, to put together a quarterly report to turn in to one of our major donors for our projects here – the US government. Usually, this isn’t a big deal. Just one catch this time…we had less than 24 hours to build it, essentially from square one. So we jumped into super human work mode.
To make a long story short, this report would essentially secure about a million US dollars to feed and resource (school fees & supplies, social services, medical care, blankets, mattress’s) around 9000 orphans for 3 months. No pressure, right? I’m not going to lie…I was sweating bullets! In short, we were able to get the funding and our little crisis was averted. (Your prayers being a significant part.)
That being said, I kept looking at all those names on the spreadsheets. At moments they seemed countless. Each one has a unique story, some of triumph and some of tragedy. Unfortunately, most have seen their fair share of heartache. All of them orphans for whatever reason, due to HIV/AIDS or some other tragedy. Some of them heading up households, others living with a relative, some all alone. Yet, God dreams who and what each one could become. They are priceless treasures of God’s heart – the displaced, unknown royalty of His Kingdom.

I feel very compelled to repeatedly thank all of you for believing in me and this mission. I have felt your prayers and your friendship – even between the huge geographical distance. I really couldn’t do this without all of you. Much love to you all.

Your Friend,

PS. Sorry for the run-on sentences. A friend pointed out and declared me “King of the Run–on”. I’m working on it.