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Saturday, April 29, 2017

How much is too much?


Caleb eating Ian's home made ice cream at our house.
Today I am in a bit of a funk.  I feel stuck between two worlds, and I am not sure how to live in both of them.  How much is too much when it comes to the children whom we are responsible for, especially when there are so many children in the country (continent/world) who have nothing?

Let me tell you a story.

During my first trip to Kenya, I remember having the BRILLIANT idea of hiring a refrigerated truck, driving to Nairobi and buying huge buckets of ice cream and then serving it to all the children at the Mully Children’s Family home in Ndalani. None of them would have had ice cream before and I wanted to give them a real treat, just as I would treat Spencer and Chloe.  When I shared my big idea with Mr. Mully, he very graciously suggested that maybe the children would enjoy some meat instead.   Duh. Yes, meat.  That was a much better idea, and something that they did not get often. Their father knew what was best for them, and I learned a valuable lesson that day.

We are now raising 155 Swazi children and everyone who comes to visit has an opinion on how we should be raising them.  Not a single person is raising 155 children themselves, but none-the-less share their thoughts with as many of our staff and volunteers as they can.

We have been accused of raising spoiled rich kids because our children have a plethora of push toys and Little Tykes play sets to play with.  We have been accused of turning the home in to a “Disney Land” because we have hand carved stone statues around the buildings.  We have been told that we are feeding our children too much, and that they would never get that much food if they were living back in their homestead. I would like to say that we have heard it all, but I am sure we have not.
"Aslan" the lion is our school mascot. This stone was carved on Project Canaan with stone found on the farm.
This week Ian, Spencer and I were running errands in town and we stopped in to a store that sells commercial kitchen supplies.  My eyes immediately went to a large soft ice cream machine. That would be wonderful for our children!  I think it could even make frozen yoghurt (that we make ourselves from the milk from the dairy).  


We have 155 children now, with 65 full time staff members, and many many volunteers/guests throughout the year. I am sure visitors would be happy to pay for ice cream (and maybe even buy it as a treat for our children from time to time). But the cost of the machine was $1,600 USD.  I would never ask a donor to buy an ice cream machine, but I would certainly consider buying it myself?  Why? Because I often bought Spencer and Chloe ice cream as a treat, and these little ones are our children too.  But it’s much harder to take 155 children to town for ice cream than it was to put two kids in the back of my car. 

Levi, Hope, Caleb and Joshua enjoying Ian's ice cream.
But here’s the rub.  There are children all over Swaziland who have no food.  They have no meat.  They have no one to care for them or provide safety. So why should our children get soft ice cream?  Isn’t that exactly what the nay-sayers are saying to us when they point out our “extravagances”?

When I told Ian that I was struggling with this today, he reminded me that God has told us that He is doing a “new work” on Project Canaan. He has entrusted us with these young lives, and we do believe that we are raising the future leaders of this nation. But does that mean that they should get soft ice cream when others don’t get meat?  I don’t know.

So today I am in a bit of a funk.  I have one foot in a country that I love, where poverty and orphan-headed-households surround us, and the other foot is with 155 children, who I want to give all that I can to give them a wonderful childhood and set them up for success as adults.

Live from Swaziland … wondering, how much is too much?

Janine

2 comments:

  1. Your heart is so big! I am reminded of what my pastor, who is also your pastor, says--"Do for one what you wish you could do for all". It seems that your "one" is the 155 children (to date) that God has entrusted to your care. I hope you can give them the ice cream while you continue to work and pray to find a way to do the same for all the needy children in Africa.

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  2. God's love is extravagant so why would we not be extravagant with our love and blessings?

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