Siyathemba - Update April 2013
We’re official! Siyathemba was successfully registered as a non profit trust a few weeks ago. We are now starting the process of opening a bank account. This is a particularly difficult process as it involves all the trustees having written consent, all signatories being present at the bank for pretty much a full day of admin and paper work. Ingwavuma is nearly 2 hours away from Pongola, our nearest FNB Branch, so as you can imagine, a bit of a mission to organise, so we’re still trying to decide on our next best step.
Amazingly, the very day that we received our registration papers, we also received an email from our district manager (the doctor in charge of 5 hospital in northern KZN) informing us that there is a new abortion clinic that has opened in Empangeni (our referral area). Ironically the name of this clinic is “C Hope”! We really felt that it was the right time to inform the same set of doctors who had received this email of Siyathemba. We clicked on “reply to all” and wrote a little summary of who we were and what we were up to and encouraged everyone to contact us for advice or resources should they have patients requesting abortions. When we clicked on “send”, such excitement filled us as we saw that we had just opened the door to something potentially big....we had sent the email to 105 doctors that the initial “C Hope” email was sent to! So we really trust that these people in the other hospitals would take up our offer of assistance especially in the form of advice, baby hampers and at times, cash.
It’s really encouraging, as time goes on, to receive sms’s from the girls we walk with just saying hello and that they are well; some, for many months after the baby is born, and most of the time, not asking for anything but rather wanting to keep in touch. The resounding feeling is that they are all in love with their babies in spite of really tough circumstances.
We were also encouraged the other day when we were away in Durban. We received sms photographs of a very sweet baby girl and her delighted looking mom. One of our Christian nurses sent them to us. This was a lady who had come in for an abortion several months before and seen by one of our Christian nurses who took her aside to share the love of Jesus with her. She never ended up needing to see one of us, and left her consultation with the nurse having changed her mind. This is the place that we have wanted to get to, not a dependence on the Birdseys being available to counsel, but rather a dependence on Jesus and the leading of the Holy Spirit as all of His children have His Truth to give. The nurses involved were ecstatic and encouraged to keep sharing His love and life.
We also met up against a fair amount of warfare on several levels and just want to thank you for your continued prayers! It is an honour and privilege to serve a God who says in His word that nothing and no one can be against us if He is for us! So please, keep interceding on our behalf.
We met two more moms to be with unique life stories who were willing to receive Jesus’ love over the past few weeks. Both were the last in the patient queue on a Friday afternoon when we were at our weakest. The first had been sent to us by one of the clinics. I read the card that said that she had had an abortion a few months ago and was pregnant again. I immediately thought that she was here requesting another abortion. However as I listened to her story I realised that she had been sent to us by God needing encouragement. She was from Empangeni, and was only here in Ingwavuma for a few weeks. She went to the clinic, found out she was pregnant and was simply sent to see one of the doctors at the hospital. There was no reason why she needed to see one of the doctors, as she had already decided that she would not have another abortion, she was simply sent, seemingly without a reason. After reading her card and initially judging her and being angry my heart soon became very desperate for the shear brokenness in her life. The way she was so willing to throw her life away just in search of love. God did an amazing work in her heart that day and she left feeling encouraged with a smile on her face and hope for the future knowing that Jesus had died for her past and has a plan for her future.
The second mom came at a time of high pressure in the hospital in the midst of much chaos. It was through the grace of one of the other doctors who is also one of our trustees, that I could spend time with her. She made me realise that the gospel is for the broken, that ‘God is near those who are crushed in spirit’. I have heard other doctors tell me that they won’t get involved in abortions except if it is in the case of rape (since this would seem the most justifiable situation). Well these are also likely the most broken people and the most grateful recipients of hope and true love. Such was the case with this lady. She was someone who had spent her entire life in Swaziland. A few months ago in her late teenage years, she had been raped by her father. Her family (including her mother) had threatened her if she told the police and so she moved to other accommodation. Here she was again raped by a 60 year old man who had also threatened her. Scared and abandoned she had come up our mountain that divides Ingwavuma from Swaziland, and had found out she was pregnant due to the rape. If ever there were ‘justifiable’ reasons to cause more destruction, this was it. However she became aware that she did not need further problems; further guilt and further shame. She realised that she needed the true love of a Saviour, who despite her many questions and doubts, had never left through the ordeal. She decided to grab on to the tiny little bit of faith that she could muster up and believe. Believe that God is going to use this child that grows in her to bring healing to her and to many others. She decided to believe that God is indeed for her, has not abandoned her and still thinks she is tremendously special. She decided to believe that this ordeal had come from the sin of broken men not from the hand of God. She decided to hold on to the mustard seed of hope.
Stories like these make you reconsider the problems that you think you face in your life, and although you may feel deeply moved, you are tremendously grateful for simple things like good health and whole relationships.
For the first time I also counselled a patient with a boyfriend present. I always wondered how I would react in this situation. I have always wished to see these boys who I believe to be either the primary driving force of the mother seeking the abortion or simply the individual who had enjoyed himself and left the mother to deal with the consequences. I realised however that the boys are just as broken as the girls. My initial hard line approach with this guy saw no fruit, however he did start to listen when I realised that he was also in a crisis. Sadly, he was not interested in hearing about God, he had decided that he didn’t exist and his persistence swayed his girlfriend’s heart (who I believe was very much open to Jesus’ message). We must continue to pray for them.
We are often asked what our needs are. A bit of cash here and there at this stage is great for paying for accommodation, nannies and other more specific needs. Baby goodies are something that we have a near constant supply of thanks to generosity of our friends in Ladysmith. What we need the most is prayer; prayer for the safety of our family and those staff that have chosen to support life and speak openly of Jesus; prayer for the girls (and boys) that we meet in consultation rooms – that Jesus would prepare the way before we even meet them; and prayer for the people who we have already spoken to, that the words of our mouth’s would bring about fruit for the glory of our God.
In the same spirit of supporting vulnerable children, we’d like to take an opportunity to mention the following: One of our trustees, Penny Dugan, is running a children’s camp for orphans. This is going to be in July and will be held just outside of Durban. She’s done several such camps in the past, and they prove to be an incredible blessing to the children that she takes. She is expecting to take around 100 orphans this year. For several days these children have life imparted to them from every direction. They get told about how much they are loved, how special they are, there are times of worship and ministry, lots of fun and games and other very special activities, like art therapy. They little ones are given towels, blankets and clothes to take home with them - a few days in their lives that invest the love and message of Jesus. They are given comfy warm beds and plenty of good food whilst on the camp. It costs R800 to send a child on this camp, so Penny needs to raise R 80 000! If this touches you and you’d like to sponsor one or more orphans, please message either of us and we will pass on the details.
Thank you again for taking the time to be interested in this project!
Love the Birdseys
The following is our Ruth Mailbag Group listing specially added for our new members:
Address for donations:
Postal: Graeme and Bianca Birdsey PO BOX 416 Ingwavuma 3968.
Street: House 132, Mosvold Hospital, Main Road, Ingwavuma
Name of staff liaison person: Graeme and Bianca Birdsey MBChB (UCT)
Telephone number of staff liaison person: 0833686080 or 0355910122
Needs: Blankets, clothes and soft toys for newborn babies
General: In a nut shell, we are helping to support young women with basic needs who would have otherwise aborted their pregnancy as a result of being overwhelmed by the seemingly impossible task to care for their unborn child. These needs are diverse, and we try here and there to help as we feel led. One thing we do for all is try to give each new baby a generous hamper of baby clothes to start him/her off. I've been collecting as much as I can, but generally run short as each little baby makes quite a dent in a bunch of things that has taken months to collect. If you are able to help in any way or would like any more information, please don't hesitate to contact me! :)