February 2018

February 2018 Newsletter

Since February is the “Love” month we have lots of love stories to share with you!

God’s Love
First we want to share the greatest love story ever: the sacrificial love of a perfect holy God for His sinful creation. God created us to love us and to be loved by us. He wanted this so much that He gave His all for us.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
John 3:16

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Romans 5:8

“Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.”
John 15:13

What a wonderful loving, caring, giving God we serve!

Our Love For You
Next, we want to say how much we love all of you! You are a joy and such an encouragement to us! Thank you for the many ways you say you care about us and support us and Sunrise Children’s Home. Thanks to each of you who support Sunrise, you make it possible for us to be here! Thanks to each of you who support a child, your generous financial gifts are God’s tangible way to saying to them they are loved! Thank you also for the wonderful care packages you send for us and the children! Finally, thank you so much for all the prayers you lift to the throne of God on behalf of all of us here at Sunrise! You are a blessing!

“How can we thank God enough for you in return for all the joy we have in the presence of our God because of you?” 1 Thessalonians 3:9

The Children Know They Are Loved
The children were given an assignment to read a Bible story and then write down what was “interesting” about the story. Frank included the picture below at the end of his paper. Frank expressed what we have seen written in different places around Sunrise. They wrote that “Baba and Mama Loves Us” on wooden pilings in front of one of our flower beds. It is hard to fuss at the children when they are acknowledging the reason we came to Sunrise and that is to love the children with the life changing love of Jesus Christ.

The Power of Loving Discipline
It is a mistake when we do not take seriously and apply the Word of God in all situations. This of course includes disciplining our children. We discipline for the purpose of changing, correcting, and/or restoring behavior. Discipline is also a powerful and effective way to communicate love! It says, “You are my child and I love you so much that I can’t let you do that.”

“For the LORD disciplines those he loves, and he punishes each one he accepts as his child.”
Hebrews 12:6

Three of our girls recently went through a rash of irresponsibility and disobedience. The point of this retelling is not to explain all the discipline, but to rejoice over the response at the end of the “saga”. Let us just say that there were multiple discipline steps that were proving ineffective. Throughout the process we continued to express our love for them.

Sesi, Atu, and Halima were just not doing the simple chores they knew to do. Instead of making their beds and doing morning chores, they sat on the floor and played cards (no gambling). Then they refused to abide by the consequences, so things came down to the dreaded discipline, a writing assignment. They each had to write five reasons why they should work hard. They balked; they would rather do anything than write. The story continued because Atu refused to write, but eventually things were rectified. Here to your left is the message we found at the bottom of Sesi’s list of reasons to work hard.

COMPELLED BY LOVE

“For Christ’s Love compels us because we are convinced that one died for all, therefore all died. He died for all so that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.”
2 Corinthians 5:14-15

The love of Christ has compelled us to add two precious little girls to our Sunrise family!!

A Love Story
On Thursday, February 22nd, we drove about an hour from our home to the village of Mawindi, to pick up our two new girls, Irene who is 4 years old and her sister Janeth who is only 2.

The Lord first presented us with this opportunity when we received a call on February 12th from Patrick (from Belgium) and his wife Helena (Tanzanian). They asked us if we would consider taking in two girls from their village, Mawindi. Then they explained the girls’ situation to us.

No one knew their age for sure but they guessed 5 and 3. Their father is dead and their mother is a prostitute in Dar es Salaam, 12 hours from here. The girls had been staying for the past year with their grandmother who recently, while drunk, beat Irene and damaged her left eye. There was concern that she would be blind in that eye, but the doctor recently said he thinks the eye will recover (please pray).

We told them that we would pray about taking the girls. We needed to hear from God. Sunrise has never had children younger than school age. Irene and Janeth would be the first.

We decided to take a trip to meet them. We were not going to “check them out”, we were going to meet them because by this time we were already being compelled by God’s love to take them if the family would follow through. After meeting them and hearing from the grandmother that she would give them to us, we left absolutely sure. We left with our hearts full of love and broken for them, because of love.

We drove to Njombe to sit and talk and we decided to listen to a song some friends, Scott & Carmen Willey sent us. Wow! Does our loving Father know how to time things!! The song is “Reckless Love” by Cory Asbury. You can cut and paste this link to listen to this song. The lyrics are at the end of this update.

His love COMPELLED us to get the girls. There was no doubt now, we both felt the decision was simple – YES, of course we will take them! There was no doubt that the Lord was saying yes!!

When we got home we wanted to include our staff in this decision. We met with them and discussed the commitment we were all making. They were all overwhelmingly in favor of getting the girls even though it means more work for everyone.

Actually we did not have all the details figured out, but we are called to live by faith! We know we are taking on greater responsibility and we know that this commits us in a new way, but this is what the COMPELLING LOVE OF GOD does.

It leads us to be more like our Savior. “We are convinced that one died for all therefore all died.” This is not about us, it’s about the depth and width of His love. He WILL provide all we need, we are CONVINCED & COMPELLED!!

Back to February 22nd and OUR first addition to the Sunrise Family! We bounced our way to the village (rough roads) and went to Patrick & Helena’s home, then to their duka (small store) in the village where we met the grandmother, grandfather (we think), and an Aunt. We waited there for the village chairman (chief) to come to witness the grandmother’s signing of the “Release of Custody” Form. We authored the form just a few days previous. We did not want to have any confusion about what was happening, so we had authored a form (in English and Swahili) that stated clearly what was taking place. If we are going to parent the girls, then we need full custody.

After being in the village waiting for about four hours we received a call and walked to the village government office where the signing took place. Since the grandmother cannot read or write, the grandfather signed. Then we signed and the village chief signed and stamped the form. In this culture this document will be sufficient authority for us to raise the girls.

The family gave us the few clothes they had and the girls became “ours”. There were no toys or other belongings. How overwhelmed we were with this opportunity to share the love of God, and our love, with these girls!

We all, Rhonda, Leida (one of our Tanzanian staff), Patrick, Helena, and Richard went back to Patrick’s home so we could spend a little more time with the girls. The picture you see was taken at Patrick’s Home. While there Patrick expressed how happy he was with these words, “Today you have saved these girls. Who knows what would have happened to them, now they will know Jesus.”

We then loaded up and took them HOME! They never cried! They already love us and we love them! They are adjusting incredibly well to their new home, new siblings, and new Baba and Mama – even though we do not speak Swahili very well yet.

When we arrived at Sunrise our three younger girls, Sesi, Atu, and Halima, were waiting at the gate to meet their new sisters!! Everyone already loves them! When Jesus said, “Whoever welcomes one of these little ones in my name welcomes me”, He meant it! This has already changed things for the better at Sunrise!

Halima, who is 10 years old, has been so sweet!! Prior to the arrival of Irene and Janet, Halima was our youngest child. Instead of being jealous, she has had the opposite response. She has given her two baby dolls, two stuffed animals, and bottles to the girls. In case this does not seem like much, these are the ONLY toys Halima owns. We believe she has the gift of generosity.

God has called us to Tanzania to love! His love has compelled us to be here to love children who have been rejected, neglected, and abused. God’s love is powerful, transformational, and it sets us free to be all that He has for us to be. When we know that the Almighty Creator and Sustainer of the Universe loves us so much that He came to this earth and died for us, what can man do to us!

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38–39

Compelled By Love,
Richard and Rhonda

 

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Reckless Love

Before I spoke a word
You were singing over me
You have been so, so good to me
Before I took a breath
You breathed your life in me
You have been so, so kind to me

Oh, The overwhelming, never-ending
Reckless love of God
Oh, It chases me down
Fights ’til I’m found
Leaves the ninety-nine

I couldn’t earn it
And I don’t deserve it
Still you give yourself away
Oh, The overwhelming, never-ending
Reckless love of God

When I was your foe, still Your love fought for me
You have been so, so good to me
When I felt no worth
You paid it all for me
You have been so, so kind to me

Oh, The overwhelming, never-ending
Reckless love of God
Oh, It chases me down
Fights ’til I’m found
Leaves the ninety-nine

I couldn’t earn it
And I don’t deserve it
Still you give yourself away
Oh, The overwhelming, never-ending
Reckless love of God

There’s no shadow You won’t light up
Mountain You won’t climb up
Coming after me

There’s no wall You won’t kick down
Lie You won’t tear down
Coming after me

Oh, The overwhelming, never-ending
Reckless love of God
Oh, It chases me down
Fights ’til I’m found
Leaves the ninety-nine

I couldn’t earn it
And I don’t deserve it
Still you give yourself away
Oh, The overwhelming, never-ending
Reckless love of God

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