Part one – 2013
Mike and I started this project with a R1000 of small change that we had saved over about two years. Small acts over time accumulate into great things.
We never dreamed that together with you, we could reach and touch so many precious hearts.
Many people have asked us how they can help – we have never wanted to burden anyone so we have only asked for immediate needs (food, clothing etc…) to bless the communities we work with.
Behind the scenes, we continued to fund the project’s multitude of costs privately. It has been our greatest joy to serve our communities in this way – retirement homes, orphanages, counselling, ministering, creches, skills development, workshops, mentoring, giving up most of our home to the community at large and opening our home many times as a safe place and refuge.
Michael chose to leave his job in 2014 so that we could further reach, empower, uplift and connect lives. It was an incredible leap of faith. We had saved in preparation for this and did not make this decision lightly as it came at a huge sacrifice for our family. Still we choose to do this with great courage, enthusiasm and joy.
This calling that we have on our hearts, our passion for our community and our greatest desire to see breakthrough in our country for our future generations sake, drives us forward every day.
Our testimony of love, openness and integrity stands for itself, as many of you have met us and will know our hearts to be honest, humble and filled with passion. Our actions speak louder than words. The ability to pioneer this project on our own is now bigger than we are and this is exciting and wonderful news because now we really get an opportunity to truly become a community.
We are at a point where we really need you to help us empower and grow this project further. There is so much more to this incredible vision and dream than what you see now and it would be selfish of us as a family to not keep fighting and have the courage to see this through.
Please would you consider collaborating with us to see many more hearts uplifted, empowered and connected!
Part two – March 2015
These past two years have been incredible! When we look through the photos of the many places and people we have impacted, we are amazed! From building a shelter as a team in the pouring rain, to gathering two communities together to create a safe little playground for the children, organizing a team-building event that would have lasting practical value for both the company and care centre, running a group of volunteers who spent time helping to teach the little ones, co-coordinating food and donations, and ensuring that what was taken was clean and beautifully presented.
We also have been blessed to take care of people as they have wanted to come with us on mission and help those who have wanted to “pay it forward” ensuring that they met the needs of the people and that their gift truly was a blessing. WHEW!! What a privilege to serve our communities this way.
Our Heartstrings family will never be the same again, our hearts have grown and so has our zeal and passion. We have seen such hope, and been inspired by so many incredible people who have risen above some of the most devastating situations with a grace and dignity that surpasses their circumstances; front footed people who don’t want hand-outs but rather a hand up. We can only get excited as we think about how the next few years are going to unfold…
We would love to invite you to partner with us. In our eyes, every act of generosity no matter how big or small is a huge blessing and we thank you for being part of this great vision and for collaborating with us to create change in our country.
Part three – April 2015
In the past few months we have faced some of our greatest challenges yet. We made a strategic decision to focus mostly on mentoring and up-skilling our precious team/extended family. This has enabled us to develop new products so that we can generate the much-needed income to sustain the project.
Although we are a registered Community project, our NPO number is STILL tied up and we wait with desperate anticipation for it to be released to us. Please pray with us for this to happen soon.
Having said that we have an INTREPID SPIRIT and are persevering in GREAT FAITH. We will continue to JOYFULLY serve our communities with love and do what we can with what we have.
We have sold furniture and put our home up for sale to continue with the work set before us. We are also very grateful to those who have blessed us with groceries, vouchers and personal blessings. Thank you SO SO much. May you in-turn be abundantly blessed♡.
Last week was a huge moment for us as we all stood around our table decorated with Heartstrings Trading co products and took a moment to reflect on the testing and stretching time we have all been through (some of our team were personally affected by Xenophobia, so had stayed home with us for safety). We looked upon what was created and some of the men wept as they saw how far they had come.
We feel like new parents raising a baby; every day there is something new to learn and a new challenge to overcome. Each moment brings tears but immense joy! We look back with great pride, and forward with great excitement as we continue to work together to grow this into a healthy, thriving, God-glorifying and community-contributing reality♡.
Part four – June 2015
These two precious children are our hearts outside of our bodies. Summer and Gabriel have been incredible throughout our journey. They have given up so much; they have had their worlds turned upside down and in all of the changes they have adapted and blossomed. We are so proud of them!
Since we started this project, they have watched their parents make radical lifestyle changes and have seen how our hearts have been set on fire for a mission much greater than ourselves. They have also been included in these decisions every step of the way. We do things as a family unit.
They have struggled alongside us but have also shared in much joy and blessing. They have had moments of fear and moments of victory. They have witnessed the realities of life and have learned the value of what is truly important.
Amid it all, they lost their grandfather (Papa G) and experienced pain, suffering, sickness and death.
They left their schools and little friendships behind. Through these tough times their faith has kept them strong, whole and happy children. They are delightful, sweet, fun, quirky (no idea where they get that from 😉 ) intelligent, generous with the little they have, and have a way of viewing the world that speaks of the hope they have for their own ability to live a life of purpose, contribution and to make a difference.
As parents, we have shed many tears, crying out, “What in heavens name are we doing?!”, to “How could we have doubted you Lord?!” and many other sentences and profanities in-between. The one thing that we know is that through it all we have become incredibly rich.
Our wealth is certainly not monetary but rich in faith, family and friendship.
Our hearts are warehouses of intense gratitude for every humble meal set before us, every gesture of generosity no matter how big or seemingly small and the kindness of words and prayers that have paved the way forward.
Thank you so much for continuing to share in this adventure with us. We are privileged and humbled to love and serve our communities with what we have.
Thank you for being a part of our story.
All our love Michael, Paula, Summer, Gabriel and the Heartstrings family♡.