Category: Jubilee for Joburg

A little goes a long way

Oasis Haven staff had known Bryan and Leza for about a year. Newly married, they were one of four couples in their Journey to Adoption course at the beginning of the year.

Leza began volunteering her time in the office a few days a week and Bryan became a regular visitor to the Oasis Haven offices. Through their involvement, Bryan and Leza had heard about a little girl named Khanya. They knew that the Oasis team was praying very hard for an adoptive family for her. They also knew that with her age – seven – and being declared mentally retarded with no clear diagnosis, Khanya had little chance of being adopted and also little chance of realizing her full potential without an adoptive family.

When they came forward and told Oasis Haven that they knew that Khanya was their daughter and that they wanted to adopt her, the Oasis team was overjoyed. Since that day in July, Bryan and Leza steadily prepared for Khanya to come home—sharing with their family and friends, meeting with social workers, preparing her room—creating a home and a new life for Khanya. One step in this preparation was to make a special book for Khanya with photos of Bryan and Leza, their house and Khanya’s room, grandparents and extended family members, and special details about themselves. This book would help Khanya to get to know them and to a know little bit of what to expect. The book was beautifully handcrafted with loads of photos and activities for Khanya. On the very last page, Bryan and Leza made a special puzzle so Khanya could count the days until she met her new mommy and daddy.

When “Auntie” Bev gave Khanya the book, she took one look at it and said, “My new family.” As she looked through the pages, she literally glowed with joy and anticipation. This was her family, the one she had been praying for, the one she would be going home to.

These are the kinds of life events that are made possible by the amazing ministry of Oasis Haven. I’ve just one month left in my Jubilee year, one month left for my Jubilee for Joburg celebration. As the year draws to a close, would you consider one of your year-end giving destinations be the Oasis Haven kids in South Africa? Just look at what can happen when you do! Donate US dollars here: 

Oasis Haven US 
PO Box 28362
San Diego, CA 92198
WRITE JUBILEE FOR JOBURG in the check memo line. Gifts are tax deductible.

Thanks for making the dreams of little ones of a forever family come true. . .

My year of Jubilee

During the first half of last year, the last year of my 40s and a decade which ended yesterday, I found myself wrestling with discontent over an aspect of my life I could not control. This is nothing new to anyone. We all have to deal with important stuff over which we can’t exercise any dominion. For example, making a living at writing books seems like an attainable goal, especially when you’re published, right? How hard can it be to write books, see them get published and then make a living at it?


That’s the part you can’t control, actually – the making a living part. The typical career is one where you put in the work and then you get the paycheck. But writing isn’t the typical career. Sometimes if the author does the math, she finds she is just making a couple bucks an hour. Yikes. That’s a thought to wrestle with. I don’t want to sound like I am pandering for pity.  I know how competitive the publishing world is and I am thrilled to be in print at all. But still. Usually work = livable salary. And when it doesn’t, it can be a little disenchanting.


So that’s when I realized I needed to have some pursuit in my life that mattered to me more than the books, a pursuit I could chase after and actually catch. I knew I needed to go after something that is bigger than me. Something that matters more than me and my personal aspirations. And I knew I wanted my Year of Jubilee to be the turning point for me so that I could always look back and remind myself, ‘this is when I turned the lens away from me.’


And that’s when I thought of the little ones at Oasis Haven in Johannesburg, South Africa. This is a place where abandoned orphans, most of whom are HIV-positive and who literally have no one, are rescued from the dumps and streets and placed into forever families. A good friend of mine, Beth Gillig, an American from my home church, is the CEO of Oasis and her sister Laura, also a dear friend, manages the US operations. Both of these young women have answered the global call that goes out to all of us to care for the orphaned of our world. It’s a call that I heard loudly when I stopped dwelling so much on the mortgage, the aging car I can’t replace, the cost of college for my young adult children, the IRAs I barely contribute to and the thought that I will likely be 80 before I can retire. I sure liked the sound of the call to help the orphan better than the call to somehow make my chosen career do what careers are supposed to do: pay for it all.


So yesterday on my fiftieth birthday, the day which began my Year of Jubilee, I launched Jubilee for Joburg, my campaign to raise at least $5,000 (hoping for $50,000!) for the therapy needs of the young ones at Oasis Haven. This is my new, biggest pursuit. I am still writing books of course, and praying that, if God wills, the career will do what careers usually do, but my main mental pursuit will be helping Beth and Laura and the other people at Oasis rescue and restore these little ones. 


Over the next 12 months of my Jubilee I will post stories here and many more on the Jubilee for Joburg blog to let you in on the difference Oasis Haven is making in the lives of these precious children. The stories might make you cry but hopefully they will also make you think. And perhaps act. The call to care for the orphan is not just for people like Beth and Laura. It’s for all of us. The book of James in the New Testament tell us caring for the orphan and the widow is the outworking of true religion. It is the evidence of it. The only one God looks at.


I hope you will add the Jubilee for Joburg blog to your weekly reading, that you tell others about it, that you join me in this quest to do something big in a very small way. We – all of us -have so much. The fact that I have a mortgage to stress about and an aging car is proof of that. 


If you would like to give right away, may I suggest you send your check to the US office of Oasis Haven payable to Oasis Haven US at PO Box 28362, San Diego, CA, 92198, and write ‘Jubilee for Joburg’ in the memo line. If you would like to give monthly, I’d be happy to send you pre-addressed envelopes. Just let me know. If you’d like to give by credit card, you can use the “partnering” link on the Oasis Haven website but for now you will need to click the South Africa link and use the dropdown to give in USD (US dollars). Again, please put Jubilee for Joburg in the memo line.


I’ve gone on too long, I know. Thanks for reading to the end. I treasure you, dear reader. . .
Until Friday,
Sooz