Tributes to servants of Jesus
So how many chocolate Easter Eggs have you already eaten? I confess that I have a taste for yummy marshmellow one’s – yet Easter time is all about remembering that a sinless man died for me – Jesus. We eat Easter Eggs as a reminder of new life which Jesus lived out by rising from the dead on Easter Sunday. Jesus way of life confuses most people – He was supposed to be a proud powerful King – instead He was a humble servant to all who believed in Him. For every Easter Egg you eat this Easter please say thank you and pray for the amazing people who are the humble servants of Ethembeni HIV/AIDS Ministry. I wish to pay tribute to them now.
- John Aubrey served for over 11 years as the Financial Administrator of Ethembeni. Every year we grow the budget by about 10% to the present R1.8 million – John has ensured the integrity and credibility of every cent donated and spent. Every year we get an unqualified financial audit report thanks to John and his assistant, Brenda Strang. John retired on 31st of March yet he leaves a legacy of faithful, compassionate and accountable financial systems that give glory to God. Thank you John. Hambe kahle.John Aubrey and Rouen Bruni
- Ncane Rosemary Bhengu was an Ethembeni care worker for over 3 years working inside with bed-ridden patients and also outside – leading a home based care team into the rural areas above Mpophomeni. Her compassion, initiative and faith endeared her to all. Ncane left for a promotion with an Old Age Home. Ncane – hambe kahle as you continue to bless all with God’s abundant love.
- Kathryn Olive served for over 6 years as the Nursing Sister supporting all our ministry programs. She is famously known for “management love” – a word to describe consistent and sacrificial managing of people with so much love and grace that Jesus light shone out of her. Thank you Kathryn for ministering God’s love to us all. Kathryn left us in September 2010 to pursue new God-driven dreams. Hambe kahle Kathryn.
- Linda Smallbones, Ethembeni’s Social Worker for the past 4 years, left on 31st March 2011 to have her second child. Her legacy is the loving place called the Family Centre where over 70 vulnerable children are cared for each day. She has written her own story. Please go to http://www.ethembenhiv.blogspot.com/ for her servant hearted story. Hambe Kahle Linda.
To all the present staff, volunteers, donors, board of directors and all the many friends of Ethembeni scattered over the world- thank you for being part of our story of hope! As you eat Easter eggs this Easter, pray God would continue to guide us as we serve Him faithfully and courageously in challenging times.
Yours in hope – Grant Edkins – Ministry Director
The Ethembeni Carers
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ETHEMBENI – TRIBUTE TO MY HUSBAND
By Shân Cade
I was introduced to the Ethembeni ministry not long after we moved from Johannesburg to Howick at the end of 2008. I am a community orientated person and really wanted to get involved with all my heart in this HIV/AIDS ministry however, after my first visit I realised that due to my serious allergy situation it wouldn’t be wise for me to go into that environment with all the burning of various substances they do in Mpophomeni. I was a tad disappointed but thought I could do something else in the background.
My story is not of what I do but rather what my husband Brian Harmer does so faithfully every week in doing his little bit for the Lord and the Ethembeni cause.
Brian lives for Thursdays – he is totally dedicated to serving the people of Mpophomeni that fall under the Ethembeni‘s care ministry. He prepares all week in allowing the Lord to impress a scripture on his heart that he would be using to minster to the families he cares about – the Lord always grants him some wonderful encouraging scripture that he shares with these precious people.
Brian’s heart is constantly in prayer for those families he cares for with Thembelihle, the faithful carer that shares Brian’s vision. We have constant discussions about how we can make a bigger difference to those the Lord has put in our care under the Ethembeni banner and Brian very often will go back with extra food, an extra loaf or an extra something when his heart is stirred specifically.
I watch Brian in amazement, each week going out there into this “horrendous” living environment, with a message in his heart, a scripture from the Lord and a prayer on his lips for those he cares for and those around about. I then watch Brian come back humbled by what he has seen and taken part in – the very poor living conditions, lack of water, lack of refuse removal, lack of sanitisation, lack of warmth in mud homes, lack of bedding for warmth and comfort, homes that are built at such a slant that when it rains the house gets flooded, homes that don’t have electricity or if they do it is dangerously hanging with bare wires in reach of children – the list can go on and on, but what strikes me is that Brian continues to try and make a difference in his own way regardless of feeling helpless sometimes or feeling that the project is just too big and things cannot be done fast enough. He always comes home with a good story of how the Lord has provided for a family’s needs, or healed someone or is encouraged by family members hiding the word of God in their hearts and sharing their scriptures with him.
It takes a special type of person to do this on a continual basis – it takes its toll emotionally and yet the whole Ethembeni team, like Brian, presses on daily, weekly, monthly, yearly making sacrifices, getting strength from the Lord and doing what the Lord requires of them without complaint and with perseverance.
So, from a wife’s perspective – Brian, may God continue to encourage you to serve him in this field that you love so much and to the rest of the Ethembeni team my prayers and support are with you always and may the Lord bless you abundantly for all you do for him in giving people affected by HIV/AIDS a PLACE OF HOPE – ETHEMEBNI.
The stories of Ethembeni reach far and wide and get told in the most unexpected places……
Recently Linda Twigg, a faithful volunteer at Ethembeni popped into the Spar at the Greendale shopping centre wearing her Ethembeni shirt. When the teller saw the Ethembeni shirt, her face lit up and she asked, “do you work for Ethembeni?” – Linda replied that she was a volunteer there and the lady proceeded to share her “Ethembeni story”. Her brother had been seriously sick and she was unable to look after him once she got this job at the Spar. Ethembeni took him in and nurtured him back to health. She mentioned how wonderfully kind and gentle the carers had been…. and her brother got to enjoy the soccer world cup last year after being too sick to even sit up. This dear lady expressed her heartfelt thanks to those working at Ethembeni for caring for people like her brother and giving them HOPE….. Well, that’s what Ethembeni is all about – A PLACE OF HOPE. Praise God.