Many of you don’t know this story so I wanted to share it with you today – April 2nd – on Susan’s birthday.
Susan went to Heaven on January 7, 2004, so her birthday just a few months later on April 2nd was especially hard for me. I wasn’t thinking about children in Africa. I didn’t know anything about Wim and Hylien van Rensburg and the work that God was calling them to do. I was simply trusting God day by day minute by minute – totally dependent upon Him to walk with me through the grief of her leaving me.
Her birthday continues to be a hard day for me even though I know all of the wonderful things God has done through her life. Maybe that’s why I felt the need to share this story with you today. I needed to remind myself again of God’s great plan and His great love for all of His children.
It was 2005 before God led us to Wim and Hylien and their ministry to children and it was 2006 before God called Marvin Gurganus to start the Susan’s Kids ministry. Just before Susan’s birthday in 2007, I received the most precious God Wink. I was looking at some random pictures that Wim had posted and was super-blessed when I saw this one.
It doesn’t look like much does it? Just a piece of bare land. If you’ll notice though, the date on the picture is April 2, 2004! I remember the feeling I got when I saw this picture and I knew it was something very special. I asked Wim and Hylien about it and they told me the amazing story.
They had been feeding children out of the back of Wim’s truck for some time, and Wim knew that God was leading him to build a Care Center for the children of Leratong Village. He didn’t have land or money to build a facility, but God kept nudging him to “Just do it!” Wim went to see the Chief of the village and told him what he wanted to do for the children. God gave him favor with the Chief and Wim was able to get a piece of land using all the money he had at the time — the equivalent of $20 US dollars! He made the transaction with the Chief on April 2, 2004. At that time we didn’t know anything about them and they didn’t know anything about us . . . but God was weaving a plan!
I think it sounds best straight from Wim’s heart. I copied this from an email he sent me on March 25, 2007 when I asked him about the picture.
“That was the day I paid for the first piece of land. We used every cent we had to do that, and to us it was a HUGE step of faith. Today it seems so unbelieveable, but then we really were living from God’s hand… It was $20! — and after that in the world’s eyes we were flat broke for the rest of the month. Awesome how God has taken us from then and provided all the way!”
I am still amazed when I think about how God arranged for this precious ministry in Africa to be birthed on Susan’s birthday. I daydream sometimes about what it would have been like if Susan could have had children and my heart starts to ache when I think about it. God gave me a verse to help the hurt. He reminds me daily of all the children He has given her already.
“Rejoice O childless woman! Break forth into loud and joyful song, even though you never gave birth to a child. For the woman who could bear no children now has more than all the other women. Enlarge your house; build an addition; spread out your home! For you will soon be bursting at the seams . . . ” Isaiah 54:1-3