Saturday, November 23, 2013

Tsholofelo Changes

Hi All,
I want to keep you all in the loop and let you know that things are majorly changing at Tsholofelo Baby Sanctuary. Just after arriving in Johannesburg, the orphanage owner told me that we may have 5 school-aged children that have been formerly abused coming to live in the baby home. She waited until I was in South Africa to tell the news, which greatly changes the dynamic at the home. Not only this, but two of the babies presently here will be placed in another orphanage while two of the 4 will be adopted. 
When agreeing to step in and volunteer, we had established working hours, age limits for the home and talked about the babies that were living here. Before arriving, I was told that the age limit for living at Tsholofelo was around 3 years, because older children that have been abused are fully aware of their abuse and can have different issues requiring more help that we may not have at the home. Not only this, but children with major health issues (besides aids, which can be helped with daily meds) usually aren't accepted into the home because Tsholofelo is a smaller operation. 
One of the five school-age children coming has heart issues and could pass away at any time. With no vehicle on site, transportation has been tricky getting the current children to doctor's appointments and getting supplies for the home with little support from the owners. When school starts up again, this could prove to be problematic for the kids needing to get to school. We have also been told that the former adoptive mother could show up to the baby house and become forceful and even become violent to get her kids back. 
It seems as though the owners don't have time to spend checking up on the baby home and fixing the spare bedroom door which is stuck shut and contains clothing and children's shoes and most all of the toys.
The other workers on staff have understood and encouraged my decision to leave because the owner withheld information that could've swayed my original decision to come here. It's unfortunate that I had to come and find out for myself about how things have changed and I was left out of the dialog. 
After speaking with the owner, she did admit she didn't want to tell me the truth of coming changes because she was afraid that I would've decided not to come. I hope that this isn't taken as a way to put someone down or anything of the sort, but I have to be forthright about the happenings here for everyone supporting me in prayer, finances and words of encouragement. 
But, with lack of openness and honesty in this situation and not agreeing to what is now happening, I have decided to end this journey with Tsholofelo Baby Sanctuary. It's made me feel unsafe, even from being picked up at the airport at night by a man whom the owners hardly knew, isolated from lack of support from the owners (and no vehicle on site), and lack of communication-I was only told three days ago that the original position that I would take charge of (managing) is no longer the case, three weeks after living at the Tsholofelo.
In light of all of this, I'm sorry that this has come as a surprise to most of you, as I haven't posted a blog this previous week due to wanting to sort things out first with the owner before making a final decision. Please pray for those working at the baby house and the children coming. This has been quite heavy on my heart lately, as to honoring the Lord first and following through. However, with much prayer, tears, and contemplation, I feel at peace about the decision to come back home. My volunteer visa requires that I remain at Tsholofelo if I am to stay in South Africa, so I won't be pursuing other opportunities in the area because of legalities.
If you're currently financially supporting me, please withhold those funds. If you have any concerns that I have mis-stepped boundaries, I would love to have a more in-depth conversation with you. Please know that my goal was never to leave anyone empty handed, and that this trip was and is about what I felt convicted of was right before the Lord. When I return to Sequim, I will be pursuing work to be able to pay back those who have funded this trip.
I want to thank you all for your support and encouragement in this, and once again, I apologize that this hasn't worked out as we had hoped.


Sunday, November 10, 2013

Week One

    Hello from South Africa! It's been 5 days since entering Johannesburg and I'm loving immersing myself into a new culture. The first things that have struck me from the get-go have been the hospitality, the time change, season change and separation between people-groups. All of the ladies on staff at Tsholofelo Baby Sanctuary have been very welcoming and kind. Late-Spring sunshine and a bit of thunder and lightning have this solar-powered girl stoked for the months ahead!
    Just today my new friend Dineo from Tsholofelo and I were able to go exploring around the neighborhoods surrounding us. It seems like people aren't used to a black girl and a white girl walking together. We both just giggled at some people's responses and were able to pray together at the mall today. Unity doesn't always happen overnight, but I'm praying that the Lord will shake up this community and bring people together.
    Thankfully, this first arrival week is all about settling in before going to work. The three one-year old boys and 2 month old girl have time to get to know me :) It's easy to see how some volunteers end up adopting these children. My goodness, they're precious!
    On another note, I'd like to ask for prayer for protection for the baby house and workers. Just a few days before arriving, one of the staff was almost abducted just walking distance away from the home. She was waiting for a taxi and was approached by a man trying to make her an offer for a lift. Before setting the deal, she had a negative feeling in her gut and left before the man had a chance to become forceful. The holidays are approaching and now seems to be a popular time for human trafficking. I have been made aware of where I can go and best times of the day to go out and more often than not, go with a local.
    All things considered, I'm excited to begin work this Monday and thankful for your prayers and support! I will post pictures when I'm able to get an American to South African power converter!


"My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ,  in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. " Colossians 2:2-3

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Final Pre-Africa Update

Hello, all!

After the stresses of changing a flight due to not receiving a background check in time to submit to the South African Embassy, my flight to Johannesburg was changed to November 3rd-just 5 days away!
Wow. Since that flight change, I have an approved volunteer visa and passport in my hand! Yay! The stress of needing to sell a car remains, but everything else is "a go!" Here are the final days of packing, organizing and shifting to an African adventure.

Please keep myself and my fiance Josh in your prayers, as it won't be easy to be apart from now until July and that God would do amazing things and bring all travel details together. For the orphans at the Tsholofelo Baby sanctuary, that they would find forever homes and be emotionally open to give and receive love.

Thanks friends!


Tuesday, October 8, 2013


Hello Bloggers!
Hopefully, this will be my last blog before flying out to Johannesburg this Tuesday, the 15th!!

That means there is only one week left for preparation! In light of this, I need to ask you for major prayer!!

Prayer Need #1: Just over a week ago my sweet significant other Josh Best proposed! This means I will be away from my fiance for 9 months while we try and sort out a wedding. STRESSFUL! But, still committed to being a house mother at Tsholofelo Baby Sanctuary.

Prayer Need #2: After getting paperwork back from New Zealand months behind schedule, I was just able to send the rest of my application for a South African visa yesterday (10/7) with a fly-out date of 10/15. The embassy in Los Angeles will need to send out an approved visa to me in time, Lord willing, this Saturday. YIKES.

Prayer Need #3: Before leaving the country or soon after, I need to sell my New Beetle. It's a financial stress that needs to be removed.

Thank you so much for reading this and caring about recent happenings! Can't wait to experience life in a Baby Nursery and see God do amazing things!


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Exciting news!!

This morning I booked my tickets round-trip to Johannesburg, South Africa. As part of my visa application, I have to include a copy of my purchased tickets along with a copy of my bank account (to prove I can live in Africa without an income for my time of volunteering) and immunizations, etc. Not only did the flight prices drastically drop, but they were half as much as they were just a few months ago since our Summer season is ending!! Meaning, the round-trip ticket was a mere $1,300 and therefore, my funding for the trip is PAID for!! Monthly support has been reached and flight tickets are purchased!! Thank you, Lord!!
And thank you friends and family for supporting me! I feel so honored and blessed by you. Blessed to be a blessing.
The journey officially begins October 15th, when I fly out of Seattle and land in Johannesburg the 16th and finished July 16th.
Now that funds are raised, my car needs to be sold so that I will have some money for emergency funds and something to survive off of when returning and an approved visa application.
So thankful.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Hello there! After much delay since last blogging, I have a new total for funds raised!! Drum-roll, please..............................

The new total is: $3,413.76!!

Thanks to friends and family for donating to the fund, things are moving along nicely :D This is the first time I've ever fund-raised, but it's a worthy cause.
(The goal is $5,000 total but I have my car listed on Craigslist and a few weeks left of work to save money)

If you can join me in prayer as far as all of the funding to be raised, a car to sell and a visa application to go smoothly and cheap flights, that would be such a blessing.

Thank you for standing with me in this, I'm overwhelmed by so much love, well wishes and support :D

God is good, even in finances!

Lauren Piper

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Intro to Orphan Love!

Welcome to Orphan Love! Over the next posts, I will be sharing about a new grand adventure I'm embarking on to Johannesburg, South Africa to work as a house mother in an orphanage! I invite you to join me in this journey, to love orphans and to encourage those that nurture them.

Preparations start now, and there's only a little over two months until my departure date. If you or anyone you know has some words of encouragement, ideas for fund-raising, or spreading the word, I'd love to hear what you have to say.

As of today, I have to raise at least $5,000 for one year of service. This includes a round-trip flight and money for monthly expenses.
Total for June 20th: $750.