With nothing much more than the word of the Lord, we hopped on a plane (or two) and headed to South Africa....
Masiphumelele is a slum. Your heart aches to see the endless sea of tin shacks that are no bigger than 10x10. Some shacks have multiple families sharing them, some have children as the head of the household in them, some are literally built on top of scrap pieces of wood resting on top of marsh land... an estimated 60%+ of the population has HIV/AIDS. This is where Joylynn and Dave work.
I met Joylynn at a conference in Hawaii through mutual friends. We didn’t know much about each other except we both love the Lord, have a heart for the broken and marginalized, AND we come from the same tribe... YWAM. We connected briefly (as in 15 minutes), exchanged numbers and such, then headed our separate ways.
It wasn’t until MONTHS later that God began to stir in my heart to connect back with Joylynn. You see, she has been pioneering a job creation program for women with HIV who would otherwise find it VERY difficult to find employment. Attacking poverty, racism, and various issues injustice with a very small, simple, nonthreatening tool... a doll!
The Justice Doll restores hope and dignity in African women with HIV/AIDS. Its purpose is to identify and raise awareness of issues of injustice with the aim to mobilize people to action.... a little doll with a BIG purpose! Its a reminder that women victims of injustice aren’t just statistics, but someone’s daughter, wife, sister or mother. It challenges us that, with action, we can set Justice free!
So as I felt the Lord stirring me to connect with Joylynn... I asked Him to open a way for us to connect and to prepare our hearts (which He was already doing). I kid you not, within the week, Joylynn emailed me! I was stunned! (I really shouldn’t be surprised. God does this stuff all the time) Her email was just a “Hey, I was wondering...” but little did we know the partnership it was opening up. ;)
Over the next little while we talked about where the Justice Doll ministry was at, what the needs were and potential future things we could get involved with... really, quite simple. But after a while something in my spirit was stirring... it wouldn’t shake. An urgency grew as we saw the need and the timing.
So, I contacted Joylynn and threw out some dates for her to consider in us coming out. I think she was in shock at the fact that we were coming out and we were in shock that it was happening so soon. But across the board, we ALL felt it was right in the Lord and the timing was perfect. We didn’t know how perfect the timing was, until we got there.
God was ALL OVER this trip! From the perfect weather (which should not have been) to the continual testimonies that flowed from each person we interviewed. We honestly felt an anointing pour over us as we entered into each shack and interviewed each local.
Our purpose in going, was to document and get the word out of the Justice Doll*. The more dolls can be sold, the more employment of these ladies. The more support* we can lend, the more they can thrive! There are only a hand full of job creation programs in Masiphumelele with a population of approx 40,000. There is a conservative estimate of 60% unemployment and the annual income of the employed is less than $2,500USD.
Ember Ink is committed to helping this ministry. We not only became really big fans of the work they are doing but we have become family with those working in this ministry. I think its fair to say that we all left a piece of our heart there. Ember Ink is committed to helping out in Masiphumelele.
Masiphumelele means ‘we will succeed' in Xhosa (the language) and that's exactly what we want it to do!