From time to time I will be sharing stories of other women (and hopefully men too) who are making a difference in this world. I think it’s important to hear people’s stories – find out who they are, why they do what they do and how they are making an impact in this world. There are world changers, motivators, encouragers, empowerment officers and people lovers amongst us, but do you recognize them? Do you know much about them? Have you taken time to hear their story? Well, that will be the purpose of these blogs – to highlight some amazing people and inspire you to make a difference in this world too!
First up is NeTanya…
NeTanya is currently in South Africa for 3 months loving on babies in an orphanage. I am prefacing with this in case you don’t read all of this … she is still in need of some funds for her work there. If you would like to donate to the work she’s doing click HERE. But, please keep reading to hear about this amazing young woman.
How did I meet this beauty? Well, about a year and a half ago I went to a Young Adults Service at the church I was attending and that night they had a girl I had never met sharing about a missions trip she had just returned from. She shared a video of her experience and just shared from the heart about the things that happened and what she learned. I remember being so impacted and ‘wrecked’ emotionally by the things she shared!
Eventually we connected and became friends. I would see her at church and events in our region and she was always such an encouragement to me, always with a smile on her face and embracing me with a hug. I knew there was something special about this young woman. OH, and let me mention, she’s beautiful – inside and out!
I had the opportunity to ask her a few questions to help give you an idea of what this young woman is doing and why, so get comfy and take a glimpse into the heart of this beautiful young woman, NeTanya. May you be inspired and encouraged as you read (and of course there are pictures at the bottom). My heart is so connected to the work she is doing. I went on a missions trip to South Africa when I was 16 and it changed my heart forever (I left part of my heart there I am sure) and she is living out one of my biggest dreams!
Tell me a little bit about yourself
My name is Netanya Roachford and I’m 23 years old. I love grandmas, black and white movies, chemistry, and cooking! My favourite colour is blue and I sometimes speak with a British accent!
Where are you and what are you doing in Africa?
I’m currently volunteering in the babies’s home (orphanage) at Botshabelo in Midrand, South Africa. Botshabelo is a home for children who’ve been given up due to rough financial situations or poverty, or they’ve lost their parents to HIV/AIDS. What I love about this organization is that they aim to have the babies adopted into good homes or even have the children reunified with their families.
If you’re interested in learning more about Botshabelo, check out their website www.botshabelo.co.za.
What is the purpose of being there?
I’m specifically here to pour out unconditional love on these little ones! It’s easy to get stuck in the routine of things and forget that how you treat these children could spark or snuff something in their hearts. I’m here to change the atmosphere of the home. To reintegrate joy into the smallest things (even getting peed on!) and to encourage the caregivers who have dedicated their lives to raise these young ones until they leave the home. I know that God has blessed my life so much that I have that much more to give to those who are still in need! Sometimes we are to be the hands and feet of Jesus in this world.
What are your goals during your time there?
I had prayed for a place that would be training ground for whatever God has next for my life and this is where He’s sent me. So my main goal is to learn the ins and outs of running an orphanage; routine, things that work and things that don’t, what to look for during development (ie. Milestones or delays.) Since I don’t have children, I’m learning about all of these things here.
Secondly, I would hope to leave this place better than I found it. Even though there’s nothing terribly wrong here, I believe that it’s necessary to leave a little bit of “sparkle” everywhere you go, or else what’s the point? We all have something to bring to the table!
Lastly, but most importantly, I want to love these babies like they’re my own. I don’t believe for a second that babies can’t tell when you’re “doing your job” or actually loving them. Without even noticing, I’ve been speaking encouragement and destiny over each of these little ones. Even when they’re screaming at the top of their lungs and I’m tired, I choose love. I pray for patience every day because without it, I wouldn’t be staying here for 3 months!
How long are you there for?
I’m here for 3 months.
Why did you decide to go?
There are many different reasons for why I’m here, the most predominant one is OBEDIENCE. When I was 13 years old, God showed me the outline of Africa and said “Go! And feed the children!” Ever since that day, Africa has been on my heart.
December to March 2014, I had my first opportunity to step foot on this continent. I was with a team of 12 other people from Youth With a Mission-Kona. Ever since then I’ve been broken for this continent! I asked God to show me somewhere that would be training ground for whatever it is that he would have next for me. His answer was simple, yet profound, “Botshabelo!”
Being the stubborn person that I am, I needed AT LEAST 5 confirmations, 2 visions and a dream just to make sure I was hearing God correctly. And I received confirmation, after confirmation an I knew without a doubt that I was to come to South Africa!
Sometimes, it’s easy to over analyze everything and talk ourselves out of doing what God says because “we don’t have the money” or “it doesn’t fit our schedule” or “it doesn’t make sense, what about my family.” God doesn’t think like we do, He’s completely unconventional in the most amazing way possible! If He brings you to it He will most definitely bring you through it. Sometimes all we need to do is just have a little faith!
What does a typical day look like?
It’s 6am and babies are starting to wake up and the crying begins, it’s bottle time!! After their bottle we wipe them down with a soapy cloth and then change their clothes. The older boys have their breakfast while the little ones flail around on the floor or outside. Bob The Builder and Barnie are STAPLES! There’s not a day that goes by without them!
Nap time is at 11am for all of the children. At noon the babies get their second bottles while they’re still pretty much sleeping.
They sleep until 1pm and then it’s play time again!
The older boys have their lunch, this can take a while when your dancing around the table instead of sitting and eating!
At 3pm, the babies have their third bottles for the day.
Usually somewhere around here I take the oldest boy to see the chickens. It’s definitely the highlight of the day…until he asks again the next day!
At 4pm, it’s my favourite time of the day, BATH TIME! No more smelly babies. We put them in their PJs and have some tummy
At 6pm the day shift is done and the caregivers switch. Two will come in for the next 12 hours to clean the home, change diapers (or “nappies” as they call them here. Don’t go to a restaurant and ask for a napkin, you’ll get laughed at!), and administer bottles every 3 hours. Then at 6am it starts all over again!
How much funding are you still in need of and how can people give?
I’m still in need of around $1500 just to cover the cost of living and any incidentals. I would like to say a huge thank you to people who are considering giving, ahead of time. God bless you and I’m even grateful for just the consideration!
If you would like to donate, you can do so through my Go Fund Me account http://gofund.me/v6apchfw.
What messages do you want to share with people reading this?
Thank you for reading my story! I want to encourage all of you to go out and make a difference in your community! It starts at home, that’s where I started. You don’t need to fly overseas or even drive for 10 hours, the people God might want you to reach out to could be your neighbours, or the same person you see at the bus stop, or in Timmies, or sitting on the sidewalk. Every single one of these people have value and maybe God wants to use you to remind them that they matter. So I challenge you to step outside of you comfy bubble, it might be scary at first but you aren’t doing it alone.
Anything to add?
GO AND BE THE CHANGE YOU WANT TO SEE IN THE WORLD!!
NeTanya – thank you for the work you are doing, for living sacrificially and giving of yourself so freely. May God bless you immensely for loving these precious babes. May he continue to guide you on your journey to discovering all of the purpose he’s put inside you. Thank you for being an example to the world of how to love.
Check out some pictures of NeTanya and some of the precious little ones she’s loving on. She is not allowed to show their full faces which is why you won’t see any full faces but you can see how beautiful and precious these babies are!