At times I have wondered if there are still people that see the need of others and not just take care of their own. I have heard so many stories of people in need, homeless helpless and forgotten. And of compassionate people that still reach out to their community. But little did I know that I would experience it for myself.

Last year I had the privilege of meeting someone whose heart is open to her community. She still cares and does something about it, and today I want to share her story with you.

Those that cannot fend for themselves, those abandoned, those left for dead all have one thing in common. Gentle Care and Ivonne. Her love doesn’t just show in her deeds but is visibly seen on the smile of her face and how she treats those without hope. She has become an Angel for those in need, for those long forgotten or left to die.

Matthew 22:37-39 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’

About 250km from Kimberley in the heart of Britstown a home was born with the name Gentle Care. You can easily pass by this place unless you stop at the local cafe to buy something or sit down for coffee. Blissfully unaware of what goes on in the very room next door.

We were greeted with a warm smile by Jaqueline. Elsabe also came closer and met us with a smile and called over to the kitchen to bring us some coffee. While we were waiting I got the chance to admire the old cameras on display. They were beautiful. And seeing as I’m a photographer at heart I couldn’t miss it. This place with the warm hearted people and antiques made us feel exceptionally welcome.

We were here on business so that the people that spoke to us over the phone could put the voice to the face so to speak. But a big surprise waited on us.

While waiting for the coffee, Elsabe took us to the admin office where Anna sits and works. She is 91 years young and is vibrant at her age. Happily laughing and talking she says: “my legs might not work so well anymore, but there’s nothing wrong with my brain. And besides, someone has to keep them on their toes.” Her eyes sparkle with delight and she laughs. She runs this office like the palm of her hand.

The angel behind this story is Ivonne, the daughter of Anna. When she entered the room you could feel her presence and couldn’t miss her smile and the love that showed on her face. She invited us to the room next door to see what her mission is all about. Her cause is to take broken, lonely, hurt people that have been thrown away, disregarded or left for dead, to give them hope and love. Which most of them have never known, she provides.

These once hopeless people greet us with smiles on their faces and welcome us into their world. Its time for lunch and they dig into their meal made with love.

Ivonne has a heart open to her community. You can see and feel the love she shares with these people. She touches a shoulder or rubs a head and this gesture of love is welcomed by them. What would have happened if she never took them in? You can’t miss the walls covered in scripture verses to remind them of God’s love for them.

Each one of these broken or forgotten people has a story of their own. And Ivonne knows them off by heart. Sharing them with us. These stories will reach into your soul and touch the core of your heart. I think that is what happened to me. For days I could not forget about them.

Some have no family. Some have been severely injured and left for dead. And some were abandoned when they were but children.

One of these little girls, tiny in frame was found in a cage outside with the dog. She is seems so fragile. She can’t speak and is still learning to walk, but still spending time in a wheelchair. “photo attached” She acts like a dog. It’s the only life she knows. My heart aches for her. And she sleeps in a cot. So she can feel safe. With the sides up it looks like a cage. Something she is used to. I cannot comprehend this. I can’t understand how her parents could do that.

But I am consoled by Isaiah 49:15-16 “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you!
See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me.

How can I not be moved? I realise that you have to start with what you have and God in His glory will provide what you need in the time you need it. That is exactly what Ivonne did. We all have something to give whether it is time, money or talents. We could make a difference. Any donation no matter how small is a blessing to them.

Visit their blog gentlecareblog.blogspot.com and read some of these unthinkable stories.

I leave you with this thought:

Matthew 25:40 “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’

With love always
Zaskia

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