The Garden of my Heart As one of my projects in the CareSA Foundation is the Care Africa Movement, – which includes Care Gardens, with the catch phrase ”Plant a garden in your yard, Plant a garden in your heart” – I thought I’d tell you of the garden in my own heart. Planting a garden in your yard or on a window-sill or in an old car tyre is the easiest of the two gardens required to take the Care Africa movement forward. It is easy when the Will is motivated to do this. Take good seeds plant them in good soil, water, nourish well and weed occasionally. Then harvest the fruit of your labors with fresh food from your garden for your table. All good, all physical. But on the spiritual side – for that is where the “heart” is – planting a garden in your heart may not be so easy to do. First of all, you will need a good gardener. I am in a season in life where it’s hard for me to do things for myself. So I need help. But I have a good gardener that helps me on a regular basis. He knows everything there is to know, and I mean everything, about nature, the environment, and the garden – from what is in the soil to the sky, weather patterns and pathogens. It is strange how the memory works in the garden of one’s heart. When I was a little girl I remember looking up into a black velvet sky and seeing the stars suspended like tiny diamonds in an African sky. The overwhelming feeling of awe. It was so very very beautiful. Still is ! I remember, as a young women travelling on a tourist boat in an Aegean sea, feeling the wind on my face, and an aloneness not felt before, but also the flood of a thankfulness of just being there, and “seeing” the sea the colour of dark blue ink, with the ripple of splashy white waves, lapping at the boat. Divine moments of being able to ”see” and appreciate the world around me. When you begin to “see” the world, and its created beauty around you, something comes alive in your heart. Look around you, what do You “see” ? I had a brief encounter with my gardener when I was young. I thought he looked very serious, even a little stern. But I had heard that he was an intently caring person, which made me feel comfortable. It was only much later in my life when he invited me to “come to the garden” that I got to know him a little better. In fact it was in those years that I had to tend, what I now call, the garden of my tears. It was a hard time then. But I believe the tears helped to soften the hard ground intended for the planting of some good seed. He did a splendid job, and I had to work with him alot to root out strong weeds and undesirables that were growing unchecked. It did not happen all at once, and took a long time to get the basic foundation of my garden laid. In fact there is always on-going maintenance, and a clearing away for new expansion. My gardener loves new ground and new growth. He has been my live-in gardener ever since, and I would not trade him for any other. I highly recommend you to make him the gardener of your heart too. He’s name is Jesus Christ. Only you can appoint Him as the Gardener of your heart. It will not take a letter of appointment, only a prayer of faith to invite Him into your heart. He will root out all your weeds, plant beautiful seeds of destiny and purpose, and can grow you from a sapling tree to a forest. He not only is your Gardener, but that of many. He is the Divine Intelligence of creation that has created everything, I mean everything, from cosmic dust to the minerals of the earth, from microbes of fungi, virus and bacteria to soil, seed, rain and stars. He knows about things, big and small. And He knows about me, and He knows about you, and cares for the whole earth and the whole human race ! Most beautifully, He is known as the Redeemer of the human soul – and therein lies the more story to tell – but for another time. When I look into the garden of my heart, I can only say this : “He makes everything beautiful in His time.” What does the garden of your heart look like ? Ready for some gardening ? Ready for some transformation ? – then join the Care Africa movement, and plant your Care Gardens “ in your yard and in your heart.”
The CareSA Foundation
CareSA has grown from the concept Care South Africa : The Christian Resource Centre for Poverty Alleviation in 2001 to the CareSA Foundation in the coming 2015. The original vision was to encourage Christians to participate in community service through initiated campaigns, – and to seek out a national Christian strategy for poverty alleviation. This vision was housed and honed from CareSA Books, a Christian bookshop on the East Rand in Gauteng in South Africa.
Annual winter campaigns were initiated to appeal to the wider community for blankets and food for the poor, and to create an awareness of poverty in communities.
The Care Bag – a food parcel with vegetable seeds to plant food gardens, to encourage self-help projects.
In 2004 CareSA Foods saw the light of day with a focus on health, and creating income, that complimented the mindset to reach for wholeness in body soul and spirit, fuelled by a CareSA Newsletter to grow a network for health and wealth, as a means to combat poverty. Unfortunately it did not reach its potential., but the concept of a newsletter remained, probably the inception of this blog.
CareSA’s Let’s Talk was a community meeting, to discuss related social and emotional issues in the search for emotional healing, human development and wholeness.
CareSA Craft Project – generated micro incomes from the painting on shopping bags, developed into a sustainable sales project for more than two years.
New concepts began to form. And a CareSA fund for community service was initiated in 2006.
The need to network and find a wider reach saw a name change to CareSA Community Network, with a presence on the Internet., and with a newsletter called CareSA Chronicles to connect with community co-hearts.
1,000 Little Deeds of Kindness – a knitting project, with the knitting of squares to be sewn into blankets and distributed to the vulnerable and the frail in community, was a project that had a ripple effect in community, and endured far beyond expectation.
This campaign was a forerunner for
The Red Beanie Kindness Brigade – that focused on knitting beanies for children in needy areas, usually knitted by the Elderly folk in community.
This project spilled over into Care Lesotho and Care Botswana. Knitted beanies sent, with seeds for vegetable gardens, to contact caring persons in these two countries. So the seeds of a new vision were sown – Care Africa.
As hunger is the pivotal place for poverty alleviation it is necessary to encourage those in need to sustain themselves by planting their own food, and to begin to change the mindset from poverty to progress.
And so the seeds of the new vision began to grow : the Care Africa Movement project through Care Gardens, with the slogan : Plant a care garden in your yard, Plant a care garden in your heart.
CareSA Designs is a personal project, born out of the new trend in poverty alleviation and a developing new South Africa e.g. Entrepreneurship, creating a micro enterprise into a small business, using what is at hand, and what God-given talents are available.
As the new South Africa developed, and a sense of futility began to set in, new concepts with new writings began to form e.g. NEWSAS – the New South African Society, and SOCX, a vision for Social Caring, that are still incubating. blogging may bring constructive comment, and with faith hope and love these visions will grow and become a reality in South Africa, and indeed the African continent.
In 2011 CareSA relocated to Umhlanga in Kwa Zulu Natal, and the time had come to revamp the website, and a name change to that of the CareSA Foundation that incorporates past history and new concepts for a wider field of influence and exposure on the Internet – with a blog.
The website is being revamped, and may contain vision and other concept documents on social and human development in South Africa, when it is ready early in 2015.
The CareSA Foundation remains true to the original vision of community caring, and stands as a witness to the faithfulness of God that initiated this faith adventure from Ephesians 3:20,21 Now unto Him who is able to do exceedingly and abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
28 December 2014
I am now a blogger and hope to share some thoughts and ideas on community building.