From the CEO’s Desk
First of all I would like to thank the Lord who has guided us throughout the past year. We experienced many challenges but also many blessings. I also would like to thank all our sponsors, donors, members, friends and DFL staff who have worked tirelessly and with dedication in pursuit of our calling. Thank you for the prayers and words of encouragement for us at the office. Broader horizons open up to us in many ways for which we are thankful. I wish you all a blessed festive season during which time we can refresh our hearts and minds in preparation for the New Year that lies ahead.
Our Legal Corner
The Euthanasia-case (Dignity SA o.b.o. Stransham-Ford)
DFL is involved in the appeal proceedings as amicus curiae in this case. The appealing parties are the SA Medical Association and certain State Departments. Dates have been applied for by the main appellants. We shall only know sometime next year of the date the matter will be heard in the constitutional court.
The Dagga-case (Stobbs & Clarke/NDPP & Others)
The latest development in our supportive role as amicus curiae is that we have now had a meeting with the State’s legal team (State attorney and State advocate) who are representing 7 different State Departments as Defendants, all having an interest in ensuring the court application does not succeed.
A further party has made application to join as a Plaintiff. He is Clifford Thorpe, who in January 2015 was arrested by police for growing dagga on his property. He is a man in his early 50’s suffering from certain ailments, which, he alleges, are best alleviated by the use of dagga-“butter” and his case is primarily to have marijuana legalised for medical purposes.
At the meeting of legal teams we realised that the 10 days set aside for a trial beginning on the 10th of March 2016 are insufficient, especially since much expert scientific evidence will have to be presented. A meeting will be sought with the deputy judge president of the Pretoria High Court for a ruling on how many days will be required and whether the matter be referred to the Constitutional Court, seeing that the plaintiffs have raised several constitutional issues.
Child and Youth Care Centres
The local office of the Department of Social Development (DSD) in the area of one of our orphanages, in which DFL has recently invested considerable resources to upgrade it and bring it up to the required standard, has sent social workers to close the orphanage down. In a letter, we were informed that there is no need for an orphanage, as there are already 3 in that area; this despite the chief and traditional leaders having requested DFL to set up an orphanage there. We are not aware of any orphanages in that area; we have only been made aware by the locals that there is a great need there. A lawyer’s letter has been sent advising the DSD that their closing down of the orphanage will not go unchallenged. Up until now they have not followed due legal processes to have the orphanage closed. We are in the process of establishing how best to interact with the DSD and get their full co-operation and enthusiasm for the Centre so that, instead of legally challenging them, we can work together towards establishing a model centre there. Please pray for this project and that God will open the doors for such co-operation with the social workers.
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Small boy using a laptop[/caption]
In general people believe that the damage done to young minds by pornography is long-lasting. But a recent gathering of experts pointed out that the harms from pornography are far worse than expected, and the damage is not just impacting children, but spilling into all of society.
Speaking to a standing-room-only crowd in the U.S. Capitol Visitor Centre, Dr. Gail Dines said that today’s mainstream pornography is unbelievably dehumanizing, degrading, and violent. She cited a peer-reviewed study that found that 88 percent of the scenes in the 50 most popular porn films involved violence against women. Pornography is not about sex, she said, but about, quote: “making hate to women.”
Dines shared how one pornography producer explained that the girls now arrive on the sets “porn-ready.” As she said, “We are part of a culture that hyper-sexualizes girls from a very young age and forces them into an inauthentic, formulaic, plasticized sexuality that is from the porn culture and not of their own making.”
Cordelia Andersonof of Sensibilities Prevention Services (Speaking at the same convention) called the American culture’s widespread pornography use “the largest unregulated social experiment ever.” Having studied the impact of sexual abuse and pornography for decades, Anderson explained that pornography is a quantifiable public health crisis.
Anderson pointed to research indicating that nearly all young boys have been exposed to pornography. It isn’t enough to protect your own children any longer when their peers have had violent pornography normalized in their minds. The impact has become public, and its damage has seeped in everywhere.
Anderson believes change requires a broad public strategy of education, law enforcement, business pressure, and a revitalized media culture. As she so aptly put it, “No mass social disorder has ever come under control just by treating the individual.”
Dines and Anderson were just two of nearly a dozen speakers discussing the public health hazards of pornography at the Capitol event. Dr. Donald Hilton explained how pornography changes brain chemistry. Dr. Melissa Farley examined the link between pornography, prostitution and sex trafficking. And Ed Smart, whose daughter Elizabeth made national news when she was abducted in 2002, explained how pornography played a role in his daughter’s enslavement and sexual torture.
Just a short update on our LifeChild projects:
- The new roof is up at Mthaleni. Please see the photos below
- We have an urgent need for a new roof at Malelane. Please pray with us that the Lord will provide
March for Life – October 2015
On the 4th of October 2015 it was the annual National March for Life organised by the National Alliance for Life (NAL). This event is held once a year on the first Sunday of October. It brings together people from all walks of life across South Africa who are pro-life and want to take a stand and stop the senseless killing of unborn babies.
As much as the pro-abortionists claim that a woman has a right to choose what happens to her own body, even though a baby might be inside her, it is not part of her body, but a separate person. If it is OK to kill a baby inside
the womb, the next step for society will be (as has already been suggested by some leading bio-ethicists in the West), to claim that the lives of all human beings after being born are not equal. Society is being de-sensitized to the extent that the leading bio-ethicist in the USA (Peter Singer) claims that up to 23 days AFTER the birth, a child should not be considered a human person that deserves protection from the law.
The National March for Life is trying to mitigate passivity in society and is open to all people from various organizations, as well as individuals and churches who demand the right of unborn human persons to full protection of the law. NAL provides a forum for all interested parties to come together and combine their efforts in order to raise awareness. The March for Life has been taking place for a number of years now and each year sees more interest from organizations and the media.
According to science, life starts at fertilization and the very first cell contains all the information that makes the embryo a new, unique human being. It is a person and has all the genetic information from the colour of the hair and eyes, to the shoe size, to how tall that person will be and whether they will be sportier or more academic or both etc.
It will always be the weakest and most vulnerable of society that are taken advantage of and this is also true concerning the unborn baby. Just because they cannot stand up and speak for themselves does not mean that we or their mothers may decide on their behalf that they have no right to live.
The goal of NAL and the March For Life is to inform and educate the public on abortion and get people, especially mothers, to realize there are other options available and that the complications a woman suffers after an abortion doesn’t just last for those few minutes. The emotional scars can last a lifetime unless she gets therapy and counselling. Post Abortion Syndrome is well documented and results in severe depression, guilt, anxiety and regret.
As a nation we call upon everybody to stand up and take responsibility for our actions. We need to hold onto the sanctity of life.
Aid to Africa (A2A) Outreaches 2015
Twenty fifteen has seen some major shifts and changes. Earlier this year we heard from one of our donors that our funding for the medical outreach program, both to our Mozambique clinic and eye surgery missions, would be cut in half. But by God’s grace the work could go forward in a major way. We also struggled to do eye surgery in Mozambique again. Although the Mozambique government asked us to do cataract surgery in Xai-Xai, about 200km from Maputo, the tour was eventually cancelled by them at very short notice for various reasons. In some of the Southern African countries, arranging and coordinating these outreaches can be very challenging. We very often are made to wait until the very last moment before we get a final approval. No wonder some donors eventually lose interest to assist. Bureaucracy can really ‘rob’ the needy of what they need. But regardless of these and many other obstacles, by God’s grace the medical outreach program of DFL, Aid to Africa, went forward in a blessed way. We had two other medical outreaches to Malawi in July which went very well as reported in the previous newsletter. Dr Albu van Eeden (CEO) and team also made a special trip to some of the regions where we have been conducting medical outreaches. The possibility of starting our second permanent clinic (the first in Mozambique), was discussed during meetings with members of parliament, local chiefs and the communities. During the July Malawi outreaches specific sites were identified that the Malawian Government would like to donate to us, in order to build a clinic, get involved with agriculture, and take care of orphans. Future follow-up trips are currently being planned to possibly take things further. Mr Volkmar Bohmer is managing the Malawi project for DFL.
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Dr Jonathan Pons performing cataract surgery in Inhambane, Mozambique[/caption]
DFL also attended 3 major medical conferences where we gained about 60 new members who are interested in joining us on outreaches. In addition we received a large donation of medical equipment; a Zeiss refurbished auto refractor/keratometer used to examine eyes prior to surgery, and a Zeiss eye microscope used during eye surgery. When the Xai-Xai outreaches were cancelled not all was lost either. With the team already packed and flights booked, the team continued to work at DFL’s clinic (DFL centro de Saude de Sihane) near Zavora. Prof Pat McEwen came from the USA especially to assist us. The primary goal became to assist people with free prescription eye glasses at the DFL clinic about 400km from Maputo. People came from as far as Inhambane for eye glasses. Optometry is not really a service that you find in these parts of Mozambique. Many government officials also came to have their eyes tested.
Although the cataract surgery in Xai-Xai was cancelled, through nothing less than a miracle, doors opened for us to do cataract surgery in Inhambane during November. Dr Pons and his staff from the Good Shepherd Hospital in Siteki, Swaziland, joined DFL to do the eye surgery in the Inhambane provincial hospital. About 74 cataract surgeries were performed during that week, with Mozambiquan television and radio media covering the event extensively. The Mozambique government also sent two ophthalmic registrars to be trained by DFL. We would like to thank Ambri and Irma who provided accommodation at their Barra Lake and Sea lodge.
As you can agree, we have much to be thankful for. Looking ahead, we have fixed dates with the Botswana government to do cataract eye surgery in Mahalapye, 200km from Gaborone in February 2016. We need two eye specialists to join us. Please let us know if you would be interested in assisting. The locations of the other outreaches later in 2016 still have to be decided.
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The DFL clinic in Zavora, Mozambique[/caption]
DFL are also very grateful for the new staff that joined our Sihane clinic in Zavora, Mozambique. Dr Ronald Neufeld and his wife Dr Elizabeth Neufeld arrived from Germany in October and are busy settling in. Although we have had numerous short term volunteers since the passing away of Dr Paul Zuidema in August 2013, the Neufelds are the first permanent doctors we have had to replace him. We couldn’t have asked for more – a husband and wife medical team! They are accompanied by their son Elias aged 2.
Miss Joy Smith also started earlier in the year to help with the logistics and management.
Matthew 5:41: And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.
These days we are celebrating the time when God walked, not just the extra mile, but the uncountable extra miles. He sent His Son to come to the earth, to live the perfect, sinless life.
If we follow Christ’s example, this principle makes the Christian faith something special. It makes relationships within the church soft and warm. It causes us to support and feed each other. It helps the Christian to not only just live correctly; otherwise subtle hardness may creep into our relationships. Then the church becomes a harsh place, where the law of the jungle applies in a “civilized” way, with everyone checking up on one another for mistakes, all the time.
Take note: The Lord did not say that if I ask someone to go a mile he must go two miles for me. No, if the brother should ask me, I must walk an extra mile for him. He also did not say only if I had it on my heart I must do even more. No. He says when someone comes to me when it may not suit me. I may not be in the right mood for it. That is just acting correctly but doing more than what is necessary. May this New Year find us doing just that!
Dr A van Eeden
Doctors For Life International