21 Jan 2015

When You Feel Like Nothing You Do Makes a Difference, Read This

There are so many days that feel like the day before, aren’t there?

There are so many dishes that you just washed five minutes ago that will need to be washed at least five more times today.

There are so many to-dos that you do just to write them down again because they will need to be done over and over and over again this week to keep your family moving forward.

Sometimes all the do-overs can make you feel like you’re trudging through quick sand – never really getting one foot in front of the other – only just treading in the same place to stay afloat. A million little to-dos stuck on repeat in your head and your life and sucking you down into a feeling of insignificance.

I’m gonna change that today.

Because today I’ve got a list of to-dos that you already did.

And what you did? It changed lives, man. Like, for real. Come with me – come with me to Maubane, South Africa.


1. You Built a Water Point and Laundry Center

When you feel defeated by your piles of laundry. When you can’t stand the idea of folding and putting away another load – remember this – because of YOU and one day a year ago that we all spent doing virtual laundry together, there is now a water point and a laundry area where before there was NOTHING.

And it provides clean, fresh, reliable water to a community of 400 moms and kids and families and there’s NOTHING ORDINARY about that!



Because Maubane became one of your to-dos and to-loves my Jackson could help a friend wash his hands in clean water on a concrete foundation this week instead of in the dust and the mud of a single broken spicket. 

And I could meet the folks coming to collect water in jerry cans for their whole families. And I could pass along the many, many, MANY thank-yous I heard from the people of Maubane for how you’ve impacted their lives – all you mamas across the ocean who understand about laundry list to-dos.



We shook hands and I drank the fresh, delicious water and received the thanks to pass along to all of you who made this moment under the blazing hot sun possible.

2. You Funded a Community Veggie Garden

This is Rhona. She’s one of the first members of the Maubane Community Vegetable Garden. She grows corn, cabbages, tomatoes, squash, onions and carrots because YOU GUYS made her community garden one of your to-dos.



Rhona commutes to work by bus an hour and a half each way each day and spends the fringe hours of her day working on her plot in the community garden. It’s a learning curve because we’re implementing a new method of farming and it takes courage to try new things. And it can be frustrating when the birds and the bugs try to eat their way into your garden. But Rhona isn’t giving up. She’s all grins when I ask her how much she’s made from the garden.

She tells me, $67 into her pocket so far on half the corn crop alone. And she’s making plans already for what she would do differently next time she plants. But she’s delighted to let us all know that the tallest corn in the garden? That’s her patch. And she’s teaching her daughter everything that she learns as they work together in the garden.

Rhona's Garden

Lebelo is just as excited about his plot in the community garden. He’s all grins as he talks to us about his corn crop that he works on before he commutes the same hour and a half into the city to work as a night security guard. He is overwhelmed by his own to-dos and tired by his commute but he keeps showing up. Day after day. Determined to grow food for his family and it’s because together we have all partnered with Lebelo.

Because you all fell in love with this country a world away, these neighbors that live and love and raise kids and crops and struggle to make it to work on time just like us – because we made this one of our to-dos we get to harvest the incredible crop of hearing Lebelo describe his garden and watching as he proudly points out what his hard work has grown.




Because you the tired mom who was up all night with her newborn. Because you the working mom who must drop her kids off at daycare and battle her own guilt and labor with love to provide for her family said yes. Because you there doing the dishes and you who read this old post a year ago or you who just discovered what we were up to made this a must-do.

Because the readers of Money Saving Mom joined us, because you all shared, and because you gave and prayed and told the story, Crystal and I could visit in person and stand in the sky high corn as a literal reminder that what you do matters. Because the God who made us all and named us and called us into being part of His work says Maubane matters to Him. And He invites us into the gift of partnering with the good work He is doing there. AND YOU SAID YES!

I could cry from the joy of it all.

Crystal and I? We laughed AND cried at the wonder of what we get to do with the God who invites us into His work. 


3. You Built a Playground and Netball Court






Can you even believe that playground? And the money raised stretched far enough to include a netball court as well – think basketball, but different.

Oh and my favorite, FAVORITE part about the jungle gym on the playground? It totally doubles as a pulpit for children’s church on Sundays! CAN YOU EVEN!!!




So, the next time you wake up to a day wondering if what you do matters, BOOKMARK THIS POST, so you can pull it up real quick and be reminded – that there is no part of your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life – that can’t be an offering to the God who makes all things new.

He sees you and you and you and you over there too.

He sees how you struggle and wonder and ache to make ends meet. He sees how you give and love and live generously. And today, here is your reminder that what you do matters.

Especially in a small corner of the world called, Maubane, South Africa.



{ Leave a Comment }
  1. 1

    Yippee!!! I’ve been praying for you all and your trip…how wonderful this all is! Praise and Thanks be to God for His incredible work!!

  2. 2

    Glory, hallelujah. So worth it. “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” ~ 2 Cor. 1:3-4

  3. 3

    Beautiful pictures. Beautiful journey you are taking us all on Lisa-Jo. Thank-you. What’s the Margret Mead quote – Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has? Yes, tired but thoughtful and committed Moms (or Mums in Australia) can change the world.
    PS. Read Dear Mr Knightley under your recommendation and loved it!

  4. 4
    Maria Pretorius says:

    Hi Lisa

    God is good, I had to for some reason open my mail this morning and stumble upon your mail on google plus……I have been praying for financial guidance and relief in our household, but God has a way of giving us answers through many channels. I learned about gratitude this morning!!!! Amen we have so much to be thankful for..!!! I am from South Africa Living in Australia now, I pray for the healing and peace in my Country. Keep up the good work.

  5. 5

    Exuberance…I *feel* it.

    Everything about this is lavish and beautiful and good.

    I’m so happy you get to be this Truth Teller :).

    ((love you so much))

  6. 6

    Completely amazing in every way. Love you, Lisa-Jo Baker.

  7. 7

    New here today….as I sat here today commiserating my very low bank balance and wondering if we will EVER get ahead….what a wonderful perspective. Beautiful pictures, especially the church service. I LOVE all the colors!

  8. 8

    I just love this! Thank you for blessing us with your trip. In the midst of all that hinders us, there is a beautiful picture of Christ.
    Hebrews 12:1-3 “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”
    I will continue to pray that the people of Maubane don’t lose heart!

  9. 9

    Greetungs from a godless heathen ;-)

    Your page lifted my spirit today.

    Thank You.


  1. […] You must read Lisa-Jo’s post on how you all helped make a major difference in the Maubane community. It’s pretty much a […]

  2. […] You must read Lisa-Jo’s post on how you all helped make a major difference in the Maubane community. It’s pretty much a […]

  3. […] This post from Lisa-Jo Baker made me cry happy, very happy tears. Lisa-Jo is, amongst other things, the lady […]

  4. […] But if I had chosen to avoid those awkward moments, I would have missed out on so many awesome moments. Moments that were goose-bump-inducing and incredibly amazing. […]

  5. […] But if I had chosen to avoid those awkward moments, I would have missed out on so many awesome moments. Moments that were goose-bump-inducing and incredibly amazing. […]

  6. […] Any final thoughts you’d like to share with the people who have helped sponsor the Maubane Project in South Africa? […]

  7. […] When You Feel Like Nothing You Do Makes a Difference, Read This by Lisa-Jo Baker {Remember that time we did laundry last year? WOW!} […]

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