Everything seems quite normal in the peaceful neighbourhood of Helderkuin, west of Johannesburg.
But in one of these houses, you will find a not so normal family. In this ordinary house with perfectly manicured gardens, you will find the Baby Moses family.
This family is exactly like any other family, it’s just a little bigger. Here, Christo and Lanie care for abused, abandoned and orphaned children.
How many you ask?
They look after more than a hundred children at any given time! Don’t worry, not all on one property.
“We believe that children should grow up in a family, instead of big institutions where they can get lost within the cracks” says Christo.
But how did they get here?
It all started in 2002 when Lanie got a message from God. He wants her to take care of vulnerable children of South Africa who have been left abandoned.
“Is that really you Lord? Why me?” she thought to herself. While Lanie was still wondering if the message really came from God, a close friend confided in her in that she’s repeatedly getting visions of Lanie with children playing all over her.
This confirmed what God wanted of her.
Christo, who was working in corporate banking at the time, was supportive about the idea of opening their home for the needy children of South Africa.
At first, there was one. Then another. And another. And soon they were at a point where they could not take in any more children, but the social workers kept calling.
The need was just too high.
“It breaks your heart when you have to show children away, and you know they have no other option” says Lanie.
Christo and Lanie knew they had a model that worked, and with the increasing need, they decided to open a second home with a housemother, which led to another and another.
“We knew when we started that it would be mostly black children. We felt we had to give back. We wanted to pay some penance for what had happened under apartheid” – the strict separation of the races under white minority rule that ended two decades ago.
They kept growing and today they care for more than a hundred and thirty children in Gauteng and the North West. They also recently opened a day care centre in a rural village near the Botswana border.
And the rest, as they say, is history.
They still have children living with them. They call Lanie “Mommy” and Christo “Oupa” (Grandpa), because of his greying hair, which they may be the reason of.
But one thing is clear. There’s a lot of love going around.