My Journey with GCF – Mareli Schwartz

This year, I celebrated my 10th anniversary at GCF, and I often think back to when I started working at Give a Child a Family in November 2012. The dining hall was packed with staff members and children, and I cried while listening to the beautiful worship by the staff. I remember that feeling well because I have never experienced such an intense presence of love and the Holy Spirit in my life before. It was the start of the change within me, the start of a beautiful journey that would take me to places I’ve never been before, within myself and my relationship with God.

Mareli Schwartz

I consider myself extremely blessed to have gotten the position at GCF and I was blessed to work alongside Monica for 6 years as her Personal Assistant. For the past 4 years, I have been filling the gap in the Marketing department, also under the guidance of Monica. What I have learned from her in the past 10 years, is so precious and priceless to me. She has contributed tremendously to who I am today, was it not for her love and guidance in an extremely difficult season in my life. In all my time at GCF, I have seen and heard of the amazing work done with families and children, but let me tell you, GCF is not just a sanctuary or rehabilitation centre for children. This organisation is instrumental in the rehabilitation and empowerment of its employees as well.

Mareli Schwartz

The first few months at GCF were the toughest, because it takes a very strong person to stick it out in an environment where you interact with children who have been abused, abandoned, or neglected on a daily basis. It breaks your heart into a million pieces. My first thoughts were ‘how scared must these little ones be, to be taken away from their family and placed in a centre with a whole lot of other kids and not seeing their parents for so long?!’ It was hard. One of the hardest things I’ve had to do.

The reward comes a few months later, when that same child, who looked so down and sad, is now smiling and laughing. And as much as these children need endless amounts of love to be restored and carried through their trauma, loving on these special children does something to you as well. It changes you. It heals you. You will not walk out these doors the same person you were when you walked in.

I have never had this much love to give before. This environment is so healing and that’s what makes it so special. You can feel the love and the presence of God when you walk through these doors.

Mareli Schwartz

I have always been a firm believer that everything happens for a reason and there is a reason why people have come to GCF. A reason, a season, or a lifetime… GCF is my lifetime. I still remember one thing so clearly after I was employed at GCF. Monica and I were sitting in her office and she said to me: “We pray and ask God to send us the right people for each position. And I’ve been praying a whole year for you.” This is where I belong and this is where I will stay because I feel like this is my life’s purpose, to give back to children and families in need. My heart is full and happy and I love what I do. I love the person I have become because of this place. It is a haven for the beaten and broken, a crutch in your most desperate time of need.

Mareli Schwartz

To everyone at GCF, who has become my second family, I want to say thank you! And a special thank you to you, Monica. You took me under your wing in the darkest time of my life and guided me closer to God, you showed and taught me so much. The values and lessons I’ve learned from you are priceless. I have learned that ANYTHING is possible when you have God in your life. I have learned that giving means so much more than receiving. I have learned to love without boundaries and to love and take care of myself first, because you cannot pour from an empty cup. I have become wiser, kinder, and more patient and that has all influenced my private life too. I’ve become a better mother, daughter, sister, and friend because of it. There are so many valuable lessons to mention, but ultimately, how you make someone else feel says everything about you as a person. LOVE LIKE THERE’S NO TOMORROW. My heart is so wide open now, compared to 10 years ago, that I cry tears of joy on a daily basis. My heart is filled with unconditional love for everyone I meet.

Mareli Schwartz

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