Time for the last installment of team introductions; after all, there’s barely any time left until we leave (2 days and counting).
But first, I wanted to share the plan for blogging our way through the trip. As most of you know, we are gone from February 15th to 26th. We’re unsure about how often we’ll be able to access the internet, but, whenever we can gain access, you can look forward to posts from the team. This blog will be the place for us to send out messages to our loved ones back home and for all you loved ones to send messages back (through the comments). We’ll also be posting entries from all the team members describing special moments God uses to touch us throughout the trip and as many pictures as we can post. Our prayer is that you will be able to connect to what God is doing halfway around the world using the resources that the body of Christ in Riverwood has provided.
This is my first experience participating in a mission trip, so I simply ask for strength and guidance as we serve the people of Enaleni. “For truly, I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’, and it will move; nothing will be impossible for you”. Matthew 17:20
I have always dreamed of going on a mission trip to Africa, but in some medical capacity. However, this desire had always been a somewhat “sanitized” desire – sort of like wanting to do good. What Riverwood’s opportunity to serve the children of Enaleni and Bhobhokazi has done for me is make this generic desire a consuming, personal heart throb. These children that we have become acquainted with throughout the past year have gotten under my skin! I cannot stop thinking about them or praying for them! I never realized my years as a Kindermusik Educator was in preparation for my role on our mission trip. Pray that I can show these children the love of Jesus through the universal language of music. Pray that I can also reflect the love that is in every Riverwooder’s heart for them.
When I first heard that our church had taken on a care point in Africa I thought, “How can I get involved?” I’ve been on missions trips before, but it’s always a different experience and on this trip to Swaziland I am expecting great things from the Lord. I’ve always wanted to sponsor a child, but the right opportunity had never arisen, so I was excited when we had a chance to do this through Enaleni. The possibility that I will meet my sponsor child makes it even more of a blessing that I’m going on this missions trip. Please pray that, as I spend time with the children in both our care points, that I can show them how much God loves them and that they are so very special. I am so blessed to belong to such an amazing church with such supportive people. Thank you.
It is my privilage to lead Riverwood’s second team to Swaziland. One year ago four of us went on an exploratory trip to Swaziland and were first introduced to Enaleni. I can’t wait to go back this year, see all our friends at Enaleni and get to work with Pastor Peter and the gang to help create more relationships, infrastructure and sustainable development options for Enaleni. This team has been called into action for such a time as this!
This is my first missions trip and my first trip outside of North America. I am not sure how things will go. When Africa was first announced as a place that we as a church were reaching out to I was skeptical, to say the least. I could not imagine why we would support Africa when people at home in Winnipeg were hungry. I could not even see myself going there a year later.
Now, I have felt God calling me to abandon my skeptical nature and submit to his will. He has blessed my wife Heidi (whom I leave behind) and I with a beautiful girl in Africa named Lulamile. God has also blessed me with good friends who have helped me along the way with their prayers and with financial gifts.
If that were not enough, God continues to task me, first, to bring some sort of Bible out to the people of Swaziland, then with bringing hackey sacs and soccer balls out to the kids of Enaleni. With every task, God has blessed me with the strength to fulfill his will and has placed the people in my path to make all this happen.
I recall a very close friend of mine saying, “God will never give us more than he knows we can handle”. I pray that I go to Africa ready to listen to God and his will and that I will have the strength and desire to pick up the heavy burden that I know I cannot bear by myself, but God will help me to carry.