Enaleni – Day 1

38C…125+ water bottles…and barely a drop of pee.

It was a brutally hot and humid day yesterday. Our team did an awesome job of reminding each other about grabbing some shade and drinking…drinking…drinking. Needless to say the ride home was a little ‘sweet smelling’. Here’s a brief summary of our day:

* Everyone’s healthy!

*We dug 20 holes for trees for the orchard we’re planting (orange, banana, mango trees)

* We got a good start on the latrine. The guys worked SO HARD in the blazing sun! The hole was dug…but we got 3 layers of brick in and poured the cement floor about 20 meters away on level ground. A three-inch thick slab, 9ft by 6ft. We’ll pick it up and move it later.

* The two big green water reservoirs were delivered so we hoisted them onto the metal stands.

* We had about 85 kids at the CarePoint yesterday!

* We cleared brush and cut dead trees…clearing an area for the garden.

* We did VBS! Our team did FANTASTIC!

* A few of our gals went to the ladies Bible study at 3pm. They loved it and left so absolutely inspired!

*We attended the Wednesday evening service at 6pm. We were SO WELCOMED and loved on. We had a blast worshiping with our Enaleni friends. The love in the room was palpable!

* When we finally drove the 45 minutes back to our dorm area we were heartbroken to discover our meeting room/computer room was LOCKED. We couldn’t read or update our blog! YIKES!

* Finally fell into bed about 10:30pm…quite thoroughly exhausted!

– Todd

Team Reflections


It was just two little hands gently caressing my arms. So simple. So profound. I’d been working on digging holes all morning, not having a chance to really connect with the kids. While I was taking a break from the blazing hot sun, a few kids came over wanting to be hoisted into my arms (the bigger ones were rotating between the team, trying to find someone who could hold them for more than a few seconds). For some reason unbeknown to me (it probably had something to do with God), one of the little girls continued to cling to me after I’d put her down. She just clung to my waist, holding me as tight as she could. When I got tired of standing, I sat down and pulled her into my lap. We just ended up sitting there under the shade of one of the trees on the yard. I was contentedly holding her, thinking about how great it was to meet her need for loving touches, when she began caressing my arm. It was such a simple moment, but it really touched me. It reminded me that we don’t only need to receive love, but to give love. So often, I focus too much on receiving God’s love, when I need to give Him my love just as much.


I woke up this morning at 4am an thought about our day ahead. It was going to be a busy day; our first day in Enaleni. I was terrified. I had no idea what to expect. I wanted to work hard and love the people of Enaleni, but didn’t know if fear of the unexpected would stand in my way. Thankfully, the moment we pulled up and saw the kids, any fear was erased and replaced with hope. Hope for the lives we are changing, the impact we are making and, most importantly, the way God is changing my heart and opening my eyes to the bigger picture. The kids are amazing. Working in 40 degree heat is not easy, but not once did anyone give up or slow down. I am blessed to be a part of this team and more so have been blessed by a group of people who have never met us, yet love us as they do their own. There is much suffering and need in Swaziland, but there is an unmistakable joy that surrounds you the moment you set foot here.


In speaking with Kriek, one of the missionaries at Enalini, I enquired why Lulamile was not in school. I was told that possibly because of the fact that there was no money to send her or just that the finances for her have not been finalized. Kriek wants to get her back into school.

I was surprised to learn that funding for the kids does pay for some school, but it is more that they need food and such first.

To my surprise I was told that school for 1 year is about 700 rand or 70 dollars. Then it hit me… 70 dollars for one year to grow a child or I can go out back at home with Heidi to a fancy resteraunt and spend $70 in one day and keep on giving my 35.00 a month. Lulamile will be fed, have clothing, have letters from me and Heidi, and we can feel good. As we really feeling good.

God has removed my blinders. Now I see that 35.00 is not enough; she needs an education. Yes, she needs clothing and food and I am sure the small items Heidi and I put into her care package are well received but there is still the education. Without this she may be doomed to a life that may be cut short by AIDS or loss of dignity and no ability to break the cycle I can’t sit down at a table now and look at another resteraunt bill and not see this little girl.. My little girl without the hope of a better life.

I know it is up to he; she has to try but the least I can do is remove the barrier of money, especially when it is such a low amount ($70) compared to our culture. I can lay a cornerstone in her life and plant the seed on fertile soil or go out to eat. This is a simple decision to make. A simple once a year $70 dollars Wow, what a Christmas gift. The gift of hope, a future.


The one thing that struck me today was how God can use such small moments to do big things. When we arrived at Enaleni this morning, we first greeted the girls who are on the discipleship team. A handshake and a “Sow-bone-ah” got a huge smile from each of them. When they responded in Saswati they thought that they’d lose us, but the fact that we could respond with “nia peela” (I’m fine) got them all laughing. Whether it was Karen leading all the children by banging the drum and then having them run after her, or Amanda and Tanya going for a walk with the girls from the disciple team, each small sentence was received with joyful enthusiasm from Enaleni folk. Each smile from us was followed by bigger smiles from them. God can do big things when we but learn to do the small ones!


As we drove up to Enaleni, I was bracing myself for a nice big “slap-in-da-face”, to have a giant wake up call to world poverty. What a truly amazing day. Driving home, I was reflecting on the day’s events while watching the thunderstorm. God isn’t trying to give me temporary motivation to get things done this trip. God will be using every experience this trip to talk to me. I know that by the end HE will show me everything I need to see-through a fully-rounded experience and relationship-based ‘organic’ slap-in-da-face. And that will truly change us forever.


I am blessed to be able to be here, experiencing God’s grace and seeing how we are impacting the lives of the children at Enaleni. This is a special day for me, as I celebrate my birthday, but more important was the opportunity to have fellowship with Pastor Peter’s wife, Precious and the local women around the care point. God’s presence was in that room as we sang praise to the Lord and as each woman stood to speak their faith and their journey with God. My heart was filled with joy and compassion as \i heard their stories and felt honoured to share my feelings with them. Never did I think that I would be filled with as much joy and faith from these women. I feel that God is walking with everyone here serving and with the children and people of Enaleni. Each day that we serve them, it is not only them who are blessed but us as well.


As we drive further and further into the country to the carepoint, down…well,…I guess they are roads (we call them trails) the poverty that we see just hits me like a ton of bricks. People live in these dwellings that we are passing! I have no idea what is in store for us when we arrive at Enaleni! I pray that I won’t cry when I see the kids.

10 thoughts on “Enaleni – Day 1

  1. just awesome folks! sounds like an incredible day. it’s crazy how you can drink and drink and drink and still not pee. everyone should make it their goal to have white pee! that’s what we made as the rule in mexico. it’s really tough….85 kids! AWESOME….I imagine you were all incredibly impacted by the church service as well. your lives must be changing by the minute there.make sure you give our little boy luketfo MANY MANY hugs for us please. we are wishing we were there with you all.

  2. Enjoying the blogs from you guys, thanks a bunch for the update!! We hope that blogging helps you feel connected, but truth is, it gives us a chance to catch a taste/glimpse of what’s going on. And your stories bring everything so much closer to home… and make us want so much to be there.Thanks for sharing and send more stories.One big huge request, if you see a 12 year old girl by the name of Andile Mkhatjwa, could you please take pictures of her for us? We have the one picture of her that was given with the sponsorship package but would be excited to see more pictures… doesn’t matter if she’s standing still, playing, whatever… thanks a bunch. Like Jonny said, feel free to extend a hug, she’s a precious beautiful girl.We can only imagine what it’s going to be like when you hand out the care packages.Thanks for working so hard and for representing God’s love.Rod and Rena

  3. Great work guys! So much accomplished in one extremly hot day! I loved the picture of the kids in their masks. I bet they had a great time of learning God’s truth with those of you doing VBS.Leslie thanks for holding and hugging my Ncumcile for me! Todd sent me a picture – she looks so healthy and beautiful. I think of you all at least a thousand times a time a day and many prayers are said on your behalf. Keep digging and loving deep!

  4. With it being 29 below here (with the windchill) and 38 above there (with the humidity) it sounds like we're experiencing opposite extremes as a Riverwood family. Much more than the weather it sure sounds like we are also experiencing opposite extremes of what Jon described in his last message as "enough stuff". I see the picture of the children with their paper masks and hear of the joy in their hearts from Karen and can't help but think of our children (and ourselves) with our ipods & computers & "more than enough stuff" and wonder at the condition of joy in our hearts. Keep giving yourselves away and spreading the love of Jesus like you are doing… keep experiencing their joy with and be sure to bring it back so we can all be infected by it. They sound like they live out what Paul was trying to teach us, "I've learned by now to be quite content whatever my circumstances. I'm just as happy with little as with much, with much as with little. I've found the recipe for being happy whether full or hungry, hands full or hands empty." Phl 4:11. Way to go SwaziTeam! I can't believe it is one week until you are back with us. Thank you for your sacrifice so we can experience, through you, the joy in these people's hearts.

  5. wow – it all sounds so awesome!! god is doing an amazing work there and you guys get to be a part of it! of course, my prayers are for you daily (strength, health, patience with each other and your situations, and an extra measure of joy to spread) and it's such a treat to read up on all the details of your journey. our little guy there is zweli (he's about 4) and if anyone encounters him, squeeze him and squeeze him for us! pics would be nice too but i know there's so much to do and so many to love :)keep doing an awesome job! we're all so proud to be a part of this incredible experience.julie (& terry) smithmrs. karen – i'm so proud of you for doing this and i know that you will love those kids with all your heart! i'm praying for you,cassidy

  6. Wow. Very touching to see. The picture of the kids with there little masks and the time given to the childen is priceless. The hard work and determination on behalf of the whole group is wonderful.I dont know which would be worse the heat or cold at his point. Cant wait to hear/see more updates.

  7. So glad you’re able to blog regularly so far! Great job on keeping us updated.It sounds like everyone is working so hard! …and that you’re experiencing the dynamic of “God’s currency” where every second of work, every relational touch and every ounce of sweat = a tonne of hope.Cheering you on and SOOO proud of you all!!!

  8. Dear Lord, I lift Ken up to You and thank You for calling him on this trip. Please continue to protect him and keep him safe and healthy especially as he works in the hot sun. Please use him to totally bless the people around him with a good attitude, and Your Love. Lord, please make this such a memorable time that a beach in Cuba would seem tame by comparison. Please give him a week of absolute adventure as he walks daily in Your will.Please continue to grow his servant heart, and bless him for every small step of obedience he takes. Thank you Lord for Ken, and for his unique giftings. Please continue to stretch him, and lead him each day. May his prayer time with You be significant,and effective. Please mold his heart and make the prayer times a habitual necessity. Bless every moment he’s there, and thank you for what he brings to the team. Amen.Dear Jesus, I read Rachel’s introduction, and the word I seem to feel is joyful. Please use her to be a joy to those around her. May the children at the care points connect with her in a meaningful way – please use her to show Your Love to them. Please help the children hear “You’re God’s treasure” in their hearts as she ministers to them. I especially lift up Rachel’s sponsor child, and ask that if a meeting is within Your will, that it would go well, and be a blessing to both of them.Please give her peace and rest as she sleeps, so that she would wake up refreshed, revitalized, and ready to serve another very full day. I would also ask Lord, that you would use Rachel to bless others on the team during their time together. May there be unity and fellowship, and rich sharing times among team members. You are such a great God, You delight in giving good gifts to Your children. Thank you Lord, for the gift of Rachel on the team today. Amen.Lord, I get the feeling Sarah needs some prayer and encouragement today. Please wrap your arms around her, and help her, Heavenly Father, to rest in You. Please surround her with mighty guardian angels to protect her physically, mentally, and spiritually. Fill her with Your Holy Spirit, and lead her to walk boldly along the path You’ve set for her. I lift up her fear of insects to you Lord, and come against that fear in the name of Jesus. Please give her what she needs today to open her heart fully to You, and equip her to work with Love overflowing to Your people. May the children of Enaleni and Bhobokazi be blessed through Sarah. Please show Sarah what You see when You look at these people, please help her capture those thoughts and impressions as well as the images. Please use her art for Your glory, and for the building of Your kingdom. Thankyou for calling her to the team Lord, and for providing everything she needed to get there. You are so good and faithful God. Thank you in the name of Jesus, Amen.

  9. Auntie Brenda, Mitch & friends… – short term missions….long term consequences!"…as the spirit of the Lord works within us, we become more and more like Him.." – II CORINTHIANS 3:18 TLBMay you all continue to be encouraged & blessed as you serve the Lord at Enaleni!XOXOXOXOUncle Brian, Auntie Susan & family…

  10. Thank you for posting your activities these last few days! Wow! Those pictures of those little ones are amazing. Keep being God’s hands and feet Riverwood Team! Extra hugs and kisses to Nick and Sarah from Mom.All is good at home.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s