What a day it has been! The girls started lining up at the church doors an hour before we were to begin, anxiously waiting to come into the building. The team worked fast and hard to decorate and create a very pretty princess room. With Disney Princess music playing in the background, the girls went from “station” to “station” getting their nails done, making a princess crown, beading a necklace, twirling with streamers, blowing bubbles, playing skipping games and of course trying on their “princess dresses” given by their special friends at Riverwood. Each girl who attended the party had a special photo taken in their dress, wearing a princess crown and sash. We sang, we laughed, we danced and literally had a ball. A meal of “chicken dust” – a Swazi treat, and pretty pink cupcakes were served for lunch. After the party, one of the older girls who can speak English quite well, asked me to take her picture in her new dress. She said, “Could you please show it to my special friend and tell them, thank you for the new clothes? I’m so happy.” Thank you Riverwood for helping to make these girls feel special on this party day. It is our prayer that they walked away with the message that the girls that God sees from Enaleni and Bhobhokozi are precious … royal princesses of the heavenly King.
“The Father has loves us so much … that we are called children of God.” 1John 3:1
The soccer day with the boys went awesome! We basically had every boy from the carepoints show up (and a few extra)….in total there a little more than 110 boys at the event. We had a very special day because we were able to arrange for a professional soccer player that plays for the capital city of Swaziland to come and help us run drills for the boys and to speak to them.
We also were able to give out to every child at our carepoints a t-shirt we made for them that was in Bafana Bafana colours (South Africa) and had Riverwood / Enaleni / Bhobhokazi written on it….you’ll see it in the pictures.
The boys were really excited and we can all imagine what an honour it was for them to be able to meet the football star and spend time with him.
It was amazing as well because this soccer pro took the time to talk to the group of kids for about 25 minutes about believing in themselves….about staying connected with God….and about pursuing their dreams. It really was awesome to see them have such a great role model.
We ran drills and then had a soccer match with the older boys playing each other. The Canadian boys didn’t play….but we all watched on as the older ones played their match.
Then we shared some “chicken dust” (which is a BBQ piece of chicken with corn mais….the kids loved it. It was really fun because the lady that makes the “chicken dust”, which is literally a shack on the side of the road….she made 300 orders today. This is more volume than she sees in a LONG LONG time….
I think it was a really significant day for the boys…..lots of fun and excitement….and REALLY REALLY hot out! Great day with both carepoints all together and doing something to make each child feel really special.
Today was a very humbling day. To see the joy and confidence in the girls was great. As the girls put on their new dresses and walked around, you could see the confidence level rising. They looked beautiful and they felt beautiful. On the other side of that, when we took their own clothes away to put in bags with their names on it so they could return them later, they were afraid they wouldn’t get them back. It sure gives you a new perspective on life. These children may wear clothing everyday that is tattered and torn, but it is all they have and they value them. That is when you realize that we sure live on the other side of the world from them and not just in the physical context. One of the girls was going to make her crown and I asked her if she was going to sit down on the floor with the other children. Her response was: “no because I don’t want to make my nice new dress dirty.
Like the song goes…”all the children in the world, they are precious in His sight.”
What an incredible day! Today was the day we held the princess party for the girls from Enaleni and Bhobhokazi. We had 118 girls show up and their excitement was palpable. Throughout the day the girls had an opportunity to make crafts, have their nails painted, play games and, of course, receive their new dresses. Thank you to all the special friends who bought their girls a new outfit. You’ll never know how much you have blessed them.
My highlight of the day was the spontaneous dance party that broke out about an hour before lunch. At first, Kelly C. and Haley led us in some spectacular movements but were soon overtaken by the Swazi girls. The enthusiasm these girls danced with was unbelievable. They moved as though they had practiced their whole lives for this occasion, shaming us with the rhythm and grace. However, as amazing as their skills were, nothing compared to the joy that was on each face. Precious told us afterwards that she had never seen the girls smile so much- what could be better than that?
Now on a more serious note….
I have sat down numerous times to blog but find that I am continually at a loss for words. I find it difficult to articulate the words to show the passion in my heart. However, the theme that comes again and again to me is that trip is a reflection of God’s providence in my life. I hadn’t planned on coming this year but God had different plans. He opened doors and removed barriers when I thought it unlikely. I can now see that I am exactly where I need to be.
Since being a part of the Swaziland 2010 team, I have come to love this country. The culture, the sights and sounds, and most importantly the people fill me with happiness and encouragement. I am truly grateful that Riverwood has taken on the commitment of loving and supporting Enaleni and Bhobhokazi, and that I can serve as a tangible presence of the care so many at home feel. It isn’t always an easy task; the emotions are complex. At times it is raw and humbling, and at others it is overwhelming. In total, however, it is one of the most fulfilling experiences I have had the privilege and honour of being a part of.
Thanks to all of you for your support and prayers. We appreciate every post, email or message sent to us out here. To all my family and friends, I miss you guys and will see you soon.
Our God’s love is truly deeper, wider, stronger and higher than all we can imagine. May God bless each of you as you travel with us on this incredible journey.