Princess Party / Soccer Day

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.

Kelly F.

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33 thoughts on “Princess Party / Soccer Day

  1. hey steph 🙂

    watching the video of the sound system surprise instantly brought tears to my eyes – i was crying after a minute, it made me so happy ! you guys look like you are having a blast and making a great difference in the lives of all the kids. it’s so great to see the impact that you guys are having – this blog is definitely a blessing.

    i hope you are safe and healthy and happy and that you are enjoying every single second of your trip. your in my prayers and thoughts every day !

    love and miss you

  2. Hey Swazi team, we sponsor a little girl at Enaleni named Thandolwethu. She is about 8 years old. If any of you can get a picture of her, that would be wonderful. Please tell her she is loved and prayed for by her sponsors. Hope she enjoyed the Princess party and her gift bag. Well team, your updates are inspiring. I think of you all often as I read the blog daily. God is growing all of you and deepening your hearts to love like him. I agree with Todd’s blog message, “Love on those kids like you never had before”! Thanks for the pictures.

  3. Sonnibonani! (spelling?) Sounds like such a great day! So much fun! I’m so happy the kids got to have a day of having fun and just being kids. Good work team! Kelly F, it was great to hear from you on the blog. Thank you for sharing. Over here we’re preparing to start the beans and rice challenge…yaayy…. 😉 Well, on my way to small group to continue the Justice Journey! Take care and God bless!

  4. Wow-it sounds like your princess/soccer day was a success to say the least!I’m sure it was a very fun and special day.The kids are enjoying the pictures posted-seeing you and others that they recognise like Mr Ingalls and Mr Francyk and also we realised that Mike’s kids went to school with the boys as well at Faith.It was neat to see one of the girls in one of the pics,wearing the same dress wore for her birthday just recently!
    Things are normal here;must be time to go back to school as the fighting is in full force but atleast we enjoyed lots of warm weather today.You’ll appreciate my anal nature that had the kids shoveling snow onto the driveway to “quicken” the melt in our yard!Mom and I sat in the sun in our front yard while her laundry dried inside-I’m expecting you to have a darker tan than me when you get back!I’m envious of the heat!
    Love ya
    Your Sis

  5. Ahhhhh CHICKEN DUST! The best thing in Swaziland to eat just over 2 bucks! Cause I’m cheap like that! The Chicken Dust lady and her sons are amazing people and it made me beam with joy for them that so much chicken was ordered from them. Sorry but I think chicken dust beats KFC hands down and I’m sure that all of you agree now too! I want to bring her a sign next year saying how much Canadians love her chicken! Seeing that little boy in the picture with that huge piece of chicken makes me jealous!!!

    Kelly F. it was great to see you write today I know that it’s not something you like to do or even talk in the team so it must have really been on your heart to do it.
    Loved seeing the girls princess party and even recognized one of the older boys from their soccer camp and know that he is in his element when given a soccer ball!

    Two asks! One I’d love to see a few pictures of the d-team and the second is a picture of Khetsewi (the younger one at Enelani) Shelley and Deli know who she is! Precious is related to them as well!

    Make sure to leave all your love with the Swazi’s…

    we’ll fill you back up when you get home!

  6. Awe guys that was amazing,I am so glad that you made those girls feel special and special they are! And seeing the boys playing and just being kids is wonderful. And feeding them chicken they nust gave felt like they were in heaven. Bryan connecting with that little guy is great, so glad you could show some lovin on him. Can’t wait to hear all the stories.
    Praying for you all.

  7. It must have been so great seeing all the girls in their dresses and having so much fun. The boys sure looked like they were having a blast. It is so good to see so many smiling faces, kids and adults. Looking forward to seeing more pics and reading the blog.

  8. What a fantastic day you must have had, a day I’m sure you will never forget. To hear Precious say that she’s never seen the girls smile like that, and to hear the words of encouragement and hope that was spoken to the boys!

    You are making a difference. You are creating happy childhood memories. I pray these memories will give them a smile during tougher. times.

    I will never forget the kids gratitude, for simple things that kids here barely notice. I’m sure that had an impact on you all as well.

    Congratulations team, and event planners. Great choice on the chicken dust……. Love that you chose to support s local, rather than a franchise.

    Sending love and prayers your way!

  9. Wow it sounds like you had such a great day–what a special time–princesses for the girls and soccer for the boys. Jon and Kelly–what a heartbreaking thing to see your sponsor kids are sick and suffering. it must have been so hard and yet to be able to hold them and give them your love is very special. i send my love to you. i’m looking forward to Conner and Aidan coming on Monday.
    May all of you feel the Lord’s presence today as you are His hands and feet and as you enjoy the children there. Sending my love. Sue

  10. Hey, Steph!

    I hope your day was awesome as you were a part of making all those girls feel so loved and precious in your sight and in God’s eyes! I hope you felt very special, too, as you indeed are!

    It was a beautiful day here in Winnipeg . . . sunshine and warm temps. Went to the cottage to check on things. Still snow around and ice on the lake, but it will go away, soon, we hope! Texted Eles tonight and gave him your message . . . he said he saw it on the blog, too. Sounds like he’s enjoying his time in BC.

    Know that you are loved and missed!


  11. You guys probably did more for those children’s self esteem than you can imagine. It is so important for them to feel that they are worthy of love, attention and just being allowed to have fun, play make believe, kick a ball around with a “big star” and just be made to feel so special. I’m sure you are all exhausted and spent and I pray that the Lord fills you up with good rest ready for more tomorrow. A Job well done you guys are princesses and soccer stars too.

    Love Cheryl

  12. I can’t help it, all day I think about the team and the people you are affecting. You are all strangers(accept for 1)but you all manage to touch my heart when I look at the pictures and especially when I read the comments. I admire all of your efforts, courage, love and faith. You should be very proud of yourselves.
    May God stay with you and give you the strength you will need for the rest of this journey.

  13. Wow it sounds like you guys had an amazing day with everyone :)…I hope you guys have another amazing day tomorrow!..P.S Don’t worry haley i miss you 🙂 lol…

  14. Wow Great day guys. I know how special being a princess makes you feel. And football (soccer) is my new favorite sport.
    Really really looking forward to today’s blogs about church and lunch and just hanging out.
    Still love you Rick,
    PS got some really great news about your neighbors out there you will be very happy, but I’m not going to tell you till you come back. hehe
    chow mien noodle

  15. Sunday April 3 Hi Bryan, this is so neat, being able to see some of what you are experiencing each day.Read the blogs, looked at the pictures, the happiness on the kids faces.This day will certainly be one of the highlights for you all. Love as always, Mom

  16. Hey Gang!! Way to go on the day! Both the parties/camps looked amazing for the kids. It just breaks my heart that there aren’t more opportunities through the year to make these kids feel the way they did yesterday. You guys are making such a difference in these ten days though and I am so amazed of what God can do when a group of people answer His call. Keep it up!!
    I’m just getting ready to go to church here and can’t wait to hear how your Sunday went!
    Hi Haley… Me, Kenzi, Rudy, and the Rat Tail all miss you very much and can’t wait to see you… have fun explaining that one to the group!

  17. I am in awe of the love you all have given the kids. I only know Brenda, personally, but through the pictures and blogs, I feel that I am getting to know all of you. I cry through every blog entry and end up praying for all you and the kids throughout the day. The first thinkg I do every day is to see if there’s an update.

    I am praying that God sustains you throughout these last days and don’t worry about Winnipeg because it just started to snow!!!! Enjoy the heat while you can.


  18. Looks like you guys had a great day! You’re all doing great work. Hard to believe you’ve been there for a whole week already. Miss you Steph, and i wish i could see you in more pictures. I know you’re camera shy, but I want you to make as many memories as you can, for you and the rest of us!!
    I’m going to call Katrina and possibly visit her today.
    Love Mom xoxo

  19. Hello Swazi Team
    The princess day and soccer day was amazing! I loved the pictures and it truly stirred my heart. To hear the blog stating that the kids were afraid to put their tattered and dirty clothes in bags in fear of them not coming back, drew a stir of emotion in my heart. We are so truly blessed with our lives and reading the blog makes it more clear of how much we need to continue to do for our care points. It takes such a special person to be there and serving in the ministry of gods words. I have been following these entries and reading outloud to my husband. We laugh, we cry and we truly are blessed to be a part of such an incredible journey. I wish you all love, blessings, and gods grace while in swazi and cannot wait to continue to grow in your teachings. Each and every one of you be blessed and be safe. Thank you for sharing your inner most thoughts, feelings and strong emotion. God be with you all, i wish i could be there to hug those kids. Perhaps next year.
    Hi to monica, Monica, you are an angel and i am so very proud of you! love you and can’t wait to hear all about things, take care. Stay strong team! Love from the Peg!

  20. The parties looked very successful on so many different levels thanks for sharing.Sorry to hear about your children but so proud of the love that you and the team give to ALL the kids.Leslie glad to hear from you and things are good.Hear we are finally at home after a long drive through a winter storm and all is good .We miss you and are looking to having you home.Cheering you all on and waiting to hear about church and chicken.
    Love you

  21. Wow this day of Princess Ball and Soccer Game seemed so memorable and awesome for all those kids. I found myself wanting to see more pictures because that kind of happiness fills the heart with so much joy. After the last blog and Kelly C’s entry my heart was really heavy with sadness. It’s hard not to feel both sides of the spectrum in Africa I’m sure, since it is happening here back home. One day my tears are of happiness and the next of total sadness. I can only imagine what you all are feeling as you experience it head on. After crying yesterday I found myself feeling so insignificant and little, that I am too small to make the big enough changes to make things all better, because that’s what our heart want isn’t it. I kept thinking about what Pastor Todd said last Sunday about what we do may be a drop in a bucket but together and even that simple drop still does make a difference. Sheld and I read 1 Samuel 2:7 and it brought us some comfort. It said:
    The Lord makes poor and makes rich;
    he brings low and he exalts.
    He raises up the poor from the dust;
    he lifts the needy from the ash heap to make
    them sit with princes and inherit a seat of honor.
    For the pillars of the earth are the Lord’s,
    and on them he has set the world.

    Thank you for being out there and experiencing the ups and downs. We will continue to pray for you all.

    Love, Sheld and Ash

  22. What an awesome day! I hope you guys are all well and are so fulfilled in loving people hard. Haley, our small group is praying for you and hope to hear more from you on your return!

  23. Hi Sandra – We just wanted to say hello and that we missed you yesterday. We had hoped to have seen you via skype. It brings tears to my eyes seeing how excited all the kids are with what you and your team are doing for them!! We viewed the video of the sound system and how excited everyone got. Made me cry – it’s such an overwhelming feeling you get when you see/hear how little things could do so much for others! WOW… Kudos for you and your team for being there and putting your hearts out on your sleeves!!
    God Bless.
    We love you!!!
    Scott, Anna & kids

  24. Pastor Todd played the sound system video at church today. Even though I’ve seen it 6 times already it was great for the whole church to see it. Later he played a video about Busisewe and her challenge with Aids. Sold a few things at the market today and lots of people signed up for the beans and rice challenge including my family. It will be interesting to see if I can do it, part of me is hoping my dog Sugar steals my food again so “I have too” quit! haha Some of the d-team will be happy to know that means I can’t have any pop as well! I’m sure that will make Musa and Xolani have a good laugh.

    Can’t wait for your guys next post! Told told me you guys were at the market today hope you got all the good deals!

  25. This is for Perry. Perry Wally and Brenda are my small group leaders and they asked me if I would post on here for them. They would love it if you could get a picture of their child Tulisile Zitha in her new dress. Thanks

    Blessings to you all.

  26. Just seeing all these precious children warms my heart. Thank you for everything all of you are doing and for the sacrifices you are making to show God’s love to these kids and to make their lives a little better in practical ways too. I’m privileged to be able to follow along with what you are all up to through our friendship with Bryan and Cheryl Peters.
    Bryan, Cheryl has filled me in a bit on your FB visits too.
    Praying for you friend,

  27. Hey team.wishing you all God’s amazing Joy;Love;Peace;Strength and loads of Peaceful Rest.Thanks for also taking all of us Riverwooders on this journey with you’s. Jon and Kelly we cannot even begin to imagine what it was like to find out about your swazi child and his sister both having Aids/Hiv.But we do know that God is in control and he only knows what he is up to.I sure went to bed last night thanking God that he knew in advance about this sad news you would getting and thats why he had you both on this years swazi trip together.And then having to watch them both walk out of Enelani care point carrying a few items with them . Wearing tattered shoes that was way to small for their feet.How heart breaking is that. Carolyn I sure miss seeing you.
    Brenda i also miss giving you a hard time.Carolyn just so you know Todd this morning announced he would be doing all of the dishes;vacuming;dusting;toilet cleaning;floors and what ever elese that he needs to do for the last 2weeks that he has not done.I am adding a few extra chores for him to do because he loves you so much and also to keep him occupied;I also hear that your house is well under lots of water…Todd’s tears.
    Journey well team.Love thoughts and prayers.

  28. Hey Drummer Girl, How’s your head? So sorry to hear that you took a hit on the noggin, hope you are ok. Peaches is really missing you, she sticks pretty close to me and I am know that she is wondering where Amy went. Can’t wait to see you and hear all your stories. The princess party sounded absolutely perfect. Yeah!! We love you Amy, you are our Princess!
    The pictures from the princess party and soccer day were great. Oh my goodness, the kids looked like they were having a blast, such big wonderful smiles. What a wonderful way to spend time with the children and have them playing together in a big group. We just went through the blogs from last 2 days, so full of love, kindness, support and fun. We are very interested to hear of your next day’s events and reading your comments. Hoping that all are doing well there, adjusting to the food/water, resting well and feeling strong. It is a wonderful task that you have all undertaken. “Good works are the links that form a chain of love” – Mother Theresa. We continue to pray for your ability to be wonderful links.
    It is raining here so no soccer playing, however it helps the snow melt away and everyday there are a few more geese.
    Thinking of you and praying for you, Mary

    Way to go Team for living it out!
    Backing you with prayer…and a week of rice and beans:(
    Mike and Barb Dueck and kidz

  30. it gives hope and strengthens one faith in GOD, when you get to experience and see men and women of GOD giving love and changing lives of young boys and girls. Thank you.

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