Great day at church!

Wow….it is always an experience to look forward to worshipping at the Enaleni church with our dear friends Pastor Peter & Precious and the whole community there.  We had such a significant time there and it was so great to have almost all of the enaleni carepoint children coming to the church service.  Many of the girls showed up in their new dresses they received at the princess party and lots of boys were wearing their soccer shirts.

It was great to have the new people on this years team experience this for the first time.  In the service all of the children performed their two songs…..there was lots of singing….and an offering competition.  My side won again this year…..Carolyn gave greetings from the church and teammates Chris and Wayne both shared some words.  I spoke and gave the message…..the whole experience was so rich.

Then afterwards we had our KFC lunch with everyone there.  Jumbo thought he WAY overbought….but there were a lot of families and people there.  Basically, we allowed everyone 200 total.  They LOVED LOVED LOVED it!  We Canadians served them their lunch right after the service…..they were so grateful and it was the best treat we could provide.  It was a great day worshipping and sharing a meal alongside our brothers and sisters there.

After church we went to a couple of markets to do some shopping and it was great.  The team went a bit crazy but thankfully we’ve got lots of luggage space on the way home 🙂

I will leave you with the team blogs…..and a video to experience a bit of church there in Winnipeg (where we hear it is snowing???)  It is getting late….

Jon

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Hey every one reading the blog! Anna here, so bear with me because this is my first time writing something on the blog. I thought it was about time that I shared some of my own experiences with you guys. Hope you enjoy reading it J.

Well it has been a week since we have been here but to me, and probably many others on the team, I feel like we have been here for much longer. I have gotten in to the rhythm of bumpy roads on the way to the care points, driving up to see many bright children’s faces and tiny hands waving at us, sharing shy smiles with the ma-gas as we try to show our appreciation for all that they do, sharing many laughs around the dinner table, and staying up late to recount our day, and prepare us for the next one. However, I am constantly caught off guard by many things that I am experiencing on a daily basis. These include seeing overwhelming amounts of scars and infections on malnourished children’s little bodies, having the great honour to sit with Sheila (one of the ma-gas) and chat in her home that is falling apart, while she shares details of her fragile health, and holding a little girl in a ripped dress wearing no underwear, but sharing a big toothy smile for the camera.  Experiences like these give me eyes to realize how off track my life seems to be, but also gives me such happiness. Life here seems so simple, so heart breaking, but so beautiful.

One last thing I wanted to share was a verse that Sheila shared with Haley and me while visiting her home: 2nd Kings 6:16. Check it out!

Well I think that is all to share right now; I don’t think that writing out my feelings ismy forte. But I definitely will be ready to share when I get home.

Mom- Yes I can’t wait for many a conversation about all this next week J

Thank you all for commenting and reading our blog, it gives us much encouragement as we laugh and cry while reading them every night. God Bless You…

Anna

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Had a great day at church.  My Special Friend’s Tekhaya’s recognized me and came to greet me. Had a special time with her today and had a big hug.  Her smile will remain with me forever.  Serving the church members KFC for lunch was humbling knowing that they probably haven’t had chicken since the last year the time the team was here.  The poverty is so real and so overwhelming.  The service was like none I have experienced.  God was truly with us today.

Perry

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What a powerful day at church. The volume that the Swazi women can pour out  when they sing- wow. Everyone in the church takes turns participating in one way or another, if they’re not part of one of the many choir groups then they quote bible verse or even dance. One of my favorite parts was this song everyone sings that says

I see you, and the glory of God so I hug you…. Then you hug the person you are facing. They keep turning and singing this to different people and there is so much hugging going on and joy it was amazing. We had a kfc lunch for the community with Swazi salads and when we served it to the kids and adults. It was so great to eat together as equal brothers and sisters, all smiling  and laughing together. We went to a market later in the day and each booth was a little shack with a simple table and a person who made the items personally pleading for you to “please mam” just come and look for one minute at my hard work. And after a few of their pleading eyes you just can’t help but want to buy something from each and everyone of them so they all have some profit to take home to feed their hungry family. It breaks my heart when the money runs out and one of them says “but no one came to see my today”. I think my shopping at home is going to take one a whole new perspective. It’s going to be hard to drop dollars on meaningless unnecessary stuff in stores that are owned by big business. I did get some pretty great art pieces from some very talented people.

Kim

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What an amazing return to Swaziland this has been.  I came back without any of the expectations I had on the first trip and not really knowing what God had planned for me this time around.  But as I sat and held a sleeping child in my arms God came to me with an answer.  He said “You have all the time in the world right now, to come so far from home and sit with this sleeping child.  But are you doing the same thing at home with your own child?  Are you giving him the time that he needs?  The loving care (not the “things”) that  he needs?  I’m not only asking you to love on this child of mine but also on the one I’ve blessed you with.”  What a harsh, but very needed, lesson to learn.  I get so caught up in things that I think need to get done when I should be giving more of my time, energy and love to my child than I already do. At first I had a hard time with the guilt I felt but now I’m so thankful for God opening my eyes.

Seeing Kriek, Jumbo, the D-team and Go-Go’s again has been a wonderful experience.  But seeing the children and getting to hold them again feels like coming home to my own son after being away for a long time.  They are so relaxed around us and full of love and unreserved energy!  They offer up giant smiles willingly without receiving something in return and will play whatever game you put in front of them without complaint.  But in all of that the harshness of the reality that these children face stills weighs just as heavily on my heart as it did the first time I was here.  Leaving them in a very short time will be very difficult as will be reintegrating back into my own life.  It’s a hard struggle to balance the emotions out but a necessary part of the journey.

Sean & Matthew – I love you both more than words can say and look forward to all that God has planned for our family as I come home with a very different outlook on what family really means.  Hugs and kisses!  Mom (Oh, and don’t worry honey, the market is still open for business and my suitcase is not overweight! LOL)

Leslie

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Hey everyone, what an unreal day. Church at Enaleni is in one word an experience. Good thing I’m not shy because the lady beside me was not going to let me just sit in my seat, luckily I was more than happy to participate. The singing, the dancing and just the sense of faith was overwhelming. One of the older girls I have really bonded with came up to me, hugged me and told me she had something for me. After the service she gave me a letter that she wrote in English expressing how much us being here has meant to her and that she was so grateful for my friendship. I have had a lot of love in my life but I have never felt love like this. Some of these kids are just so in need of nurturing, kind, loving relationships that the smallest act can make their day. Although we have impacted these kids and this community, I feel like I am impacted ten times more. This little letter will be my most treasured souvenir. It’s an amazing reminder of the relationships I’ve built and how much love is so important.

Leaving is going to be a challenge but I can’t wait to bring what I’m learning home and spread the essence of this experience.  Much love,

Amy

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Well Not sure what to write. It’s Sunday we went to Church at Enaleni. The experience was amazing. It’s true when they say the less you have and when you give out of the least how powerful it is. Most have seen the new sound equipment given from Riverwood.  The thing that struck me the most was that 4 or 5 members came to the front to give a testimony. Everyone that spoke from their community expressed that they love God and are thankful for “the Canadians.” That is the 25 of us here and the all of you in Winnipeg.

Tonight after we read the blog together. Our emotions caught up with us. We are trying to understand why we have been chosen to be born in such a country of abundance. Why do these people have so little. We are so blessed to be in Canada. Until you come to Swaziland and experience it you will fully understand. I realize we all have our purpose. The next time I spend in abundance it will truly be hard as I hope I will be reminded of this experience. I hope that we realize that this place is in such need of much love that we at Riverwood think we know. I am not sure how I will adjust when I return home. Cathy, please prepare our awesome kids for a changed Dad in some way. I am trying to figure it out.

Many tears while writing this blog. Cathy wish you were hear to support me. I could really use a hug. Tell the boys to be ready for many hugs when we arrive home on Friday……..

Cathy, is the van ready? Is your car fixed?

Love you and miss you…

Mike Hillman

34 thoughts on “Great day at church!

  1. Watched the video, looked like everyone was having a blast. We even started to dance with the video. We loved watching you dance, dad! Anyway, the car is fixed, and the van may be ready on Monday or Tuesday. He is just waiting for a tire. I will have my dad take me to pick it up. Back to school tomorrow – ya! Only a few more days, then you will get lots of real hugs and kisses.
    Signing off..

  2. Sandra, are those your feet? Mom

    Just kidding…we have been reading the blog everyday but have to wait for Kalena to show us how to comment! Just teasing! Keep safe, we will pray for you. Looking for to you coming home.
    Mom & Dad

  3. We are at your Mom & Dad’s having our usual Sunday dinner. We just looked at the blog and stop being a haywire little turkey and get in front of the camera. It is kind of quiet around here…………….We miss you Lanyse and looking forward to hearing about your adventure.

  4. Oh guys… way to go!!!! Love reading about church today! The choir…the lunch…all the out-reach to the community…and the powerful love of brothers and sisters in Christ partnering to build the Kingdom of God!

    Praying you stay strong in spirit, health, unity and purpose as you enter week 2!

    – Todd

    PS… you do know we are going to be expecting a live version of “Hold on to Jesus” …complete with dance moves when you get home 🙂

  5. SHELLEY!

    It has been wonderful to follow along your journey thus far. It brings joy to my heart to see all the smiling faces. We miss you terribly but find comfort in knowing you’re out there sharing all the love and beauty in your soul with so many others =) God bless you all…

    Sending you love from the labour floor!
    *sheila*

  6. Thank you for sharing what it’s like to worship in Enaleni! WOW! I am so glad that everyone enjoyed the KFC dinner and that you all are connecting so much with everyone there. Leslie- your blog really touched me. All to often I come home from work tired and just wanting some ‘me’ time but my daughter is so excited to see her Mommy. I am guilty of shrinking away from that. This past week God has been talking to my heart in the same way. So your post really made me cry because it was what I have been feeling while reading about your experiences in Swaziland. Thank you for being so candid and for opening my eyes.

    Monica- I sure do miss you girl. I prayed for you today so that you will be filled up to the brim again for this next week and also that you will leave Swaziland not with sadness that you are leaving but with happiness that you have truly made a difference. I know that you will make this week count again. Love you loads my friend… have a wonderful Monday!
    Keri xx

  7. Hi Steph, I know you enjoyed church today, the video was inspiring. I just want you to know I saw Katrina at the hospital today. She looks good good and her spirits are good as well. She misses you. I talked to Sue and mentioned that Katrina’s room needs some brightening up, so I have faith she’ll use some of that creative flare of hers and bring a little something to cheer up the space to make her stay a little more bearable. Her Aunt was also there and was talking about some simple window treatments. I brought a pretty plant in a crocheted (i think thats how you spell it) pot, signed from the family. I intend to go back again before you get home.

    Anyhow, enjoy your next adventure at the carepoint.

    Love you and miss you,
    Mom xoxo

  8. Thanks for keeping us all updated!
    Dad (Wayne) and Anna, Im so pumped about all your doing in Swaziland, Anna your blog post was awesome to read, it sounds like your having an amazing time doing amazing things!

    Zach

  9. I just had to quickly mention that as i was typing my last comment, Eles Skyped me thinking it was you online. What a weird experience as I’ve never skyped before and Eles just magically appeared before my eyes..LOL. I believe he was highly dissapointed to see it was Stephs mom and not you..he says he misses you and to skype him ASAP on friday when you get home.

  10. Hi Team,
    Wow I thought our worship set was great today, nothing compared to what you experienced. This morning they showed the little video of when you gave the sound system to the church and there wasn’t a dry eye in the place.
    We were reading over all the Princess Party comments and we just had a princess party for our princess last Sunday, only 14 kids, not 118. Different kind of party, feeling a little guilty.
    Leslie, we had Sean and Matthew over for supper tonight and they had a great trip together. Maggie says “Rye Ruv Rou Rommy” :0).
    Missing you and hoping to make it to the airport to hug you on Friday.
    Love Cal, Tara, Asher and Ellayna (and Oreo)

  11. Hey Amy, you know how I love to clap, could you hear me clapping with your video from the church service:) What a wonderful fellowship. I am inspired to read your blog. I have passed the site on to family and friends, Pepere wrote me to tell me how much he admires you. Uncle Wayne was very happy for you and commented how happy and well you look. So our Honeybun, we are praying for you and the whole Swazi team. We love you, God bless you all, Mom XOXOXO

  12. Hey Swazi team 2011.
    so good to watch the video of the sound system give-a-way today in church. words can’t explain…and I am sure being there was super cool!
    Also, I played drums today and I have high hopes that you will all bring back to our church some GOOD clapping skills on the right BEAT!!! haha…

    Anna, we sent you a little greeting that I hope you got. We had our Epic destination Unknown that turned out different than expected….who knew one was to call ahead to a mall when doing a scavenger hunt.!!!! the mall cops loved us! 🙂
    we were thinking of you and the team and taped a mini greeting.

    and yes, it was snowing as the service was on here today…thick wet and chunky snow…so enjoy that heat even if it’s super duper hot!

    Carolyn, you WILL come home tanned not to worry! 🙂

    Thanks for all the updates and insights. What a life changing time.
    Keep letting God use you and shape you.

    blessings to all and to all a good night.
    mandy

  13. Another amazing day. Worship is sure unreserved, different from us for sure. Exciting to see, wish we could a little more like that, but the Lord knows our hearts. Touching heart wrenching blogs. Bren we are still waiting for yours!!
    Had supper with the girls & Jordan tonight at BP, for Kier’s birthday. Lots of talking and laughing between the kids, Ward and I couldnt hear most of the conversation it’s so noisy in there, I had a nice dinner as it’s was my last supper before the beans/rice challenge. I still get a gaggy feeling in he back of my throat thinking about the last one. Got my beans and rice all prepared for the week. At least lunch’s & suppers will be a no brainer. Kier is pretty excited about her gift, she wasn’t too surprised though.
    Well hope you guys have a great day tomorrow, do you have anymore surprises for them at the carepoints? i guess you will be winding down getting ready for your difficult goodbyes or so longs until next time? Seems like you just got there.
    Praying for everyone to stay healthy and not too difficult a time leaving.
    looking forward to seeing you Bren,
    Love CHeryl

  14. Dad / Bryan
    It was great chatting with you today. Mom was so excited it was really cute. Don’t worry I’m taking good care of her, I’m even making her dinner on Tuesday. Hope you get some more sleep you seemed really tired on the phone, it kept freezing when you made funny faces. We will have to try again. I’m glad you’re safe, love you lots, Mandy

  15. So glad that you all had a wonderful day at church. It is very evident in the video that shyness is not a characteristic brought in to the church………I know that your first day at Bhobhokazi was a hard one for some but you have all been blessed with an abundant amount of strength and love to give for this journey. Dig deep, you can do it…….

  16. Wow, what an amazing time at church today for everyone at Enaleni! There is nothing like listening to an African church filled with songs of praise to our Lord. I loved hearing it again. Stay strong in this last week. I’m sure you’re getting tired. Pour it all out and don’t bring any of it back with you 😉
    Love,
    LeeAnn

  17. What a great time you must have had today – the service looked/sounded awesome. It’s so neat that we can see “live” how you spent your day with our Swazi friends. Praying for you as you begin another work day at the carepoints. Enjoy the time you have with those special kids – your love will need to last each one a long time.
    *David – Everyone – minus you:( – was home for dinner tonight. Joshua sat at your place and prayed for the team and our meal. We missed you being with us! XO

  18. Hi! What a busy weekend you have had! Us too here in St.Louis but I have been following your sharings. Beautiful. It is interesting how after reading them all together I hear of the crushing poverty and the eager love of each person you serve. I can see both of these reflected in the pictures. It is raw and challenging, painful and compelling. Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. What a mystery…
    Thank you all for sharing how you are being touched and formed in Swaziland.
    Amy, praying for you with love always…Janet

  19. Hi Bryan,
    It was really great to talk to you today on Skype. I am so glad that you sang abd DANCED today at church today can’t wait to see you do that at home (ha ha)The video was great but I could’t see you I would have paid money for that. Mandy came to church with me today and spent the day with ne. I went to care group tonight it was great. We prayed for you guys and talked a lot about you and Yvonne, love you guys.

  20. Hello Kim,
    It looks like you had an amazing day through the video I saw. Can’t wait to see you.
    Love, Hubby

  21. Anna, I so appreciate reading your thoughts on the blog today (and seeing you dancing with the children on the video!). Almost everyday I see friends or family who ask how you are doing in Swaziland and they are thrilled at this opportunity for you. Give your dad a hug from me and live your next few Swazi days to the fullest! Love mom.

  22. What an awesome day you guys must of had at church. each one of you is amazing. Leslie your love and passion is great, keep loving on those kids. I continue to pray for each one of you, but mostly for the people out there living everyday in realities that only seem surreal to us.
    Rick we should have planned this better for communication purposes and for telling you all the “that’s so sweet, I think I’m going to puke stuff”
    Oh well love you miss you and always praying for you and everyone.

  23. The joy and laughter while dancing and singing in worship is just amazing. Despite the hardship in their lives, they are truly joyful singing to God. WOW, and again double WOW.
    I’m watching the video at work at 6:20 AM. Even without sound (I don’t have a sound card) the true joy jumps out of the video. The internet services failed on us at home on Saterday morning and MTS couldn’t fix it. I said a few words I won’t repeat in this blog. I went through withdrawl, no updates from the Team to read. I felt disconnected.
    The photos of the princess & soccer day are so much fun to watch. I bet this special day will be a part of the children forever. Team, you did an amazing job, may God bless all of you. It’s a good thing nobody is around and I have a tissue box handy. I had to blow my nose like a trompet (or elephant) a few times, reading your blogs of the last two days, so touching with the emotional struggles and highlights. Thank you so much!

    Yvonne, thanks for the phone call & e-mail. Yesterday, Todd expressed in words what I’m feeling since a week: “I’m on hold until she comes back”. I do miss you.
    I’ll continue to pray for you (all of you) for strength when the time comes to say good bye. May God give you the strenght you need for the days ahead and continue to keep you save. With much love.

  24. Team its not to often that i’m stuck for words but i sure have been since being on this journey with you guys and gals.My house has also been flooded;with all of my own tears.Its now flowing down the river bank leaving polo park area &moving towards elmwood area.[ha;ha]Words cannot even begin to express what God is doing in my own heart;thoughts and life while reading all the stories and watching all the videos of our family members in Swaziland.The worship at Enelani [Riverwood East] is something to be greatly desired. I can see it already happening.Thanks again team for being the hands; the feet;the eyes;and especially the heart beat in Swaziland for all of us Riverwooders. Blessings to you all. Journey well.Praying 4 you all. Peace.Love thoughts and non ending Prayers.Talk to you soon.

  25. Hi Bryan, read it all again & listened to the singing–my, they know how to make the rafters ring!!!Get their exercise at the same time as well. We had a bit of snow today, lots of rain. Went to hear a great family sing at Oakbank.I’m sure you’ll have lots to share when you get home. Love & prayers for you all, Mom

  26. Hi Kim!

    So cool to see the pictures of the Princess Party!! I’m sure that was right up your alley! Thinking of you and praying for you as you experience so much and give so much of yourself to the people out there! Excited to hear all about it from you!

    Lindsay

  27. Watching the video at church yesterday about surprising Peter & Precious with the sound system was so amazing! I was all teary, and had a difficult time getting through the drama. 🙂 Every tear was well worth it!

    Please continue to hug and pour into the lives of everyone there. I love to hear about team members encouraging Sheila. I’d like to know if she’s being provided for as far as the ARV medication. Please let us know, since that’s something our group talked about this past week.

    Amy, I’m in tears again hearing about your beautiful letter. I have no words to express, so just praying in your direction.

    {{{{HUGS}}}} to all team members from our family. I love the hug song – you have to bring that back and show it to us at Kidzone!

    Still praying, still enjoying every word you write, and still cheering you on as you pour yourself into the lives of everyone around you.

    xw

  28. Yahooo, we’ve got internet again. What a fantastic church service must that have been. It even lifts up my heart, watching a glimpse of it.
    I just finished a 3/4 cup of rice. Yes, I started the Rice & Beans Challenge. No coffee this morning was the hardest so far. Oh, I guess this is the wrong blog for that comment.
    Anyway, I keep on praying & lifting you all up to God for strength and safety. Love E.

  29. Hi Team!!
    Wow! what a weekend! So excited that you got to love on those girls with the Princess party, and (Boy..I should’ve taken up Ron’s offer to sneak in a bag)…that soccer clinic looked amazing! and Bafana, Bafana coloured T’s to boot!! Yipee!!
    Thank you for sharing your experiences.
    There are no words to describe how wonderful a job that you guys are doing. Keep going strong. You guys are Fantastic!
    Many continued prayers and blessings as you complete your time there.

  30. Had to get my daughter in bed early last night so that she would be ready and well rested for school this morning; teeth brushed and in her pj’s when she came running down the stairs to say that she couldn’t go to bed yet because we hadn’t had a glass of warm milk and read the newest blog together yet. But it’s almost bed time I pleaded. Daddy, its tradition.
    Tonight, we are going to start getting ready sooner in the evening. Man, I’m a pushover. Sorry hon…love you…G

  31. wow! sounds like a great weekend! love the kids in their dresses and soccer shirts.

    looks like you guys are doing an amazing job & having a great time. hope the rest of the trip is just as good!!

    bre

  32. Well Swazi team you look like your having a great time. I wish I could have been at that church service to hear the singing and see the dancing! What spirit! Kim, was that our little sponsor girl in the front row with the purple flowered skirt and purple top? That’s the outfit we put in her bag, but I don’t know if it was changed to fit someone else. She sure was into the singing and actions!

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