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….
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…
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.
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.
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)
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,
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…