Day 1 – Enaleni

Today has been a great first day! We started out with a great nights rest collectively as a team. The bus ride to Enaleni was filled with anticipation. Arriving at Enaleni felt like coming home again for many of us. It was so good to be there. There weren’t too many kids there when we arrived, but there was enough for us to be welcomed! The pre-schoolers were all there and we had a great time with them. It was really funny because immediately they began to sing all the songs we had taught them last year! Word for word….it was great to hear. It also shows us how meaningful our time is there because they really do value the things we do with them.

We greeted all the gogos and D-team and met the new leadership team group. It was so great to see them all again. As always it took a little bit of time to settle in before we began to get to work…..and pretty soon plenty of other kids began arriving. By the end of the day we think there was over 100 kids there with us. It was great!

Today we began work on a very exciting project….the garden / irrigation system. Things just don’t have the opportunity to grow in these areas of Swaziland with out some form of irrigation. We are so excited to be installing a state of the art irrigation system to handle a really good size of the carepoint to allow them to start growing vegetables. This is a really great step towards more self sufficiency. We will also need to build a fence around the garden in order to protect it from the rabbits and other animals. So the team worked really hard to begin digging the trenches in which all of the piping will be installed….and it was hard work….the ground we had to dig was very hard! Even the tractor that was there couldn’t get below the surface for us.

The team did great today….the children’s program went really well and the kids had fun as they learned about sharing God’s light with others around them. They learnt some new songs and spent the afternoon with our team playing games, doing crafts, hearing a story, and getting their pictures taken.

We ended our day saying goodbye and see you tomorrow to the kids as we watched them walk home as the sun was beginning to set. It was a great day of connecting….of reconnecting and continuing to invest in these children’s lives.

We are now all heading off to bed and hoping for a good rest as we head back in the morning to do some more digging and of course to see the children again! Thanks for all the comments….for joining us on our journey….it means so much to us hear. Below you can read some of the thoughts of a few team members and of course catch up with some of the photos from the day.

Blessings! Jon

FROM BONNIE IRWIN
hey people its me and just a note to say that no i will never get used to any skirts and so far for now no intentions of shopping or wasting any of God’s money on such earthly things.Today was such an incredable for me i met my precious girl Nomphilo and had such a hard time at the end of the day having to put her down and send her home down this old dusty road all by her self; then i did like Brenda said a very girly thing and painted tons of little fingers[] including boys] with nail polish [also a first for me] This trip is doing weird things to me. PRAY FOR ME.Gotta go 4 now. Thanks for your love; thoughts; prayers and support It means the world to me and Carolin.

FROM KAILEY HIEBERT
Hey Everyone, It has been a great first day. Its crazy to think I am here, would have never guessed. When we got to the care point I honestly wasn’t sure what to do, met some awesome people in charge of keeping the care point going and soon enough I had a child sitting on my lap. It was the coolest thing. The kids are even cuter than in pictures.

A couple people got to go on home visits today, Danielle and I got to go to my parents special friend, Thobelihle and her family. It was an awesome experience and got to bring a couple supplies for them. Her mom was so excited to see us. I showed a picture to her of my parents and I, recognized them from other pictures that were sent to them.

I want to thank everyone for their prayers and comments. Can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings.
Mom – I haven’t seen any big spider yet but enjoyed the reminder and comments. Can’t wait to tell you guys more. Oh and Shelley says hi to you and dad.

Love you guys lots and say Hi to everyone for me!

FROM ALLISON PENNER
What a day! I was feeling pretty awkward when we arrived at Enaleni, but the kids didn’t care. It wasn’t too long before I made a bunch of new friends. We spent a good part of the morning digging a trench for the irrigation system that is being installed, and after lunch we did the kids’ program. When the kids were arriving from school I was really hoping that my “special friend” Mthandazo would show up, and he did! I even got to walk him home, along with a friend from our team and a lady from the D-team who came to translate. We got to bring a gift for the family and meet his mother and some of his sibblings. I also got to see their cows, goats, dogs and chickens! All in all, it’s been a fantastic day that really feels more like three. Can’t wait to see what the rest of the trip will bring.

Lisa – your nail polish is a HIT! Even the boys love it.
Mallory – there is lots of quartz here, and I am bringing you some that I dug out of the trench.
Jordan – love you, and miss you lots! I will try facetime again tomorrow.
Thanks so much to everyone who is praying for us, and posting on the blog. Reading it is a real hilight of our day.

FROM AMY ROBERTSON
What an amazing first day! I can finally say I helped on a construction project. The possibility of cobras and scorpions didn’t stop me. It was so great to see so many familiar faces and catch up. It felt like a family reunion. I am truly blown away by how well everyone remembers our faces! After helping dig a trench in the morning, I ran the preschool craft. Man those kids love glitter! Thank you for praying for us. Traveling went so well, now just to conquer this jet lag! Mom and Dad – Love you guys! Beau – Love you and miss you!! Swaziteam 2011- I promise we are pouring all of our love into everyone for all of you

32 thoughts on “Day 1 – Enaleni

  1. It was so great to read the blogs today and journey with you all, It brings tears to my eyes each time that I get to hear the impact that our teams are bringing to these care points but most importantly the true GOD WORKS that is occuring there… I love the blogs from you all and cannot wait to continue on your journey. May god bless you and keep you all safe… hug the kids for me as well, one day I hope to meet them all in person. Much love and blessings Nadine!

  2. Sounds like you had a great first day!!! Please let the children and the families know that we are praying for them. We are praying for all you that not only are you a blessing but that you will be blessed.

    Bonnie: good to see you in a skirt, and it shows how much you are willing to follow God’s leading in your life if your willing to wear a skirt!!!

    Life in Winnipeg is good, the weather was sunny today but still chilly. May you all have an experience of a lifetime.
    Blessings,

    Karen Braddock

  3. How exciting to see all the pictures, I saw quite a few faces I recognized, as well as some of the children too!!!!…just kidding. I did recognize many of their beautiful faces. They look so healthy and happy, though I understand that’s not the case for all of them. Well team, I expect you will have your hearts twisted into knots and some will break. I feel my heart filling up just living it through the pictures. Thanks for sharing your day and your thoughts with us, Bren, hope we don’t have wait too long for yours. And Bonnie, you don’t ever have to wear a skirt again, if you don’t want to, unless Pastor Todd implements a dress code.

    Get good rest for Day 2.

    Love Cheryl

  4. Hi guys,
    It was so good to read your posts and see the pictures! Bryan now that you have NO hair you really need to wear a hat!!! Bryan I thought for sure I would see a picture of you on the tractor! So glad you are all doing well! It is really chilly here and might snow later
    I guess that is what I get for taking my snow tires off.
    But at least it is sunny!
    Hey Bryan eat some chicken dust for me.
    Miss you Bryan but I am fine.
    Praying for you all. Hug each other as well as those kids!

  5. BRYAN! do you really want to get a burnt head like todd did! wear a hat! anyways- cheers go out to all of you…. AND the joyfull kids! wow- thanks for the vivid writing… Bonnie you do me in with laughter with your poses! Thanks for the hard work gang…. and for being willing for God to work on and move your hearts during this time of new expereinces… praying for you! ps 139

  6. Bonnie you look awesome in a skirt and PINK!! I loved seeing the picture of you and Carolin was that with your special friend! Definitely one for a frame!! I loved seeing the parachute game Carlolin, looks like you were having a great time too and Debbie looks like you were having fun with the ball! I have been praying for Madeline and your family while you are away. I know that God will take care of them and if Madeline is at church early on Sunday I will be sure to pray with her! she’s such a wonderful girl!! Bryan I think that you should listen to Cheryl and make sure that you don’t burn your head lol! Nadine and I are going to go visit Cheryl tomorrow to make sure she is doing alright! Those children look so awesome! I can’t wait to hear more from you all and see the crafts that the kids make from Kidzone! I know that Elliot was very excited to learn that something he has given to would help kids in swaziland! I am praying that the holy spirit will guide you all to share the special gifts that He has given you. May your body’s be strong for the work that needs to be done on the irrigation system and your hearts be filled with the joy and love that you bring these children. The fact that they recognized some of you goes to show that what you do at the care points mean the world to them. I also pray for protection on you all as a team. May God keep you all…. until tomorrow take care Swazi 2012. xo

  7. Prayers and blessings to you all! I love seeing the smiles on the kids faces and all the hugs. Swazi 2012 team, keep smiling, hugging and showing God’s love to everyone there. Your church is standing behind you.

  8. Wow, thank you for the wonderful pics! I think the tone for your mission has been set after such a great first day. May God continue to bless you all as you carry out His plan for the folks in Enaleni. It is so awesome to see how He can touch your lives and have it spread from Winnipeg all the way to Swazi, through Him all things are possible.
    Amy, we love you! Keep spreading the glitter and God’s word for these kids.
    Love, Mom & Dad. Wags and meows from your 4 legged furry fans. xoxo
    Can a person really have too much glitter? Just saying:)

  9. Hey team! Props for making it through day one! 🙂 Judging by the pictures and the blog, it looks/sounds like all of you had a great day. I love the pictures and am so pleased that everyone’s best friend S’phetho has already become a fixture in the picture stream!
    Bonnie – the picture of you holding the tp cracked me up! Also, I’m really glad you finally got to meet Nomphilo and that she is SMILING! 🙂 But, really, how could she not? She is blessed with you as her special friend!
    Hope you all are resting peacefully now and had a moment to reflect on where God was today and how He showed himself to you. It definitely takes some time to absorb all of it. Praying that tomorrow is another incredible day.

  10. wake up little suzie, wake up… So glad you all had a great 1st day and Kailey I can’t believe you got to meet Thobelihle already – hope you took lots of pictures! Are you finding stuff you can eat?

    Well done team! All the kids are sooo cute – how can you not want to hug them all. Way to go on the trench – with all that hard work and hard ground it looks like you got quite a bit done.

    Loved all the pictures! What an amazing adventure!! Thanks for taking time to keep us in the loop.

  11. Amy and the Swazi crew,
    So proud of all of you. I wish I could be there helping make a difference in the community and in the hearts of all those you touch with Gods grace. I love the pictures. I have been checking the blog daily to see any of the new updates and to remind myself of what a difference a small group of people (with God in their hearts) can do for a whole community. Amy I love you so deeply and think about you everyday. I miss you. Xoxox

    Good Bless,

    Beau

  12. SAAAAMMMMMMMMYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!!!!
    You got to meet Fakazile!!! That just made my night!! I even woke Carson up to get him to come to the computer
    and look at the pictures!! I hope you are soaking up every moment and being your beautiful, bold self 🙂 Give Fakazile lots of hugs for us. We are praying for you and the team every night. Love ya.

    Thinking of you all, Swazi Team. Wonderful pictures Jon…always appreciate those. Cheadle’s we miss you too and hope your time in Swazi together is impacting for you as a couple in so many ways.

    Blessings team. Keep encouraged.

    Could you photo-shop me into a picture too??!! 🙂

    ANGIE on behalf of THE PICKEL CREW

  13. Hi Bryan – it’s so great, being able to follow the daily blog. That tractor reminds me a bit of ours, only bigger. Might I add my voice to the pleas to wear a hat — you wouldn’t want blisters among your bleached fuzz!!! Am praying for you all. Love, Mom

  14. Wow–what a great first day. loved the pictures. I know the Lord is using each of you–thankyou for giving of your love on behalf of all of us at home. Praying for you. Jon if you see our Phila give him our love and take his picture for us. Love you to Jon (Mom) i send my love to all of you. Sue

  15. Oh My! Now I REALLY want to be back there with all those familiar faces! So good to see how much they all have grown, some missing new baby teeth, and so glad to see “miss crazy hair” with a purple barrette holding it back a bit! Beautiful pictures as always huney! and thanks for the ones posted of our little Lukhetfo and Thembuso! I do agree that you all gave them such a great start to your visit with bubbles to boot! Monica, I’m watching out for your house and was so glad to see a pic of you so thurally soaking up some swazi love! To Bonnie and Carolin, when I saw the pic of you both outside the “long drop” I shuddered and was so thankful that I could do my business in a clean bathroom, with no flies and with fresh toilet paper! hehe! Don’t miss that at ALL! 🙂 Shelley, say hi to Elliot for me and enjoy the front seat bus rides with new partners! Get a great sleep tonight you all! Love you Jon!
    Kelly

  16. Love the pictures! I was begining to think that Carolyn Petkau wasn’t there. I haven’t seen any pics of her until now!
    Bonnie, I know a good place for skirts! Lol!
    Glad to hear you are working & playing hard!
    Blessings!

  17. Hey Danielle, looks like you are having a good time. It was good to see a picture of you working so hard. I hope you have a great day tomorrow. We miss you and think of you often. Love you!

  18. Hey Doogie!! Looks like you’re working hard already! But where’s your cap?? You have no hair to protect that bald head of yours, be careful!! (I’m your mother…I can say that!) Being there must be absolutely amazing again. We are thinking of you lots and so happy for you that you can be there making a difference in these little childrens lives. Looking forward to many stories and pictures! Love you!!

  19. Those pictures are so adorable! In fact I’d love to do an artwork of one of the children. Would that be alright?
    Wow it looks like you guys are having so much fun!!

  20. Make Magpie! There is no greater scene then seeing how much those kids love you. What a blessing you are to the group, to the kids and to Jon and Carolyn. You are the rock that helps to hold that group together and watching the children love on you time and time again is just such a testament to the incredible person that you are. Thanks for opening yourself again to the ministry. Wow!

    Jon…not sure if if they are just you or if Doug and Brenda are contributing but the pictures really do get better every year. Well done man! Please keep them coming! Thanks for the bird’s eye view. i almost feel like I am back there. Almost…

    Hey Jack…missing you here at the kitchen table and at the computer in the office. Hope you are enjoying yourself. I know we will love to hear all about it when you get back!

    Thanks team for your time, your hands and feet and for your love. You are doing such incredible things there and while most kids don’t vocalize it, don’t ever doubt what an impact you are making on those kids. It is so apparant in their eyes. Take it all in because it goes way too fast! Praying with you…G

  21. Hey team! It sounds like you all had quite the first day at Enaleni!! I thoroughly enjoyed the blog today….I laughed…I cried…..happy tears of course! I am definitely missing being there this year but so glad you guys are able to love on the kids (thanks Amy) and work on those awesome projects! Shelley – All of us at Home Group are thinking and praying for you….miss your smile and laugh!! LeeAnn – Love the picture of you and Busi 🙂 I hope Adam has gotten some time in with her too haha! Bryan – Keep sharing that great heart of yours as I know you will…happy to see that camera around your neck….I know you will take some awesome shots ! So great to see many familiar faces in the pictures and you guys smiling as you enjoy the day….maybe my S’bongiseni and Ciniso will make an appearance in those pictures at some point 🙂 Hopefully you are rested up and ready to start another amazing day that I am sure awaits you! Praying for you all and can’t wait to see more of the adventures you will have!!

    Rachel

  22. So happy that you all arrived safely and that you had a great first day! Just wanted to drop a quick note to let you know that we are following your journey and praying for you daily.
    Bonnie, Evie has been so excited to check for pictures of you every day and she and I pray for you specifically each night at bed time! God bless you and make you a blessing during this time—I pray that you will bless the children there as much as you bless Evie’s little life each week!
    Krista:)

  23. Hey guys! FINALLY got to a computer to catch up on all of the blog tonight. Looks like you’re having a total blast! I too am missing it there big time! Seeing all those familiar faces I can just FEEL the Love you guys are recieving. I know that God will use each and everyone of you there in His own special way. Thank you all so much for being there for the rest of us here. And Jon & Carolyn….well…you guys Rock! ttyl

    p.s. whoever is sharing a room with Mr. Toots…I feel your pain…sorry Brian 🙂

  24. What a treat it is for us all to be able to follow along. The photography and story telling is fantastic and has really ‘captured’ the moments for us back home. And, Dodie, I agree – your church is behind you all….loving you and praying for you every step of the way! Amy Roebuck…..Senators 3-2 tonight!

  25. Deborah..looks like you had a great time with those kids. I love seeing the pictures and reading about what you all are doing.
    I’m so happy you are having this awesome experience.

  26. Hey Team! Each of you look absolutely radiant and like you belong there! Just want to take a moment to say “Thanks!” Thanks for keeping the dream alive! Thanks for travelling half way around the world to invest in people who need the love, encouragement and resources you brought with you! Thanks for letting God use you to make a difference…and thanks for leading our church further into compassion and justice!

    i have to confess i’m just a wee bit jealous…but i think it’s in a good way. Each year we send a team i’m taken back to the very moment that our connection with Swaziland was conceived in my soul almost 6 years ago in a prayer. It’s kind of hard watching it grow from a distance…and yet i’m so excited! i’m so excited that each of you get to meet these precious brothers and sister. These partners in Kingdom building…and these amazing kids. AND…i’m so excited they get to meet you and be touched by your love and hard work.

    So…work hard! Dig deep! Leave everything you have at these care points and don’t hold back!

    Carolyn…i am so honoured to be your husband and i’m so incredibly proud of the way you serve, give your life away and lead!

    – t

  27. I think I have something stuck in my eye. Seeing those kids makes me so happy! They’ve grown SO much! I love the pic of you laughing with Busi LeeAnn. Such a great pic…i can hear her giggle too…best little giggle in Swaziland:)

    Bonnie, Carolin and Jon we missed you at Food Bank. But don’t worry (cause i’m sure you were) you guys missed nothing, it was dead.

    Jon-how many grapetizers have you had?

    Can’t wait to read about day 2!!

  28. Hey Allison! I’m sooooooo happy you got to meet Mthandazo!!!! I miss you tons, but knowing that your time there is so exciting and meaningful makes it worth it. Still getting use to the time difference and when to expect your texts and facetime calls 😦 That first day must have just been wonderfully overwhelming for you and the whole team.. I’ve been praying lots for all of you. As I was thinking and praying for you guys 1 Corinthians 13:13 came to mind. I can’t imagine some of the difficult and painful realities of life for the beautiful people of Swaziland that you guys have and will come face to face with in your time there. As I’m sure the children there have already proved, faith, hope, and love are stronger then those realities. You are part of something much bigger then what you see happen in two weeks. What you have to give might seem small, but in the hands of Jesus it will be huge! Thanks for representing Riverwood and more importantly God’s relentless love for the poeple of Swaziland!

  29. Looks like you all had a wonderful first day!
    Monica, I love the picture of you – you look very happy! I hope you don’t encounter any tarantulas 😉
    Mom, you look like you are in your glory surrounded by all those kids. And I wouldn’t expect anything different! Love you.

  30. Love the pics they are awesome! It makes me feel that I am there with you in a way. I also love the pic with LeeAnn and Busi it makes me want to giggle as well. Way to work the pic axe Adam.
    I look forward to the blog everyday, it’s kinda the highlight of my day. My prayers continue to be with you throughout your journey.

  31. Bonnie, you look terrific in your skirt and Joshie is so glad to share you and your beautiful smile with some other kids for you to love on.

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