Bhobokazi Day 1

It’s Friday night – 10:40 p.m. Swazi time and our team is frantically preparing 400 candy bags for tomorrow’s Carnival Party at Enaleni, a party day with both carepoints. There is lots of laughter and great team work going on as I write.

Today was our first day at Bhobokazi. A carepoint once called the “forgotten” carepoint is becoming the “beloved” carepoint right before our eyes. A once desolate piece of land, now has a wonderful playground and has become a place of great enjoyment for the children (there’s even a sand box … now we just need to get them some sand toys) The shelter we started last year, now has a cement floor and today some of the team worked at laying the bricks for the walls. Bhobokoz has definitely become a brighter place … one of hope, love and safety for the children. Thank you Riverwood for your contributions to helping to create a beloved place for our precious Bhobokazi kids.

We had a great day with the kids; saw many familiar faces and some new ones. From “station” to “station” the kids and our team traveled in groups experiencing the truth that God shines light into our darkness (2Samuel 22:29) through songs, a hands on Bible story experience, games that brought about much laughter and a craft to remind them to let their light shine. Through all of these activities it is our prayer that they would have a new found reliance on God to shine His light into the dark times of loneliness, sadness and fear that is often the reality of the children here.

One of the blog comments we read this evening said ” We will never know the whole impact that’s being made, so if all we are seeing is the tip of the iceberg -I’m liking what I see. And I’m going to ask when I get to Heaven for God to show me the full effect of what He’s been doing these past few years in Swaziland.” We too are loving what we are seeing first hand. One of the “tips of the iceberg” we are witnessing right now that I am so excited to share with you all is that one of the boys from Bhobokozi who has been a part of the carepoint since it began, has now been chosen to become a part of something new here – The Leadership Academy. He is currently being trained to become one of the Discipleship Team members of the carepoint. He was helping along with us today, and at the end of the month he will be leaving to go to South Africa for Bible School Training for 8 months. Once he returns he will become one of the Disciplers. Does it get any better than that? Our sponsorship as a church, the sponsorship and the prayers prayed for this young man by his “special friends” at Riverwood are having an impact!

I am so proud of our team! They are giving themselves fully to the mission at hand; loving as Jesus loves!

Blessings to you all back home! Thank you for your prayers and words of encouragement. We read them every evening!


P.S. Bonnie may not be returning with us. She received a marriage proposal today and told the gentlemen he didn’t even have to provide any cows! Quite a deal as the going rate is 15 cows per bride!



Friday Evening, April 20, 2012 – 11:10 PM (Swazi time)

Well, it has been four whole days since our arrival here in this beautiful country and there are a lot of things to process.  Too many to list here, and many too personal to speak about until I have had a little time to process them and talk to God about what they mean.  For those interested in a sports play-by-play summary of the action to date here are some of the highlights that have been memorable so far:

a) Not sleeping for 36 hours from Winnipeg to Swaziland (was a little insane when I got off the plane?  Maybe just a touch the voice in my head keeps telling me that I will be OK though)

b) Being on 3 different continents and 5 countries in two days.  Very cool!

c) Seeing the country of Swaziland for the first time.  Words cannot describe the first impression.

d) Meeting our special friend Bussie  for the first time.  What an absolute joy and privilege to see what God has done in that little girl’s life.

e) Seeing my wife reunited with Bussie for the first time in two years.  Again no words are fitting for that one.

f) Watching this fantastic team gel together and work with the children and people at these carepoints.  These are extraodinary people and they have not for one instant filed to delight, surprise, impress and humble me with their attitudes of service and love for every person here.

g) The marvelous leadership of our team (no bribe was solicited for that comment).  John and Carolyn have led us with grace, compassion, love, strength and honour.  God has placed the right people in charge.

h) Getting used to how some things in Africa are done differently.  For example when I was teaching if I had said that I was planning a lesson about God’s light that would have culminated in sending 100-200 children between the ages of 2-13 off into the dry bush with a bag full of candles and matches at the end of the day with very little parental supervision it is doubtful that I would have gotten a green light on that.  But hey, here it works – Nobody panic, Carolyn and John will be happy to answer all your questions when we get home 😉

It has been an interesting trip so far to say the least.  One of the things that is apparent to me as a first timer is that I viewed this place with a certain element of myth.  I have heard since the begging of the carepoints about the places, the people and the children.  I am learning about the difference between hearing and seeing right now.  Is there a great deal of brokeness here? Yes there is.  Is there much more that can be done to help?  Absolutely!  But as i have pondered the meaning of things over the past few days something is becoming clear to me.  God is working here!  People at Riverwood have made a huge impact here by our support.

Do not think that this is a call for us to hang up our hats, pat ourselves on the bag and say, “well, glad we got that all sorted out.”  As I said there is still so much to be done here and we can, and I am sure will, help to accomplish even greater things.  But honestly, what has amazed me is to see these places and watch the joy, love and zest for life that I have seen in the people here!  These places are thriving with life absolutely full of God’s presence!  It is so encouraging to have seen and known the history of these carepoints and then be here to see what God has worked through the love, prayers, dedication and service of our church and the truly amazing people who serve the Lord here in this country!

Be encouraged everyone!  God is doing remarkable things here and you are a part of it.  I give Him all the glory for all that is being accomplished for His Kingdom in this country  and many, many thanks to everyone in our Church Family who is supporting His work here.

That is all for now.   Thanks to all who support us in prayers!  Also thank you to all who write on the Blog.  It is a huge encouragement please keep them coming.  If anyone sees my kids this Sunday please give them a huge hug (make sure you know them first though) and tell them that their Daddy misses them and can’t wait to see them soon.

Cheers everyone!!




Hey all. I was truly excited as we approached Bhobokazi this morning. I couldn’t wait to see the painted kitchen and see the shade roof back up where it belonged. What I saw was so much more. Standing in the field where we had picked so many weeds was a beautiful ply structure.  It had all the fun stuff like slides and ladders. Even a bridge for swinging under. On the end was a pair of great swings.  The roof of the shade structure was gleaming in the sun and there was already a new concrete floor under it.

The reunion with the make’s and gogo’s was more than I could have dreamed of as Grace greeted us with hugs and hand holding as she told us how blessed they were to have us there. Truly I think it was the other way around. I set to work getting all the photos i would need for the slide show story of this care point. It didn’t take long for the yard to fill up with kids. I new a lot of them by face and it was so cool to see how much they had grown.

I want to jump ahead to the best part of MY day. Shelley came to where I was working and told me they were profiling “my boy”. I was actually scared as I went to meet him. I just wanted to hug him but also didn’t want to scare him either. With the help of a D- Team member I was able to have a very basic conversation with him. We talked about school and sports. I asked him who his hero was and he told me it was a famous “football” player on a national team. He also told me that he wanted to be a Police Officer when he grew up although he didn’t know why. I told him I would pray for him every day and if there was something I could pray for him. His reply was that he want to be able to finish school.
Throughout the day I would give him a “thumbs up” and bump fist and after a while he started to smile whenever I came close. Near the end of the day I asked him to hold a Bible for me for a shot I needed. After we were done we Thumbed and bumped and I gave him a hug. I just about broke into tears (a big no-no) when he hugged me back and gave me a big smile.
At the end of the day I was able to go to his home to meet his family. He lives with his Grandfather and Grandmother and at least six other kids. I was told he only has three siblings. Through our interpreter I was able to greet them and give them the gifts we had brought. Beans, corn floor and other basics. His response was to tell me that he didn’t have enough words to express his thanks. He said I was a gift from God and a blessing to them. I promised them that I would pray for my “special friend” and would pray for them as well. It was hard to leave them there but I know that God will be looking after them because i know he answers prayers. I will post pictures when I can and take more when I see him again tomorrow.
Thanks again for your prayers because without them we would not have the strength to go on.
Bryan P

19 thoughts on “Bhobokazi Day 1

  1. Oh guys,
    I cryed through that whole blog! I am so thankful for a team that is so caring and loving each other! Bryan I am so glad you got to meet our little man. I was praying all day the it would go well! Praise the Lord it did. Looks like some bricks hot laid? And about tomorrow ATV’s for the kids really Bryan did you have a part in that? Take lots of pictures to show your friends at Mb ATV Assoc. I know you guys are going to be so excited to see those kids Atv’s. Just lay lots of lovin on them and enjoy That chicken dust.
    I will be praying for safety tomorrow too!
    Love you all!
    Bryan can’t wait for pictures so glad you are getting to use your camera!
    Cheryl p

    It is so amazing to hear the vibrancy, joy and enthusiasm coming from the group. What a privilege you have to sacrifice in making such a difference and in so doing experience the depth and quality of relationships that God wishes to be normal for Christian communities. May you never forget that as we learn to love and serve each other we “Grow into Him” in ways that are impossible any other way.

    Scripture says that as every part (person) works well, (cherished and supported) we create a temple for the presence of God to be manifest amongst us. Serve well, grow in youR devotion to each other and Him and may God give you a new understanding of His presence that changes your lives forever.

    And thank you so much for welcoming Stephanie as a member of the team. Your kindness to her is so deeply appreciated – thank you and may God bless every act of kindness you show to each other with a deeper understanding of His presence.

    You are truly blessed to be working so well together.

    1. Mom, no more siblings!! Glad you are safe and happy, that you look so happy. But seiously, no more siblingS!!!

  3. How is Kailey doing with the gluten? Hi everyone!!!!!!! Praying blessings on your time in the carepoints and reading every blog!

  4. Dear Allison,
    We were eagerly waiting for today’s posting, and so happy to see you. It must be lovely to be with these children who seem so happy for the love and attention that you are giving. Of course the implications for eternity are very real. it’s wonderful to be able to keep up with your team in this way, and it looks as if everything is being done in such a good way. We love all the photos, especially the ones with you in them! It’s amazing how high those kids will go on a swing!!

    Love, Mom and Dad

  5. A moving update today! Congratulations 2012 Swazi team. You truly are being used by God and are such a blessings to us back here at Riverwood. Keep smiling, loving and hugging in the name of Jesus!

  6. Can’t get over how beautiful each and every child is! The joy on their faces is abundant. Kailey, hope you are eating well and feeling amazing. You look like you are having the time of your life. I (Laurie) am incredibly jealous of the experience of being there and am living vicariously through you! Maybe next time I’ll go with you! Sweet dreams! Miss you!

  7. OH Bryan your post seriously gave me goose bumps and I can not wait to hear the stories you have to tell! I am so very happy that you got to meet your special friend! We had a wonderful visit with Cheryl last night. I truly love you both so much! God’s love shines through you both so very much! Adam although I don’t know you thank you so much for sharing what it’s like to be a first timer! So glad that it’s exceeding your expectations! Hearing about the carepoints and all the wonderful things that are happening there! Wow! Carolyn I loved hearing that one of the boys is going to be part of the D-Team!Yeah God!! I will miss seeing you at Kidzone this week but know how much you will enjoy celebrating with Jumbo and Kriek in Enalani! Praying for continued strength, health and that God will be with you all tomorrow as you unleash the children on ATV’s!! God bless you all xox

  8. Wow! What a fantastic update! Again, pictures are worth a thousand words and tell a story like nothing else can…thank you for sharing these incredible pictures. I get choked up thinking about the incredible way that God is using each of you and the love that He is showering on these kids. God’s hand is truly in all that you do! Love the example of the boy who will be training for the Discipleship Team…I love that God is taking the seeds of His love, grace and truth that you are planting there and extending them far beyond what we could ever imagine! We continue to hold the team in our prayers…

    Rena & Rod

  9. Thanks for the update! Ryan – We have so enjoyed reading about what you have been up to over the past several days, seeing pictures of you interacting with the children and we want you to know that we are all praying for you and your time in Swaziland. We miss you and we can’t wait to hear all your stories and about how God is working in and through you as you serve!

    Jerry and Chrissie (and the rest of the small group!)

  10. Love all the smiling faces kids and grown ups alike. Who knew painting nails would be such a highlight. The swing set looks like its well used and enjoyed. Ryan I have to say that picture of you sitting at the table with one of the kids is so beautiful. You’ll have to get a copy to keep. Kailey my heart is so full knowing you are right where you are supposed to be and your smile says it all. You are all so precious thank you for being such great ambassadors for Riverwood and sharing Gods love. Miss u t love u lots. Mom

  11. Hey Team!

    Great job! Thanks Carolyn, Adam and Bryan for your latest entries! Fantastic!

    “Thank you!” to the photographers and blog-uploaders as well!!!

    Reading of your progress and impact inspires my soul today. Sorry for all the reminiscence, but hearing about the latest additions and developments (Leadership Academy, swings, floors, play structures, kitchens, irrigation systems, sand boxes!!!) takes me back 5 years ago when Enaleni was an un-fenced patch of ground with a wood-slat shack for a church and Bhobhokazi was a fallen-down mud-brick kitchen with one wall and some scrap tin for a roof.

    Back then we saw a lot of sunken eyes, sullen faces and hungry kids.

    Love the little-bit-of-life we have had the privilege of bringing to our friends in Swaziland.

    Tomorrow at church we will corporately celebrate what you and your team are doing and pray some more for you.

    Hope your ‘party day’ was awesome!

    Get plenty of rest tonight and have a blast at church tomorrow! (Shoot…getting all choked up just thinking about the singing and celebrating and sharing and all-church lunch that you will experience tomorrow!)

    OK. Can’t see the screen anymore. Time to go.

    Lead on team!


  12. Good morning/night

    It’s saturday morning, I’m getting ready to go look at some flooring for my basement. In my world my basement is my major focus these days, though in light of what I have read lately, I am embarrassed to say it.
    Adam your blog brought tears to my eyes. In fact, most of the blogs are bringing tears to my eyes.
    I am figuring out there are more photographers there, than Brenda and Jon. The photos are amazing. I can’t wait to see one of my “special friend”Nosipho” and my son Mitch’s Nompilo.
    Carolyn, the picture of you with the child in the blue and white stripped shirt is stunning. It would be a keeper to enlarge.
    I love the photo of the little boy hanging upside down on the monkey bars. All the photos are amazing and again I say there is something different going on in your faces that is being captured in the picture. I know now what the love of Christ looks like……………………..You guys!!

    Bren, we are taking the girls and Chad, Mitch & Hailey out for dinner tonight to Boston Pizza, so that should be fun.
    Would have liked to do it a little closer to Britt’s birthday, but with everyone’s schedule it’s not possible. Chad’s Mom is cooking her dinner on Thursday, Kier was invited too but her and Gus have class. I’m sure Chad will be taking her out on Friday. Kier and Gus were here last night. Gus washed my floor. I’m sending you a Shamwow absorbing cloth. I’ll explain when you get home

    Have a nice evening and restful sleeps. Praying that God’s will be done while you are there and even when you are not.

    Love Cheryl

  13. Ryan and Team
    I have been checking the web site 2x a day.It is wonderful seeing all the good everyone.
    is doing. I have enjoyed following all the pictures ..from London till now.Keep up all the good work and keep well

  14. Hey guys! Great to hear everyone is doing well. Dido to what everyone else said. Ha! Just wanted to say that we continue to pray for your health, safety, love, experiences, and your commitment to God in your walk with Him in this. We’re really excited to hear how your party day went, as well anxious to hear how your day at church goes tomorrow. I KNOW you’re going to have an amazing day. It’s Awesome!

    ps Any wedding bells yet Bonnie?

    Love you’s!


  15. Way to go team! Thanks for being Jesus with skin on. Keep up all the hard work, our prayers are with you as you continue on this journey.

    The pics continue to be awesome and a really great way to help our kids understand what is going on in Swazi and the type of place our special friend lives.
    Hey Adam and LeeAnn just wanted to let you know that our kids prayed that you would be safe and sound last night and keep asking lots of questions about what it is that you are doing. Since we know your kids we will give them a big hug for you both tomorrow.

    Lots of Love from the Lozie clan

  16. Dad (Bryan), I’m so glad things are going so well. It’s nice getting to read all about it and see the beautiful photos! Keep up the good work, we can’t wait to hear all about it when you get home.

  17. hey Brenda M , The blogs are touching,funny and uplifting. Everyone is doing such a great job. What a spirt filled journey. Praying for everyones safety, health and enlightened hearts doing GODS work……sheree h.

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