Bhobokazi Day 2

Well….Bhobokazi day 2 has been completed.  It was a truly great day.  When we first stepped foot outside today we realized it truly was not summer in Swaziland.  Today was a cooler day….and a bit rainy….but not too bad in the end.  It just spit a few times in the morning and then began raining harder as soon as our time at the carepoint was finished.  It was kind of refreshing to have a cooler, overcast day today.

Things at Bhobokazi were markedly different today in that the children were much more open and free with us.  It was so fun.  I think having the party day really helped to show them we are there to truly play with them and to have fun.  Swazi culture is much more reserved and sometimes that means the children don’t quite know that they are allowed to let loose….well, today they did!

We had an absolute blast connecting and playing with them today.  The children’s program went great.  There was so much joy, laughter, smiles and play today.  It truly was one of those days for me that I’ll remember just because I loved seeing how free the kids at Bhobokazi were…..this was probably the most I have ever seen this to date.

The team did great….we brought out a bunch of games included velcro catch, UNO, Skipbo, Snakes and Ladders, bubbles, skipping ropes….and anything else we could find.  It was truly a day of our team interacting to the highest potential there and there is no doubt in my mind that the kids there felt valued, loved and just simply accepted.

Lots of pictures taken today….I’m uploading more than usual and there is a pile more I don’t have time to upload.  Lots of memories made today.  We are sad that tomorrow is our last day at Bhobokazi!  Feels like it has come too fast.  But we will take a lot of joy in handing out the care packages and the umbrellas and blankets to all the children.

All in all a great day!  It is well past bedtime and I will leave you with the team posts and a pile of pictures to hopefully share our experiences today.

Blessings!
Jon

 

TEAM POSTS

Riverwood, you are awesome! Thank you for all the encouragement and sharing this journey with us on the blog. It really means a lot. I’m not sure if everyone knows what we do with the blog but every night we gather as a team in anticipation to hear from our family and friends back home. Everyone has been cheering us on saying we’re doing such a great job but I really feel like we’re just representing a larger body of people who deserve big cheers and thank you’s for supporting our Swazi friends. Thank you for sponsoring the children to feed and care for them. Thank you for sending letters and pictures to show you care. Thank you for the “I love you’s” and supporting the team every year so your ‘special friend’ in Swaziland can get a couple weeks of hugs, smiles and fun! For those sponsoring a child at either care point, your child knows your name! You ask any child what their ‘special friend’ in Canada’s name is and they will tell you in their quiet, sweet voice. They probably have your pictures you sent too.

Thank you to Pastor Todd for sharing this passion with us and for the ‘original four’ who first journeyed hear and chose Enaleni. This has been an amazing 5 year journey and it’s just the beginning of a very long friendship. I can already see a shift in our relationship with our Swazi brothers and sisters as the major construction projects slow down and we enjoy the familiarity and extra time to invest in relationships with them.

The people of Enaleni church love you Riverwood! At church yesterday they had so many prayers and praise for Riverwood. Not just the team but for everyone at Riverwood! I have heard and experienced stories that would have been hopeless and had devastatinng endings if it were not for the Christians at Enaleni church, the missionary staff on the ground here and Riverwood’s support. God is doing amazing things through all of us and it is a great privelege he has given us. So thank YOU Riverwood! Keep up the good work in being obedient to God’s command of caring for the widows and orphans!
GooGoo (my new Swazi name given to me by one of the Bhobokazi girls) AKA LeeAnn

 

ALLOOO RIVERWOOD! Cassie, you should know, i would probably not be posting if you hadn’t written on the blog. Sooo, thank you? maybe?
Well we just finished our team meeting and writing out all the personal cards for the children. It was a hoot! Today was our second day at Bhobokazi and it was amazing. I was in a bit of a funk yesterday but with all the prayers from everyone i was completely re-energized and in good spirits today. I felt like i made more than a few connections with the children. I’m sure i’m not the first to be tempted to take them home. In the past week and a bit, i have been known to have a child in my arms.. mmmmm.. 80% of the time. There were two wee little girls (2 yrs old?) that touched my heart especially. I had started to connect with them the first day but i had an awful hard time getting them to laugh and smile (they made me work real hard for it) but today i was able to play with the two of them together and they would not stop laughing, chasing, and running from me. It was the perfect way to end the day 🙂 I’m hoping tomorrow goes by extremely slowly and please pray that I can soak up every minute!

And just a little tidbit, for those of you who know me well, i am deathly afraid of chickens. Wellll if you haven’t noticed in pictures, they are EVERYWHERE in Bhobokazi. They hop through the fence and don’t leave. After many close encounters I can say I am somewhat overcoming my fear. By the end of today they barely even phased me. Yayyyyyy, who knew that would ever happen!  Thank you all!
❤ Sam

 

Dear friends, family and Riverwood church. Thank you so much for your love and prayers. You are such a blessing to me. I feel like time and time again God breaks me. These people have found away into my heart. It will be very hard to leave here. To share one story with you would be a challenge as there are many stories. Like on the first day here at Enaleni, when I saw a group of kids playing on this cement pad. I thought to myself I should make a hopscotch. But do we have sidewalk chalk? Nope. Time to improvise a rock should do. Did not show up so clean so one of the girls found what looked like a piece of charcoal. She outlined it all for me. Great! Then before you knew it we were all playing. I was going to offer lots of grace as they were all new to the game but they would have none of that. Your rock was on the line you were out. They took the game very seriously. It was lots of fun to play with them. Then one of them said do you know another game? Hmm yeah do you know how to play tag? No they said. So we played that for a bit. But then they taught me one of their own games. The game required me to lift my right leg and have a ball bounce under to the person behind. Well I had bit of trouble with this as I am wearing a long skirt and trying to be discreet. The girl behind me at one point grabs my skirt and tucks it into my underwear. Well it won’t be a problem now. I had such a great time connecting with these older kids. I will really miss the friendships I have formed here. On our first day at Bhobokazi one of the GoGo’s came up to me her name is Grace. She gave me a warm welcome and said thank you for coming you are such a blessing. Then later in the morning I went into the kitchen to get a water and 3 GoGo’s were in there. One of them started to talk to me. So I sat down on the cement floor. But they right aways said no floor too cold and got me a mat to sit on. Then we tried to talk to each other. But I don’t know much Si Swati and they knew very little english so they called one of the GoGo’s son’s in to translate. We chatted for a bit. They told me some of there stories. Then we headed outside. Once out there Grace again said thank you you are such a blessing. But I felt like that she was more the blessing then me. As we are only here for a short time and she gives of her self day in and day out. So I got You are a blessing translated into Si Swati and told her that. I was so moved by her. She truly is a special lady and has found her way into my heart. I am just so moved by the different things I see here. Like the day we had the party. At the end of the day I saw one of the kids holding a candy bag and it moved me to tears. I thought that my kids get access to candy so often and these kids almost never. Also on that day Grace the GoGo was there and at the end of the day I walked over to her to say good bye. Remembered how to say it in Si Swati and she came over to me and gave me a big hug and started to pray over me in Si Swati. Which moved me to tears. Then I prayed over her in english. What a beautiful moment. So many times I see things like children without shoes or 2 and 3 year olds walking home by themselves carrying a very heavy cabbage, or today seeing a boy with very filthy pants. These things and so many more just break my heart. But what ever God has for me I want. So I just want to be open and say do your will in me Lord. I am your humble servant. Ben my wonderful husband thank you for all that you are doing back home. I can’t wait to be in your arms on Saturday as someone said only 6 more sleeps. Geoffrey and Madeline love you both so much can’t wait to give you hugs and kiss. Big wet sloppy ones! To my amazing babysitters thank you ever so much for making this possible for me you all rock! Again to everyone who is praying for me and the team I can’t say thank you enough. Paradise and Deanna thank you for commenting on the blog it means so much.
Blessings Deborah

 

31 thoughts on “Bhobokazi Day 2

  1. (MONICA) Mom,looks great have fun on the rest of your trip congratulations with your trip stay safe and have a good time as you make your way back home. animals are fine cats attacked fish today don’t know if fish r fine not too many corpses in sight lololz ken makes very good salmon (not as good as grandmas) miss u luv u :happy face: 🙂 Ben
    Loved the pictures posted today,loved seeing / hearing about the simple games u played with the kids – the kind we used to enjoy. Looking forward to hearing about it all in greater detail.. love you lots, Karen

  2. Hey Swazi team!!!

    It sounds like you have had a full and wonderful day. Once again thanks for representing us so well. I talked with different people on Sunday and your blog is fuelling the desire to join you next year but even more importantly to pray.

    As the week continues and your energy starts to flag, know that we are here praying for your health, safety and as much energy as you had when you arrived. I am truly moved by what you have experienced and that you are openly sharing your experience with us here at home.

    Blessings on all of you!!! We miss you and love you!..Oh if you could please hug a child for me that would be fabtabulous.

    Yes that is a word! Well my word anyways. Oh Bonnie did you get married? LOL

    Karen

  3. Cheering you on – thanks for all the hard work, and yet, at the end of the day, sharing with us- ps 139 to each of you and to all the africa team out there- God has prepared you for this very moment(s) from the time HE dreamt you up – listening to lincon brester- ‘more than amazing’ – you are Jesus’s hands reaching out- enabling Glory to God to be enacted as you are HIS vessels! Thanks for the sacrifice! May He provide comfort as your heartstrings are enacted very much in the next days (even though i know the connection has changed you for a lifetime) as your time at BKZ comes to a close- know that as the children remember every name of thier special friends, your time here is imprinted on thier hearts- many blessings! I LOVE those smiles – I imagine, Leanne, we can’t get a picture of you holding a chick before you leave, eh? 🙂 Debra, I image hop scotch won’t ever be the same for you 😉 Blessings, and get some sleep! SHOUTOUT to Precious and Pastor Peter! and Jon and MRS. Todd (they still call you that?)

  4. Rick and Miriam
    Looks like everyone is having lots of fun.Pictures of activities look great. Keep up the good work.

  5. It is such a blessing sharing your adventures through the beautiful pictures and stories you all blog. I have been blessed, and I know that the children in Bhobokazi and Enaleni are doubly blessed by all the time and attention that you have blessed them with. Thanks for being God’s hands and feet to those children and their families. You are also sharing with them God’s heart for them. May God bless you with more energy, more capacity to love, and incredible joy as you continue to do His will there. May, I love the picture of you sharing your glasses with a child, bet you want to bring them all home :). Deborah I loved what you had to say, and loved how you looked in the African dress, you are beautiful. Bonnie I am wondering how your wedding went 😉 you are so much fun, I’ll bet the kids love you. I hope you had fun with your special friend. Allison, I have been praying that you will feel better quickly, so that you can get in your fair share of the hugs from the kids. I love all your hearts for these special kids. Thanks again for being willing to follow God’s direction in going there.
    Love your sister in Christ
    Tanis Gray

  6. Shelly, your vivacious smile made my day today. Thank you for your willing heart to serve, and thank you for the happiness you’re bringing today. I pray that today you’d have a refreshing night’s sleep, and awake ready for another day of adventures, and play with your friends. ♥

    Deborah, love your outfit. 🙂 And thank you for posting. I love hearing about your connection with Grace. That’s awesome! I so want to hear the Si Swati phrase when you get back.

    xw

  7. Hey Dougie, Looks like your’re having a blast man. Im so happy that you were able to go. Wanna here something sappy? No? hmm, well……………love ya man!!! whatever! I didn’t mean it anyway. Ok, I meant it.

    Anyways, looks like you are right in your element out there. You are more of a blessing to those kids then you will ever know. Stay safe and have fun man. See you when you get home.

  8. 3:17 am your time and i hope you are all sleeping very soundly! You deserve a good rest!

    i was blown away by your blog entry and pictures tonight! i would have expected pictures like that from Enaleni…but not Bhobhokazi. What you did today was nothing short of a miraculous breakthrough! You are building community right before our eyes. Those stories and pictures are proof-positive of the tremendous change that the Bhobhokazi community is experiencing (…out there in the middle of no-where)…because of your efforts and Riverwood’s willingness to take on ‘the forgotten care point’. Way to go team!

    And way to go Carolyn and your children’s ministry team there! Way to not shrink back and take the easy road when you could have! Way to put so much energy, creativity, effort and specialness into creating moments for kids you barely know! That’s going to stick!

    Oh…and by the way Carolyn…i’m going nuts without you! (i realize everyone else has been telling you that…but i wanted you to hear it from the horses mouth). Love you like crazy!!!!!!

    – t

  9. Wow! What a different place Bohbo has become! Great job everyone in giving of yourself to spend time really having fun there today! Jon, your fourth picture, is that my little Sam? (the one in the red sweater in the kitchen with the stick) Find out on tuesday, k? He’s so big now but still so cute. I remember holding him while he slept…and the jealously when Wayne fell in love with him too:p keep up the good work, team!
    Love you Jon! Boys and Bella went to bed well for me tonight:) anticipating your return home in…5 SLEEPS!
    Kelly

  10. So who had more fun at Bhobokhazi? The kids or the team? Hard to tell from those pictures 🙂
    It is so great to see so many smiles there!! The neglected carepoint has come such a long way!! Hopefully by next year we’ll be able to refer to it as something different. However we make reference, it now looks like a place where the kids can go and be kids for a couple of hours and that’s what is important.
    Nice to see a picture of Make Monica in there! I wonder if she’s amused that two years in a row she has met two different Monicas from Riverwood?
    Hope you all are sleeping well and getting charged up for another exciting day!

  11. Hi guys,
    So glad things went well for you today! It was great to see all the pictures Bryan I am not sure which little guy is ours in the first picture. So glad you guys are giving it your all! I will be praying for you tomorrow in a special way had you say goodbye to that carepoint. But you still have a lot to look forward to and a lot to be thankful for. I am so proud of all of you and I am very honored to be part if Riverwood!
    Keep your chins up and lovin each other.
    Cheryl p

  12. Hey Swazi team, you look like you had a blast playing with the kids today. My heart jumped when I scanned thru the pictures and saw my boy in his bright blue shirt with a big smile! There was also a group shot with him that looks like his whole family and two of the team. Is one of the brothers one of the teams special friend ? Great photo’s Jon. Hello Brian.. how’s my painting partner doing? Sure looks like you’re enjoying loving on those kids, glad to see you having such a good time. Amy you look like you feel right at home again and happy as can be! Brenda, look so comfortable with everyone, you’ve been there so many times it’s like your second home! Next time you see Alison tell her I still haven’t forgotten her offer to put me up at her place to come back to paint… hope to take her up on it one day soon, still waiting for God to say GO! Love you guys and all you’re doing out there. Bless you!

  13. It’s great to see all the smilling faces. I’m so glad the weather gave you a break. You are all doing an awsome job, keep up the God work. Looking great Deborah.

  14. Douglas. I am glad to see you pulling out the gee-tar and being the traveling musician! Miss corbett I am sure helped.
    Amy Roe….way to go. how many teens there to connect with?
    Ryan Clement…love the look on your face after leaving the outhouse???? good one.
    Kailey…you look super pumped
    SAM…watch out for those Chickens…they attack! Crystal has been organizing my house like crazy cuz I suppose it’s her spiritual gift!! haha….and I need help!

    to the trailer crew…I think Duane and Brendan are lonely. come home soon!

    to everyone….not sure what to say as it’s overwhelming seeing pictures and hearing all you are doing….well done.
    God’s shaping each of you in his own way through this trip. I pray that it’s revealed to you in a mighty way. Thanks for representing Riverwood so well.

    BE BLESSED
    Mandy

  15. Hi Everyone

    Incredible photo’s. The one that really lept off the screen for me was the one of Doug and that beautiful little girl, with the painted face. That picture told me a story. A story of a little girl who seemed to be staring so hard into your eyes Doug, that she seemed to be trying to will you to be a permanent part of her life. It is priceless. What a little beauty.
    Lots of lovely, lovely photos. Thanks Jon for all the hard work of getting them ready for us to view.
    It’s kind of neat for these children to see that we are in it for the long haul, and that Brenda brings back old and new people with her each time.
    Have a great day handing out care packages tomorrow, Can’t wait until the girls get ours.

    Take care
    Love Cheryl

  16. Another great blog today! So many pictures and I have looked at them all over and over. Doug…that picture of you and that adorable little girl with that smile on her face, looking up at you …just priceless!
    I can see where its going to be a very emotional day for everyone when you have to leave there.
    I will continue to keep the team in my prayers…keep on pressing on! Your work there will never be forgotten!!

  17. Well team…I am doing my best to keep up daily with your blog! I so enjoy watching everything from here.

    Sammy….I’m so glad you posted! I was waiting for that…it’s about time….and actually you too, LeeAnn!
    Sam, you are so much braver than you think, conquering your chicken-fears, and so much more. When I grow up I want to be brave just like you! We have been praying for Tante Sam in Africa almost every night. I tried getting mom&dad to post a message…but you know our family and technology. Mom said they kept putting in the blog address but they never saw any pictures! “Ach, du liebe!” So, I keep showing you off to everyone myself. At work I look at the blog pictures & say, “Yeah,, that’s my sister in Swaziland!”

    We so appreciate your representation of our church in Swazi….our hearts are with you. What a mighty God, we serve!

    Keep encouraged.

    Signing off for the Pickel’s
    Angie 🙂

  18. I seriously get chocked up every time I look at these photos and read the blogs! Such amazing stories, and we are living vicariously through all of you!
    SAM! I’m sorry we have been so terrible at messaging you… you know how I am with technology :s (Chris had to set me up to write this.. that’s bad! But not everything can be my spiritual gift, and let me say, organizing is definitely NOT Mandy’s gift!!! LOL)
    Sam, I think there is a kid on your lap in EVERY picture! Remember when you used to say that you didn’t like babysitting because you don’t really like kids? I’m guessing those times are changing 😉
    I can’t wait to hear all your stories when you get home! I miss you so much!
    A big hello to everyone else too! Praying for you all!!

    ps. Doug, that girl with the face paint is absolutely beautiful! I can see how she stole your heart!
    pps. Sam, I’m very proud of you for getting over your “bird” fear!! This trip is good for ya 😉

  19. Suweeeet Carolyne….Bah Bah Buh!!!

    Carolyn, you never cease to amaze me. How you can take a misfit bunch of rag tags and turn them into incredible teachers and supporters of these children. The Holy Spirit just seems to pour out of you at ever turn and it is infectious! From someone that has expierienced your leadership first hand, you need to hear what an amazing leader you are to this group, to those children and to Riverwood as a whole. God placed the right person to co-lead with Jon. You two are the perfect combination of ying and yang. And exactly what this and the last 3 group of misfits needed to turn them into the ground breaking, children loving, song singing, craft making, sheep chasing, squirell ducking, bus squeezing, God praising, ever loving team that we all became…thru your eyes and guidance and wisdom.

    Just wanted to say thanks Carolyn!

    See you in the ‘Zone!

  20. Fantastic job team!! You are each amazing and the pics say it all! Okay, so before Shelley makes fun of my tendency to write long entries, I’ll try and keep this one short 🙂 You look so comfortable in all your pictures Shell, definitely where you are supposed to be! Doug, love the picture of you with the girl looking into your face…what an image to capture! Jon, I know you’re busy taking pics of everyone else…don’t forget to get some pics of you to capture some of your own moments with the kids. Carolyn, you obviously have done another amazing job of putting together a children’s program for them to enjoy and learn more about the incredible love of our Heavenly Father…blessings to you!

    Keep up the great work team and know that you’re all being thought of, supported and prayed for back home!

    Rena (Rod&Jayden)

  21. Hiya Deborah….I look forward every day to reading about how you are doing there. It looks and sounds like you are having an awesome time. Not only are you changing lives, but they are changing yours as well. I love that pic of you today…you looked so beautiful and joyful.
    You are in my thoughts.
    Take care. 🙂

  22. Dear Riverwood Team,
    It’s a little bittersweet to see these pictures and read your stories, for I wish I could be serving alongside of you. However, I believe God has orchestrated this team, placing His desire in each of your hearts and expanding love for Swaziland in our church body. Thank you for all of your service; you are part of a fantastic work out there.
    Brenda, you have been on my mind a lot lately. I heard someone mention the other day what a great woman Brenda McAdam is and I couldn’t agree more. I know you’ll be a little embarrassed by such praise, but that’s all a part of what makes you so amazing. I love and miss you. LeeAnn and Adam, it’s so nice to see pictures of you both-individually and as a couple. I am sure you miss your girls…..and me….terribly, but God will honour dedication; what an example you are to your two beautiful children. Jon and Carolyn, thanks again for all the work you’ve put into this trip. Enjoy the rest of your time out there. It really does go by too fast.
    Love and prayers,
    kelly

  23. Allison
    I did not have time to post yesterday but here it is now. Mom and Dad were visiting over the weekend and we read the updates together and looked at the photos on the TV. We are praying that you’ll be over your cold ASAP. We love the photo of you receiving your flag- you look beautiful! (All pictures are amazing and the kids look so happy)
    Can’t believe YOU were singing, dancing and hugging!
    xo
    Nicole

  24. Hey folks, thanks for letting us hitch a ride with you through your words and pics. You are an encouragement and you are riverwood’s stellar representatives. Thanks for all you’re doing and we’ll be looking forward to more stories. Bless you guys
    benN

  25. Wow! You had quite the day at Bhobokazi! Way to show God’s love to the kids in such practical and simple ways. Way to go team! Hey Allison, how are you doing? Praying that your cold is gone and you have the energy to enjoy the rest of your time in Africa! Love and prayers, Marion

  26. Hey Doug, Those pictures are so amazing! Looks like you’re all bonding and having a great time.
    How’s your back holding up? Did you get a little “hottie” to give you a massage after a hard days work?
    I am missing seeing you in the hat that you wore last year, that’s how I can quickly pick you out of the crowd.
    You people are making such amazing life time memories and friends and you are making such a positive impact on so many peoples lives…you should all feel very proud of yourselves.
    Stay safe, be good and look after one another. Xoxo

  27. Dear Amy Elizabeth, thank you so much for your phone call, I was so happy to hear your voice and unfortunately with skype doing what it does best, we were cut off before saying our goodbyes. We all love you and miss you. The joy in the faces from the pictures is evidence of the impact of your presence there. You are right where you need to be. You are remarkable and amazing, keep up all the good work!!! When you need to, rely on your fellow Swazi team mates, let their prayers (and ours) sustain you and keep you up. It might be a difficult time to be away just now, but it is a great time to be in Swazi with the Riverwood team. You know that Pepere would have it no other way.
    Hugs (big, huge ones) & Kisses. God bless you, Mom

  28. Hi Mom (and everyone),

    LOVE the pictures! I am so glad to see all the childrens smiling faces. It looks like everyone is having a blast. I am praying for you all and wishing you a safe and amazing trip.
    P.S. Mom you did not leave me a full tank of gas….we will talk when you get home 😉

    Brittany

  29. I look forward everyday since your first blog to getting a cup of tea around 5 or 6 oclock and reading the great things G od is doing for the people in Swaziland through the team .those beautiful childern and the love of the great women that work so hard everyday to make sure that every child is loved and cared for.I can see the love of G od in every Swaziland teams face,you all look very happy and content to be doing what your doing.T he pictures are fantastic! I know Jon that you are very tired when you post the blog ,so i just wanted to say thank you very much for the up dates and great pictures.Leeann and Adam love you cant wait to have you home .The girls are great there was two of them right?The animals are still alive HA! HA! God bless you all .Your all in my prayers .p.s.tell Brenda the girls say hi and miss her .Pretty good eh Leeann did it all by myself! LOVE MOM

  30. Hi guys
    What an emotional day you have had. I was praying for you every chance I got all day long! God is good! I see how hard it was for you to say goodbye to all those precious kids! And then again tomorrow! I will be praying again.
    I think it was warmer in the peg then it was in Africa today we hit 22. Have a great day tomorrow I will be thinking and praying for you as much as I can all day! It is so great to see the pictures! Thanks for posting them.

  31. SAMWISE!!!
    I’m late at posting, since you guys are supposed to get back today! lol
    These pictures and stories are just great, I can’t wait to hear them in person. And I can’t wait to see you! I hope you’ve learned a whole heap of things.
    I’m jealous of all of you to say the least, lessons like these can only really be learned by experiencing them.
    Sam, and all of you were in my prayers!

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