Until next time, Enaleni

I am writing as we are driving down the highway away from the Enaleni road turnoff.  We have just finished saying our goodbyes, giving piles of hugs, sharing tears and last smiles.  It is truly a mix of emotions as we reflect on time well spent, on God’s provisions for us as a team, on the new relationships formed and on the old ones deepened.  We couldn’t have written a better script for this team.  They have served well, invested much, risked, and opened their hearts up more than we could have asked for.  They have been incredible representatives for Riverwood and I am proud of every one of them.

I am utterly amazed at what God can do through what starts from a single follower of Christ hearing what they thought was a call from God and saying yes.  From the founder of Children’s Hope Chest, to Jumbo & Kriek, to our beloved lead pastor who responded to what God impressed on his heart to follow the call to respond to the HIV / Aids crisis that has ravaged so much of a world most of us will never comprehend.  I can’t help but feel the mix of emotions of hope, grief, & a resolve to press on.

Be proud of your Swaziteam 2013.  It has been an honour to lead alongside Carolyn an incredible group full of humility, joy & a commitment to pursuing God.  We sure are proud to be a part of what you give and invest.  Truly this has not been 22 individuals on their own journey….but it has been and continues to be a journey we take as a community of followers pursuing a God who cares enough to use us as his Kingdom creators…..what a privilege to be a part of seeing Jesus in person this has been.

We are not done yet here on our journey….but we have now said goodbye to our beloved children, gogo’s, d-team, pastors and student leaders that have become such a part of us.  We drive down the road towards our final moments as a team before boarding the plane back home.  We are excited to finish off together tonight with a safari & team wind up experience staying overnight in the middle of nowhere, with no electricity, cell phone coverage, or walls on our homes.  It will be a great way for us to debrief, to laugh, and to drink in a few last moments of Swaziland together.

Thanks for journeying with us.  We will post a few thoughts yet of team members and their experiences as we travel home….we’ll keep you updated on our travels….

For now it is off to sleep amongst the rhinos & giraffes….and to take a well deserved and much needed deep breath.  Hopefully we all make it out 🙂


11 thoughts on “Until next time, Enaleni

  1. And I look forward to seeing each of you on your return. It has been a humbling experience for me to travel to Swaziland through each of your stories. What an honour! Blessings, safe travels, see you soon. 🙂

  2. Hi everyone on Swazi team! It was a joy following your journey and being excited with and for you. Praying for safe travels, sleep with one eye close and the other watching out for rinos, but then a gain, sleep well as God is watching over you. Thanks for your stories in pictures, love those kids, may God bless their little hearts. Our prayers go with you as you wind down your journey and head home to our very caring Riverwood. Blessings and have a safe flight home, see you soon. Prayerfully, Maria & Peter Wilms

  3. We are so proud of all of you!!! Well done team 2013 🙂 Enjoy the Safari and a well earned rest to reflect and spend time togther. Again we are all sooo proud of all of you for your willingness to do God’s will and the marvelous way you reflected Christ to these kids 🙂

    Enjoy and we look forward to hearing all about it when you get back.

    All the very best and safe journey home 🙂


  4. Good work team! Not just all the physical work you put into your time in Swaziland but for making yourselves available spiritually and emotionally to the plans God put in place ahead of your time in Swaziland. And for doing it with “humility, joy and commitment”, as Jon said. To just say “yes, I will”, without knowing the next steps and doing it with faith and humility, I think is so important. In our staff time yesterday, we were discussing God’s faithfulness in our lives, and the lives of the people God has touched through Riverwood and continues to walk with and I saw so many examples of how God has blessed us and used us in so many ways to build His kingdom, just because we said ‘yes’ and took that one, first step. Swaziland is one of those examples. A very visible and tangible example. I’m so glad Pastor Todd said ‘yes’ to this call and now look at what God has done! Jon, I’ve really enjoyed reading your reflections on what you’ve seen, felt and experienced, especially in the last few blog posts about the connections, blessings and God’s faithfulness happening in Swaziland and Riverwood together. I can totally see and understand what you were describing.
    So, have an awesome time of fun, relaxation and reflection at the game park. I was a little apprehensive arriving to our hut at that same ‘resort’ in the pitch, black darkness last year but it was some of the best sleep I had on the trip (after the roaming hyenas left us alone, 😉 ) and I ended up really loving that place! So enjoy and we’ll see you all soon!

  5. Blessings to each one of you! I have so enjoyed reading the God stories…. so amazing! We are praying for you here in Winnipeg as you travel home!

  6. It has been an amazing God-filled time sharing in your joys, heartaches, and blessings as you have served so diligently over the past days. We are praying for a safe, uneventful journey on your trip home and look forward to hearing more stories of how God has not only connected our continents, but our souls. Enjoy your debrief and time of relaxation and reflection!!

  7. Thanks to all of you once again for your love and investment in Swaziland for all of us back home. We continue to pray for God’s blessing on you in your travels. ps watch out for those swazi ticks 🙂

  8. Mary Robinson

    Thank you so much Swaziland team of 2013 for investing so much of yourselves. God has used each one of you to bring joy and love to those precious children in Bhobokazi and Enaleni. Jon, you have done an amazing job sharing the journey of our team. Thank you so very much. What a great job you all have done – enjoy the safari; another experience you will never forget. God bless you all. I am praying for your safe return home.
    Mary R.

  9. Hope you are enjoying your safari experience, I know it will be a great time of reflection and adventure. Rest in the thought that you all made lasting impressions on the children and our memories of this trip will last you a lifetime.
    God speed you home and bless you and uplift you as you return to your families.

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